Emotion is at the heart of every human being’s existence. The way you think, the way you feel and the way you act interplay to form your unique, individual identity. Knowledge is power, so remember the way emotions are expressed can either promote or hinder your development.
Sometimes our feelings can get ahead of us, and when the media publishes articles that negatively reflect employers or clients, it is easy to overact. Read a quick excerpt about how an in-house PR professional defensively lashes out to the wrong person in the wrong manner.
Harvard Business Review
Do you remember watching the Field of Dreams movie scene where Kevin Costner’s character asks his ghost father to throw a ball around, and your eyes immediately began to swell? While conflicting, behind that overwhelming feeling is storytelling, which is being used to market success within the branding world.
In business, emotions often take precedence and can become the defining points of decision-making. Since feelings can be overwhelming to the individual, it is pertinent to understand the inherent needs of your clients and audience. Read more about how emotions and behavior are directly linked based upon scientific research.
From frustrating work reactions to heart-warming movie scenes and the biological self, emotions are ever-present. Reflect and evaluate the past few weeks. How have emotions positively and negatively impacted your business development?
Share with us in the comments below!
Julia Pizzutti is an intern for WordWrite Communications. You can find her on Twitter @julzutti93.
Originally published on July 31, 2013, this blog post is still incredibly relevant to the work we are doing today for our clients. In light of the upcoming Manufacturer of the Year awards and a large media event we are planning for a textile manufacturing client, this is a beneficial reminder to maintain a strong web presence for your manufacturing brand.
The comeback story of American manufacturing is finally getting its day in the spotlight. Two filmmakers, Vincent Vittorio and Nathaniel Thomas McGill, are currently touring 32 American cities to promote their new documentary, American Made Movie, which shows the positive impact of American manufacturing on the local and national economy.
Industry experts and company executives play a role in the film as interviewees, sharing their unique perspectives on manufacturing. From the CEO of New Balance to the director of the American Alliance for Manufacturing, these experts have great stories to tell. But, not everyone has such an awesome opportunity to be featured in a high-profile documentary. What others in the industry do have, however, is a chance to tell their own story by publishing content on their company websites.
If you look at the websites of some small- to medium-size manufacturers—Northeast, Ohio-based Specialty Ceramics, for example— you’ll see they are lacking significantly in relevant content. In the case of Specialty Ceramics, it is a totally static page that barely explains what they do. A quick Google search will lead to a “tad” bit more—this company designs and manufactures vacuum form fireplace logs. If you are looking for their company story, details about their culture, employees, what they do in their community or why they are a great place to work, you can’t find it on their site. Or, anywhere for that matter—this is a lost opportunity.
Perhaps their universe of potential customers is small so they don’t feel a need to have more on their site. Maybe they rely on word-of-mouth marketing. Whatever their reason, I would argue it’s a terrible mistake to have a site like that one when the country is hungry for good news stories about manufacturing.
While I can find many other examples, my goal is not to put down what companies are currently doing. Instead, I’d like to make the case that all manufacturers should utilize their websites as their main communications channel to the outside world. All U.S.-based manufacturers have a part in telling the story of manufacturing’s comeback and their website is the ideal place to do just that.
As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, the power of Google just can’t be denied. It’s one powerful tool. Nearly everyone uses Google to find what they are looking for online—whether it be a product, a service or just simply, information. If a website is stale or inactive, Google may not find it or it will be buried beneath hundreds (or thousands) of other results, which means it won’t be found.
Fresh, new content posted regularly to a website will help with Google rankings. Content can be anything from news announcements about the company or its employees, new products, photos or community events. A blog updated regularly (weekly/monthly, etc.) and optimized with keywords is even better for boosting ranking on Google.
A manufacturer’s website is more than a “sales brochure.” It’s a chance to tell its own version of the manufacturing story to potential employees, family members, students, the community, news media and others. The story is still being written. As Natasha Bedingfield said in her popular song, “the rest is still unwritten…”
Now is the time for manufacturers around the country to join in by writing their own chapter in the comeback story.
Hollie Geitner is vice president, client services for WordWrite Communications. You can find her on Twitter @JustHollieG.
