WordWrite Storytelling Blog

Uncovering compelling human interest stories to promote an event

Posted by Hollie Geitner

Time-honored traditions and events are part of the fabric of our lives. They warm the heart, soothe the soul and give us something to treasure and be grateful for, especially during the holidays.

As communicators, we look to harness those emotions in our writing and story pitching. So, this year, when planning to share the details for one of the season’s most anticipated events, the YMCA Turkey Trot, we asked questions – not just the “when” and the “where” questions. We dug deeper – what is the motivation for the event? Who does it benefit? Why has the event been so successful after all these years? Who makes it happen and why? Can we meet them?A photo of participants from this year's Turkey Trot.

After a series of discussions, a story emerged – one that spoke to the “why,” the “how” and for “whom.” The main character and hero of the story? Doug Williams. As a former addict who called Pittsburgh’s streets home, Doug understood what it’s like to go hungry for days at a time. He could recall the many times the path in front of him blurred or crumbled altogether as a result of poor life choices. After a stint in jail, Doug got his life back on track. Clean and sober, he realized his calling was to help others. Over the years, he was a cook and a caseworker for a variety of non-profits, eventually joining the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh helping with outreach and providing services to those in need. In 2017, donations raised from the Turkey Trot contributed to meals for 24 Pittsburgh area families that Doug provided.

His story, while not uncommon (homelessness, addiction and poverty continue to plague our communities) resonated with us because it’s authentic. It’s hopeful and it’s emotional. While we could share the logistics for the 28th annual event, we knew a human interest story would make the difference from it being just another yearly road race to burn calories (actually, the oldest footrace in the United States) to a race with the purpose of reducing food insecurity in Western Pennsylvania. Doug’s willingness to share his personal experience gave us this opportunity. And the result was extraordinary. Fifteen stories were published or aired over Thanksgiving week. Despite the blustery weather, the race was one of the most successful in the YMCA’s history.

A well-written human-interest story breaks through the clutter and routine details to focus on the true meaning and intent of a recurring event – even one that has been around since 1896 (the year of the very first Turkey Trot in Buffalo, NY).

Interested in learning how you can uncover your business' compelling human interest story? We can help.
Get in touch with us today!

Hollie_1931


Hollie Geitner is Vice President, Client Services at WordWrite Communications. You can get in touch with her via email at hollie.geitner@wordwritepr.com or follow her on Twitter at @JustHollieG.

 

 

 

 

 

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: events, holidays, media relations, public relations, pitching, strategic communications, community

Acknowledging a Tragedy

Posted by Hollie Geitner

No matter where you live, if you watch national news, I’m sure you feel like we do – as if you are surrounded by the destruction of senseless acts of violence. Like the ground may suddenly collapse underneath your feet. Scared. Scared for what tomorrow will bring. Scared for what evil lurks behind every shadow. This weekend, our fears became reality.

Evil wasn’t just lurking, it was living right in our own neighborhood – Pittsburgh. Armed and full of hatred, the shooter took the lives of 11 people worshiping at Tree of Life Synagogue in nearby Squirrel Hill. These were our mothers, fathers, grandparents, neighbors, brothers, sisters, friends and colleagues who started their day like most Saturdays. They had plans for that fall afternoon, for tomorrow and for next year. The shooter destroyed those plans. Their loved ones are left to pick up the pieces of this senseless tragedy. And, as a community, we’ll never understand how someone could hurt innocent, loving people.

In the hours, days and weeks after tragedies, it’s difficult to sort through the myriad of emotions and especially challenging to determine how to properly respond. We struggle to find the right words, the right time and the right way to share those words. While with the best of intentions, we question what is appropriate and necessary vs. what might be mistaken for being opportunistic or self-serving.

Stronger-Than-HateWe’ve seen individuals and businesses over the years address shootings, attacks or natural disasters and suffer significant and swift backlash for appearing insensitive or as if they were trying to capitalize on others’ misfortune. Conversely, we have seen “helpers” emerge, bringing comfort and assistance to others during the darkest of times. 

What is the best way to respond when a tragedy happens? Is there a right or wrong way? A simple Google search will reveal a plethora of individuals or companies who’ve landed on the wrong side of the fence when attempting to publicly share their thoughts on national tragedies. We will refrain from getting into those specifics and instead, provide some perspective and tips. In the end, it is you and only you who knows deep down what feels right, however don’t hesitate to seek counsel from your public relations or communications team. A second opinion is never a bad thing when you’re unsure of something.

