The start of a new year brings New Year’s resolutions, new beginnings and new goals. And the beginning of a new year is also an opportunity to reflect on the previous year’s public relations successes and missteps.
If you find that you were just shy of reaching your communications goals in 2016, either because they were not specific enough or too ambitious, check out our end-of-the-year PR checklist below. Use it to help guide your PR strategies for the upcoming year.
Evaluate Competitors – Have your PR team perform a competitor communications analysis to identify the various tactics your competitors use in their PR and communication programs. Take a deep dive to see if they are doing anything unique and analyze what seems to be working for them or not. Most importantly, look for areas of missed opportunities. By analyzing your competitors, you can find ways to differentiate and more effectively position your brand.
Review Messaging – Does your messaging still resonate with your audiences? Have your messages changed overtime? If you think your messaging needs refreshing, it may be time to hold a messaging session. As your company grows and changes, your messaging will as well. It is important that your messaging stays current to ensure that all PR deliverables – press releases, social media posts, website content, whitepapers, conference materials and more – are in sync and consistent with what you want to communicate to your publics. Look for your use of jargon and overused phrases. Work to develop messaging that clearly communicates the compelling benefits of working with you and how you solve challenges. Make sure your messaging is as unique as your organization is.
Analyze Social Media – Examine your social media channels to see what type of posts resonate with your audiences. Consider updating your social media strategy to coincide with your messaging.
Social media is constantly changing. What is trending one day may change the next. It’s critical that you understand which social media platforms your audience uses most and what content results in solid engagement. Once you have reviewed your social media, create a new social media plan and calendar for the new year. Focus on goals you want to accomplish with social moving forward.
Update Website – Similar to social media, website trends continually change – everything from navigation to design to mobile capability, and everything else in between. We recommend refreshing your website at least once every two years. It is also important to update your website content to be concise, well written, and on target with your messaging. Look at your images and headlines. Sometimes just changing out the images and adjusting headlines can freshen up your website between major revamps.
Set Goals – Work with your PR team to determine communications goals for the forthcoming year. What are the most important things you need to communicate to your publics? Is there a challenge or opportunity you must address? Are there more creative ways of telling your brand’s story? Did you land the kind of earned media you wanted to over the past year? Did your press releases tell a story over time? What kind of content do we need to create? Ask yourself these types of questions and develop a set of goals, and at by this time next year, you will have a way to measure your communications success.
From everyone at Clearpoint Agency, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year!
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
The expression “timing is everything” could not be more true when it comes to posting on social media. It’s one thing to create fresh and exciting content, but what’s the point of posting something if your audience is not seeing it? Posting content at the right time, on the right day, and on the right platform can make all the difference between comments, clicks and shares, to no engagement all.
However, the best days and times to post do vary across all social media platforms. Below, we created an infographic and listed some tips and guidelines when it comes to the best days and times to post on social media:
We’ve found the best days to post on Facebook are later in the week, with the highest engagement rates occurring on Thursday and Friday. The Huffington Post found the optimal time of the day to post is in the afternoon from 1 – 4 p.m.
According to Quick Sprout, content that is posted at 1 p.m. will get the most shares, while 3 p.m. will give you the most clicks. In general, if you post during the 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. time frame you will still receive higher engagement than posts posted before work or later in the evening.
- Best days to post: Thursday and Friday
- Best times to post: 1 – 4 p.m.
- Most shares: 1 p.m.
- Most clicks: 3 p.m.
- Broad timeframe to post: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Since LinkedIn’s audience is predominantly professionals, and used for networking and business status updates, the best days to post are during the core of the workweek – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. LinkedIn is the “professional” social network so it makes sense that an Elle & Co. study discovered optimal times to post can be from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m., just before lunchtime, and 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Just as people check LinkedIn before their workday begins, are getting ready to break for lunch, or as they wrap-up for the day.
According to the Huffington Post, posting on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. -11 a.m. can be the “sweet spot” for status updates, and will get a high number of clicks and shares. Avoid posting on LinkedIn from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. and on weekends.
- Best days to post: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
- Best times to post: 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. – 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
- Most engagement: Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Audience is key when it comes to timing your tweets. According to Buffer, B2B organizations get higher clicks and retweets on Twitter during the workweek, with Wednesday having the highest click-through rates. However, B2C related tweets seem to perform better on the weekends. To get a maximum number of retweets, the Huffington Post suggests to tweet from 12 – 5 p.m., with around 5 p.m. being the most optimal.
- Best day to tweet for B2B: Weekdays; Wednesdays have higher click-through rates
- Best day to tweet for B2C: Weekends
- Best time to tweet: 12 – 5 p.m.
So the next time you are planning your social strategy, give the day and time some thought. It just might make the difference between posting to an abyss or getting clicks, retweets and likes.
Posted in Blog, What's New | Leave a comment
Social media has fundamentally changed the way we do business by giving voice to millions of consumers in instantaneous, global (and very public) communications networks that operate around the clock. The speed and intimacy characteristic of new communications models like Facebook and Twitter have forced reputation from the number three to the number one ranked strategic risk currently facing large companies And with good reason.
