Spotlight on: Emily C

  1. How did you get into PR?

I got into public relations because when I was in high school, I really liked to read, and I was a strong writer – plus writing was something I always enjoyed doing. A friend of mine’s mom was in PR and she suggested that I look into studying communications. I initially started out in journalism and one of the classes in Temple’s curriculum was “Intro to PR.” One day, the communications person from the Flyers visited our class as a guest speaker. She spoke about what she did and her role, and it sounded really interesting! That semester I ended up changing my major to PR.

  1. What’s the proudest moment of your career?

So far, I honestly don’t have a proudest moment. However, in PR it’s your job to really get to know and understand your clients, which can be difficult when it’s a complex industry that you’re unfamiliar with. I remember when I first started, I was working on a B2B client and we would take on a lot of thought leadership writing, which at the time I found very difficult.

Looking back, after working with the client for a few months, I got to the point where I really understood the breadth and depth of their business and I felt comfortable writing extensively on their behalf. This was an exciting moment for me because I went from struggling with a topic to feeling like I had a good grasp on the industry.

  1. How has the PR industry changed since you started?

While I’ve only been in the industry for a few years, I can already identify ways in which it is rapidly evolving. Most notably, it’s easy to see how social media is impacting all aspects of the industry. Not only is social becoming another tool in the toolbox for clients, but it’s very helpful for PR professionals as well. We can use it to find out the best times to reach reporters, what types of articles they’re currently covering (and reading!) or even just to identify trending industry topics. Previously, if reporters weren’t interested in covering an angle, that was the end of it. Now, for example, a reporter may not cover an event, but they’ll still promote it via social.

  1. When you’re not at the office, what can we find you doing?

Either eating or reading – or both!

  1. What’s your favorite show to binge watch on Netflix?

I probably have too many to even say! Right now my go-tos are Will & Grace, Seinfeld and The West Wing.

  1. What book are you currently reading?

I just started reading From the Corner of the Oval, a memoir from Obama’s stenographer. Its great so far!

  1. What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

My favorite restaurant in the city would probably be Positano Coast. The food is amazing, and I love the open atmosphere. Plus, they have a fabulous happy hour!

  1. What’s your dream vacation spot?

My dream spot is Santorini in Greece! I’ve already been there, but it was years ago so I’d really like to go back. It was amazing. For my next big vacation, I really hope to go to South Africa!

  1. And finally, tell us something about yourself that we’d never expect.

I signed up for a pottery class this fall. I think I’m starting in October.

Four Ways to Amplify Earned Media Coverage

For most PR professionals, securing a media placement in a target publication that reaches your client’s audience is the cornerstone of any well-thought-out media relations strategy. However, the benefits of earned media coverage shouldn’t end with just the outlet’s audience potentially reading the article.

Whether it’s a B2B magazine, local newspaper or even The New York Times, you want to make sure you’re getting as much “bang for your buck” as possible. Earned content can be further leveraged to not only increase its value, but also reach new and different readers.

Outlined below are four tactics that are easily implemented and will help continue the shelf life of earned media coverage.

1. Social Media: It may seem like an obvious step, but promoting recent media coverage across social channels is the easiest way to get the word out to those already interested in your brand. In addition to sharing on the company’s platforms, it can be helpful to simply let all relevant employees know that the article has been published. More often than not, these individuals wouldn’t have known otherwise. You can then also take this opportunity to encourage them to share the news with their social networks as well.

2. Marketing collateral: Depending on the type of article, a great story about your organization can absolutely be turned into marketing collateral and promotional pieces. Whether it’s incorporated into a company brochure, case study or made into “leave-behinds” for the sales department, the shared content can create increased awareness to the work your organization is doing and serve as a positive testament to the benefits of working with you.

3. Newsletter: Does your organization send an internal or external newsletter? If so, incorporating recent news hits or even a roundup of recent company coverage is an excellent way to maximize media mentions. Adding clickable material can also be useful in breaking up more lengthy newsletters and allows you to add visuals or increase material that wasn’t drafted by your organization.

