The Importance of Knowing Your Audience in PR

So you got the new iPhone update which includes the new emoji keyboard and you’re really excited about it.

However, you wouldn’t send your grandmother a text full of emojis when you know that:

  1. She doesn’t understand that EMOJIS means that you did not enjoy waking up this morning.
  2. Her cell phone doesn’t receive text messages.

You would simply pick up the phone and tell her that information. It doesn’t make sense to send her a message she doesn’t understand through a medium she would never see.

The same is true in public relations. Knowing who you’re speaking to – knowing your audience, is a critical part of the PR practice.Apple new emoji keyboard.

No matter what strategy or tactic you are using, the best message in the world won’t be effective unless it’s in front of the right people in a way they understand. From collateral to social media campaigns and press releases, knowing your audience is crucial.

For example, when choosing outlets to send press releases to, we choose the ones most relevant to the client’s audience. A food blogger isn’t going to want to know about an upcoming marathon race. A CEO of a company probably doesn’t read or watch the same material that a college student does.

It’s important therefore to know where your audience gets their information and what channels they frequent. Facebook seemed like it was going to be the end-all-be-all of social media, but did you know that today’s teenagers don’t see Facebook to be as important as their parents do? If your product appeals to a younger demographic, it’s important to follow the trends of social media platforms. In the long run, these teenagers will hold major buying power 5-10 years from now. How will we adapt?

It’s also important to ensure that your message and tactics are appropriate for you audience. Messaging that is humorous isn’t always going to translate well for serious non-profits or business people. Similarly, a text-only ad for a children’s breakfast cereal isn’t going to communicate to toddlers.

In public relations and marketing, knowing your audience is step 1 in a successful campaign.

Degree – Check. Skills – Check. Experience – Not so much: Gaining experience through Internships

If you’re a recent graduate then it’s quite possible that you’ve run into the merry-go-round of applying for entry-level positions, meeting all of the qualifications, but one of the requirements is to have 1-3 years of experience. Huh? “But that’s why I’m applying for this position!” you may say.

Finding yourself without adequate on-the-job experience can make your post-graduate career search quite difficult.  Here is where the importance of internships comes in. Internships have become a must for college students, and many degree programs have begun to implement them into the required curriculum. A number of colleges host internship fairs where they invite companies and organizations that are looking to fill internship positions. This basically brings the employers to you. However, that’s only half the battle. The other half is landing a positon and making the most of it.

Once you’ve been selected for an interview, the next step is selling yourself. If you succeed and land the internship it’s important to make the most of it and that lies not only in the company’s hands, but yours as well. Here are some tips:

 

Preparing for an internship interview:

Internship imageResearch – It’s important that you know about the positon you are pursuing and about the company. Is it paid or unpaid, do the internships objectives align with your goals, how many hours are required, ect? These are things you need to know. Additionally, the best place to find information about a company is through its website. Take time to sift through it, find what they’re all about and what they have to offer.

FAQs – Prepare responses to frequently asked questions.

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What makes you a good candidate?
  • What are your career goals?
  • What are some of your strengths/weaknesses?
  • What qualifies you for this position?

Don’t come empty handed – Though this may be your first chance at gaining experience, don’t come empty handed. Rather than telling the interviewee what you can do, show them. This can include work samples, class assignments that show off your skills, and most importantly, a nice, clean resume is a must. Be sure that your resume highlights skills and qualifications pertinent to the position you’re applying for.

Making the most of your internship:

Set personal goals – Come in with an idea of things you want to take away from your internship experience. This can be tangible work to add to a portfolio or skills and practices significant to your career field.

Communication – In any field, communication is vital. Ask questions, lots of questions. As an intern you’re there to learn and often you get the chance to work with individuals who have a lot to teach. Use this opportunity for advice and guidance.

Take initiative – Though it’s not a career, put as much effort into it as if it were. Take every opportunity to be involved, contribute ideas and meet new people.

 

Wellons Communications is always on the lookout for eager public relations, marketing or communications majors to be a part of our intern program. Please send questions and resumes to tracey@wellonscommunications.com

ICYMI – Social Media Platforms Widening Advertising Options

Instagram introduces carousel ads, Pinterest expanding promoted pins

In case social media advertising and marketing wasn’t complicated enough, more platforms are expanding their promoted content offerings. Instagram and Pinterest are both expanding their promoted content services, and they are both making their advertisement options unique.

Instagram Logo, Instagram carousel adsInstagram:

Earlier this month, Instagram introduced their new idea for promoted content: “Carousel Ads.”

Carousel ads give brands using promoted content advertising more flexibility in telling their stories.  Viewers of these ads will be able to swipe left to see additional images and link to a website of the brands choice. Instagram says that this will “bring the potential of multi-page print campaigns to mobile phones.”

The new kind of ad will allow advertisers to be more creative. For example, a fashion company could deconstruct the individual pieces in a “look” and link to where potential customers could by them.

