The 5 C’s of Communication Part 5: Culture

Happy Tuesday readers! I hope you are ready to tackle the day and start your week off with some motivation! Today’s post finally concludes the 5 C’s of Communication blog series. Throughout the series I discussed the importance of connecting with an audience, ways to creatively engage an audience, types of consumers to target, and how to handle a business crisis. It’s important to understand all the five C’s in the communication process need to work together so you can successfully communicate with the public.  

Culture can be defined many different ways, a basic definition from Merriam-Webster defines culture as “A way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization”.  To keep this post short, I am going to focus on the culture of a business and how it can affect the whole communication process. Just keep in mind business culture is very large and can differ from each company, so if you are looking to learn more please read multiple articles and talk to professionals who are more knowledgeable on the subject.

The focus of this post is to understand how culture impacts company decisions. The culture of a business can include: a mission statement, ethics, employee and customer treatment, and the work environment. I will now go in-depth on each of those points.

  1. Mission Statement
    This can be as long or short as the company decides. A mission statement explains the business’s goals and philosophies. This statement is important since it outlines company goals and how they should be achieved. The mission statement shows the business culture and how they conduct business by choosing what they focus on in their statement.
  2. Business Ethics
    Ethics are defined as “moral principles that govern a behavior”, they play such a large role in business that there are many local and national organizations whose sole purpose are to explain and enforce business ethics. Companies that have a strong ethical guideline will usually ensure that everything is conducted fairly and honestly.
  3. Treatment of Customers & Employees
    The way a company chooses to treat the people who matter to them can show a lot. Treatment can include many things different actions: respect, kindness, honesty, criticize, or insignificance. Companies who treat their customers poorly can not expect repeat sales. While treating their employees poorly can lead to bad advertising because employees can be quick to discuss their anger and frustrations about their job. By treating the people who have a big impact to the company with respect and kindness can go a long way in building strong solid relationships.
  4. Work Environment
    The work environment is the area where employees spend their time doing their jobs. So why is this important? Because a successful and positive work environment will help to grow the company into the future. Here are some questions you can ask about the work environment: Does the environment have an open door policy with managers, do they encourage everyone of all levels to speak up with ideas, does people work as a team instead of independently? All of those factors can help to improve the work environment and create positive and happy employees that showcase the company’s culture.

To recap the culture of an environment can help the company grow into the future. A respectful and positive environment guided by a strong mission statement and ethics can help to show employees and customers that they matter.

Thank you all for following the series with me! I had fun writing and researching more in-depth on these topics and I hope it helped you. Comment and like this post with what you enjoyed or your own experiences on this topic. Until next time have a fantastic week!

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The 5 C’s of Communication Part 2: Creativity

Welcome to a new week, so let’s kick off another slow Monday with some creativity. Last post I talked about the importance of connecting with your audience during a PR campaign. Now I’m going to discuss some ways to use creativity to help your campaign succeed. Creativity can be a great asset during your campaign, but it’s important to have structure behind your free flowing creative ideas. So I created a list of five key thoughts to keep in mind when using creativity during your next campaign.

1. Engage your Audience
Try to create a campaign that will engage your key audience. Engagement helps you to form a connection between the campaign and the audience. There are four different ways to engage your audience. You can engage the public through actions (activity participating), emotional connections (connecting on a personal level), rational thoughts (provide details and value of the campaign), or ethical ideas (focusing on values or principals). Depending on the campaigns objectives, you can choose one or more of those forms to reach the target audience.

2. Set Specific Goals
Coming up with creative ideas can be fun and overwhelming. Try to remember the purpose of the creativity by setting measurable goals. Once the goals are determine, have the brainstorming section of the campaign. Afterwards, your goals will help to determine which creative ideas can best accomplish the objectives and which ideas are best left behind.

3. Visual Ideas and Words
Everyone connects to ideas and thoughts differently, sometimes words can convey the best message while other times images are needed to best explain the situation. Try using a combination of words and images throughout the campaign. This will help you to ensure that all aspects of your target audience are reached with your message.

