March content calendar: ideas for social media and PR

Who can believe it's almost March already? While you're gearing up for spring, don't overlook this important month, chock full of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

March is...

  • Women's History Month

  • National Nutrition Month

  • National Peanut Month

  • National Craft Month

  • Music in Our Schools Month

Daily opportunities include...

March 1: Peanut Butter Lover's Day
March 3: National Day of Unplugging
March 7: National Cereal Day
March 8: International Women's Day
March 11: Daylight Savings Time Begins
March 13: National Napping Day
March 17: St. Patrick's Day
March 20: First Day of Spring
March 21: National French Bread Day
March 23: National Puppy Day
March 23: National Chia Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
March 28: Singer Lady Gaga's birthday (had to throw that one in!)

Want more content ideas for the year? We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Downloads tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for less than $10, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!


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FACTEUR PR welcomes Kelly Powell to its team

Kelly Powell FACTEUR

We are so excited to welcome our new Communications Assistant, Kelly Powell, to the FACTEUR PR team! Kelly Powell is a journalist and photographer located in Kent, Ohio. Alongside her position at FACTEUR PR, she works part-time as the editorial assistant for Ohio Magazine and is a freelance wedding, engagement and portrait photographer. She is a lover of all things media- and graphic-related and is probably signed up for more email newsletters than most.

A graduate of Kent State University’s Magazine Journalism and Photojournalism programs, she loves spending time between Kent and Cleveland for their access to coffee shops, restaurants, art museums and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Kelly is excited to work at FACTEUR in the heart of Ohio City and looks forward to supporting its clients both at home and from afar.

Kelly will join Reena and Hannah on all day-to-day client relations and efforts with a focus on public relations, social media, and content creation. Please join us in welcoming her to the team! Leave a comment below, and feel free to send her an email. Plus, stay tuned for some blogs and other great content from Kelly throughout the coming months here on the FACTEUR blog! 

Four tips to stand out on social media

Photo by Marina Claire Photography courtesy of Modern CLE.

Photo by Marina Claire Photography courtesy of Modern CLE.

The old saying “if you build it, they will come,” may have once been pertinent to a business strategy before the internet, but when it comes to scaling in 2019, it couldn’t be farther from reality. In the decade or so since social media for businesses has mainstreamed, most of us have come to discover that to do it well and to see it affect your bottom line positively, you have to make consistent, dedicated, and strategic effort.

Now with hundreds of millions of users – even billions on Facebook – the social space is more congested than ever. How do you get your brand to stand out amongst the crowd? Here are a few guidelines you can implement right now that I shared with the audience at Behind the Story with Modern CLE to help get you started.

Four tips to stand out on social media

1.) Have a strong sense of brand.

This is beyond just a logo, but who you are, what you look like, what you are trying to say and how you say it. Standing out on social media is an art and a science, and your brand falls into the art category. What does that look like? Beyond just a logo, have a website to capture leads and emails beyond your social media followers. Make sure that website like your social channels has a consistent voice, the same color palettes,

A brilliant way to help you illustrate your brand is to have quality photography. Quality content is often Save the amateur photos and videos for your Instagram Stories, and view your feed as more of a portfolio or catalog. Schedule a quarterly photo shoot and capture three months worth of high-quality images and video for your social media channels. The rest of your posts can be filled in with user-generated content, your own social media graphics you’ve designed, and so forth. You’ll want to create an aesthetic that is true to your brand as well as shows a rhythm that your audience can anticipate. A great way to do this is stick with a handful of conversation topics (I’d suggest no more than five). For example, on the FACTEUR feed, we focus primarily on 1. offering tips, 2. featuring our clients, 3. sharing behind-the-scenes content of our studio, 4. revealing the latest marketing news, 5. sharing content we find to be inspirational to us in the moment. You won’t see a curveball post of what we are having for lunch, unless it ties back to one of these topics (like lunch at a client’s restaurant, behind-the-scenes of a team meeting, etc).