4. Website: While almost every organization has a news section on its site to aggregate earned media placements and announcements, steps can be taken to further employ this feature. For example, functionality can be added that allows users to sign up for a notification when a new article is added. This also makes the content easily shareable if an individual would like to pass it along to someone else who might be interested.

Have you found the above strategies to be successful? Do you have other ideas? Tweet us @mavenagency.

Spotlight on: Kristen

  1. How did you get into PR?

I kind of just fell into PR. I took only one PR class in college as a Communications and Rhetoric major. When I moved to Philly I applied to anything related to communications and now I’m here and I’m loving it!

  1. What’s the proudest moment of your career so far?

I don’t think I have one yet since I’ve only been in the game for a little over a year! I’m hopeful that there are good things to come.

  1. When you’re not in the office, what can we find you doing?

It depends on the season. If it’s winter, definitely snowboarding. In the summer, hiking! All year long, I love indoor rock climbing and reading.

  1. What’s your favorite show to binge-watch on Netflix right now?

My favorite shows are Orange is the New Black and Shameless. New seasons for both shows were just released, so that’s what I’ll be binge-watching for the next week!

  1. What book are you currently reading?

I’m reading this book called The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer. It’s about a young woman going through college and young adulthood discovering what it means to be a woman and how she identifies as a feminist.

  1. What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

My favorite restaurant is Zavino. They have amazingly good gluten-free pizza.

  1. What’s your dream vacation spot?

Greece, for sure! Specifically, the islands—I’ve been looking at pictures for years and I’m definitely going at some future date.

  1. And finally, tell us something about yourself that we’d never expect.

In college, I was a competitive snowboarder!

What Social Media Marketers Need to Know: Insights from the 2018 Sprout Social Index

As more companies embrace social media as a valuable place to conduct business and advertise, we are seeing more companies give thought to actual social media strategy. But figuring out a social strategy that’s right for a specific company’s mission, audience, and goals can be tricky. Luckily, companies dedicated to making social media easier for business have done their research and provide valuable information to any social media marketer.

In our office, we use Sprout Social to manage all of our clients’ social accounts, as well as to track performance and growth across the different platforms. Sprout recently released a whopping 47-page Social Index, which looked at how social media marketers can redefine ROI, what customers actually want to see, and how social media teams can work together to make it happen by polling thousands of social media marketers and customers on these very topics.

The bottom line? Serving audiences. Social media’s nature is in the name—it’s a social platform, and most users are there to interact with friends and family, not businesses. It’s imperative that business social strategies focus on fostering a relationship with followers in a way that matters to them and is the least intrusive on their otherwise personal feed.

Key Findings

Most social marketers are still focused on awareness as a goal of their social efforts, but Sprout found that consumers really want brand awareness and consideration stage content on social. Most social marketers can take a hard look at their strategy and look for ways to incorporate more of these into their everyday posts.

Return on investment (ROI) remains the top challenge for most social media marketers, especially those who are just launching a company’s social strategy. Oftentimes, the C-Suite is looking for tangible reasons why social media is or isn’t working for a company, but there aren’t exactly industry-wide measures of success to make this reporting easy.

Customer service is increasingly becoming a key part of the social media marketer’s job. Nearly half of customer respondents said they have reached out to a company on social, and this number is expected to grow as number of social users has been on the rise since its inception.

It’s in any social media marketer’s interest to understand what consumers need when they reach out to brands on social. The top reasons people reach out to brands on social:

  1. Question
  2. Issue with product/service
  3. Praise for product/service
  4. Comment about online experience
  5. Comment about offline experience

Influencer marketing is huge on social, but it’s not always cost-effective, and for some companies (such as law firms) it doesn’t make sense. Employee advocacy can be a great way to build brand awareness. Who knows a company better than the people who work there? Additionally, employees are likely to have a high number of friends and family on their own accounts, and those people will trust their friend’s opinion much more than a celebrity or influencer.

As social media marketers find their rightful seat at the table, many social departments are under-resourced. More than half of respondents don’t have access to all the software they need, and 65% indicate needing a dedicated resource for content development. With clear goals, social marketers can prove the value of their work, and advocate for the resources to make this work more efficient, and thus even more profitable.