4. Blend Media Forms
Do not limit the campaign, or yourself, to one specific media form. Try combining multiple communication forms to spread the campaign in a variety of ways. For instance, if the purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the dangers of texting while driving and the campaign will focus on facts, statistics, and personal stories then use multiple platforms. Try using Facebook for the facts and personal stories, newspaper articles on the statics with a personal story, and Instagram to post informational charts and graphs. By forming a concise message through different multiple forms can reach a large variety of your audience.

5. Examples of Creative Campaigns
Here are two examples that used creativity as a way to help spread a PR campaign. One example is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This campaign engaged the audience by encouraging the public to take action and raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This campaign blended together social and broadcast media attention to help raise awareness and money for this disease. Overall, the campaign was able to connect and successfully engage the audience.

The second example focuses on “Eddie the Terrible” from the Humane Society Silicon Valley. This campaign was focused on helping a small Chihuahua, Eddie, find a home; however the human society decided to be creative and try a new form of marketing. They made the decision to focus on Eddie’s bad traits, but explain how the negative habits can be turned into positive traits in a humorous and educational form. The society crossed multiple media forms from blogging to social media to local media. In the end the campaign proved successful because it found Eddie a home and the humane society gained a larger public awareness.

Creativity can help reach people in new and different ways and can help spread a campaigns’ objective. Just remember during the creative process to set specific goals, engage the target audience, and use words and visual images to connect with your audience.

My next post will focus on specific ways to connect with your consumer. I will discuss the importance of knowing and understanding your audience and learn some of the best ways to reach your audience. Until next time, have a fantastic week!
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The 5 C’s of Communication Part 1: Connect

Happy Tuesday readers! During my last post I discussed the importance of being a successful communicator to best spread information to the public. I broke down the tips of successful communication into five groups: connect, creativity, consumer, crisis, and culture.

This post is part one in a five-part series. Today I will be focusing on the first C of communication: connect. By successfully connecting with your audience will help you to reach your goals. The definition of connect, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “a cause to be associated [with], as in a personal or business relationship”. This means by effectively connecting with your audience can help you to build a relationship with that audience and spread your message.

There are many ways to reach out to the public. I’m going to focus on three different ways to connect with your audience.

1. Social Media
By creating a company Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or any other social media account will help you to reach out to your target audience in a personal way. Social media can be used to reach a large amount of people at once or post a wide variety of content including posts, photos, videos, and links to websites. Social media is great at extending your audience and reaching out to a new public.

2. Build a Community

Try creating an online community that will target your specific audience. This would be a great way for you to reach the public in a more focused form instead of through a general social media account. Imagine if your company is a car dealership that is looking to extend their public awareness by creating a car safety group. This group will focus on the best ways to purchase a car by providing safety information and more. This can be a useful way to inform the public about some important tips when making a large purchase. There are many places to create an online community; for instance Facebook, WordPress, Google Hangouts, or other online social media sites.

3. Newsletter or Blog
This is a great public communication tool if your focus is on educating the public or focusing in-depth on a specific topic. Creating a blog allows you to post content to your target audience in a more detail form than general social media accounts. Blogs can be created in a variety of ways; you can choose to blog with written words, through videos, podcasts, or photos; so don’t feel limited if you choose this as your way of communication! Any form of communication can be a useful tool for you if it’s used correctly.

No matter the form of communication you choose to use, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

1. Know your Audience
This is one of the most important tips to understand if you’re going to be working with the public. The better you know your audience the easier it will be to spread your message. For instance, if your client is a pharmaceutical company your target audience might be medical professionals who prescribe medication. Therefore, you should research what will be the best way to spread your information. Medical journals, professional societies, or online communities with a medical professional presence may be the best option.

2. Easy to grasp Information

Be aware of your audience and the message you want to spread. Use appropriate terminology, keep in mind the best and worst information to be posted on social media, use newsletters or blogs for more in-depth content, and use graphs, charts, or videos to better display facts and statistics.