As the summer comes to a close and the end of my internship at WordWrite nears, I’ve been able to look back on the work I’ve done and the people with whom I’ve been fortunate enough to work. After three months of learning and applying new skills, here are the top three that I find necessary when working at an agency.
Skill #1: Writing
First and foremost, writing is absolutely the most important skill for this kind of work. I can’t stress it enough. When you ask a PR pro what they do all day, the answer is write, write and write some more. Works range from blog posts to social media posts to press materials to story pitches and everything in between.
If you’re writing isn’t quite up to snuff, don’t fret. Practice! Writing is one of those skills that grows in direct correlation to the amount of hours spent just doing it. WordWrite President & CEO Paul Furiga recently published his 28 Day Training Plan to Make You A Better Writer, which serves as a good skill-building exercise for anyone looking to enhance their abilities. Give it a try.
Skill #2: Relating to People
Here at WordWrite, we believe in storytelling and sharing the authenticity of our clients’ great, untold stories. Connecting with these people and making sure that we can listen hard enough to their background is what allows us to produce their storytelling materials.
Find some kind of connection in someone else’s story. What part of it makes you excited? Which part can you relate to your own life? This is important because you are essentially sharing a story that doesn’t involve you. You’ve got to be able to tell it with the same passion and charisma as the clients would themselves. Finding a personal touch allows you to deliver that excitement.
Skill#3: Time Management
Time management is a life skill that you should master regardless of what profession you choose. But when working in a public relations agency, it’s especially important to be able to stay on top of your work. Sometimes the to-do list seems to grow faster than you can check things off.
Keeping priorities in mind is a good way to help stay on track. If there is client work to be done, then that’s what takes priority. And keep track of the hours you’re spending on each project. You’ll be doing this anyway to maintain billable hours, but it will also push you to efficiently use your time and make sure your deadline is met on time or even early.
For anyone considering the field of public relations, be sure to keep these three skills in your tool belt and always sharp. Think of these as the foundation to your skill set. Without nailing these ones down first, it will be difficult to build on that shaky footing. Be sure to have a strong base of skills so that you can tackle new projects and learn while doing it. Times change and new technologies come and go, but these three proficiencies never go out of style.
Kyle McClure is an intern for WordWrite Communications. You can find him on Twitter @kylmcclr.
Sometimes you read an article and it just makes you feel good inside, so why not share those stories? In this week’s wrap, we have everything from international stories to tales about Robin Williams that will leave you feeling much happier.
Robin Williams’ legacy: a big heart for charity
Although many people weren’t aware of this before his recent passing, Robin Williams was a very kind man who changed the lives of many. Read all about the impact he made and the charities he contributed to.
84 Strangers in 11 Countries Helped Solve 1 Rubik’s Cube
Rubik’s Cubes can be almost impossible to solve, but when it’s a joint effort, it becomes possible. Watch one Rubik’s Cube travel around the world, as it’s solved step-by-step.
Chart: Ice Bucket Challenge – Over A Million Participate In The Craze
The ice bucket challenge is everywhere, but it has definitely made a difference and is helping to raise a lot of money for the ALS Association. This challenge has also created a lot of buzz, bringing awareness to the cause.
We hope these stories inspired you or made you feel a bit warmer inside. Which story hit home to you?
Jessica Carnprobst is an intern at WordWrite Communications. You can find her on Twitter @jess_carnprobst.
A few months ago, as I was interviewing for a summer internship position at WordWrite, I was asked why I wanted this internship. I shared that I love gaining real world experience as I always walk away learning more about the public relations industry, my professional goals and myself. Looking back, I would say I completely accomplished everything I hoped to when I answered that question. So, as I sit here trying to ignore the fact that my internship is almost over, I know this internship has provided me with more than just an extra line on my resume or work samples for my portfolio. There’s no doubt that internships are vital to a college student’s career, because the experiences you have in one summer are unlike anything you get in a classroom. Although I’ve learned more than I could have imagined, I have four major takeaways to take to school.
Always ask questions
Summer internships allow students to shadow the professionals they are working for. Through their years of experience, work in the field and internships of their own, they’ve learned a lot and you’d be crazy not to take advantage of their knowledge. When you’re given the opportunity, don’t forget to ask questions. Ask about anything, whether it’s project related or about their career. You can never ask too many questions, and you’ll be glad you did when the summer is over.
