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Comments Off on Social Media in 2013

Social Media in 2013

People Online

Social media news sites and blogs across the web are posting infographics, leaving useful tips for readers and suggesting plans when it comes to social media in 2013. If you haven’t been keeping up, here are some statistics on what happened with social media last year.

According to mediabistro.com:

–          One out of every seven minutes spent online is on Facebook

–          340 million tweets are sent every day

–          Pinterest is the social network that is heavily populated by female users

–          Google+ is predominately used by men

–          300 million pictures are uploaded to Facebook every day via Instagram

–          61 percent of LinkedIn members use it as their primary professional networking site

The 1 billion people on Facebook, 500 million on Twitter, 400 million on Google+, 175 million on LinkedIn, 100 million on Instagram and the 25 million on Pinterest are seeing how important social media was for 2012, and how important it will be for businesses in 2013. That’s why the social media news sites and blogs came up with predictions for 2013.

–          ClickZ says to watch out for the emergence of the social data cloud. Several leading brands trying to manage multiple social platforms at a time are going to implement a strategy to make collecting data a little easier.

–          Huffington Post says social media teams are going to bring in dedicated content strategists who can deal with fragmentation, visualization and, of course, content.

–          Inside Facebook says Facebook users will continue to get bored with the platform as it focuses more on helping brands than personal users. It also says Google+ will make a comeback, visual content will rule and Pinterest will get into cahoots with third party developers.

So, what will be on your list of goals for 2013 after seeing these stats and predictions? Will you tweet more? Will you find a way for Pinterest and Instagram to work for your business regardless of the industry? Will you give Google+ another shot?

Time is up and 2013 is the next year of many for social media hype. If you are still baffled by social platforms and need to know where to start, here are some tips:

–          Stop the resistance! If you are still wary about using social media for your business, it’s time to jump the hurdle. You’re getting left behind and you’ll regret it if you wait until 2014 or 2015 to be at the end of the line.

–          Obtain a Facebook, Twitter and YouTube account at the minimum and manage them properly – no squatting!

–          Make sure your content is amazing and make sure you have a lot of it.

–          Find a way to monitor all your social platforms in one place by using services such as Hootsuite or TweetDeck.

–           Have an employee who will be dedicated to managing, monitoring and analyzing your social platforms.

So, what does your 2013 social media plan look like now?

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Comments Off on 9 ways to get more payback from a case study

9 ways to get more payback from a case study

Case Studies

Marketing professionals sometimes make the mistake of using a case study in only one way — as a press release, for example — rather than disseminating that success story across other sales, advertising, PR and marketing channels.

A case study is highly versatile. It can benefit your company at multiple points along the communications spectrum

Here are some ideas:

1. Use it in a press release

A case study can quickly be abridged and reformatted into a press release. Be sure to note that a longer, more complete case study version is available. Editors might pick it up.

2. Mail it to prospects and customers

This is a terrific way to keep in touch, raise awareness about a new product or service, and even convert prospects into customers.

3. Give it to sales

Sales people love case studies. They use them in presentations, to illustrate key points and as testimonials. A case study is often more convincing than a brochure.

4. Post it on your web site

Want to improve traffic to your site? Keep refreshing and adding solid content. A case study certainly qualifies.

5. Use in as a story in your newsletter or ezine

Success stories based on real-world applications get the highest readership in company newsletters and ezines.

6. As a speaking topic

If your executives speak at meetings and conferences, a case study makes an excellent presentation. The content can easily be converted into PowerPoint™ slides. The printed case study itself can be used as a handout.

7. In lead-generation programs

A case study makes a terrific “free giveaway” in an ad, email, direct mailer and on a website.

8. For testimonials

Testimonials help make benefits believable. The quotes you gleaned from happy customers for the case study can also be used — with permission, of course — in ads, brochures, websites and more.

9. As a trade show handout

Case studies are a great way to break through the clutter of flyers and brochures that permeate trade shows.

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Comments Off on PR in 2013

PR in 2013

PR 2013


There went 2012. Now, what is in store for the public relations community in 2013? Will it be the same old, same old? Or, will it somehow be a breakthrough year?

Look at what we have seen or heard in this past year:

–          Kissing phones that transfer information.