2. Make a date with your audience.

This next tip is more behind-the-scenes, but it’s one of the most important: be consistent on the platforms you choose to communicate. Spend time every week to schedule content for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Be sure are you are scheduling at the optimal time based on your analytics, and try to always sign off with a call to action. Be sure the times that you are scheduling are times you are available to engage, as well. Algorithms favor responsiveness, so don’t just post and disappear. In general, people are on social media during hours outside of the work day, but not the weekend. So think lunchtime and evenings, but check your own analytics to determine when your audience is most likely to see your content and engage with it to help you stand out. Every Monday at @facteurpr on Instagram, we do a Monday Q+A on Stories. Our followers have come to expect this dialogue from us, and if we miss a Monday or post late, we now hear about it! Need some ideas on what to post? Check out our content calendar workbooks.

Instagram business accounts that posted up to 10 segments on Stories each day earned twice as many impressions than those that didn’t post on Stories at all.
— Forbes

3. Be real.

The best place I can tell you to exercise this is on Stories. Forbes recently revealed that Instagram business accounts that posted up to 10 segments on Stories each day earned twice as many impressions than those that didn’t post on Stories at all.Furthermore, engagement is higher on Stories than the news feed, meaning brands are more likely to see action taken – likes, emoji drops, or DMs – if they post on Stories v. the newsfeed. (Stories alone has 400 million daily users!) Being at the top of the news feed with your Stories is prime real estate, and you want to keep it, so try to post on Stories often. Plus, video is the most consumed content type and this trend isn’t going away anytime soon. I think we’re going to see more for IGTV, too. Better yet, make a date with your audience and do an IGTV or Stories the same time each day or week. Similarly, show your face on Stories and on your feed as often as able. People want to know who you are, not just what you are selling. Plus photos of faces are 40% more liked than photos without faces. Audiences like relatability and vulnerability, and it’s great to do that in your photos as well as captions.

4.) Spend your money wisely.

Social media is becoming more pay-to-play, and even with Instagram’s latest algorithm shift back to a more chronological feed, we’re still finding only about 5% of anyone’s followers seeing the content that they post. My favorite avenue to advertise on is Instagram Stories. We already know the engagement rate is higher there, and with an ad, you get the coveted Swipe Up button. This is a great way to spend any quarterly ad dollars.

Another great way to spend any quarterly ad dollars is to partner with micro influencers and community members over a period of time vs. for a singular post. View these collaborations as long-lasting relationships versus simply “sponsored” opportunities. This is a great way to build an influential ambassadorship, support other business owners, and really see the long-term value of your efforts.

What do you think of these tips? Any you’d like to share? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Reena S. Goodwin of FACTEUR PR recognized by Modern CLE

It’s not every day that those of us whose jobs are mostly executed behind-the-scenes are recognized in the media. And we’re super excited to be noticed and featured in Modern CLE this week! Jillian Kramer, editor of the digital publication shining a light on and for Northeast Ohio women, spent some time with us recently at the FACTEUR office. We talked about everything from landing to losing my dream job right after college, to how I started FACTEUR, to my pregnancy that I thought would derail my career but in fact, helped to advance it. You can read all about it here.

As part of Modern CLE’s new editorial initiatives, we’re partnering on a Behind the Story event on Sunday, January 20! You’re invited to enjoys bottomless bubbly and sweets catered by @sweetcostocle, plus an intimate and informative discussion with me, in which I’ll share tips for how to stand out on social media. Plus, you get your headshot taken and freshen up those Instagram profiles, as well!

At the time of this blog post publishing, tickets are already half-way sold out, so snag them fast before they’re gone!


Reflect + Refresh: Brand considerations for the New Year

Depending on the situation, this time of year is when a brand is either winding down or going full speed ahead to achieve a successful holiday season. As these last few weeks pass by, remember to take a step back and look at everything you and your company has accomplished. Celebrate the successes!

However, it is equally as essential to also analyze where improvements can be made. Now is the moment to make time to stop and reflect on what has happened. This activity can be done over the course of a few weeks, or you could sit down and list everything that comes to mind in one go. It is all about making the contemplation session as beneficial as possible!

