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!
It’s 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and your public relations rep calls to let you know that she’s secured a local TV news segment for you to go on camera and promote your expertise. And the segment is in two days. Your head spins. What do you have to do? Is there a lot of prep work? How long will it take? Where are TV segments even filmed?
We get it. It can be a lot. But when you have a good PR agency, they’ll make the process easy and fun so that you can enjoy your time in the spotlight.
Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at what you can expect during your time in the limelight.
Your PR agency has already done a lot of the legwork for you. They’ve found the right producer or booker at the station and pitched the idea, and once they secured interest, they made sure that their contact has your accurate name, title, website, and a summary of your main talking points. That way, the TV production team can prepare in advance for how long the segment will be, how it will be shot, and where it fits into the program.
Your briefing sheet will be your guide. Your PR agency should send you a briefing sheet with logistical information (arrival time, on-air time, directions, contact phone numbers), your main talking points and key messages, and background details about the reporter or anchor who will be interviewing you.
The extra preparation on your appearance pays off. Attention to your overall appearance will pay off on camera and make you feel super confident. Dress conservatively. If you wear anything distracting on TV, people will remember that and not much of what you say. Dress in a simple, under-stated manner, unless you are a fashion designer, artist or trend setter. Avoid wearing white, black or red head to toe. White glows and becomes the most noticeable thing on the TV screen. Black is too harsh and can suck up all the light, and create a blob effect. Reds bleed on camera and are distracting. Television cameras love blue, making that color a good bet for your attire.
Practice makes perfect! After you receive the briefing details, your PR rep will schedule a media training meeting or role-playing conference call with you. They’ll prepare you by providing you with potential questions and guiding you through the process of how to give concise, thoughtful answers. Since you only have a few minutes to convey your main points, it’s essential to have a plan for weaving your key messages into the conversation.
The day you’re on air will be a breeze. All you have to do is share your expertise!Since you’ve prepared in advance, the “hard” part is over. On the day of your TV segment, you’ll be instructed to arrive about 45 minutes early. You’ll have time to meet the producer, chat with the reporter who will be interviewing you, and enjoy some downtime to relax and review your talking points one last time. Your PR agency contact will join you to make sure that everything runs smoothly and to coordinate any last-minute details, as well as to provide moral support!
It will all be over in the blink of an eye! Most TV appearances last less than two hours from arrival time to the completion of filming. You’ll likely be on-camera anywhere from two to five minutes. In some instances, the TV crew will want to film multiple segments in one day and air them throughout the program, but each will last only a few minutes.
Your TV appearance will lend you lasting credibility. Video clips featuring you and your company are great promotional tools. After the segment, the TV station will usually post the clip of it online so that you can share it with your customers, colleagues, family, and friends. Your PR agency can also purchase a video clip so that you have it for your records and can promote it for years to come on your website and with potential customers.
Being on TV can seem nerve wracking, but remember: you’re the expert. Talk to the reporter as if he or she is a friendly client. As long as you practice with your PR team and give concise, informative answers, you’ll be viewed as a reputable source, you’ll come away with a useful marketing tool, and hopefully, you’ll be invited back as a regular guest!
Have any additional questions about broadcast interviews? Leave a comment below and we’ll address your concerns.
This blog was contributed by Amanda Whitlock and updated by Clearpoint Agency staff.
We’ve expanded our Encinitas office by adding new team member, Account Coordinator, Julie Willis – and by remodeling our office to accommodate more space! Read our press release and take a video tour of the office to see the changes for yourself. Life sure is good down by the beach in North County San Diego!
Social media has become an important tool for many businesses across the United States. About 87 percent of B2B companies are actively using social media for marketing purposes, and more than 50 percent are looking to increase their social media content in the next year. To reach their goals, businesses need to have a strong strategy tied to objectives when approaching each social media platform.
One of the most popular tools companies use for social media interaction is Twitter. Eighty percent of B2B marketers use Twitter, making it the second most popular platform used, right behind LinkedIn. Many people find there are two main challenges with Twitter. The first being Twitter’s 140-character limit; and the second finding ways to get more engagement on Twitter. To make your job easier, we put together a list of 10 tips to help you get the most out of your tweets.
It’s OK to abbreviate – If you use Twitter you know that it is sometimes necessary to shorten words, to use numbers instead of spelling things out, and to use symbols where possible. Using “&” instead of “and” or typing “w/” instead of “with” is sometimes a must. It doesn’t obey proper grammar or AP style, but Twitter plays by a different set of rules.
