Using Livestreaming to Grow Your Brand, Community, & Influence


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livestreamingGuest Post by Ai Addyson-Zhang Imagine this: You’re about to go on stage in front of thousands of people. You do this every single week. You’ve got a loyal fanbase that follows you around the world. You are a global traveler and thought leader. People are excited to hear what you have to say on your topic and field. You find yourself becoming a “big deal” in your field. Does this sound like a dream? Like this only happens to “famous” people? Let me tell you, friends, that with the power of social media and technology, this can be a reality. It can happen to anyone who knows how to leverage technology to their advantage. I know, because it happened for me. Over the past two years, I have significantly grown my online community through the power of livestreaming and video content. I did it all through the comfort of
Ai Zhang
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Transformational CSR: When a pro-bono client metamorphizes into a cultural change agent within an agency


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CSRGuest Post by Lisa Holtorf and Dawn Buzynski For most companies, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means giving back to the surrounding community. It’s typically done by supporting specific organizations either financially, through time and resources, or both. Companies choose to give because it’s the right thing to do, and it directly impacts the communities in which their employees live and work. For creative marketing agencies, CSR often takes the form of pro-bono services. Sometimes, that pro-bono relationship can help transform an agency’s culture. It did for Strategic America (SA). Ten years ago, our agency embarked on a journey that imprinted in our minds the impact we could make as strategic communicators and marketers. It began with a meeting where two women shared a story of profound loss, a story they wanted to turn into one of immeasurable hope. These women, along with three others, suffered the worst kind of loss—a
Lisa Holtorf
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Become the Pied Piper of Community Building


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community buildingGuest Post by Samantha Lake Communities have been around for centuries, however online communities have only been around for a few decades. According to Computerworld the first “online community” came about in 1973 when Talkomatic for the PLATO time-sharing system released a text-based group chat. From there it evolved into email discussion lists (who remembers LISTSERV?), Bulletin Board Systems (BBSs), finally leading us to modern day social networks. One thing that all of these have in common is the notion of community building. So how can you, as a communications professional, leverage the power of community building for your brand? Well it’s simple, in order for a community to thrive it needs to be interwoven with relationships. Now the hard part, building those relationships to reach your prospects and build brand advocates (your fans who will share your messages on their own networks). Building those relationships will take a
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How AI May Impact PR Pros


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Guest Post by Geoff Livingston Are you confused or concerned about the coming AI revolution?  If so, you’re not the only one. Between media overhype coming out of the tech industry and the job-replacing society-ending fear drummed up by the mainstream press, one must feel caught. Should you be thrilled by the coming improvements or terrified that an AI-fueled robot may take your job. Or worse, that AI will end civilization? After working on Welcome to the Machine: A Primer on AI for Marketers (coming later this year), for almost a year now, I can offer you some quick insights that may help. Here are four questions my peers often ask and some insights. Will people (e.g. will I) lose my job to AI? If you are a PR professional, it’s unlikely. AI is not inherently creative, nor is it good at crafting messages. It can help hone
Geoff Livingston
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Technology Makes Us Lazy Communicators


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technologyGuest Post by Matt LaCasse When Shonali reached out to me to ask if I’d write a guest post on technology in communication, I immediately jumped at the chance. My brain then said, “That’s like writing something about fish in the ocean, man.” Fair point.
There are as many different angles to take on that topic as there are grains of sand on the beach.
In this post from last May by John Friedman, he wrote about a job where he traveled across North America to discover a company had lost the plot of what it was doing. I won’t spoil the story or post for you, but suffice it to say that the company had lost focus of what it was they were in the business of actually doing. That speaks very strongly to me at this point in my life right now as I’m taking on
Matt LaCasse
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Communication at the Speed of Technology


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technologyGuest Post by Gloria Bell Warning: This post is not going to give you some brilliant insight into some new lightning speed piece of technology. (Sorry! Maybe next time!) What it will give you is some questions to ask yourself about communicating at the speed of technology. There is no question that technology has had a huge impact on the ways and the speed at which we communicate. In less than 30 years, we went from two basic options – slow (mail) or faster (telephone) to a multitude of methods to get a message from one place to another, literally at the speed of technology. Recently, I had a discussion with a young person that made me stop and think about the ways communication has changed and whether or not these changes are always good. This young person had slid on some ice and hit a parked car. Fortunately
gloria bell
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Fostering Community and Hope One Story at a Time


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communityGuest Post by Christy Silverthone It wasn’t long ago that I was on one of Shonali’s Pioneer Calls, seeking advice for a campaign I was working on called, “Safe Families for Children,” a volunteer-based respite resource for families going through a crisis as well as an alternative to foster care. I was helping the local initiative get off the ground and needed some ideas on how to let the people in need know about the program. Walk In Their Shoes Following Atticus Finch’s quote from “To Kill a Mockingbird”- “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” I decided that first off, I needed to look at this campaign from our target market’s point of view. Even on our limited budget, deciding to use social listening and
Christy Silverthone
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5 Creative Strategies for Link Building


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Guest Post by Stuart McHenry personal successWhen it comes to SEO and building links to your website you can’t just go willy nilly. At least not if you want the link building strategy to work. Google has gotten much more sophisticated over the years. And you shouldn’t jump on the latest link building or optimizing SEO fad because it very well may come bite you in the butt in the long run. Interview Experts People love interviews with industry experts.  The knowledge and tips which are given can be extremely valuable to readers. There are tips and tricks to using this strategy to build high-quality backlinks. After the interview is complete start looking for industry blogs that frequently write about experts or interview them – also you can look for outlets which put together weekly roundup posts.  If your interview is thorough enough and adds value, there is a
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What’s your personal success strategy for 2019?