3. Easily Displayed Information
If you are trying to convey information through a video, photo, or newsletter try to be aware of the font type and size (small font size can be hard to read and unusual font types can make an informative article appear unprofessional). For instance, one long paragraph down the page with no headers or sub headers can take away the easiness of the read. Remember the purpose is for others to read the information so don’t make it a hard job for them to do so.

Overall, try keeping these tips in mind for your next connection campaign. Next week I will be talking about the second C, creativity!
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Social Media Marketing Plan Part 4: Measuring Success

Happy first week of summer! Today is the final part of my social media marketing (SMM) plan series! Today I will be discussing a few ways to measure the impact of your campaign. Over the last three posts, I discussed how to create and initiate a SMM campaign, some popular social media sites to utilize, and how to publish useful content. Now this final post will help to determine if all that work proved useful!

It’s important to measure the impact of your SMM plan; it will help you to learn how social media can impact the company and learn the best (and sometimes worst) ways to connect with the public. Measuring your SMM plan can help you to accurately determine if you reached your goals (that were outlined during step one of your SMM plan).

There are a few different ways to measure SMM success, depending on your goals. I will list a few different ways to measure the success or failure of your campaign.

1. Gaining and Maintaining Online Followers

This helps to determine whether the SMM plan helped to gain and maintain online followers. This shows how many people were impacted by the content. It can be measured through how many followers (tweets, connections, visitors, etc.) your site began and ended with.
For instance: At the start of the SMM plan your Facebook account had 200 followers and by the end of the campaign, it tripled to 600 followers.
Note: It’s important to compare these numbers to your SMM goals. Was the objective to double your impact or triple it? Determine how successful this was to your overall goals.

2. Social Engagement
This helps to determine how many people engaged with the content posted. You can measure your social engagement through: Facebook mentions, Twitter retweets, YouTube video comments, and Pinterest posts.
For instance: By measuring who is mentioning the company in online posts is important. Was it your targeted public or maybe an industry expert in the field of topic? This helps to learn if the targeted public was reached during the campaign.
Note: Use your SMM goals as a way to measure the success of social engagement. If the goal was to reach more women between the ages of 25-35 years old then look at who all engaged with the content to best determine if the goals were meet.

3. Call to Action
This determines how many people took action because of the content. It can be measured based on: increasing website visitors, increased online sales, or the amount of content downloads.
For instance: The majority of posts asked online users to check out the new company website. Then the website statistics showed increased visitors over the SMM plan period.
Note: Was your SMM goals to increase website visitors, increase sales, or both? Judging the amount of online visitors and overall sale numbers can help to determine if the published content was successful.

4. Compare with Competitors
It can be helpful to learn where the company stands next to the competition. You can measure the two through: online followers, company mentions, LinkedIn connections, and YouTube video views and comments.
For instance: During the primary SMM planning stage, researched showed a company competitor had over 800 Facebook likes, but little public engagement. At the end of the SMM plan, your company had more likes and increased involvement over the competitor.
Note: Although it can be useful to maintain awareness about the competition, don’t determine the SMM success solely on beating out a competitor. That’s why it’s important to clearly set company goals to best determine the SMM plan’s success.

5. Evaluate the Content
Determine which online posts received the most visitors, comments, and retweets. Then research to find out if the popular content contained a specific subject or was published on a specific day or time? By determining what received the most popularity can help determine future content.
For instance: Content that was posted on Friday afternoons between 1:00 p.m.-4:00p.m. received the most engagement. This could show that the public is most active during that day of the week.
Note: By learning the most popular times or subjects that best reaches the public can help to keep them better informed and engaged on the social media platforms.