Be present and acknowledge.

Whether it has happened in your backyard or thousands of miles away, if it is an event or situation dominating the news and social channels, it is something to which you should pay attention. Sometimes being oblivious is more harmful than saying or doing the “wrong thing.” You may not feel comfortable putting out something publicly, such as a social media post, but you can acknowledge what is happening by halting your business-as-usual activity. Turn off auto-posts on your social channels, delay sending out a monthly customer marketing email or pull commercials set to air in the days following. Not only is this a respectful way to approach a difficult situation, you are potentially avoiding the awkwardness of tweets or messages of self-promotion colliding with the news stories and somber tone.

Help.

There are many ways to help – from sharing messages of support, offering financial assistance or providing a free service, you can chose what method best fits you or your company. The key is to help for the greater good and not necessarily for the exposure. People are perceptive and will see through any effort that appears to be inauthentic or self-serving. Done well and with heart, any assistance will be appreciated and recognized in due time. Also, don't forget your employees are likely suffering or struggling to process a tragedy. Offer to provide counseling resources, allow flexibility with schedules, encourage a moment of silence or share ways they can help victims – through donations, prayers or personal resources. Employees will appreciate you’ve acknowledged the event and have done the due diligence to provide options for the most useful ways they can participate in helping others – one of the best ways to manage through grief or fear.   

Join the masses.

Instead of posting a tailored message, join in by sharing or engaging with other’s posts. You can do this by using a hashtag or modeling what you see other businesses doing that you feel is appropriate and useful. In times like these, sometimes it is best to join in, rather than seek attention with a clever image or poignant message. 

Avoid negative.

It’s become too easy for critical and negative people to pick apart what others say and do especially in the wake of a terrible event. Often, these same folks seek attention by turning tragedy into an opportunity to spread their own political or religious messages or to create unnecessary drama and stress. This is probably their way of dealing with the trauma themselves, but it serves no useful purpose. The best advice is to move away from negative conversations and messages. Ignore them.

Be empathetic. Be real.

Terrible things happen every day – in our communities, to those we work with and do business with, and across our nation and world. When we react with empathy and direct our focus to healing, we support the positive and push the negative and the fear down where it belongs.

Take your time.

Sometimes we feel a need to solve or fix a problem and we do so by inserting ourselves in ways that aren’t helpful. History has shown us that when a tragic event happens, the need for help extends well past the time media spotlights dim. There is no need to rush into something – take the time to assess and plan a meaningful effort.

Finally, others may suggest you promote what you’re doing – to get credit and to be hailed as a hero. While we pride ourselves on making our clients the heroes of their own stories, there is a time and a place for being proactive in telling that story. If it doesn’t feel appropriate, it likely isn’t. Do what feels right, do it with authenticity and do so without needing something in return. Be a comforter. Be a helper. The world needs more of both.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." –Fred Rogers

 

#strongerthanhate

#strongertogether

#Pittsburghstrong

 

Click here for a list of resources and ways to help in Pittsburgh.

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: community, authenticity, Pittsburgh, tragedy

What in-flight magazines can teach us about brand journalism

Posted by Dan Stefano

Airplane flying through skies.

The seatbelt sign is off. Your tray table is down. You’re settled in for a two-hour flight to Chicago. What’re you going to do once you land? 

You can pay the extra charge to connect to the airplane’s Wi-Fi and look up restaurants, museums, sporting events and anything else you can dream up. Or you can pick up the in-flight magazine (with real paper pages and everything!) and flip to an article on the Windy City.

It might describe the best tourist spots in the town, a few secret hideaways only a local would know about, the finest place to feast on a deep-dish pizza and even dole out a bit of history. By the time you hit the runway, you might as well be a denizen of the Midwest metropolis.

And all of this knowledge is tucked away in the seatback right in front of you, offering useful information while building the value of the air carrier taking you to your destination. It’s a great marketing tool. This magazine, after all, is a piece of brand journalism.

Yes, the term that’s all the rage in communications today – and the position that old newshounds are flocking to in droves – isn’t something all that new. Brand journalism may not have been dubbed so decades ago, but the general concept has been floating around for years. And there is plenty to learn about the practice from the decades-old model of in-flight magazines. 