Fifty percent of the public now cites the Internet as a main source for national and international news (Pew Research Center, 2013) far outpacing traditional sources like newspaper and radio. Businesses no longer have the luxury of time to prepare their responses to criticism or crisis. Simply put: today’s public relations practitioners must be prepared to put out a fire in 140 very crafty characters to proactively mitigate reputational damage.
The good news is that there are ways to prepare and proactively control a crisis using social media. Here’s how:
- Don’t hide. Digital silence is conspicuous. Social media offers a unique opportunity to publically address consumers in real time – use it meaningfully.
- Plan for crisis. There’s no need to pre-script tweets and status updates, but the tone and timing of your online strategy should be discussed and integrated into your existing crisis communications plan ahead of time. Bonus: Advance planning gives you the luxury of being able to run your ideas by your legal team, making it even easier to determine exactly what your response can and cannot say.
- Be quick, but don’t rush. Benjamin Franklin must have been dreaming of the Twitterverse when he said, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” Don’t allow the speed of social media to force an ill-crafted or rushed response you’ll regret. You can’t take it back.
- Be human. Digiorno’s new media team, lauded in the past for their savvy, apologized with a personal tweet to each and every user who noticed that they had mistakenly weighed in on the anti-domestic violence hashtag #WhyIStayed with an inappropriate tweet (AdWeek, 2013). Although it must have taken the company hours to respond to each individual user, it made the brand appear human, which made the mistake easier to understand.
- Use your newfound #ALSIceBucketChallenge prowess. Among the many takeaways from the now famous #ALSIceBucketChallenge, one is that it is possible for even the largest of companies to capitalize on a 24-hour turnaround. Crisis plans are bogged down with cumbersome top-down approval processes that just don’t make sense in social media. Develop a process for getting your tweets and status updates approved in the quickest way possible, while keeping in mind who needs to see each message.
- Assign a social media gatekeeper who can pivot gracefully. Most crisis management plans outline not just what but who is assigned to handle each step. It is critical that you have a social media gatekeeper who can quickly implement the plan and pivot to accommodate changes to the situation. When rumblings began about #ALSicebucketchallenge participants were spending more on bagged ice than ALS research, social media teams evolved their strategy to include a significant donations from the company along with their CEO’s ice bath . One savvy company, Zodiac Pool Systems, even added a social element to their donation strategy by increasing their donation by one dollar every time a Facebook user liked or shared their video.
In short, recognize both the opportunities and the challenges that social media affords in handling crisis communications, and develop a plan that includes social media for when the inevitable crisis hits.
This blog post was contributed by Sam Peterson, Account Executive at Clearpoint Agency, Inc.
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
Beth Walsh of Clearpoint Agency was part of a stimulating discussion for the San Diego New Pros chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) on April 19. The topics: how to get started in the public relations (PR) industry, what it’s like to work at an agency versus in-house, and what educational opportunities are most valuable to young PR professionals. The event was organized by PRSA New Pros and held at Roppongi restaurant in La Jolla.
Walsh discussed what led her to a career in PR, her work in large agencies, and how she eventually founded her own agency. She recounted her time as senior vice president of public relations at one of the largest PR/Advertising agencies in San Diego in the 1990’s, McQuerter Group, where she managed client services and public relations operations.
She provided these tips to young PR pros:
- Read everything you can get your hands on! Be well versed in the world around you and be able to handle a conversation on a variety of topics.
- Improve your writing skills and know AP style as if it were your bible.
- Attend networking functions and join groups such as PRSA, New Pros, North County Communicators, and the Ad Club.
- Seek out a mentor who will not only commit to your success, but will invest time and attention to helping you excel in the competitive PR industry – and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Allison Altdoerffer, intern at Fleishman Hillard, was inspired by Walsh’s journey.
“As a new pro, the opportunity to hear from a more experienced professional is such a
valuable opportunity. Beth’s candid discussion of her own career – the ups, the downs and the motivation that propelled her to create her own agency – illustrated not only the need for education, but also the power of innovation and taking a risk. She inspired me to soak up and learn from those around me, and to never back away from contributing my own personal insight and ideas.”
Walsh is an honors graduate of Marquette University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. She is past co-chair of the PR committee for the San Diego chapter of National Association of Women Business Owners. Walsh has won eleven Bernays Awards from the PRSA for excellence in public relations. In addition, she has twice been named a finalist in the individual service category of the UCSD Athena Pinnacle Awards, twice a finalist in the
“Women Who Mean Business Awards,” sponsored by the San Diego Business Journal, and in 2001 was named to Wireless Week’s Top 25 listing of “Influential Women in Wireless.”
PRSA New Pros is a group of public relations professionals in San Diego with less than five years of experience. The group is led by committee members Rachel Hutman, Katie Rowland, Michelle Lew, and Amber Lingle. For more information about PRSA New Pros visit http://www.prsasdic.org/content.asp?itemid=15
This seems like great advice for any professional – is it? Does this hold true for YOUR industry? What advice would you give a young professional just starting out in their career?
This post was contributed by Rachel Hutman, Clearpoint Agency Account Executive.
Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | Leave a comment