6. Return on Investment (ROI)
This lets you determine the amount of time spent on the SMM plan compared to the success of the company goals. It’s important to use social media in a successful way to achieve your goals.
For instance: A 3 month SMM plan only achieved two out of six goals, determine if the SMM plan needed to be implemented longer or the campaign didn’t generate the expected responses (if so find out why).
Note: Wasted time is also wasted money, so quickly determine the flaws within the SMM plan to best determine future PR campaigns.

7. Online Measuring Metrics
There are many different programs (free and paid) available to measure social media success. Here are two systems that could be useful during the SMM plan.
Facebook Metrics: Allows you to learn views per post, follower engagement, and page statistics.
Twitter Analytics: Learn when your posts are retweeted, measure any Twitter posts that relates to the company, and learn how to post content to reach your targeted public.
For instance: Using Facebook metrics is a simple way to understanding how well the company page is doing online and what can be done to improve the page.
Note: There are many measuring systems out there, be sure to do the research to determine which systems can best benefit the company.

To easily sum up this four part blog series it’s important to clearly understand the reasoning and purpose behind creating a SMM plan. Always remember to follow steps one, two, and three and all the future steps will fall into place. Remember quality over quantity; it may seem important to have five social media sites, but if they aren’t being properly maintained it can cause more harm than good. When posting social media content keep the public in mind and who the SMM plan is targeting. Post topics pertaining to your targeted public and always remember the basics of spelling and grammar (it does matter). Finally, measure the SMM plan success with the goals, from step one. If the SMM campaign exceeded the goals than it was a success, but if not determine the problems and the best ways to move forward.

Well thanks for reading this series! I hope you learned a lot and you’re ready to tackle social media in the PR field! Please comment your opinions below!
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Social Media Marketing Plan Part 3: Maintaining Social Media Sites

Happy Wednesday my readers! Today’s topic is going to focus on the importance of maintaining social media sites during your social media marketing (SMM) plan, along with some helpful tips. Last post, I discussed three popular social media sites (LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram) and the importance of choosing the right sites to use during your SMM plan. Today’s helpful tips will focus on all social media sites.

To get started, I’m going to create five categories of tips. This will help you to better understand where to apply these tips. The five categories will be: useful information for overall social media use, targeting the public, pitching to the media, learning about competitors, and company employees.

1. General Tips in Maintaining Social Media Sites

• Valued Content
Your content should always add some value to the reader. How does it pertain to them? How useful is the information? The more valuable your content, the higher importance the public will place on it and the faster your post can spread online.
• Simplicity is Key
Try not to overwhelm the public with too much information at once. Each post should focus on one thought. If you want to share multiple topics, create multiple posts. If a post appears too “wordy” or has too much information, readers will continue to scroll past. Remember many people use social made as a way to relax and unwind from work.
• Do Not Spam
Don’t post repetitive content over and over again on your sites. This can scare away current and potential followers online. No one wants to feel harassed when they go online to check out their social media newsfeed.
• Accuracy
Just like in high school English class, spelling and grammar does matter. Don’t get lazy and forget to proofread every post before it’s published. You don’t want your company to be remembered for spelling “pubic relations” instead of “public relations”.

2. Tips for Targeting the Public

• Creativity and Engagement
Creatively appeal to your public through a variety of ways. You can appeal to your audience through humor with a funny picture or video. Be compelling; provide posts that focus in on a current popular trend. Anything that can grab your audience’s attention.
• Be Personal
Let the public get to know the company in a more personal way through company events, employees, and holidays. This will let your followers feel more involved and provide them with a face for the company. For instance, posting fun facts about employees once a week is a great way for your followers to get to know everyone involved in the business.
• Company Social Media Mentions
It’s important to monitor what is being said about the company. By keeping up to date when a company hashtag or username is mentioned can help to monitor public reactions. That way if a situation needs addressed it will be caught early. Also, if your company is being praised for great work it’ll be a positive reaffirmation for doing a good job!
• Real Time
Post content that is up to date and current, not something that happened two weeks ago. For instance, when the blue/black or white/gold dress photo was taking over social media that was a good time to get involved in a trend. However, waiting until its two weeks out of the news, isn’t. By then the hype is over and no one is interested with the multi colored dress.

