Category Archive: Public Relations Strategy

Get real: In a world of fake news, authentic content is king

If you’ve been reading the news recently, you know that the news itself has been making headlines—specifically so-called “fake” news sites and their effect on the election.fake-news

Google has been called out for algorithms that allow fake sites to rise to the top in results, and Facebook has been called out for its part in allowing fake stories to spread via the social network. Both have responded by tweaking algorithms and updating ad policies to make it more difficult for fake news to gain traction.

What it all really speaks to is that the general public is becoming more attuned to what is authentic content and what is not. And that discerning attitude can mean big things for your business—namely that capturing true content is becoming a highly valued commodity.

At Wellons Communications, we specialize in generating authentic content that tells your story. We work hard to get your news out to trusted, professional journalistic sources, to create genuine social content and to build relationships with trusted influencers. The result is news stories, blogs, and social profiles you can take pride in—because they’re accurate and honest.

So if you’re tired of faking it, give us a call today at 407-339-0879, or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. And do it now. Because as the communications landscape changes and your audience looks at everything with a skeptical eye, real content will become increasingly important. And that’s something you can’t afford to miss out on.

Are you asking yourself “What changes do I need to make for 2017?”

With 2016 rapidly running out of days, it’s that time of year when one starts asking “How well is my business doing?” and “What kinds of changes should I be considering?”nov-18-change

You may want to start by asking yourself these tough questions:

• Am I retaining my customer base?
• Am I attracting new business?
• What customers have I lost? Why?
• Am I meeting my financial goals? Why? Or why not?
What do I need to change for 2017?

Take a close look at that last question—and consider what kinds of changes you might need to make.

If you don’t think you need to change anything, think again. Jack Welch, recognized as one of America’s great businessmen, espoused the notion “You have to change, preferably before you have to.”

You have to change to keep up with the changes.

Nothing in business remains static. New products come. Old products go. New attitudes emerge. Old beliefs drop by the wayside.

Even if you believe everything is going great and you don’t need to change anything, consider this: changes outside of your business will necessitate that you make changes to adjust to an ever-changing business environment.

Need some examples? Ask companies like Kodak, Sears, Blockbuster, Pan-Am, and Borders how they fared when they failed to adjust to changing business environments.

Start change by examining your communications strategy.

Change can begin with something as simple as auditing your communications strategy. Ask, and answer, questions like:

• Is my message still relevant to my target audience?
• Am I using the right tools to reach my target audience?
• How does my target audience perceive my message?
• Am I reaching the correct target audience?
• How has my audience changed?

While you are revising your communications strategy, ask yourself one more important question:

Am I using the correct resources to craft and implement my overall communications approach?

That’s where we can help. We provide an objective and fresh look at how and what you are communicating and how it might need to change.

Our approach: We don’t just look for changes. We look for opportunities.

Our firm lives in a communications-centric world, and we know and understand how to create strategies and execute tactical programs that use the right message to reach the right audience at the right time. We know how to change your communications approach to make a meaningful, positive change in the upcoming year.

Before 2016 runs out, call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. Talk with me about taking a look at your communications approach and how we might be able to help you change for the better.

Communicate your Benefits in “Plain Speak”

george-bernard-shawSuccessful communication is not about doing more. It’s about maximizing what you are already doing.

Here’s an example:

Take a look at your website and your brochure.

Ask yourself “Will readers immediately understand what I do?” and “Does my website clearly state the benefits I deliver?”

If the answers to these questions are unclear, it might be time to rethink what you are telling people.

The three C’s

There are three C’s in communication that can strengthen what you say about your business and your services:

  • Be clear: Say exactly what you mean. Write like you speak. Avoid jargon.
  • Be concise: President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to start his Cabinet meetings with “Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” Good advice for wordy politicians and also good advice for business communicators.
  • Be consistent: You may become bored saying the same thing over and over again, but your audience needs to hear the same message as many as seven times before it registers.

Get to the point

Today’s fast-paced, Internet-based communications allow you only a few seconds to get your point across.

The average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words during the course of a 24-hour period. Most people only remember about 17 to 25 percent of the things to which they listen.[1] [2]

According to research conducted by productivity software developer

Boomerang, emails between 50 and 125 words had the best response rates at just above 50 percent. Short and direct emails resonated best with prospects and earned a response. The same study also showed emails written at a third-grade reading level had the highest response rate.

Do those findings strike a familiar chord? Simple. Short. Consistent.

We practice what we preach

At Wellons Communications, we follow the same principles we preach.

We keep our communications simple. We keep messages short enough to easily remember. And we place a premium on maintaining a consistent message.

If your communications are becoming too wordy, too complex, or inconsistent, it may be time to step back and get some help in shaping exactly what you want to say about yourself.

Impartial third-party communications assistance is an important component of our services. In the spirit of what marketing is all about, we help you sell things.