Facebook still reigns king, among both marketing strategies and consumer behavior. 97% of social marketer respondents listed it as their most used and useful social network. Additionally, Instagram blows Snapchat out of the water when it comes to social marketer usership and consumer adoption.

So what is a social media marketer to do? We’ve broken it down with the top insights anyone working on a social media strategy should know

Content consumers want from brands on social, in order of the most to least wanted:

  1. Links to more information
  2. Graphics/images
  3. Produced video
  4. Text/conversations
  5. Produced/edited photos

Marketer Posts vs. Consumer Wants

Top content marketers are posting:

  1. Posts that teach something
  2. Posts that tell a story
  3. Posts that inspire

Top content consumers want:

  1. Discounts or sales
  2. Posts that showcase new products or services
  3. Posts that teach something

The best social strategies integrate brand awareness and consideration stage content. This is the best way to get social campaigns to resonate with a specific audience, but the threshold for consumers sharing content is still pretty high.

The #1 type of content that consumers share and engage with in equal numbers? Inspirational content. Marketers take note: posting inspirational content is the easiest way for a brand to build both engagement and attract new audience members.

So what’s the best way to address everything just discussed?  Below is a list of a social marketer’s must have tools:

  1. Social media management software
  2. Social media analytics software
  3. Visual Creation Tools
  4. Ad budget

Most everyone agrees that social media marketing is an important part of the marketing landscape. This next phase of social’s development will focus on perfecting technique, establishing clear ROI metrics, and connecting with consumers in ways that matter to them. Hopefully, some of these insights will make their way into your social strategy.

Instagram Launches IGTV

Last week, Instagram announced the launch of the app’s newest feature: IGTV. IGTV will support “long-form, vertical” videos designed for viewers watching from their phone. With this new format, Instagrammers can upload videos as long as one hour – far surpassing the previous one-minute limit.

How does it work? More than one billion Instagram users are asking the same question.

To start, the content can be viewed through the Instagram app or through a new, stand-alone IGTV app.

IGTV will start playing videos as soon as you click on the icon with content shared by the accounts you follow. You can also browse new content aggregated by what’s popular, suggested for you, or previously viewed. The videos are easily shareable and interactive, with functionality to like, comment or send to friends.

Within just one week, accounts ranging from international brands and celebrities to local bloggers were quick to leverage the new feature. Makeup tutorials by Harper’s Bazaar, performances by Ed Sheeran, news coverage from Politico and key topic breakdowns from TheSkimm are just a swipe left or right away.

Instagram’s step into longer-form videos seems natural. Many of the influences and brand ambassadors that have become so wildly popular maintain an Instagram account and post videos on YouTube. With IGTV, sharing both forms of content under one roof is now possible.

IGVT also presents new opportunities for businesses to reach and engage with brand fans. After all, Instagram’s debut of Instagram Stories has become an integral role in almost every company’s social media strategy. In August, TechCrunch reported that half of the businesses on Instagram produced a story in the past month, and Instagram Stories receives 250 million daily users.

In a statement released by Instagram on June 20th, Instagram Co-Founder & CEO Kevin Systrom said, “With your help, IGTV begins a new chapter of video on Instagram. We hope it brings you closer to the people and things you love.” As more and more accounts begin to adopt IGTV, only time will tell if the feature will be a successful marketing tool.

Have you tried the new functionality? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Breakfast Brand IHOP Changes Name to IHOb to Promote New Burgers

Last week, the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) announced that after 60 years, they would be changing their name to IHOb. They left us guessing for five days about what the new “b” would stand for while creating a buzz on Twitter, with more than 30,000 people wondering and discussing what the “b” would be. This is one of the more successful PR stunts that has been pulled off in recent times.

The wait was over on Monday, June 11th when IHOP revealed in a press release that they were changing their name to IHOb to debut the brand’s new Ultimate Steakburgers, a line-up all-natural burgers  that come in seven varieties.

“Burgers are a quintessential, American menu item so it makes perfect sense that IHOP, one of the most iconic, all-American comfort-food brands in the world, would go over the top to create a delicious line-up of quality burgers that hit the spot any time of day,” said Chef Nevielle Panthaky, Head of Culinary at IHOb.