3. Targeting Media Personal

• Forming a Connection
There are many journalists, bloggers, industry influencers who utilize social media and your site can be a great way to form connections. By reaching out and connecting online with some of these professionals can help your company grow. For instance, by following journalist’s accounts, you can learn more about stories they are interested in writing. Then you can effectively pitch your news story to them.
• No Information Overload
Don’t try to list every bit of information you can in a pitch. Instead give journalists the facts and go straight to the point. Journalists are very busy and don’t have time to read multiple paragraphs for a story pitch.

4. Learning to Beat the Competition
• Industry Competitors
Do your research and see what similar companies are posting online and how they are interacting with the public. This will be a great way to gain insight to earning followers. For instance, Lowes wants to improve their Pinterest page, so they review some fellow competitors (Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc.). Lowes learns that the competition have a very active board for home improvements, but lack outdoor settings. This could be a great Pinterest board to add to the Lowes account and try to gain the followers the other two companies’ lack.
• Trending and News Alerts
Stay updated on the most recent news and trends. This will help you to keep the public informed and show your company can provide quick appropriate responses to current information. Google Alerts is one website you can subscribe to that will provide you with updated information.

5. Social Media and Company Employees

• Happy Employees Equals Positive PR
Employees are the face for the company. How they choose to act online through social media when work ends, you can’t control. Try maintaining employee happiness and help the company to treat them well. Then employees will send off positive energy about your company rather than negativity.

I know this post was longer than usual so I will quickly sum everything up. While maintaining social media sites it’s important to remember who you are targeting and to treat them well. They choose to follow your company in their free time. Use social media as a way to reach out to media personal. Lastly, remember competitors and employees have a big impact online, so always do your research and remember to treat everyone fairly.

I hope everyone enjoyed today’s post and provided you some helpful insight! Come back next week for the final blog in the SMM series that will focus on measuring your SMM impact! Until then have a great week!
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Determining Your Social Media Marketing Plan: Part 1

Hello fellow PR readers! I want to start with an apology for my lack of PR blog posts the past two months. Sadly, life got in the way and I was unable to write. However, I am back and full of new PR knowledge to share and even learn from you guys! So expect many more posts to follow for the upcoming summer months.

Today’s topic is only part one in a four part series of social media marketing. Today I am going to focus on social media and how to determine the best sites that will help your business. Social media marketing (SMM) is when business chose to market their company through the use of social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as a way to reach their target audience or goals. As SMM becomes the large base for business advertising, it might be hard to determine which social media channels can provide the best option.

Here are some key ideas to keep in mind when choosing social media channels for your marketing campaigns.

1. Goals
What’s your desired outcome from using social media? Is your goal to reach a larger audience, educate the public, a call to action, or generate conversations? Determine very clearly the goals and this will help you to chose the best social media channels to help achieve them.

2. Target Audience

Who do you want to target during your SMM? Are they young adults, women between the ages of 28-34, or the general population? Try to be as specific as possible because the more you know about your goals, the easier it will be to determine which networking sites can better reach your audience. There are many studies available that offer information about networking site and their users. The studies can offer the users: age, gender, income, or location. Try researching these sites once you know your target audience.

3. Content
By determining the type of content you want to share, you can research the social platforms that can best spread your message. For instance, a fashion magazine may choose to use Pinterest or Instagram because those sites offer the best ways to share and post images online. However, if a restaurant wants to inform their audience about proper ways to prepare meals, Facebook or a blog site may best fit their needs. Clearly determine the desired content and decide the best way to inform your target audience (through posts, photos, videos, etc.).

4. Competitors
No matter your type of business, there is always competition. Have you researched which social media sites your competition is using? Do some research on your competitors and see which sites they utilize and how much they engage with their audience. This can help give you an idea of which sites you may want to use.