When you are ready to start selling more things, give me a call at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. We are ready to get to work on helping you be yourself…only better.

[1] Listening Statistics: 23 Facts You Need to Hear, Rebecca Lake, Creditdonkey.com
[2] International Listening Association, www.listen.org

Pokémon Go marketing lessons: You gotta catch ‘em all

Pokémon Go is less than a month old, and there’s almost no chance you haven’t heard about it.

The game became an overnight sensation, quickly topping Twitter’s daily users and grabbing at Facebook’s engagement. Some millennials have been calling it their “second childhood.”

Brands and companies haven’t been far behind, using the game as a point to launch themselves into the conversation. And it’s not surprising. The game is loaded with lessons for the PR and marketing worlds. Here are a few we see:

Don’t underestimate the power of pop culture.

We saw it with the dress. We’re seeing it with Pokémon Go now. We just can’t always predict what will capture the attention of the nation. If brands want to make the most of the opportunity, it’s important to act and act fast.

Many business have been doing just that with Pokémon Go, looking to see if they are a spot gamers will want to visit or taking matters into their own hands and setting up lures to get more Pokémon to come to them. There’s even a startup, LureDeals, dedicated to attracting gamers to businesses. Knowledge on pop culture phenomena is power, and in this case, money.

Have a little fun on social media.

Pokémon Go is a game, after all, and it should be fun. Social media is the perfect place to take advantage of that. Many brands have put up clever posts that tie into the game and promote their services or products.

Best Buy Pokemon

Even police departments are using Pokémon Go humor to talk about safety issues.

Pokemon police

See more examples at PR Week.

Don’t try to force it.

But while social media can be a fun place to tap into the craze, media pitches aren’t always the best way to do it. If your company has news related to the trend, sure. But don’t force it. Grasping at straws can have the opposite effect, angering journalists.

Know that new technology won’t be perfect at first.

You’ve probably already heard some of the concerns about Pokémon Go. Gamers have caused accidents driving while hunting for Pokémon. Girlfriends have broken up with boyfriends. People have targeted and robbed players.

There are probably other issues that will arise, as well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use the game to help your business. All new technologies have some unexpected bugs. Just keep up to date with the news and use your judgement.

Be ready for more.

Pokémon Go is the first taste of what augmented reality can do in the gaming world, but with its meteoric rise, it won’t be the last. Brands and companies should be ready to use the lessons learned from Pokémon Go in the future. If the game proves anything, it’s that marketing and PR strategies are always evolving.

The value of keeping it simple

It has never been more challenging to be a consumer than it is in 2016.

Today’s channels of communications are so numerous and pervasive that they have become annoying. Your content now competes with about 30 trillion other indexed pages on the Internet. Throw in e-mail, social media, robo-calls, and more cable channels than one can remember (all supported by more television commercials than one can absorb) and you get the picture.

The sheer volume of communications has reached point of communications overkill.KISS maze

Which brings us to simplicity.

KISS still works

We’ve all heard the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” rule throughout our business careers.

That we remember KISS is a direct reflection of its simplicity. In fact, it may work even better today because of the multiplicity of communications messages that bombard us daily.

It takes seven impressions before your message begins to stick

Marketing research studies underscore the importance of redundancy. A general rule of thumb is that it requires seven impressions before your message actually begins to make an impression on a consumer.

With that in mind, one of our tenets at Wellons Communications is “tell ’em what you are going to tell ’em … and tell ’em again and again.”

That’s not necessarily an original idea (there are scant few original ideas). It’s an idea borrowed from one of the pioneers of modern marketing, William Wrigley Jr., who built one of the most successful enterprises in American business history by adhering to the maxim “Tell ’em quick and tell ’em often.”

So, what happens when you combine simplicity with consistency?

When you keep your message simple and consistent, you can break through the clutter. It’s an approach that has been effective for our clients. And it’s a simple approach that can work for your business, as well.

How simple?

Simply give me a call at 407-339-0879 or e-mail me at will@wellonscommunications.com. Share what kind of marketing challenge you are facing and allow us to come up with an affordable, simple solution that can help you sell your product or service.

Online reading: Changing the way we think

In today’s society, it’s getting easier and easier to reach for our phones and tablets to read the latest news story, article or book. Businesses and classrooms are turning away from mail-outs and textbooks in favor of marketing emails and ebooks. But what does that mean for the way we take in information?

Digital reading Apparently, a lot. According to The Washington Post, your brain doesn’t comprehend the information you read online the same way it does in print. Digital screens seem to cause people to focus on the information they are reading at the time instead of how it fits in a broader context.

Researchers from Dartmouth College and Carnegie Mellon came up with different experiments that could compare the effects of reading on different platforms. In one experiment, a group of participants read a short story online and another group read a printout of the story. A pop quiz was given to the participants once they were done reading, and it revealed that the physical-copy readers scored better on questions requiring participants to make inferences, while digital-copy readers scored better on concrete questions about the text.