Though IHOP(b) was transparent that this was a marketing campaign and that they are flipping the “P” to a “b” in their iconic name for only a period of time, people are in shock over the news.

In a recent New York Time’s article, a spokeswoman for IHOP, Stephanie Peterson, said that even the company, which engineered the reaction, had been surprised by its force. “We thought that people would have fun with this, but never did we imagine that it would grab the attention of America the way it did,” she said.

The burger campaign was even able to grab the attention of celebrity model, cookbook author and popular Twitter personality, Chrissy Teigen, who did not hesitate to share her opinion of the name change.

We aren’t sure how we feel about the name change, but we can say that the brand’s stunt was clearly a success. In addition to the countless traditional media outlets who reported on the news, IHOP’s parent stock (DineEquity) rose on Monday after the name change. Impacting a company’s bottom line is always a goal that PR professionals strive for and in this case, the success of this PR stunt is undeniable.  Tweet us or comment below and let us know what you think!

A Good Experience: Creating Moments through PR

There’s no question that at the root of PR is good, authentic storytelling. Stories help us connect and build meaningful relationships with audiences and the media. With that in mind, traditional storytelling tactics won’t always get you the results you need. Audiences, especially millennials, are more invested in moments and experiences than ever before. Creating experiences is a natural extension of storytelling, which means PR practitioners need to be aware and know how to craft genuine moments. Audiences want to feel something, which means bringing the message of your campaign to life has never been more important. Here are a few dependable PR tactics that you can use to build that experience:

Content Marketing

Not all experiences have to be in-person interactions. Content marketing is a great way to make your audience relate to something, depending on how you write it and where you put it. When writing a content marketing piece, keep in mind what the audience is getting out of it. Why should they read it? What experience will it create for them? Having a call to action is a great way to motivate readers to further engage with your client or brand by building content around a key takeaway for them. Also, guest commentary from an influencer or an actual consumer can be a great way to make your content more relatable.

Social Media

Social media is one of the best ways to engage with an audience by incorporating more experiential tactics. Each platform has functions that allow interactivity, whether that be through comments, replies, polls, sharing, etc. These functions may be overlooked when it comes to creating experiences but if done in a thoughtful and strategic way they can really enhance an experiential campaign. Additionally, these interactive functions can be a great tool for receiving direct feedback from your audience. Responding to and interacting with followers will ensure that they feel listened to and see your client or brand as trustworthy.

Media Relations

Creating an engaging experience isn’t just something to consider for audiences, but also the media. Securing media placement can be challenging, considering reporters receive hundreds of pitches every single day. When pitching, the best way to garner interest from a reporter is to paint a clear picture of the story you’re trying to tell. Pitching is an incredibly important aspect of PR, which makes it even more important to strategize new and creative ways to convince a reporter to tell your story. Don’t simply invite the media to see your story, let them be a part of it. Create a moment for them so they are more likely to communicate that experience to audiences.

Of course, experiential PR is not always the answer. Traditional practices will still be successful and handy depending on the specific campaign. It’s important to be strategic and creative, and know when it’s appropriate to use certain tactics. Don’t try to create inorganic experiences, but rather be authentic and clearly communicate what your client or brand wants audiences to feel. When done thoughtfully, experiential PR can be a great way to give your client or brand the coverage and attention they deserve.

Related Articles:

Appreciating the Perspective

Digital and PR: A Vital Integration

How To: Get Your PR Efforts Noticed 

Eagles and White House Positioning for Cancelled Visit

Ever since the Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl LII on February 4, the public has waited to see if President Trump would invite the team to the White House, and if so, whether the invitation would be accepted. On May 22, the wait was over as the Eagles accepted the invitation.

When they accepted, Head Coach Doug Pederson told media that the team wasn’t making it mandatory for players and coaches to attend. “We are excited to be going… At the same time, it’s an individual decision.” The team also released a statement (see below as shown on CBS3), that outlined their acceptance and their hope to engage in a productive dialogue during the visit.

However, the evening before the Eagles visit, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a statement that the event would be changed to celebrate the American Flag due to the lack of players planning to attend the event.