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personal successGuest Post by Janet Fouts As professionals we often have very specific ideas of what success will look like from the perspective of our job description and our goals for promotions, etc. Sometimes, we also forget that success is more than just income, status or recognition. After all, successes don’t mean a whole lot if we don’t feel good about who we are as human beings when we reach them. That includes taking care of our own health and sanity, and not over-tasking ourselves to the point that we are not functioning at 100%.
Success is a feeling of satisfaction, of respect and of accomplishing our heartfelt goals.
Let me give you a scenario; Jim has been itching to move up to a director position and his supervisor keeps dropping hints about “small tasks” that are just not getting done by others in his department. It’s not Jim’s responsibility to
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Nurture an Oasis During a News Dry Spell


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newsGuest Post by Heather Caouette Most companies have gone through them – periods without clear cut news. A product release has been delayed, new customers have paused in the sales pipeline and there are no plans to open a new location anytime soon.
How do you stay relevant and in front of your target audiences when traditional reasons for communicating have temporarily evaporated?
There are several ways to keep your name out there in a manner which continues to build brand equity: 1. Develop a Content Calendar This is recommended regardless of how much your news is humming. Content calendars help you schedule a steady cadence of materials and avoid the inevitable peaks and valleys. A plan enables you to more effectively leverage evergreen content and make use of it across multiple media venues. This is especially important as companies add additional social channels or other communications outlets. Creating a
Heather Caouette
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Don’t Lose Clients Due to Lack of Content Strategy


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content strategyGuest post by Brandon Andersen Losing a client sucks. Losing a client because of something you could have easily addressed is worse. But when it comes to demonstrating actual business results, many agencies scramble to pull together whatever they can to prove success. This often results in showing vanity metrics that don’t tie to bottom line results. So brands move on to the next agency that promises them something shinier or cheaper. Are you essential … or a commodity? Agency life is tough. That one big client you have had for five years and makes up 50% of your business finally decides that the grass is greener on the other side, and they leave. Or you land a big new client, only to have them jump ship at the end of a short contract for a cheaper agency. Suddenly, you’re not worried about growing your agency, you’re worried about just
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I Need to Develop a Strategy. Now What? The Winnie-the-Pooh Way Forward


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strategyGuest Post by Paula Newbaker Aren’t word clouds great? They highlight what is important within a mishmash of related ideas. What stands out here? Vision, Statement, Mission, Goals, Organization, Strategic, Planning, Analysis. When planning and strategizing for your entire brand or a specific campaign, all the above come into play. Organization is paramount in moving from planning to developing, and then executing, the strategy. As A.A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh, said:
“One of the advantages of being disorganized is that one is always having surprising discoveries.” 
And from Pooh himself:
“I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” 
Also from Pooh:
“Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the forest that was left out by mistake.”
And then Milne FINALLY said …
“Planning is what you
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If It’s December, It’s Strategic Planning Time


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strategic planningGuest Post by Ken Jacobs If it’s December, and you’re a PR or Social PR agency owner or leader, a communications department or group head, or a communications consultant or soloist, you’re probably knee-deep in strategic planning.
(And if you’re not, you should be!)
If you’re on the agency side, this should include determining income growth goals, business development targets and setting profitability projections. And whether you’re agency, consultant, soloist, corporate, non-profit or higher education, you’re laying out your 2019 marketing-communications plan. You might even have thought about professional development. And that’s wise. Nearly all of us need to improve our skills as practitioners, whether that’s about media relations, content, digital, SEO and influencer marketing, as well as how to integrate it all for maximum effect.   But what about the leadership development plan, whether for you as a leader, or your next tier or leaders-in-training? Many organizations are
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Your Strategy Will Not Produce in 2019 Without These Two Steps


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Strategy Guest Post by Kathy Vaske This is not your typical post about planning and strategy because that would be a waste of your time. One quick internet search on the subject, (even a niche search) will deliver so many resources, templates, guides, roadmaps and more that you could tilt into overwhelm in as many seconds as it took to load your results. So what strategic advice can this 20-year veteran offer that will be of value to you – today’s communication professional? Just this, a two-step process that most of us forget to do: It’s not typical, though it should be. While it’s not rocket science, most people do not stop their mind chatter long enough to really— and I mean really think about this — and see the incredible value this process will yield. So here’s your official nudge to put this into place for 2019 success. The core
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Kathy Vaske
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The 4-1-1 on the (Not So) New Marketing Trend: Influencer Marketing