According to the researchers, the results of the experiments show that our reading comprehension is changing as it is becoming more typical to read information on a digital platform. Our thought processes may slowly be evolving so that we will have to make an effort to look at the bigger picture.

So what does that mean for PR? Even though communications professionals will likely still make use of digital tools, the study shows the key is to try and make digital audiences think more abstractly. When writing an article that is going to be consumed via screen, try to challenge yourself to put in context which will help readers think critically along with the facts of the story.

New Facebook Videos Will Generate Ad Revenue

Four million users a day watch videos on Facebook. The social media site now wants to cash in and more aggressively compete with Google Inc.’s YouTube.

 

Mark Zuckerberg talks about Facebook Video and it's plan to share revenues with it's users.Facebook announced a revenue sharing model this week similar to YouTube’s where they will share ad revenue with video creators in a move, according to the Wall Street Journal, designed to attract more polished content and more ads. If successful, Facebook is a more daunting threat to the Google owned online video site.

 

While many people are mesmerized by family moments and funny animal stories, the Titans of digital media clearly see your videos as a strong revenue stream. Interesting fact to note: smart phones are the source of 65% of all video views on Facebook.

 

For more details on the changing landscape of what you’re seeing online go to Fortune.

The Wrong PR Move: Beyonce’s “Beyhive” Upset at her GMA Announcement

Recently, Beyoncé appeared on a very-much hyped segment of Good Morning America. Promos of the appearance emphasized her message’s importance to fans and that they were going to “love it”. Many fans thought Beyoncé was going to announce tour dates, a new pregnancy, or something show-stopping.

 

Instead, fans were disappointed to hear that her announcement was about her vegan diet she adopted four months ago and about her new 22 Days Nutritional Plan.

 

Some fans were outraged and took to social media outlets like Twitter to vent their opinions on her announcement.

Bad Twitter responses to Beyonce GMA announcement .

 

Some blame Beyoncé for all the buildup for such an anticlimactic message, while others blame GMA for their promos due to the fact that they knew what she would be announcing but decided to over-sell her message. Could all the fault be put on GMA? Or could the Beyoncé camp be part to blame? Without a  doubt, her message brought plenty of awareness to the vegan lifestyle as a whole, making her vegan fans happy, but it also brought media attention to her new plant-based 22 Days Nutrition Plan she, her husband Jay-Z and her trainer Marco Borges teamed up to create.

 

Beyonce and Jay-Z 22 day nutrition program plant-based diet

Beyonce and Jay-Z take part in 22 day nutrition program. Image via www.22daysnutrition.com.

 

The announcement was more than likely supposed to spear-head a movement amongst her massive number of fans to embrace her nutritional plan, but instead it seems to have backfired. While some fans may indeed choose to follow in her footsteps, many other fans are outraged and feel as though Beyoncé has somewhat tricked them.

Could this hurt Beyoncé musical career? Could this become a great tool to organize a nation-wide vegan movement? Or could this end up being a small footnote in music history and soon to be forgotten? We’ll have to wait it out and see how things unfold in the coming weeks and months.

Tracking the Invisible – Analytics for Social Media Images

Social media has become increasingly more image-based. This fact can be attributed to why platforms like Instagram and Vine are increasingly on the rise. Here are some quick stats:

  • According to 2014 research published on eMarketer, photos accounted for 75% of content posted by Facebook pages worldwide.
  • Photos and images are also the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with 87% interaction from fans.
  • For Twitter, adding a photo URL to your tweet can boost retweets by 35%.

Knowing this is great for content marketers. However, for those attempting to track mentions from followers and engage their brand in the conversation, this is a challenge.Analytics

How do you find a great post to “regram” on Instagram if no one tags or adds a #YourBrandHere to their post? How do you respond to customers on Twitter who don’t include your handle? How do you respond to Facebook users who don’t post directly to your page? How do you track the analytics to show your boss that social media is worth the time?

Nearly 85% of posts that contain a logo contain either no text or no text that is relevant to your brand, according to Brian Kim, director of product management for ad-tech startup GumGum.

If the visual elements going on social media largely elude the tracking and analytics brands use to keep tabs on what people are saying, how can we give an accurate picture to our clients about what’s being said about them?

Our recommendations:

mantii_th4

Enter the new social media analytics platform, Mantii. This platform is an offshoot of GumGum. Mantii looks for all or part of brand logos contained in social media posts, whether they mention the brand in text or not.

reverse google image search

Another method is to track your own images being shared through a reverse Google Image search. Google’s search by image can easily give you the information you need about your own pictures being shared by others.

curalate logo

A final method is to use the platform Curalate. Curalate applies image-recognition algorithms to social media platforms, much like Mantii. However, this platform is officially recognized by Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.

Have you used, or plan to use any of these platforms? Or are you using a different platform to track your images? Let us know in the comments.

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.