FACTEUR PR has three areas to add to your to-do list, along with some questions to ask yourself that may help with the process.

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Mission and Vision

  • Is your mission statement still accurate?

  • Who has your audience grown to include?

We are aware of the amazing growth that a business can have in just one year, particularly for small businesses that are still in those critical early building stages. It is necessary to pause and consider if the direction the company is going is still fully parallel to that of its mission. Compare the different aspects of growth to the elements of your mission statement and the values that accompany it. Though your brand’s mission may not be literally written out for your audience to see, having it for the team to refer to is undoubtedly helpful to stay on track. (Thinking you may need a reset button on that statement? Here is a great resource to help.)

Social Media Presence

  • Are you staying on-brand with the company’s aesthetics and voice?

  • How does the tone of your content adapt to seasonal/cultural/societal shifts?

Take note of what kinds of posts are best received and focus on those. Do this while keeping everything relevant, however. Just because everyone loves a cute puppy photo does not mean it should be utilized over a more relatable image. Content needs to have strong visuals and writing to provide customers with a well-rounded message. It also is important to observe how your target market utilizes social media. Are they actually moving away from Facebook and towards Pinterest? There are trends in not only products and ideas but how individuals access and share them. Don’t forget to keep an eye out! Not sure how to read your audience? Just ask them!

Customer Interaction

  • Do you have accessible avenues for consumer feedback?

  • Do you encourage follower promotion by re-sharing their content, or do you keep all promotional content in-house?

It can be challenging to balance staying true to oneself and following what the customer desires. Because of this, it is a good idea to keep a level of two-way communication. Whether you make a point of responding to followers’ comments and questions on your Instagram posts or have an easy option for leaving online reviews, allowing customers to share their thoughts provides them with a way to feel and be more connected. Also, welcoming images or media that have been created by customers, known as user generated content, can increase brand connections. Both of these improve brand loyalty. This in turn lets a company make more informed decisions moving forward.

As you may have noticed, each of these areas are intertwined with the next. How a customer can connect with your brand may often rely on your presence online. The company’s reputation of honesty and/or transparency for the consumer relies on the proper execution of its values through the various physical and digital avenues. This is why we advise for a brand, personal or professional, to unpack these elements at the end of the year to have a fresh, successful start to 2019!

Warmest holiday wishes - we can’t wait to see what is to come in the year ahead!

Tips to ignite excitement around a product launch: what we learned from Fashion Week

It is always exciting to share new products with your consumers. Along with all of the effort put into external promotion, however, we can’t forget about creating content for our own platforms. As we always say at FACTEUR PR, “own your story to share your story!”

Want a tip for approaching your social media in a potentially different way? Treat the drop of a new item like an event! Who wouldn’t want more customer anticipation building up to the release?

The concept:

A good source of inspiration for this kind of strategy is in the fashion industry, specifically how luxury brands engage followers during the release of their collections each season at Fashion Week. An easy way to look at the shared content is in three parts: before, during, and after the event. Instagram, and particularly Instagram Stories, are becoming increasingly important and utilized for brand engagement. Here are some examples of what to look for and share.

Luxury brands are often known for being the least transparent in the industry, so any glimpse into the process is widely welcomed. The desire for transparency is growing in consumers at all market segments, so it is a good thing for small businesses to keep in mind as well!

Pre-Show:

  • Instagram Story Takeover (example: a show attendee shares the process of getting ready for the show.)

  • Small Detail Posts (example: sneak peeks of the show venue, inspirational quotes or images that contributed to the designs, and glances at the production process catch the attention of followers.)

  • Attendance List (example: if someone cool is showing up or is otherwise involved, let viewers know.)

During the Show:

  • A Garment in Motion (example: choosing a few of the strongest or most unique looks from the collection works well when shown on the model in video or photo form.)

  • The Finale Video (example: even a fraction of the moment when all of the garments can be seen at once provides the observer with a good grasp on elements of the collection.)

Post-Show:

  • Attendees’ Responses (example: a candid interview occurs to capture the emotional responses of a variety of viewers.)