Always shorten links – Conserving characters is key. Using a site like bit.ly allows you to make a long website address much shorter. Inserting links can be very useful for driving traffic to your own content, or for sharing something interesting. Links invite the audience to interact with your tweet and possibly retweet.
Use #hashtags – The goal of social media marketing is to have your audience interact with your brand. It’s easier to cast a wider net by using hashtags. Twitter users can search the site by hashtags, and if you tweeted recently with the hashtag they searched, they are more likely to find your tweet. Check to see what hashtags are trending and you may be able to get in on a popular conversation topic by using the right hashtag. It’s #important to #remember not to #overload the #user with too many #hashtags; they can be #distracting.
Mention other @users – Interacting directly with users is a great way to utilize 140 characters. If your message is short enough, leave room to give a shout to a follower or someone you follow. Mentioning another user will appear on their Twitter feed, increasing the chances of engagement. Starting conversations with the @ symbol is the “social” part of social media.
Ask questions – One of the best ways to encourage your audience to interact with you is by posing questions. It can be something simple like “Who else has plans for the upcoming holiday?” It can also relate to your business: “Would your company ever make this drastic decision?” Leaving the questions vague in that way helps build intrigue. Then, a curious follower will feel inclined to answer your question by mentioning you in a reply!
Ask for retweets and do the same – Retweets are the most useful way to interact because not only is someone finding your content interesting enough to recycle from their own account, your tweet and your brand are now being exposed to their entire list of followers, thus growing your social media web. Asking for retweets is like an invitation for your followers to interact with your company. For example, “RT (retweet) with your favorite social media platform!” And be sure to RT tweets you find interesting as well. This will encourage others to do the same for you.
Add pictures – Visual content drives engagement. Including a picture increases your tweet’s “clickability.” People are more inclined to click on a link that promises a visual. Even if other users do not interact with your company by retweeting or mentioning your post, the information and your brand are still getting noticed.
Tweet at the right time – Peak times when your audience is on Twitter vary. It is important to keep an eye on what times of day work best to tweet. Considering the limited amount of information you can put out there, and the fact that there is no control over if your audience will notice it at all, timing out your tweets properly gives you an advantage in reaching your audience. You can also use different social media tools to track when key users and followers are tweeting. With the ability to monitor their activity over time, you can build a window of optimal tweet times every day.
Tweet more often – Tweeting multiple times is better than tweeting sporadically – it is important to be consistent in your strategy. First, tweeting more often is a way of getting more of your content out. It increases the likelihood of engaging with your audience as well as the odds that more people will see your tweets on their home feed. Tweeting more than once a day shows that you are an active Twitter user and that your company has content to communicate on a daily basis.
Use analytics – There are many websites available that companies can use to track their Twitter experience. Getting the most out of your tweets means using these sites as a tool to understand how social media is working for you. It is easier with these analytics tools to track numbers, statistics, users and trends. Staying on top of social media will require keeping an eye on your followers, mentions and engagement.
Social media is an exciting world of interaction that has changed the way business, marketing, advertising and news are handled. Using Twitter is a great way for B2B companies to keep in touch with their key audiences. Twitter is also the perfect landscape for introducing new content, reposting other’s content and discussing it with a wide community that shares your company’s interests. Getting noticed amidst all of the companies striving for attention is not easy. It takes a well thought out strategy to guarantee you get the most out of 140 characters.
This blog was contributed by Ryan Sabatini, Account Coordinator at Clearpoint Agency.
With school out and recent grads being on the hunt for jobs, we decided that it would be a great time to give new professionals tips on nailing an interview and succeeding at it. We’ve recently been conducting interviews for our summer internship position, and what we thought were common-sense standards were simply common mistakes. Here are 10 tips to remember for your next application and interview.
Write a killer cover letter – by that I mean a personalized email to the company you are applying at. Look at their website, and find the right person to address your email to. If you’re unsure, LinkedIn can be a great source of information.
Keep the subject line of your email simple – don’t get too creative. If you opt for anything like “super important” or “urgent” you risk that your email could pass for spam and might be rejected.
Arrive on time at your interview – five to 10 minutes early is acceptable, but don’t go too early. Often PR practitioners have hectic days, and their time is planned by the minute. If you arrive too early, the interviewer might feel pressured to see you sooner. Arriving late for an interview can create a bad first impression, so plan wisely and leave on time.
Be well-prepared – research the company and its work/clients in advance. Often you may not need to discuss that, but sometimes an interviewer can ask you which of the company’s clients you found most interesting or what are some publications you noticed the company received coverage in. These are just examples, but it’s always best to be well prepared.