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Influencer MarketingGuest Post by Dawn Buzynski If you are a communications pro, I don’t need to tell you that influencer marketing is hot and could soon outpace traditional paid media spend. Everyone is jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon because it’s all the rage, just like every other fly-by-night new trend. Funny thing is — it’s not really a hot new trend. Influencer marketing has been around for over a decade with the rise in popularity of YouTube. But with the stratospheric rise of Instagram, influencer marketing is expected to become a $10 billion industry by 2020. So, what is influencer marketing? In simple terms, influencer marketing is word-of-mouth marketing where third-party persons with an established and engaged audience share information about brands they like or don’t like.   Influencer marketing does not equal an endorsement Leveraging the power of influencers is much like leveraging the power of the media. Just
Dawn Buzynski
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15 Metrics You Should Measure in Content Marketing


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content marketingGuest Post by Brandon Brown Did you know that 47% of B2B marketers and 34% of B2C marketers don’t measure content marketing ROI? And one of the main reasons is that they find it difficult to measure. Another reason why marketers don’t measure content marketing ROI is that they simply don’t know how to do it. The solution to these challenges is identifying the right metrics to measure the ROI of your content marketing and using tools to track these metrics. While Google Analytics or other analytics tools can easily take care of the second part, we’ll help you with the first one. Following is a list of 15 content marketing metrics that you should measure: 1. Unique Visits One of the most commonly used metrics to measure the success of any content marketing campaign is the number of unique visitors who view the content in a given timeframe. Since
Brandon Brown
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The New Measurement: Shifting from Traditional PR to Growth PR


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growth PRGuest Post by Dan Beltramo Although PR and communications have always been about telling a brand’s story and managing its reputation, the way that we create and amplify that story, in addition to how (and when) we measure our success, has shifted from creative campaigns built over weeks on best guesses and gut instinct to data-driven, real-time, iterative storytelling with metrics that tie back to provide revenue indicators and accelerate customer funnel activities that impact the bottom line. Enter the era of Growth PR. Marketing and Communications are converging as PR is poised to evolve radically over the next decade. Data science and digital media are transforming the way companies tell stories and how they can measure success. Thanks to the latest technologies, PR now has the potential to be a data-driven powerhouse that maps to real business results, earning a seat at the table alongside Marketing generally, or, at
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#measurePR Recap (September 2018): Ethics of PR Measurement


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#measurePRGuest Post by Jen Zingsheim Phillips The September #measurePR Twitter chat featured guests Sultana Ali and Kirk Hazlett. Sultana F. Ali, APR, has a 15+ year career in communications and marketing, and is adjunct faculty in Georgetown University’s Corporate Communication and Public Relations program. She previously served as President of PRSA-NCC, the largest chapter of PR professionals in the U.S. Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, is Adjunct Professor in Communication at the University of Tampa. He is also the Ethics Officer of PRSA Tampa Bay, and co-chairs the PRSA Tampa Bay PRSSA and New Professionals Committee and is PRSSA Liaison, PRSA College of Fellows Mentoring Committee.  The guest moderator was Jen Zingsheim Phillips, who is a freelance writer and communications strategist with 4L Strategies. As September is Ethics Month at PRSA, the discussion revolved around the topic of ethics in PR Measurement. After kicking off the discussion with
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PR Ethics … “You CAN Handle the Truth”


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ethicsGuest Post by Kirk Hazlett Jack Nicholson’s explosive response to Tom Cruise’s relentless questioning in “A Few Good Men” more than a quarter-century ago has always hung out in the back of my mind as I’ve worked with employers and clients over the years. You can’t handle the truth.” It most often bubbles up when I find myself confronted by a situation that presents an ethical challenge.
“Should we, or shouldn’t we?”…“What do we say?”…“What do ‘they’ need to know?”
Public relations is just that … open and honest communication with those publics who turn to us for advice, guidance, simple “do’s and don’ts.” But how should we, as public-facing representatives of an organization, be expected to tell those publics what’s going on or what we’re planning without causing even further damage to our organizational reputation? As those of us who have been doing
Kirk Hazlett
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Trust Me, I’m a Communicator


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communicatorGuest Post by John Friedman It is a difficult time to be a professional communicator. Trust and credibility are two of the attributes that we rely upon to do our jobs. However, today, accusations of falsehood and deliberate deception are eroding trust in our profession by both those stakeholders we need to do our jobs as well as those we hope to engage in order to provide the maximum value to our companies, organizations or clients. The continuum between full transparency and “spin” (as it is charitably called) is one we must navigate, and we must do it well. Fortunately, there are tools and allies to help us. The question of ethics is one that seems simple, but can become quite complex. Certainly, there are legal ethics, and there are parameters and guidelines that are encoded in law that must be followed. That is why one of the most valuable
John Friedman
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