–          A mini-iPad.

–          Microsoft telling us that we will soon see a computer with all five senses.

–          Newspapers cutting down to three days of circulation.

–          Flash mobs online or on site.

Put all of this technology on a backdrop of global, financial distress. Veering away from a fiscal cliff. Not ranking very well in the math. 26 persons massacred at Sandy Hook.

Can technology fix our problems? Maybe not now, but technology can acknowledge where our problems lie. If we can define the problems, we can start to solve them.

If you are in the public relations profession, you are blessed with an opportunity to help make things better. We can change behavior. We can make people aware. We can use new media for good. We can help to solve problems.

In 2013, ask yourself these four famous Rotarian questions. Is it the truth? Is what I do fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better relationships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Ask yourself these questions as you move through 2013 and you will have a great year.

Ed Stevens, APR – President of Stevens Strategic Communications

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Comments Off on Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!


As the holidays unfolded, you think about how great life really is. You reflect on the gifts that God has given us.

You consider what you can do to become a better person. Will it come in the form of education? A new experience? A different way of doing things?

It dawns on me that religion is really “continuous improvement” in motion. How can we improve ourselves in the eyes of the Lord and our fellow man? Think for a moment.

No matter what religious denomination you embrace, the main thing is that it can carry you through the good times and the bad times. And, it tells you to apply your talents in the service of mankind.

That’s good stuff!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Ed Stevens, APR – President of Stevens Strategic Communications

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Comments Off on Content Marketing: Keep Your In-bound Marketing Message Positive at All Times

Content Marketing: Keep Your In-bound Marketing Message Positive at All Times


More and more bloggers and content marketers are relying on negative posts, articles and website content. Using negative content may attract attention in the short-term, but long-term, it builds up resentment, erodes trust and can create a crisis situation. Don’t sacrifice your hard-earned online reputation by succumbing to negativity.

The first time you see a headline that contains a negative phrase, such as “five reasons why you aren’t fulfilling your potential”, it may make you curious enough to read on. As you receive more and more negative-style content, you start to resent the senders. This sort of content is designed to prey on insecurities, and make readers feel inadequate. It may grab attention in the short term, but leads to resentment over time. It is highly unlikely to make anyone feel positive about the content provider.

A further concern with in-bound marketing content is that bloggers need to post content frequently, and time constraints or other reasons are contributing to the presentation of re-hashed information, or tired ideas as genuine solutions. Content that makes you feel bad about a problem you didn’t know you had, but fails to solve it, is the worst possible kind. It is almost guaranteed to have your whole audience reaching simultaneously for the unsubscribe link.

Avoid negative headlines completely and your social media audience will thank you for it. Instead of negative phrases such as “five reasons why you aren’t making enough money”, rewrite your headlines in a positive way. Use feel-good titles, such as “five ways to make more money”, instead.

Back up your positive headlines with original content containing genuine insights, fresh ideas, and memorable tips. Successful inbound marketing is all about building goodwill and trust. If your content makes a positive impact on your audience, and actually helps to improve their work, you are in a much more favorable position to engage them. Positive content that provides your social media followers with genuine value inspires trust, and trust leads to conversions and sales.

In sum, in-bound marketing is powerful because your potential customers give you consent to interact regularly with them. Negative content is a breach of that trust and associates your product, service or brand with negativity. The last thing any marketer wants to do is to make an audience feel inadequate or prey on insecurities. Avoid the potential backlash and image crisis by keeping your content helpful and positive.

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Comments Off on What You Can Learn from Social Media Experts

What You Can Learn from Social Media Experts

2012 Midwest Social Media Summit in Mayfield Heights, Ohio

2012 Midwest Social Media Summit in
Mayfield Heights, Ohio

The 2012 MidWest Social Media Summit held at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights, Ohio was a fantastic event sponsored by Smart Business and Blue Technologies.

Experts gathered to share knowledge and useful tips on how social media can help businesses prosper and potentially bring in additional revenues. Representatives from organizations such as the Cleveland Clinic, the American Red Cross, the Cleveland Cavaliers and General Electric were great panelists for this event. A plethora of helpful information was shared amongst the panelists and the 400 summit attendees.