Ask thoughtful questions – if you’ve done research ahead of time, you will easily come up with questions at the interview. If not, some common ones are description of the position and duties, company policies, culture and so on. You might also ask what an ideal candidate is to them. This will tell you what hard and soft skills the firm values.
Know your resume well and the samples you have provided. Be ready to go into a deeper discussion about your previous work, team projects, challenges and so on. This also shows how prepared you are – if you present examples in your portfolio you can’t talk about, it will make the interviewer doubtful whether you were even part of that particular project.
Highlight your strengths and think of concrete examples – just in case you are asked to elaborate. Situational questions are very common at interviews, and this would be your chance to impress the interviewer by choosing relevant examples that show how you handle challenges well.
Dress professionally – club wear excluded! If you’re not sure whether your outfit is appropriate, it probably isn’t. I recommend to wear something conservative rather than casual. Usually by looking at a company’s website you can get a good feel of their culture, but still avoid jeans and short dresses or distracting items such as big jewelry and bright make-up.
Set aside enough time for the interview. In the PR world, interviews sometimes start with written assignments on the spot that can last for about 30 minutes to an hour. Make sure your calendar is clear for that day, so that you don’t feel rushed or stressed out.
Send hand-written ‘thank you’ notes – this way you will set yourself apart from other candidates. It might not guarantee you getting the job, but if you were one of the top interviewees, it will increase your chances.
This post was contributed by Antonia Genov, Account Executive at Clearpoint Agency
Is it just us or did the holidays come extra fast this year? Clearpoint hosted our annual holiday party for employees and family on Friday, December 10th. We look forward to this event all year, since it’s such a great opportunity to catch up with our co-workers and their families. We had delicious food too, everything from Bulgarian to Japanese, to Italian, and German. It was all so good and we’re still enjoying the leftovers.
We had three new additions to the Clearpoint family this year: babies Davey, Cameron and Philip! Counting these “newbies,” we had seven children at the party. They all received a special gift from Clearpoint Agency to entertain them while the adults played “White Elephant.” After much debate over East versus West Coast rules, the game got underway and there was plenty of gift stealing. The game was great fun, even for those who ended up with less than stellar gifts! We are already looking forward to revenge, ahem, we mean, a repeat game next year.
Between happy children, fun games, and delicious food, we were very grateful to celebrate another great year with the Clearpoint team. We’d like to wish all of our friends and clients a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter!
Tried and True Social Media Tips from the Now Revolution and Clearpoint Agency
Welcome to the Now Revolution! You may not know what the Now Revolution is, but you are a part of it every day. Essentially the Now Revolution is the fast paced, never-ending news river world that we are finding ourselves swamped in. I attended the Now Revolution seminar recently, hosted by San Diego’s PRSA and Ad Club, and it re-invigorated my passion for all things social. The lecturers and authors, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund, did a nice job of summarizing how to be more active on social media, so I thought I would pass on the highlights and add some social media tips of our own.
In today’s environment everyone is a reporter. When you visit a restaurant and comment about it on Yelp, you’re taking power into your own hands. This is empowering for all of us but poses a tricky situation for companies. They have little time to verify comments, even less time to coordinate a response, and even less time to actually react. So how are companies supposed to deal with the fast-paced world and never-ending news cycle that social media has created?
Here’s what Baer and Naslund suggest:
Have a Social Media Policy Companies must have a social media policy in place. Everyone should be on the same page and understand the companies’ stance on issues. This is a simple thing to create but overlooked by many companies.
Turn Negatives into Positives Negative comments are your chance to learn and find out what your company needs to improve on. Make negative comments your opportunity to learn and grow as a company.
LISTEN Understand how social media integrates with your company. Make sure the person who is speaking on social media platforms for your company is also listening. Search ‘Anybody Know’ on Twitter, give out free coupons on Four Square, monitor client brands on Yahoo Answers.
ROI There is no magic measurement tool, it depends on what you are looking for and measure that. Spread social media results around. Companies aren’t sure they’re measuring correctly and all too often don’t spread social media results. What would happen if only coaches knew the score of the game?
Turn Customer Success Stories into Blog Posts Humanity is the story. Attract a following with people not logos. Remember Subway’s Jared? Of course you do! We all do!
We agree and employ these tactics on behalf of our clients and ourselves. Now for a few Clearpoint Agency social media tips . . .
Hire Employees with Passion Would you want a doctor that wasn’t passionate about medicine? In today’s world it’s important to not only hire people who know their stuff, but who love their stuff. Employees will be representing your organization – everyone is a marketer- so it’s important that they believe in the company and the work they are doing every day.