Learn from the little things
With each assignment be sure to absorb the information, task details and edits after you’ve completed your work. You can learn a lot from one project, even if it’s just drafting a social media post. You might not have known that a certain time works better than the initial time you scheduled it for, or it may be a case that you learn to develop the company’s voice instead of a variation of your own. Soak in every project and every detail and always write it down. When you’re thinking about something you did months later, it will be nice to look back at a spreadsheet or document to see exactly what you did and when. No matter what you’re doing, write it down or save it. Every little task or lesson adds up, giving you a wide variety of knowledge.
Remind yourself to focus on the big picture
Although you should put all of your effort into each project you’re given, it’s also important to step away from your desk and take note of everything else going on. You can learn a lot by listening. At the end of the day, the conversations you have with the many skilled professionals you’re working for will probably mean the most to you. Whether it’s a work related conversation or not, the relationships built by sharing stories is immeasurable. The time I spent getting to know each WordWriter was easily my favorite part of my summer.
Start each day with enthusiasm and a positive attitude
I’ve learned that it pays off to come in each day with a smile on your face. When you feel happy and productive, your day will go a lot better and the work you produce will benefit from your attitude. My positive attitude and enthusiasm to be here is half of what made my internship so great. I can’t think of a single day that I didn’t want to be sitting at my desk and working with the WordWrite team. I fed off of their passion and I hope they fed off of mine. Everything is much better when you do it with a smile on your face.
Yes, I’ve gained A LOT of great portfolio pieces this summer, and for that I’m grateful. I feel like I’ve gotten to do everything I wanted and more. Beyond the pieces of work I’m bringing to school, I’ve learned from seven amazing professionals and one fellow intern. This summer was more than just another way to practice what I’ve learned in class. I’ve found a family within the WordWrite team who have helped me move one step closer to paving my path in life.
Thank you to the WordWrite family for making this an unforgettable summer. I’m grateful for everything you’ve taught me, both about the industry and about myself. I only hope that every intern can walk away with the same takeaways as I have.
Jessica Carnprobst is an intern for WordWrite Communications.You can find her on Twitter @jess_carnprobst.
If you’re like me, you understand and wholeheartedly support the value of lifelong learning. That’s one reason why I’m so passionate about the industry I’m in. I’d be completely lost if I wasn’t continually learning to keep up with the ever-changing landscape that is public relations and marketing.
That’s also why I’m such a big believer in HubSpot and the concept of inbound marketing. I mean, come on, do those HubSpotters ever stop learning and educating us on inbound best practices and developments on the platform?
They have even established communities of user groups in over 90 cities to help marketers in each region share best practices and advice with other professionals.
According to Sarah Papachristos, HubSpot User Group (HUG) Program Manager, “HubSpot User Groups are an excellent, free educational resource for HubSpot customers in their local community. Attending a HUG is the best way to connect, learn and have your questions answered from other inbound marketers in your community.”
As the HubSpot User Group Leaders in Pittsburgh, the WordWrite team is thrilled to plan and host multiple meetups each year—this year we are on track for five! These meetups are great to learn from other professionals in the area—HubSpot customers or not—on their tips and tricks on executing inbound marketing campaigns. The best part is that the information shared at these meetups could apply to any company that’s blogging, using social media or email marketing.
The beauty of the HUGs (aside from the free food) is that you’re able to network with other individuals who are executing marketing campaigns that encompass blogging, social media and email marketing—whether or not on the HubSpot platform—and you can still learn from their insight on what’s worked and what hasn’t.
Take it from Ashley Falkowski, Office Manager at SMI Aware, as she says, “Pittsburgh HUG events are a place to connect with others using the product and share ideas and strategies for greater inbound marketing success. HUG events are welcoming, informative and educational. I learn something new at each event and am always excited to implement the ideas shared into my own marketing strategies!”
We’ve shared a great deal of information this year at meetups in Pittsburgh.
In February, we hosted HubSpotter Rachel Goodman who shared an array of insights on social media. She dove into the real difference between social prospecting and social monitoring, what social prospecting is all about and why your business should be doing it, and shared examples of real HubSpot customers who are using HubSpot’s Social Inbox in innovative—and successful—ways. She also gave a live demo of how to use the Social Inbox tool within the HubSpot platform.