Here are some quotes from the panelists:

From Jim Kukral, best-selling author and professional speaker for University of San Francisco – discussing “social media is business” –

            “Create amazing content and get it shared. Win. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.”

From Amy Neumann, CEO of Good Plus Tech and contributing writer to Forbes magazine – discussing “strategy and branding” –

            “Social media does a great job of making the pie bigger. How can we reach a larger number of people? By showing a little personality, solving a problem and entertaining people, you can reach a whole new audience.”

From Matt Smith, senior talent acquisition leader for JCPenney – discussing “researching candidates through social media” –

            “LinkedIn is the place to be in social media during a hiring process. We use it every day…Social media helps you point out key people in companies and can help with your job search.”

From Thom Fladung, managing editor for the Plain Dealer – discussing “social media and the media” –

            “Social media is not a threat – it’s an opportunity!”

From Krista Neher, CEO of Boot Camp Digital – discussing “management and measuring” –

            “Remember to look at quantitative information. Not everything that counts can be measured and not everything that can be measured counts. Get a feel for the results you’re getting.”

From Roger Lowe, senior vice president of communications for the American Red Cross – discussing how the Red Cross uses social media –

            “Social media is having something to say when people are listening… it’s not just about having the tools or technology; it’s having the right thing to say when people are in need.”

From Mike Maleski, vice president of digital sales, marketing and operations for the Cleveland Cavaliers – discussing “big data and social media” –

            “We do engage our fans during events. We have a team dedicated to monitor the social channels, specifically Twitter, during events. We want to be able to respond quickly. We take real-time questions and comments very seriously. We have a social media response team. If there is a seat broken in a specific section, we need to fix that.”

From Jon Hyman, partner at Kohrman Jackson & Krantz P.L.L. – discussing “legal ramifications of social media policy and use” –

            “Employees need to understand what is private and what is public, but that divide is no longer there…The issues aren’t new. The method of communication is.”

And, lastly, a quote from Kelly Waite, marketing and database manager from one of the summit’s sponsors, Blue Technologies – discussing “strategy 201: what do I do now?” –

            “Encourage your sales force to share your company’s social media initiatives with their networks to increase reach.”


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Comments Off on Holiday PR

Holiday PR

Happy Holidays Around the World

It was very interesting this past Thanksgiving to hear greetings from fellow members of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) from across the world.

Here I am in America, and, other than Thanksgiving in Canada, I am really oblivious to holidays outside of the states and the celebrations elsewhere in our world.

We also know that there are certain periods of time when we just can’t reach our European-counterparts or persons in other countries because they are on holidays. Typically the month of August shuts down just about all of Europe. To be a good global citizen and PR professional, my first suggestion about holidays is to find out who celebrates what.

With the advent of Christmas and Hanukkah, we have an opportunity to stop to reflect on the blessings that have come our way.  We have great faith that the New Year will bring us more opportunities for success.  I hope you are upbeat about the New Year.

Public Relations don’t stop during holiday seasons.  Our research tells us that the search for content knows no holiday.  Significant stories receive significant coverage.  But we also respect our clients’ and the media’s observance of the holidays they hold dear and the shutdowns they may schedule along the way.

It is time for all of us to say a prayer of thanks for all the people who meant so much to us during this past year.  We also need to thank the God who gives us joy and helps us through every day.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  The best PR you can do during any holiday season is to tell the people you care about that you care and remember them at the times of the year that are most meaningful to them.

Ed Stevens, APR         

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Comments Off on Business to Business Copywriting Tips

Business to Business Copywriting Tips

A Notepad on a Keyboard

At our agency, there is no such thing as a typical account. Our client list runs the gamut from pizza franchisees to manufacturers of industrial machinery. Though the main goal for copywriting, whether consumer or B2B-focused, is to clearly and effectively deliver the client’s message, the tone and style varies greatly based on the target audience. When we put on our B2B copywriting hats, we are faced with the challenge of taking complex technical subject matter and crafting communications that will be suitable for a wider audience.  While this can be difficult, some tried and true tips can help ensure your final B2B copywriting piece is engaging and informative.

1. If you don’t understand it, your audience won’t either.  Clients often hand over installation manuals, white papers and other materials written by engineers to be used as source.  For a copywriter without a background in the field, the concepts are often tough to absorb.  However, don’t simply cut and paste source material, edit for AP style and call it a day. Take the time to really understand the subject matter and define technical terms.