Know Thy Self All employees must be on the same page. Everyone in your business has to understand the company’s culture and how to respond. All employees must have the power to communicate and speak quickly without the need for approvals. If you wait to run every Twitter response through a weekly meeting, it’s too late.
Take it Offline Some conversations need to go offline. If a customer is upset, your best response is to apologize for the situation online, then offer to resolve it offline and provide your contact information. No one can fault you for trying to resolve the issue but the last thing you want is a boxing match online for the world to see.
A Thank You Goes a Long Way Thanking someone for retweeting a story or content you tweeted, or for commenting on your Facebook or LinkedIn posts goes a long way to forming valuable relationships in the fast paced world of the social media.
Add a little something extra Just simply retweeting or giving a post thumbs up takes a little effort and it shows. When you retweet or like a post or video, provide your spin on it. Give your opinion and tell your friends and followers why they should care too. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but the little time it takes speaks volumes to your approach to being a part of the conversation and not just an observer.
This post was contributed by Rachel Hutman, Clearpoint Agency Account Executive.
Audiences & tactics to remember when communicating a major company change
Having just went through our office move here at Clearpoint, we became very cognizant of something we always remind our clients – the importance of communicating your message to key audiences. When a company goes through a major change such as an office move, rebranding effort, merger, acquisition, or anything that affects the company “image” or message, its executives need to consider all of the different audiences that need to get the message and all the various ways to communicate it.
Clear and straightforward communication with your audiences eliminates confusion and fear, and gets everyone on board with your message. When you (or your PR firm) craft the message, you have more control over what people think, say and do. Of course, the risk of not doing so is that someone else could create your message and run with it – in an undesirable direction. Don’t leave your key audiences in the dark. How would a team function if only the coach knew the score?
Lucky for you, the Clearpoint team has provided a list of important audiences to consider and some example messaging methods to use for an office relocation:
Internal staff – Your team is numero uno! Once the decision is made for your move (or other major change), your internal staff should be the first audience to get the message. Consider a formal internal letter with the good news, reasoning and what they should expect. Give them answers to questions they may get from clients or the media. Then, consider a less formal meeting where you unveil details (pictures!) and have an open discussion with employees. As your brand ambassadors, it’s important that your team is especially clear on your message.
Existing and previous clients – Use your move as an opportunity to give good news about your company to clients, in a fun and exciting way. Consider celebrating with your clients by throwing an “unveiling party” to show the new location. Send emails and newsletter updates announcing the change and reminding clients of new capabilities and what’s in it for them. For Clearpoint, we now have more room and better tech tools to host our popular messaging workshops. So we’re highlighting that – and encouraging clients take advantage of it.
Potential clients – This audience is similar to your existing clients, but once removed, so there is less familiarity and more formality with this group. You want to position your move similarly, as a sign of good news, but you want to include a little more about who you are and what you do. Consider the PR work horse: the press release. Announce the move, your new capabilities and a general background on the company. On the less formal side, consider blog posts and social media updates, including video. This adds personality and a greater understanding about who your company is.
With so much going on around your company change, it’s important to craft your message and your plan for communicating it to your key audiences. As we say at Clearpoint, the conversation happens with or without you, so make sure YOU are directing the conversation about your company.
Welcome to Clearpoint’s new blog! A Clear View will consist of monthly PR and marketing tips with a twist. We want you to soak up important PR, social media and marketing news in a fun, engaging way. Stay tuned, we have a lot to say! Clearpoint has already had so much going on in 2011! To start with we moved. After nine years we moved from our cozy beach office in Solana Beach to a larger beach office at 511 Saxony Place in Encinitas. What can we say? We like being near the water so we can take our weekly beach walks. We live in San Diego for a reason after all. The new location is fantastic; we have doubled our office space to accommodate our growing team and our popular client services such as our Positioning Program and messaging workshops. We are also having fun exploring Encinitas restaurants and recently discovered Which-Wich, whom we are now ordering from at least once a week (our fave is the spicy black bean burger)! We are also getting to know our new neighbors, and have all joined the YMCA next door.
In addition to our move, our clients have kept us busy too! We landed a new client whom we cannot announce yet, but look forward to announcing soon. We’ve had a big product launch for our client, Projecis. Check out their collaboration tool, it’s the most robust system we’ve seen. And as always, we continue to manage lots of great news, site updates, and social media programs for our clients.
That’s what’s new with Clearpoint! Please check our latest A Clear View posts and check back often for updates. We look forward to getting to know you too and answering your questions and comments, so please leave feedback.