In response to the cancelled event the Philadelphia Eagles issued a statement on Twitter that didn’t address the cancelled event, but rather focused on how grateful they are to the community and are looking forward to next season.

On June 5, the day of the cancelled White House visit, the Eagles didn’t have media availability so they could focus on their OTA practice. On June 6, Pederson kicked off his press conference with a blanket response where his messaging focused on next season (as shown in the below video by philly.com).

Two of the Eagles’ most vocal players who never planned to attend the White House visit shared their thoughts after the visit was cancelled and Fox News used misleading images.

Malcolm Jenkins issued a statement via Twitter that outlined that his fight against social injustice continues, mentioning Fox’s use of improper images, and noted the work he and his teammates have done to make their communities better.

Chris Long didn’t address the visit, but did speak out on social media, along with Zach Ertz, about Fox using improper and misleading images, which resulted in a much needed apology by Fox News.  Long, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer,  also video-chatted with New Jersey middle school students who donated to his nonprofit, Waterboys, which works to bring clean water to families in East Africa, to thank them for their work .

The Eagles as a team look forward to next season, while the players look to continue to stay true to themselves and share/fight for their beliefs.

Related Articles:

Eagles Response for Pending Invitation to the White House

PR Response to President’s Attack on Professional Sports

NFL Fumbles Ray Rice PR Crisis

To Share or Not to Share, that is the Question!

In the past, most people viewed PR professionals as people who wrote press releases, pitched the media, and hoped to garner coverage as a result. Today, our duties as PR pros go much further than pitching a story and getting coverage. Yes, we still work with the media to secure a good story, but we can no longer rely on target audiences seeing that coverage in its original format. It’s also up to us to spread the word in other ways. We create content for social posts and are continually brainstorming creative ways to have as many people as possible see each piece of coverage.

Within the past year, we’ve run into a challenge in regard to social sharing that has become the topic of more and more conversations in our team meetings. With the number of media outlets diminishing seemingly daily, comes the discussion of paywalls and limiting the number of articles viewers can read before paying. A paywall is a method of restricting access to a certain website without a paid subscription – a common practice for online news outlets. As someone who wants to keep outlets alive, I am happy to pay, but as someone who also wants to share client news, I am torn!

The question the office has been bringing up over and over again is do you share the article, knowing the majority of your audience doesn’t subscribe to the specific outlet but hope they see the headline and like the post? Or do you not share the article at all? A loaded question, we know!

Unfortunately, we know the majority of social users are scrolling quickly through their feeds and engage with posts based on headlines. If this is the case, then there’s a benefit to sharing a New York Times article to highlight your client was included but the details of the article may go unread.

While this is a loaded question, we have found a best practice for our clients. We alert them that the coverage is behind a paywall but through experience, we think it is worthwhile to share. Because we decided to share the article, this puts a heightened focus on the post accompanying the article and a way for PR firms to add more value with strong, interesting language that, along with the headline, leads to engagement.

We want to hear from you! Do you just “like” the post or do you get frustrated when shared content is behind a paywall? Tweet us and let us know!

Maven Communications Welcomes Account Executive, Emily Charles

Maven Communications, a Philadelphia-based strategic communications agency, has announced the addition of Emily Charles as an Account Executive.

As an Account Executive at Maven, Emily works directly with clients to provide high-impact and strategic public relations and integrated communications services. Emily works with Maven’s clients in the arts and culture nonprofit, professional services, and real estate sectors.

Prior to joining Maven Communications, Emily was an Account Executive with Brian Communications. While at Brian, she specialized in content development, social media, and event planning for clients in the real estate, professional services, property restoration and disaster relief industries. With a focus on media relations, Emily has developed relationships with both national and local print, online, and business-to-business trade publications.

Emily received her Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in General Business from Temple University.

About Maven Communications, LLC
Maven Communications is a results-driven strategic communications agency that integrates high impact public relations, internal communications, content marketing, social media and crisis communications to help clients achieve their goals. Specializing in real estate, professional services and nonprofit companies, our measurement-focused approach delivers bottom line results for companies ranging from spunky startups to Fortune 50 companies.  For more information, please visit www.mavenagency.com.