  • Edited Visuals (example: the sharing of final images and/or videos of the looks occurs after they have been sorted and edited to meet the company’s level of quality and aesthetic.)

An elegantly applicable brand to observe is that of Dior, one that is often acknowledged for their extensive social media content. On September 24, the luxury fashion house showed their Spring/Summer 2019 RTW collection in Paris. Its Instagram account utilized the story feature throughout the day. Instead of following the pre-show preparation of a well-known influencer, they featured a fresh-faced model describing each part of the fashion show she experienced (shown above). Luxury brands are often known for being the least transparent in the industry, so any glimpse into the process is widely welcomed. The desire for transparency is growing in consumers at all market segments, so it is a good thing for small businesses to keep in mind as well!

How to apply it:

Each of the kinds of content described can be translated and pared down to your specific products or services before, during, and after a launch. Post a sneak peek of the cool packaging or a video talking through your sources of inspiration. After the product is released, maintain its new position in the market. Though your business likely does not have the ability to make the volume of content that a brand such as Dior has, sharing a handful of quality visuals in the following days is already a significant reminder to your audience! At FACTEUR PR, we can’t say enough about the importance of continuing on after a big brand moment has happened. Keeping up public relations both online and off is a constant endeavor, so keep it fresh and creative!

Looking for assistance with your public relations and social media strategy ahead of your brand or product launch? We can help! Head to our Contact page to get started!

Instagram Story images c/o @dior. Cover image c/o Cleo Glover.

FACTEUR PR welcomes Emily Kopchak to its team

Emily Kopchak FACTEUR Intern

We are so excited to welcome our fall intern, Emily Kopchak to the FACTEUR PR team! Emily is a senior Fashion Merchandising major at Kent State University with minors in Fashion Media and Visual Communication Design. Through her education, she has had the opportunity to complete a summer semester in NYC and a fall semester abroad in Florence, Italy. At Kent State, she is also an honors student and the Chief Administrative Officer of the National Retail Federation Student Association chapter on campus. Emily is interested in the creative processes fashion and non-fashion brands utilize to connect with their consumers. Her other passions include exploring in nature and finding the best doughnuts in the world.

Emily will join Hannah Krisinski through December - please join us in welcoming her to the team! Leave a comment below, and feel free to send her an email. Plus, stay tuned for some blogs and other great content from Emily and Hannah throughout the coming months here on the FACTEUR blog! 

Social media and story ideas for September

September content ideas

September is nearly here, which means summer is almost over (sadly)! But who else thinks fall is the best season? The approaching season has no shortage of great events that can serve as an inspirational source for blogging, and September is no exception. These ideas are also applicable to your social media and media relations pitches. To get you started, here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

September is...

  • Better Breakfast Month
  • Whole Grains Month
  • Yoga Month
  • Healthy Aging Month
  • Self Improvement Month
  • Classical Music Month

Daily opportunities include...

September 3: Labor Day
September 6: National Read a Book Day
September 18: National Cheeseburger Day
September 21: International Day of Peace
September 22: First Day of Fall
September 25: One Hit Wonder Day
September 26: National Pancake Day
September 27: Women's Health & Fitness Day
September 28: Drink Beer Day
September 29: National Coffee Day
 

Want more content ideas for the year? These are just a few of the ones we've identified! We have developed four editorial content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instant Resources tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. We're offering each calendar for $9, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!

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Apply for the FACTEUR PR Fall Internship!

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Attention college students! FACTEUR PR is currently seeking organized and enthusiastic candidates with a passion for PR, social media, and marketing to join our team this fall season (September-December)! Interns will receive mentoring and experience in public relations, social media, and content marketing with an emphasis on client relations, project management, relationship building, visual communications, and strategy,

Interns will be required to be in our Ohio City office up to 15 hours a week, as well as work special events as needed.

