Summer of Learning: Conference Recaps
Staying up-to-date on the latest trends in PR and media
This summer, the Co. hit the road - well, the Amtrak - and attended a variety of PR workshops and panels to sharpen our skills and brush up on communication trends from some like-minded industry veterans. We recapped our learnings and favorite tips below; enjoy!
PR Summit DC
There’s a recipe for LinkedIn content. With so much chatter online, and specifically on social media, a great rule of thumb for LinkedIn content from organizations and thought leaders is the rule of thirds. Content should be equal parts company news, thought leadership and industry news. This combination, along with general best practices (ie: always put captions on your videos, always include an image with each post) should engage and attract your audience.
Crisis communication preparation never goes out of style. When working with brands of all types it is important to have general messaging and strategies onhand in case a crisis arises. A few general rules to keep in mind:
Stop the bleeding first, usually with an apology. In your apology, never use the phrase “If we offended…” because if you’re apologizing, you definitely offended someone and can some off as disconnected and insincere.
Extract your personal beliefs out of the scenario. Work with your team to be objective and see the situation for what it is so you can make educated decisions based on facts. Then, you can see where people are coming from to address needs.
Have open and honest conversations with your client during all of this; it is crucial to understand their thinking so you can prepare statements and for future conversations.
Executives need to embrace media. In our instant communication world where social and digital media can connect us to anyone with one click, the pressure for executives to communicate on behalf of their company is significantly increasing. Consumers want to know the leadership at the companies they admire most, and when they do, brand affinity has the potential to soar. Media training and interview prep are crucial elements to any public relations plan as we see more executives like Mark Zuckerberg step into the spotlight after years of minimal interviews.
Ephemeral Communication is Queen. It is said that video is King. And while that is still very much true, ephemeral communication is also taking the throne. While the word itself is long, the concept is simple. It is any form of communication that disappears after a short time-- think Snapchat, Instagram stories, etc. Brands, public figures and consumers alike are all using this trend to connect in a quick, “safe” way that doesn’t feel quite as permanent as publishing content. In today’s PR landscape, communicators need to touch their audiences in a number of ways-- even with disappearing messages.
Affiliate links are gaining popularity with publishers. CPG brands need to be familiar with affiliate marketing opportunities and partnerships with sites like SkimLinks and Share-a-sale. Although editors and publishers continue to (mostly) keep a separation of “church and state,” they do prefer to review and mention products that allow them to leverage affiliate programs as another source of revenue. Essentially the publication makes a cut on the product revenue that is driven via their website. If you’re pitching holiday gift guides - this is a MUST.
Leverage SEO stats in your pitches. Is a certain product category getting a ton of searches? Use this as a platform to craft a story for relevant editors. They have digital teams looking to drive traffic to their sites and will be more apt to listen to your pitch if you can show what’s in it for them to talk about this product/trend right now.
Your website is a representation of your brand. If you are looking to introduce the public, let alone top tier editors and bloggers, to your product, make sure your website is not only easy to find, but easy to navigate. Additionally, it needs to uploads well--otherwise, editors become suspicious of its content and do not want to direct their readers there. So for our PR friends out there who have clients who are not willing to invest in a decent website, please share this news with them!