We switched it up a bit in April and hosted a panel discussion of actual HubSpot customers in the Pittsburgh area. They each spoke on four different areas within the inbound methodology. From workflows to email marketing, blogging to landing pages, our panelists discussed how these tools in HubSpot have made their lives much easier.
Now, this week, we’re hosting another HubSpotter, Jillian Day, who will be outlining best practices and tips for executing the best inbound marketing campaign possible. She will be sharing some great tips and tricks that apply throughout the entire inbound marketing methodology, so don’t worry if you’re just blogging or using social media—there will be tips that apply to you!
Join us at Perlé (25 Market Square, Pittsburgh, PA 15222) this Wednesday, August 20 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. to see what HUG meetups are all about and get advice straight from a HubSpotter. Register now!
Christy Goodman is senior account executive for WordWrite Communications. She can bereached at email@example.com and on Twitter @christylgoodman.
Startups. Where would we be without them? They keep the business world fresh and bring innovation to the marketplace by offering us original and updated products. For all you (aspiring) entrepreneurs out there, keep this wrap in mind for what’s to come, how to handle it and what other opportunities might be ahead.
What Is It Really Like to Be a Startup CEO?
Starting a business comes with heavy responsibility and accountability that most never need to deal with. Many entrepreneurs expect that pressure, but these ones will tell you that actually living it is a different story.
5 Major Warning Signs Your Startup Could Fail And What to Do About Them
All startups will experience some hiccups in their initial stages. It’s only natural. But some of those blunders require closer attention to steer clear of a crash course. Take note of these red flags and know what to do when you see them.
Why Entrepreneurs Make Great Modern-Day CMOs
Entrepreneurs are always thinking about customers because, well, they have to. To keep a startup in business, you’ve got to sell and that’s why founding CEOs often make great marketing execs. The mentality of always pushing new business to keep the product alive is exactly what it takes.
Whether you’re just starting your entrepreneurial journey or if you’ve been in the game for a time, remind yourself that the responsibility is always yours, missteps will happen and to keep an open mind for future opportunity.
Kyle McClure is an intern for WordWrite Communications. Connect with him on Twitter @kylmcclr.
Lately I’ve been reading much about the “keys” to successful content development and management. To feed the fundamental marcom approaches that predominate today, I would hardly be among the first to suggest: “content is everything.” It is — especially as we optimize approaches allowing us to engage audiences for ever more customized experiences. And within content development, blogging is central.
But as I am absorbing the reams of advice about how to best blog, suggested lengths of posts and other directives, I am struck that this abundant advice may be missing the mark on what matters most about this important technique.
In our professional world, the blog is common. When anything becomes common, it rapidly acquires two easily recognized features: 1) naturally, it's found everywhere; and 2) it becomes easy to recognize varying levels of quality. That’s what allows many of us to intuitively understand that not all blogs are equal. Some are great, many are half-baked or half-witted, and others fall somewhere between. But the whole reason any of us commit to creating content, and specifically blogs, is that we wish to provide compelling, memorable communication for an audience. This ambition seems paramount to any formulaic instruction about frequency, length and other characteristics recommended for blog posts. Simply put: make your blog compelling! To that end, consider the following strategies to achieve this:
1. Have something provocative to say to your audience.
Regardless of how narrow or broad your audience may be, have an idea that you think might provoke thought among your readers. Now, ensure it is a “real“ and heartfelt thought of your own, but assuming that, use it as a jumping off point for your post. For instance, for the audience to whom this blog is destined, the following three “provocative” thoughts immediately come to mind:
A. “In the b-2-b marcom world Search Engine Optimization is a lower priority than compelling content.”
B. “The more we measure the impact of marketing efforts, the less consensus we acquire about what works.”
C. “The truncated forms of many social media are insufficient to aid in the telling of a good story narrative.”
It took but ten seconds to ask myself what I think/believe about a topic relevant to my audience. These are examples of heartfelt concepts that I am ready to explain and perhaps even defend. If you can do that, there is no reason the same point can’t be hammered into an effective blog.