While there is no typical day, interns can expect to work on:

  • Media relations: research (outlets, reporters), outreach, editorial calendars
  • Social media: research, management, news, trends, advertising, content, influencer outreach
  • Content: researching, writing, blogging, designing, e-mail marketing, optimizing
  • Writing: pitches, press releases, biographies

Does this sound like an opportunity you might be interested in? Learn more and apply here

Want to know what it's like to intern with FACTEUR PR? Check out our former intern Julie Hong's blog post! 

Yield better results on Instagram with a little curation and cohesiveness

Instagram curation

We all want to create those beautiful Instagram pages that bring in new followers that turn into clients and customers. We know the pages I’m talking about — the ones that have all the pictures that are so beautiful, edited well and content that is well-curated.

Mav Social recently published an article on creating a feed on Instagram that matches your brand and looks cohesive. Their helpful articles explains that while “your photos look brilliant when viewed individually, they could be a jumbled mess when seen together,” which is one reason to create a beautiful feed. Nobody wants their first impression to be a messy one. Brand recognition will also help people remember you! If you have a beautiful page, people won’t have to even look at your handle to know it’s your content, automatically knowing in their mind that this picture belongs to you!

@FACTEURPR

@FACTEURPR

How do these brands do it?

Well, I wanted to share some insider tips! This blog post was inspired by FACTEUR's own Instagram feed. I am amazed by how well Reena, the founder of FACTEUR, puts together each Instagram post to tie so well into the rest. She makes sure the colors are cohesive and that everything is on-brand and is recognizable for our audience.

Knowing your audience is super important when launching a brand as well as when marketing one. I run a personal blog, and I can definitely attest to this. I run an Instagram page as well, and I know that my audience would be thrown off if I all of the sudden started posting a black and white photo when the rest of my pictures are very colorful and highly saturated. I know my audience enjoys and expects bright colors and through researching other Instagram influencers they follow, they engage with similar pages.

While it may sound boring to post content that all matches, it actually becomes very appealing to the eye of the follower.

In the Mav Social article I mentioned earlier, they shared this photo as an example from Fossil’s Instagram feed. It shows that they choose consistent colors to focus on, but so followers don’t get bored, they switch up the hue every nine photos.

@FOSSIL

@FOSSIL


While the content may not be exactly the same in each individual photo, overall it still looks cohesive and their photos are always of high quality.

A new website that I recently learned about and saw that was given also as an example in this article is  the blog on Design-seeds.com. This blog offers  a great way to figure out a color palette for your brand/company. Here are some examples of the ways they help inspire you:

@INSOMNIA

@INSOMNIA

 

As you can see in this photo that @In_somnia_ used on their Instagram, they were able to pull out these beautiful six colors. Out of these six colors, they could decide to continue using a few of them in their upcoming Instagram pictures!

Imagine if this picture was randomly thrown into one of the color schemes from Fossil. It would look out of place and if a follower was looking at the Instagram page, some followers may be turned off by how out of place the picture looks and leave, meaning you would lose out on a new follower, sale or future customer.

A sense of unity, even on your Instagram feed, makes your audience feel part of your brand.

Visual Psychology

Streamlining the look and feel isn't about deceiving your audience. In fact, with so much noise on social media, it's helpful to post things that are only relevant (and save the fun, on the fly stuff for your Stories!). Photos can create an emotional response to your audience, so make sure you are helping to create the right ones!


Apps to help you edit your pictures

There are so many options out there today for you! Choosing the right one for you may take a couple of tries!

My top three suggestions for apps to help you edit your pictures:

  1. VSCO: great for creating each picture with the same filter

  2. Lightroom: awesome for editing details/specific colors in pictures

  3. A Color Story: fun and creative filters as well as editing functions like Structure, Curves, and more

Now, don't forget that photos aren't the only thing you need to developing an engaging Instagram presence. Once you create eye-catching and on-brand visuals, you need relevant and powerful captions, as well! 

Need help on ideas of what to post? Check out FACTEUR's Instant Resources section and get your hands on some content calendar worksheets for a year's worth of ideas to get you inspired and started! 


Danie Minor is a recent graduate of Kent State University, where she studied public relations. She is passionate about all things having to do with social media and influencer relations.