The printed word lives … 30,000 feet in the air

Pan American World Airways, or Pan Am, was once the undisputed champion of commercial aviation. The long-defunct, pioneering carrier published the world’s first in-flight magazine, “Clipper Travel,” in 1952, naming it after the Boeing aircraft of the same name. Your best bet for finding a “Clipper” now is at an antique store, but more than 250 of its successors are still published today.

Those magazines don’t have any subscribers in the traditional sense, and though we live at a time when print media is losing the war to digital content, physical in-flight magazines still reach hundreds of millions of travelers each year – there’s one in every seatback, after all. That scope is even greater today, since, naturally, in-flight magazines have online editions.

Part of the reason they stay viable is they’re a prime spot for advertising, and why wouldn’t they be? According to travel media company Ink, 74 percent of travelers read a magazine on the plane. The most effective magazines aren’t simply selling goods, though there is ample room for that. Instead, they establish the carriers as experts in all aspects of their industry while entertaining and informing passengers.

Building a brand

Gripes about air travel are standard practice for fliers, but there remains an appeal to the journey. In mere hours, you can be transported to your favorite vacation destination or a city you’ve never visited. In-flight magazines take advantage of that exciting notion, with engaging, well-written articles about traveling, business, entertainment and lifestyle.

Take these examples:

  • In the September 2018 issue of “Delta Sky,” author Noami Tomky penned “Crossing the Pacific with a Pacifier,” a personal tale about how her traveling life has changed – and notably, hasn’t ended – since becoming a new mother. The piece reads almost like something you’d find on a blog about motherhood and speaks to plenty of parents who are in a similar situation. There’s absolutely no selling going on, beyond Delta Air Lines subtly branding itself as a carrier that understands its passengers.
  • The August issue of “Southwest Magazine” includes the feature “Why Franchises Can Work for Any Generation,” an informative business story with an appeal to a wide age range. Business stories are often part of in-flight magazines because a significant percentage of travelers are on work trips, and frequent fliers tend to have more personal wealth. Knowing your audience and catering your content to it is key to any form of marketing, let alone brand journalism.
  • United’s “Hemispheres” has a recurring feature, “Three Perfect Days.” In each edition, the authors give engrossing, first-person accounts of three-day trips to cities around the world. These range from far-flung world capitals, such as Beijing, to American cities you might not always consider a vacation destination, such as Houston. It’s hard to read one of these colorful diaries and not want to book another trip once you land. 

A well-rounded in-flight magazine isn’t the only marketing tool in an airline’s arsenal, but they’re useful in creating an identity for the carrier and conveying that to the passenger. Next time you’re on a flight, flip through those pages and look for some brand journalism inspiration – and good luck finding one with an unfinished crossword puzzle.

At WordWrite Communications, we believe a successful brand journalism strategy can help you tell your authentic business story. Learn more about why stories matter to your business by clicking here.


Dan Stefano is a brand journalist at WordWrite Communications. You can reach him at dan.stefano@wordwritepr.comIMG_4839 2018 550 square

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: brand journalism, content creation, content, content marketing, writing, strategic communications

Trustworthiness in the Media

Posted by Hollie Geitner

Trustworthiness. Is this something you can really rate and measure? According to Facebook, yes. The Washington Post recently reported on the social giant’s new rating system, designed to predict user’s trustworthiness on a scale of zero to 1. What does this actually mean though?

In an era of fake news and rampant misinformation, Facebook has been under pressure to fix its broken system – a system many believe to be responsible for Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. Facebook has implemented a few process-checks to help, including verifying the authenticity of users who post certain kinds of content and now, ranking credibility.

For the past few years, users have been able to report something as being “false,” which meant it would be forwarded to a third-party fact-checker. This system, of course, relies on the trustworthiness of those doing the reporting and as such, Facebook has had to look at alternatives to combat those who report something because they don’t personally agree with it.

So, how do you actually assess the trustworthiness of that user? Naturally, Facebook won’t reveal its secret algorithms, however, one signal they use is based on how much that particular user interacts with an article that has been confirmed to be false. It’s unclear how exactly the rating system scores individuals and how that rating factors into future shared content. What is clear is that despite technology controls, people will be people – some good, some bad. Some who are out to cause harm and others who work to make the world better.