2. If you are going to write anything, you have to read — and what you’re reading has to include a heavy dose of thinking on the topic.
Few effective blogs can be built from sufficiently sturdy ideas acquired as you're browsing a comment string. For all the wizardry of social media applications in our industry, they too often fall short in educating us about many topics. Augmenting this with the reading of leading thinkers on the topic is essential. If you don’t read with regularity some well-constructed thought leader content, it is unlikely you’ll write such content.
3. Create an interruption-free environment for blog creation.
Shakespeare may have opined “digital media bringeth and digital media taketh away” — especially the quality chunks of time we might use to flesh out an idea in written form. The effective blogger must strive to create a writing environment devoid of endless e-mail, text, phone and other communication interruptions of the common business day. This is essential to allow an idea to “flow” from your brain to keyboard and to ensure any blog posting meet the minimum prerequisite of having a beginning, middle and end.
Content development and the many challenges it presents for those of who blog are here to stay. But content that doesn’t strive to distinguish itself or at least be memorable to its audience runs the risk of becoming just being another contribution to the endless heap of digital “noise." This benefits no one and especially the audiences for whom we are writing.
John Durante is marketing services director for WordWrite Communications.
Many clients come to us because they feel not enough potential customers or clients know about them or what they do. They believe media coverage will change that, leading to more sales. While that very well could be true, we advise a strategic approach to getting a name/company brand out there. The reality is, getting the attention of the media is easy (ever read the police blotter?), but becoming a respected thought leader takes much more time and yields far greater results.
As a side note, one of the things I love about our office is that we share interesting industry articles with each other because we believe in continuous learning. Complacency is just not for us. Recently, someone shared an article written by a fellow PR professional that likened getting PR (media coverage) to ordering a pizza. The author felt the general lack of knowledge about HOW we do what we do as PR professionals can be frustrating because it’s not like we order it up and customize it how we’d like—just like calling Domino’s. Yet, that seems to be exactly what many who aren’t in our industry feel we do—order up news articles with perfectly written headlines—oh yes, and front page, above-the-fold—hold the quotes from others, please.
A more realistic analogy—in keeping with the pizza idea—would be planting the tomato seeds, tending to the garden, harvesting the fruit, making the sauce, etc. You get the point. It’s a long process that involves patience, nurturing and consistency.
Now that we’ve established that PR isn’t about simply ordering up a pizza, what is the ideal way to get the media’s attention? Consider establishing your thought leadership by using data as a means of support for your credibility on a subject.
Remember, reporters are always looking for content—on a regular basis they need compelling stories and sources to help tell them. It’s no secret that research and facts help tell a story by providing validation and serving as a relevant hook to make a story worth covering. A quick Survey Monkey consumer-focused questionnaire is fine in some cases. However, for purposes of this blog and its focus on thought leadership, we’re referring to meaningful and statistically significant market research that goes much deeper. There are a number of firms that specialize in this kind of market research and we’ve worked with a few over the years. The key is finding a nationally known and respected firm that will help develop your initial concept, generate the most appropriate questions to garner the best results, execute the actual survey and deliver a detailed report complete with an executive summary of the findings.
So, how does this become news? The results allow you to generate some buzz while positioning your organization as an industry leader. A seasoned PR pro can help pull out the most newsworthy information and assist with messaging to tell your story. Consider an annual survey because it gives you baseline data to track over time and communicate to the public/media on a regular basis. In some cases, annual surveys have become a mainstay for news content. Some that come to mind—various college surveys, fitness trends (notice how they tend to come out around New Year’s resolution time), Consumer Reports Car-Brand Perception Survey, employee benefits and the Annual Survey of Manufacturers. In essence, the annual results provide newsworthy content for not just news media stories but also for presentations, media interviews, sales pitches and a variety of other marketing materials. The investment is well worth the return if done correctly. Commissioned research from an outside market research firm tends to help with credibility, although you can conduct your own research.
The methods for sharing the news can vary, based on the industry, the newsworthiness of the results and the timeliness. For one manufacturing client, we organized a press conference at the National Press Club to share the results of a survey they had commissioned about national perceptions of the manufacturing industry. We invited several notable experts to attend and comment on the findings, which gave the announcement greater exposure and heightened its importance. The high concentration of media in and around Washington, D.C. made the National Press Club the ideal location for such an announcement. We issued a press release with the findings via a national news wire and reached out to trade publications with the survey findings, garnering hundreds of media hits.