Click-through links give advertisers another way to drive traffic to their website and drive sales.

 

Pinterest:

Our Pinterest home-feeds have become flooded with Promoted Pins.pinterest-logo-transparent

As of the first of this year, Promoted Pins became widely available to advertisers. These pins are paid for by advertisers and appear in the dashboard of users that match the advertisers’ brand’s interests and relevant search results. Much like Facebook, Pinterest allows you to target your promoted pins and uses analytics so advertisers can see how their campaign is going.

Now, Pinterest claims that Promoted Pins perform just as well and sometimes better than organic pins, and that brands across all industries saw results. But if your consumer base is anything like this blogger, they will have nixed most of the “Pins Based on Your Wedding/Food/Style Board” pins in no time flat.

Time will only tell how well Promoted Pins does and whether it’s worth investing in. In the meantime, we’ll be watching for more research.

On a related note, Pinterest said that their Auction-based Promoted Pins (CPC), or cost-per-click model is seeing impressive results for their beta users. However, they’re not quite through working out the kinks, and it’s not ready for mass use.

 

So if you didn’t have enough on your plate with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithms and advertising options, we’ve just added two more to your list. Do you think these options are viable for your business? How do you plan on keeping up with different social media platforms?

Starbucks takes a Venti “L” For its #RaceTogether Campaign

Race TogetherSocial media has increasingly become a tool used by companies to promote their campaigns through user-generated content. For example, Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign provided a hashtag and encouraged consumers to share their Coke physically as well as virtually, generating a lot of buzz for the company and the campaign. However, not all campaigns have as much success.

Take Starbucks’ #RaceTogether campaign. In just one week the campaign was nixed due to a negative response from consumes and Twitter users. USA TODAY reported last Monday that, in partnership with Starbucks, they’ll be tackling the issue of race in America – one barista at a time. Yes, Starbucks and USA TODAY launched its “Race Together” campaign geared toward generating conversation about race issues in America.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, aimed to encourage Starbucks customers and its employees to discuss race, with the belief that this was the first step toward confronting and solving the nation’s race issues.

Within this campaign, Starbucks baristas were encouraged to evoke conversation with customers about their thoughts on race relations, and in addition, beginning Friday March, 20 USA TODAY’s print edition included a co-authored piece by both companies that will contain race relation “conversation starters” and questions. Customers were asked to tweet responses to these questions using their designated hashtag, #RaceTogether.

The Twitter community got a jump-start on the conversation and put its own spin on the hashtag, but not in the way Starbucks and USA TODAY intended. The campaign received a firestorm of backlash from Twitter users, so much so that Schultz deleted his Twitter account.

 

These were mild. However, amidst the firestorms were some who supported the initiative. Now the question remains, why did it fail? The high level of controversy surrounding the issue? Starbucks’ stigma? A lack of diversity in campaign ads? Or, should companies simply focus on their core values and initiatives rather than push the envelope and delve into controversial social issues such as race? PR News Online offers 3 PR lessons to learn from this campaign for companies who choose to use user-generated content through social media and fail.

The Dress, swords and truths about viral promises

The Dress is blue and black now

First of all, let me state my position: the dress is white and gold.  My daughter insists the dress is blue and black – but I’m convinced otherwise.

The dress is the latest viral sensation – it was the talk of my office and even hit my sport talk radio station. What goes viral in digital media is anybody’s guess.  And anyone who tells you they know for sure what it takes for something to go viral is telling stories.

Did you think 16 hours ago the color of dress would be Internet and social media buzz?  Be wary of promises and big guarantees from marketing gurus and digital media experts.

With the media – whether traditional press or social – nothing is a certainty. Anyone who has worked for a city editor or news director knows that.

This week a story took off for Ripley Entertainment about a pregnant sword swallower who will perform in Dallas as the National Sword Swallower Day February 28.  A nifty graphic helps tell the story.

Unusual stories, such as sticking a steel blade down your throat, have a good chance of catching an editors’ eye. But what is considered newsworthy or buzz-worthy is always changing and always fickle –again just look at the dress.

Maybe it is blue and black. Never mind, I am sticking to my position: the dress is white and gold.

Turning Pointe Studio Director Living Her Dream

 

Cathy Mae Cavanaugh is living her dream.

Ever since she was a teenager putting herself through college, Cavanaugh has been an instructor at Turning Pointe – A Dance Studio.

Over the years, Cavanaugh has taught more than 5,000 students to dance, or to dance much better. Her STAR teams have won countless awards and competitions. In the process of learning to dance – something magical happens – the students (and their parents) become members of the Turning Pointe family.

Working her way up the ranks at Turning Pointe, Cathy Mae knew that one day she wanted to own her own studio. Cavanaugh has always known more about tap, Jazz and ballet than being an entrepreneur.  Her life is dance, but her dream is rooted in running a business. Wellons Communications is proud to help businesses like Turning Pointe to thrive and grow.