The “bad actors” who try to game the system through coordinated manipulation have certainly made it more challenging for those seeking to advocate for meaningful social or political causes. From bills focused on health care reform to increasing flight options to Cuba, successful advocacy campaigns make a positive difference in the lives of many people. One noteworthy example includes United Airlines’ bid to provide air service to Cuba. They employed a grassroots campaign using paid, earned and owned communication strategies, that launched with a website: UnitedtoCuba.com. The result? The Department of Transportation awarded United Airlines one of the first contracts to provide non-stop air service to Havana, Cuba. 

At WordWrite, we also work on a number of similar grassroots, social campaigns on behalf of our clients. We’ve gone through the lengthy approval process to become verified and continue to follow all changes at Facebook that will impact our work for clients. While these adjustments and requirements can be confusing and frustrating, they are necessary to ensure accuracy and to reduce the spread of harmful misinformation. One of our core values at WordWrite is that we are authentic storytellers who are good stewards of our client’s time and money.

The reality is that tools, like Facebook, are there for everyone to use. It’s simply a matter of who is using them.

Trust is paramount in communications. Only time will tell if Facebook is successful in their approach to rating trustworthiness…but at least it’s a step in the right direction.


Hollie Geitner is Vice President, Client Services at WordWrite Communications. You can get in touch with her via email at hollie.geitner@wordwritepr.com or follow her on Twitter at @JustHollieG.

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: authenticity, media relations, facebook, strategic communications, internal communications

Congress and Social Media: The implications could be big

Posted by John Durante

Prominent social media corporate executives recently appeared before Congress to once again answer questions about their platforms’ content and editorial oversight. Congressional inquiries typically are as much about political theater as they are about true public discourse, yet the motivation for these hearings is righteous and revolves around a growing danger.

This ongoing probe goes to the heart of serious questions about the reach, influence and even potential regulation of “new” media and its rapidly growing influence of how we perceive and engage the world in which we live. On the heels of Russian government intrusion that placed content and propaganda across various social media platforms during the 2016 Presidential election, U.S. leaders have had to move quickly to understand the scope of what happened and assess how it can be prevented in the future.

The growing list of questions posed to these social media corporate executives goes to the heart of what their companies aimed to be in the first place. Upon their inception, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. sought to provide information portals that digitally linked us to share virtually any form of human communication. 

From day one, they were decidedly free-form and constructed without any regard for the type, style, accuracy, benefit or consequences of the content shared on the platforms. This raised a number of questions about editorial standards, content suitability and liability, which culminated in the Russia disaster.

At the same time, we in the world of public relations and strategic communications consulting immediately dove headlong into dissecting and understanding these channels and how we may leverage them for professional and client benefit as soon as they were created.

The platforms soon made the same calculations for themselves by offering a wide range of data and content services that rapidly monetized their operations and led users to greatly compromise how much privacy protection they relinquished as a social media user.

Until now our industry has remained focused on the benefits offered by these platforms and have seldom questioned some of the bigger issues drawing public and political attention. For our industry’s benefit this might need to end – and soon.

Politics or not, the questions posed by Congress are legitimate and reflective of real public concern. The answers are critical with potentially long-range consequences. Imagine what might be if the gloss of social media starts to dim in the wake of concerns about privacy, fictitious content or other issues? Will users continue to engage one another on such platforms? Will their credibility plummet as we collectively decide much of social media is just a digitized National Enquirer or endless TMZ? To what degree will companies and clients – especially in the B2B space – want to distribute their messages on discredited platforms? And what as an industry will we do if the unparalleled audience micro-targeting of shrewd social media management can’t be used any more in the wake of all these concerns? To where will we turn to find alternative solutions to get the job done in the way our customers demand and the markets dictate?

The way our industry first embraced and then evolved with social media was until now a sea of endless new discovery. Solutions to old problems were abundant as we rushed to learn, leverage and profit from this windfall. It’s no wonder that each day we might have thought that as practitioners our growing mastery of social media was like a daily gift of a dozen roses. But those roses also have thorns and they have grown to the point where ignoring them is no longer possible.


 

IMG_4816 2018 resized-1John Durante is marketing services director at WordWrite Communications. He can be reached at john.durante@wordwritepr.com.