When considering ways to get the attention of the news media, think through what expertise you have to offer and how you might share it. What is the ideal headline you’d love to read? Market research in the form of a survey is a great way to package up newsworthy data and share it with those who could benefit—including the media, consumers, your ideal customers and others.
Have you used a survey or research as a way to generate content worthy of media coverage? Share your story in the comments below.
Hollie Geitner is vice president, client services for WordWrite Communications. You can find her on Twitter @JustHollieG.
A key focus for WordWrite as an agency continues to be delivering messages or content from clients to the spaces where their target audiences can conveniently find it.
In a business-to-business (B2B) landscape, journalists continue to be key partners in the ongoing effort to showcase the thought leadership and credibility our clients possess.
Trustworthiness and authenticity are critical elements of an effective business story, so frequent appearances in the media outlets your ideal audiences consume provide third-party validation that’s difficult to achieve in content you create on your own real estate (blogs, social media, website, etc.)
That’s where a good agency’s relationships with journalists across the country can help. If you can’t provide the media with compelling reasons to report on you or your business, then how can you expect your business story and points of distinction to reach those you’re trying to engage?
Journalists these days are dissatisfied, overworked, unappreciated for the work they do and often woefully underpaid for the service they provide to society as watchdogs for the public interest. (Can you tell some of us at WordWrite used to work in the media?)
In terms of limitations on their ability to share your company’s value with others, journalists are also often bombarded by an enormous amount of emails on a daily basis. Volume wouldn’t be such a problem if the emails were pertinent to the type of stories they actually cover. Unfortunately, the relevant details of your business and expertise in a specific field often get lost in a pile of irrelevant garbage, buried beneath so much other junk that the journalist never sees it.
For example, a reporter we’ve worked closely with at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shared a story pitch she received about a dietician visiting New York City to discuss how better nutrition can prepare women for bikini season.
There were several problems in that pitch for those of us trying to get our own messages and information to the reporter.
a. The reporter is in Atlanta, not New York City, and therefore wouldn’t travel almost 900 miles to listen to the dietician speak
b. The reporter’s coverage beat had nothing to do with the type of health and beauty topic shared in the pitch
c. The reporter told us she receives hundreds of these types of pitches from PR pros who clearly don’t do their homework on what she writes
Unfortunately, this type of shotgun approach when it comes to PR is all too common, in our experience. Even worse, it provides real roadblocks to business journalists who want to share stories that could help their audiences make educated decisions about what to buy, or assist businesses trying to sell their services to other businesses.
To quote from a recent article by Kelsey Jones, the managing editor at industry trade publication Search Engine Journal, “If you are trying to pitch me Tibetan sandals, then you obviously have never visited SEJ and have no clue who our audience is. However, if you take the time to reference a recent article you liked and tie in how it relates to your product or service, then I’m going to be more likely to continue reading.”
Kelsey’s views are supported by findings from the BusinessWire 2014 Media Survey. Emails (69 percent) and press releases (22 percent) are the preferred methods through which reporters want to be contacted. Even in an era in which content marketing – paid ads meant to appear like editorial content – is all the rage, 90 percent of journalists said they’d used a press release in the last week and 70 percent said the absence of press releases would make it harder for them to do their jobs.
Fact sheets (63 percent), press kits (53 percent) and executive biographies (52 percent) ranked behind more traditional media relations strategies in terms of importance to journalists. The common theme here? Reporters want no-nonsense and direct information, not sales jargon. Quality content, as I recently wrote in this space, shares your business story authentically.
It should be apparent by now that journalists –even in an age of diverse and fragmented media – still want to know the truth behind what you do and who you are before they’re willing to validate what you do and who you are to others.
This is why we nurture our relationships with journalists. We believe an agency’s ability to articulate your value proposition to the media speeds that process. Interested? Let’s get to work – together. Bikini season is over.
Jeremy Church is vice president of media and content strategies for WordWrite Communications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @churchjeremy.