In the past year, she purchased Turning Pointe from her former boss. She knew she would have to work tirelessly to help hundreds of children (and often their parents, family and friends) learn to be excellent dancers.

This fall, Cavanaugh’s dream will fully take shape. She is moving Turning Pointe – A Dance Studio to a new location in the Springs Plaza, off of State Road 434 (SR434) in Longwood. Cavanaugh will have the opportunity to put her stamp completely on the business, including installing just the right type of floors for any dance or exercise instruction.

The new studio will serve dancers of all ages from toddler to adult. Busy parents will likely enjoy that they can shop at Publix, or have a great meal in the Plaza while their child has lessons.

“This past year has been a whirlwind! We are so excited to be moving and building out a brand new space.’’ Cavanaugh said.

“The next chapter of Turning Pointe is going to be the most exciting yet!’’

Congratulations to Turning Point and Miss Cathy Mae. She has the honor of both shaping lives and living her dream.

To learn more about Turning Pointe – A Dance studio, go to www.turningpointedance.com  or call 407.862.5500.

Stop. Think. Remember the reason for Memorial Day

In today’s commercial world, some might think the reason for this holiday weekend is to give retailers a chance to sell mattresses at a discount or more beer for your holiday cookout.

A visit to the Lawton House in a Oviedo brings this weekend into sharp focus. For the second year in a row, the historic house in Oviedo is hosting a tribute to the men and women of Florida who have paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.

There will be a Memorial Day service at 9 AM Saturday to honor all of our fallen heroes. The crosses on Lawton’s front lawn are an important reminder of the dedication and sacrifice Americans are willing to give to protect our freedom – both here at home and around the globe.

 
Jim Vanderbleek built more than 370 crosses – one for every military member from Florida who died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each cross holds a wreath created by 17 year old Conner MacFarlane and refurbished by his 14 year old sister Chloe. One of the crosses is in honor of their father, who died in Afghanistan in 2012.

The Memorial Day events are a joint effort of the First United Methodist Church of Oviedo’s Military Support Team, area churches, Jim Vanderbleek and Girl Scout Troop 538.

The Lawton house is located at 200 West Broadway.

 

In the News business, you get what you pay for

Back in the day, gossip rags and celebrity media were frowned upon as second-tier. In the new age of citizen journalists, bloggers and a shrinking traditional media – the celebrity press is acting like the leaders of the pack.

All hail TMZ – the entertainment medium is the industry standard in breaking stories that people actually talk about and share on social media.TMZ exclusively released the audio tape of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling sharing his feelings about who should attend basketball games for his NBA team.  This led quickly to Sterling’s banishment by the NBA.

Then, the media company followed that up with the release of the elevator fight seen around the world between Beyonce’s sister Solange and rapper Jay Z.

These are just two examples of TMZ lapping the field in “talkable’’ stories. Of course, they do come with a price. The company pays big dollars for quality content that will raise their brand above the competition.

What can normal businesses take from the TMZ model? To start with, it shows that quality stories may very well be worth the investment; and it does not hurt if that content has star appeal, either.

Building your brand one step at a time

Marketing agencies like to tout their wins for big companies. We applaud those wins, for we know how hard they are to garner.

Yet, what about small companies? Don’t they deserve the same services as the big firms? Emphatically we say yes!

Sometimes when you’re a small company just trying to make your way in the world you have to start somewhere. That somewhere might be a single press release, or media pitching, or social media campaign.

We have had the privilege of working with national companies in multiple markets.  Our firm takes an equal amount of pride in the work we do to promote smaller businesses. We are happy to provide project work – a single press release if needed – to bring companies the publicity and business they richly deserve.

In just the past few months we’ve announced restaurant openings, worked with dance companies, app developers, window shade manufacturers, and even horse farms to help promote small business owners.

We’d love to tell your story!  Reach out to us at 407.339.0879 or emailmystory@wellonscommunications.com to discuss your PR potential.

Festival of Trees: Bringing Art and the Holidays Together

A dedicated group of women tackles a tremendous task year after year for a cause they adore. Along the way they have made the Orlando Museum of Art the place to go to kick off the holiday season.

The Council of 101, a volunteer fundraising arm of the museum, hosts the Festival of Trees annually each November.  For nearly three decades, the group has decked the halls of the art museum with lavishly trimmed trees, exquisite gingerbread homes and fanciful holiday wreaths. It is sight to behold!

The hard work of the council – as well as countless number of designers that make the trees and holiday goodies – have raised millions to support the operation of the museum and help the Loch Haven Park cultural center thrive.

The Festival runs through Sunday, November 24. Youngsters can visit Santa, while mom and dad can get inspiration for their holiday decorating.  Better yet, you can buy a tree and have it delivered right to your home!

The Festival got off to a rousing start with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer lighting the signature tree.  See the fun for yourself and know you are doing your part to support the arts in Orlando here: http://youtu.be/OZm9XOsOaaI

For more information about Festival of Trees, please visit: http://www.omart.org/events/festival-trees-glitters