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: social media, marketing, facebook, instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn

Let’s not forget the storytelling excellence of John McCain

Posted by John Durante

Arizonans and all Americans have now had ample time to observe and reflect upon the expansive media coverage of Senator John McCain’s passing. Many were stunned by a degree of national outpouring that seemed more appropriate for a head of state than a legislative lieutenant. 

Like most in the state, McCain was originally from elsewhere – drawn west to pursue a mid-life change for fortune, fame or ambition. In his case, he migrated in order to start a family with the daughter of an Arizona business titan. He soon parlayed his success to become a politician. But with citizens of the state, he was also familiar and real.

He appeared endlessly at Phoenix sporting or charity events, where he always carried the mantle of a normal guy. He’d be far more prone to appear on a mid-inning “kiss cam” with wife Cindy from seats behind third base than say, ensconced in a private suite. Maybe that’s why when brain cancer got the best of him on August 25, more than 15,000 constituents stood for hours in 105-degree heat to say goodbye.

In Washington, we expected ceremonies that were more formal, political, routine and consistent with the ways the country has always lauded long-time Senators and former war heroes.1920px-JohnMcCainSmileKennerJune2008

But within hours even national media were covering his passing more like the death of a former President than that of a senator. 

Why? 

I believe John McCain told and lived the story of his life better than just about anyone else on the national political scene.  He was heavily influenced by his nature, values, the realities of his adopted Arizona and a healthy dash of political practicality. McCain used those inspirations to become a master at crafting what we at WordWrite refer to as a “Story” with a capital S, embracing the three most important components of a great narrative.

First, he was authentic. There was no difference between his public political persona, his off-camera life and his backroom maneuvering. All were born from the same belief system that culminated in refreshing candor and realness almost never found in Washington D.C. 

Second, no one was more fluent at telling their Story. He endlessly did the Sunday morning talk shows, flew the world to learn, advise, cajole and pursue the established doctrine of America as the world’s police man. Always quick to connect his views to his long-established value of doing something greater in the name of service to his country, he did so without evoking jingoistic nationalism or in the name of grandstanding. He knew his Story in all ways and dimensions and would tell it lustily and often to anyone who cared to listen – and sometimes – even to those who didn’t.

Finally, few politicians have been such a master at reading one’s “audience” in both real and “polling” time as McCain. He constantly refined and sharpened his Story to make sure it was always on point and relevant for his targets. Above all else, he was never reluctant to admit to his own mistakes or failings.

As a whole, these characteristics combined to create a refreshing leader that the country enjoyed, admired and found accessible, regardless of party politics. In his life’s final fight, he offered a glimpse into both his and our hearts about the decency in people and merits of working for the common good.

In contrast to the current national climate, it was time to thank, mourn, honor and pay attention to McCain and his sweeping, engaging story. 

Maybe in him we found in ourselves the need to better model the values he lived and that we desire. 

The pain, pride, honor and mourning of recent days will soon become just another historical footnote. Here’s hoping that McCain’s evocative Storytelling talent will rise above it and be something we long remember.

John Durante is marketing services director at WordWrite Communications. He can be reached at john.durante@wordwritepr.com IMG_4816 2018 head only

 

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: storytelling, story, authenticity

INBOUND 2018 – Key Takeaways

Posted by Noah Fleming

inbound-2018

 

I recently had the opportunity to attend HubSpot’s INBOUND marketing conference in Boston. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is a week-long conference filled with sessions, keynote speakers, networking and is an information overload!

Here are my 5 key takeaways from INBOUND 2018:

1. Video continues to rise and HubSpot is doubling down – The big product news out of HubSpot HQ is the new video content feature. You’ll now be able to upload videos into a library on HubSpot, incorporate them on your pages, and collect data on them as well. You can learn more here: https://www.hubspot.com/products/video-hostingWhat better way to make the announcement than with a video? 

 

2. Regularly check the health of your website – Do you have the correct tracking tools added to your site? What is your site speed? Is your entire site mobile friendly? Should we incorporate a live chat to our site? These are all questions to ask your web designer/developer because there are so many paths that a visitor could take to find your page and you need to make sure they don’t leave once they arrive.