2. A picture is worth 1,000 words.  Early on in the writing process, gather and/or review the images that will complement your piece. Weave in copy that refers to the images rather than simply depending on captions. Still product shots are okay, but application or “product in action” photos can really help you tell your story.  To add interest and make the piece more timely, work with your art department to create charts and graphs that illustrate current industry trends.

3. Add some style.  Just because the topic may be a bit “dry,” doesn’t mean the writing has to be! Write the first draft with the goal of clearly conveying the concept. Once you are confident you have accomplished this task, go back and add in some flair. If you’re bored reading it, you still have some work to do.  Add quotes, sub-heads and transitions to break up the copy and make it more digestible.

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Comments Off on Squatting on Social Media Platforms: Good or Bad?

Squatting on Social Media Platforms: Good or Bad?

Various Social Media Logos

Maybe you have a small business that has yet to make a serious effort to keep up with social media. Maybe you have a business and want to try using social media to promote your products and services, but you don’t have an employee on your team who can devote the time to do so. Maybe you tried to use social media and found out it wasn’t for you. Whatever the reason you went on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn or any social platform and created that inactive account, you should know what the pros and cons are of being a squatter.

A good reason to create an account for the social platforms you may use is simply to secure your name. If your business’ name is “Bob’s Hardware,” think of how many “Bob’s Hardware” businesses there could be across the world. You don’t want the business six states over to secure the name first. If it does, you’ll be stuck creating a page with a name that doesn’t represent your business well. If you think your business will begin to use social media in a timely manner, secure the name.

The con to this is when you secure the name at the wrong time. Another business that is ready to devote the time to keeping up with its social platforms will be duped out of using the name and will be in the same boat you didn’t want to be in. Is that fair? If you think it’s going to be a year or two before you actually start using those accounts, don’t squat. If you do, that other business may complain to Facebook or Twitter or whatever platform you’re squatting on, say that the account you created is inactive and that it’s a waste of a good name. But, again, if you think you’ll be ready to put your social media into full effect in just a couple months, go ahead and squat.

A different scenario is when you join a group on LinkedIn and then don’t participate. You may think there’s no harm in squatting in a group, but with LinkedIn being the largest social networking platform out there, there is indeed an issue with squatting in these groups.

If you don’t have the time to be an active participant in a LinkedIn group, don’t join it. Potential employers or clients who look you up on LinkedIn could find out you’re squatting in a group and jump to conclusions. They may think you don’t want to make the effort. They could think you’re one of those people who joins a group just so it shows up on your LinkedIn profile (social media brown-nosing). It especially looks bad when you join 10+ groups and don’t participate in any of them. It’s pointless, it makes you look bad and it can harm your reputation. If you just like to read the articles and blogs that are posted in these groups, why not just bookmark those websites instead?

When choosing to squat on a social media platform, think about necessity, timing and reputation. Is this the right time for your business to devote several hours per week keeping up with all those social platforms? Are you going to contribute to that LinkedIn group or should you find the information on your own? Are you making yourself or your business look bad by having all these inactive accounts? Use your best judgment.

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Comments Off on Use PR to Build Your Brand

Use PR to Build Your Brand

Public Relations & Branding

A litany of products and services have gotten into the minds of consumers and become big brands. How did they do this? With public relations for the most part.

To name a few: Amazon, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Blackberry, Harry Potter, Disney and more. Highly successful products and services are more likely to use PR-related activities than less successful ones.

Publicity builds brands. To get something for nothing, you need the validity that only third-party endorsements can bring. So, the first stage of any new campaign ought to be public relations to help set the strategic direction for brands.

Massive amounts of publicity built the above named brands and many more. Media messages build brands.  The more messages there are, the more favorable the messages will be and the brand will be stronger. A positive story that helps a brand establish a leadership position in its category can be worth its weight in gold.

The essence of PR is to verbalize the brand in a way that encourages the media to run stories about your product or service. If pictures are used at all, they are supportive of the words. They lend credentials to the message.

Your product, features, benefits, etc. need credentials from the media. This is a job that–over the course of time–is perfect for public relations.

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