3. The sales funnel is dead – CEO Brian Halligan encouraged all attendees to adopt the fly wheel approach to sales rather than the traditional sales funnel that has been around since the dawn of sales. Instead of customers being at the bottom of the funnel, businesses should instead make them the center of their focus between sales, marketing and customer service. 

flywheel-hubspot4. Employ the help of your HubSpot team or subscription services more – It can be difficult for businesses to have regular calls with vendor support teams to ask the question "how can my team and I better use this product or service to make our daily work easier?" You may just get some advice and tips that could ultimately save you time and money. But if you discover vendors are unavailable or difficult to reach, it may be time to look elsewhere to find something that has a customer service program that meets your needs.

5. Focus on "delighting" more – What does this mean? Your customers can be one of your biggest sources of business. This is extremely important in the B2B world when there are 7 to 13 different touch points before a decision is made. Having happy customers who are advocating for you can lead to more possibilities without spending a single dollar on advertising. 

 

tweets-hubpsot

 

noah 250x250 for website

 Noah Fleming is digital and inbound marketing specialist at WordWrite. You can reach him at noah.fleming@wordwritepr.com.

 

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: hubspot, inbound, inbound marketing

Tips for Prospective Interns

Posted by Louis Spanos

This week at the WordWrite offices, we say goodbye to our interns Beth Turnbull, spring and summer intern, and Megan Thorpe, summer intern, as they return to school to finish their final semester and prepare for graduation in December. 

Before joining the WordWrite team, Beth and Megan interned at other agencies and nonprofits around Pittsburgh. Whether it was PR, social media or inbound marketing, their past experiences provided a sturdy and crucial foundation for their work at WordWrite. Beth and Megan played a huge role in leading WordWrite’s social media and inbound marketing efforts while proving their writing skills by supporting both internal and client-facing efforts.

As a farewell to the WordWrite team, Beth and Megan have put together a few tips for future WordWrite interns looking to make the most of their experiences.

  1. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

 We all have things we’re good at and we tend to stick to them. As an intern, you’ll be asked to do things you’ve never done before… don’t panic. The opportunity to learn as much as you can in a supportive environment isn’t something to take for granted. Take every chance you can to broaden your horizons. 

  1. Accept That You’ll Make Mistakes

Chances are that as you step out of your comfort zone and take on new tasks, you’ll slip up a couple times. It happens. Learn what you can from feedback, both positive and constructive. Every learning experience will ultimately prepare you for your future career.

  1. Be a Team Player

When working in an agency, communication and collaboration are key. Every task you encounter won’t be glorious – you may even think it’s tedious or pointless. It’s important to remember that each job is essential in its own way and is one piece of the puzzle that helps the project function. 

  1. Request Feedback

You’re most likely completing an internship to gain knowledge for your future career path. To continue growing as a young professional, receiving feedback is key. Reach out to your supervisor and ask how you did on a project, and don’t be dejected if you receive constructive criticism. Your supervisor wouldn’t give you feedback if they didn’t think you had room (or capacity) to improve, so take things in stride and apply it to the next task you do.

Internships are just as valuable (if not more valuable) than a degree. The opportunity to learn and grow in a professional setting is one all students should take advantage of.

At WordWrite, we’re proud to offer students real world experiences while working in an agency setting. If you’re looking for a challenging and engaging way to gain and further sharpen your skills in the world of public relations, contact us today.


 

JPA_1626

Beth Turnbull is a senior at Point Park University majoring in mass communication with a concentration in PR. Following graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in nonprofit or government communications. You can reach her at elizabethturnbull14@gmail.com, connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thebethturnbull.

 

Megan Thorpe JPA_1632is a senior at Point Park University majoring in sports, arts and entertainment management and minoring in public relations and advertising. Following graduation, she plans to move to Huntsville, Alabama and pursue a career in marketing. You can reach her at megthorpey@gmail.com, connect with her via LinkedIn or follow her on Instagram @megthorpey.

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: interns, WordWrite Communications, strategic communications

Don't Worry, Video Content Won't Bite

Posted by Dan Stefano

 AdobeStock_123258814 [Converted]

Pivot to video.

Those three words have led to hand-wringing and anxiety among communications professionals accustomed to the written word. But, as the digital age barrels onward, video will increasingly become the primary vehicle to deliver your message online.

Cisco estimatesan overwhelming 82 percent of consumer internet traffic will be IP video traffic by 2021. More than anywhere in cyberspace, it’s in social media where video content is a must. Organizations are consistently discovering creative ways to deliver their stories, be it a Facebook Live of a seminar or a quickly created gif to get in on a trending Twitter topic.

As storytellers first, we understand the value of putting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard, at least. But the human brain is wired for visuals, and your audience generally prefers to watch something than read about it. However, if you’ve ever encountered that popular statistic that people process visuals an astounding 60,000 times faster than text, take that number with a grain of salt.

Here are a few quick ways to get a start in producing strong video content:

  • You’ve got a studio in your pocket:Most smartphones have completely capable video cameras. You’re not Stephen Spielberg, and your audience isn’t asking you to be. For shorter videos or clips meant for a quickly digested social media post, you likely have all you need in your pocket. Bigger initiatives intended to really wow your audience, however, may require deeper planning, production values and the help of some professionals.
  • Invite people in:Something great happening in the office? Putting on a new product demonstration,or maybe you have an announcement about an exciting new hire? Getting video of moments like these are a great way to draw back the curtain and showcase your organization’s story. Humanizing your message creates a deeper connection with the viewer.
  • Experiment:You’ll want to brainstorm the different ways you can use video for your purposes. More informational stories may present better with narration or a text overlay. A rundown of highlights from press events could work well in a Snapchat story. Seemingly daily, there are innovations that change how video is used online. Look around and see what works for you. It’s definitely out there.

Ultimately, your videos will be what you make of them. Once you know your targeted audience, you’ll be able to craft videos to fit the purposes of your story – and, as always, it’s that authentic business story that matters most. Supplementing your message with dynamic visuals will only help your cause.

Just as important, know that video is nothing to be afraid of. Look at the sheer amount of content on the internet. Almost anyone can do it. Even if you’re just taking your first steps into the world of video content, you’ll be running in no time.


 

IMG_4839 2018 550 square

Dan Stefano is brand journalist at WordWrite Communications. You can reach him at dan.stefano@wordwritepr.com.

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: content, writing, video, content marketing, content creation, visual content, strategy

Where Should You Focus Your Video Strategy in 2018?

Posted by Megan Thorpe

As technology continues to improve at a rapid pace, social media becomes increasingly etched into our everyday lives. As a business, you should acknowledge social media – if not, you’re going to be left in the dust. Strategizing how to attract and then keep your audience engaged should be a top priority.

One way to do that is to focus on your brand’s video strategy. Consumers love video – HubSpot’s State of Video Marketing Surveyshares these statistics:

  • On average, consumers watch an hour and a half of video a day.
  • If there is both text and video on a page, 72 percent would rather watch the video to learn about the product or service.
  • If your audience particularly enjoys a video, there is an 83 percent chance it will be shared amongst friends.
  • 81 percent of businesses already use video as a marketing tool – up from 63 percent in 2017.

The facts don’t lie – if you want to keep up with other businesses, start utilizing video today. With the choice of Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and the recently introduced IGTV, you might be wondering where to focus your video strategy.

With this in mind, some details to consider include the number of users on a particular platform and which network reaches your target audience best. Consider Pew’s social media fact sheet:

  • YouTube has the most users but is ranked fifth in frequency.
  • Facebook has the second largest user base and is used most frequently. Over half of its audience visits multiple times a day.
  • Instagram hosts a younger demographic and is growing quicker than Snapchat.

Still unsure where to go from here? Try learning from the efforts of top industry leaders.

For example, the dynamic duo of ice cream – Ben & Jerry’s – keeps their videos short and playful on Instagram, noting that viewers don’t want to watch anything for more than 10 to 20 seconds as they scroll through their feed.

With over two million subscribers, Disney’s YouTube channel is bursting with original content. Among its most popular are the retelling of beloved Disney movies with emojis, drawing tutorials, live studio tours and full-length episodes of popular children’s shows.

An unlikely user, General Electric, has an active presence on Snapchat. Follow the account for emoji science videos or directly send an emoji to the account to receive your own dose of science.

Ultimately, whether you love it or hate it, there’s no argument that video marketing is leaving a huge impact on the industry. To see a successful video strategy through, identify your audience and what interests them.

Need help crafting content to tell your organization’s story? Reach out to the WordWrite team today.


Megan Thorpe

Megan Thorpe is an intern at WordWrite Communications. You can get in touch with her via email at megan.thorpe@wordwritepr.com or follow her on Twitter at @MeganThorpe97.

0 Comments | View Comments

Topics: video, social media, marketing, content marketing, content creation