5. Available Resources

Determine early on how much time the company can commit to social media. Remember quality over quantity is always best. Having one very engaging and active networking site is better than have five sites that are never maintained. By determining the amount of available resources (time available, employees, etc.) can help you decide which social media sites to chose.

Just to recap sit down with the PR/Social Media teams to clearly outline the goals and desires you want the SMM to accomplish. By understanding the purpose of your company’s social marketing can help you best determine the networking sites. Some research may be needed before completely understanding the goals, but once the goals are set, it will make the rest of the marketing campaign easier to navigate.

Well I hope you enjoyed part one of my social media series and I look forward to keep sharing! Check out next week’s part two post! I will talk more in depth about some popular social media sites that could help your SMM plan. Please comment your opinions on the five steps I listed and if you think PR pros should be keeping anything else in mind when creating their SMM plan!

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Part 2: Rebranding as a PR Pro

Last week I talked about how rebranding allows a company to change their public perception. There are different reasons a company may choose to rebrand some include; reaching out to a larger audience base or reacting to a major company change. During the beginning of the rebranding process companies need to decide their brand identity by determining what parts will stay the same and what will change. Remember the big picture during the early stages of this process. Finally, it’s important to try to have company employees stay engaged and even participate. Employees have an investment in the company and can help them positively move forward during rebranding.

During this post I’m going to explain the last three steps of the rebranding process: distinction, brand launch, and monitoring public perception. As I explained last week, this is only a general overview of the process and I will post links to other articles if you would like to read more in depth on this topic!

Distinction

This is the time for the company to decide how they are going to approach the public. During this step, conducting research is important. This will help you understand the best ways to approach your audience. Also, this will provide honest feedback with how the public views the company.

There are different types of research you can conduct.

1. Public Perception- How the public views the company, like and dislikes, conducting short answer surveys to learn more in depth about the company’s positives and negatives.
2. Brand Loyalty- What is considered sacred to the brand and should be maintained during the rebranding and what new things consumers may want to see.
3. Brand Advertising: How the public learns about the company and best and worst ways to reach out to the public.

After completing extensive research the results can be analyzed and this will help to determine the best way to approach the public on the rebranding process.

An example of a successful company rebranding through research and advertising is Old Spice. Old Spice used to be considered an older man’s cologne, but the company wanted to reach out to a younger audience. So through social media, interacting commercials, and a celebrity spokesperson, NFL player Isaiah Mustafa, the company successfully reached out to their targeted audience and increased sales. Their most popular campaign was this interactive commercial featuring Isaiah Mustafa.

Brand Launch
This is the time to publicly release all that hard work of the rebranding process! There are many ways to release the new image of the company. It all depends on the audience you want to reach during this release, but some choices are a press conference, launch party, or social media launch.

My favorite would be a social media release because you can reach out through many different forms: images (Pinterest or Facebook), videos (YouTube), slogans (Facebook or Twitter), or employee and public reactions (Snapchat or Facebook). All of those social media channels allow you to interact with the public in different ways and learn feedback about the company changes.

Monitoring Public Perception
Make sure to monitor public perception for the first six months to a year. This is important because it helps to ensure the public is receiving the brand correctly and without problems. There are different ways to measure the successfulness of the rebranding launch.

1. Brand Awareness- Was the targeted public aware of the changes and if so how was it perceived, positive or negative?
2. Public Perception- Is the public viewing the brand differently since the changes?
3. Impact- Research the positive or negative impact from the public since the launch.
4. Increase Sales- Has the company seen an increase profit since the brand release?

Don’t let all the hard work of the rebranding process go undone because of skipping this last step! Always stay on task until all the steps are completed.

During the rebranding process the early stages focus on the purpose of the rebranding and determining the goals. While the second half of rebranding process focuses on determining the best ways to reach the targeted public and measuring success. Rebranding can be a long process for any company, but with focus and attention to detail any company can be successful. Check out this article about how to avoid some common mistakes of rebranding.

A little fun fact about rebranding is it doesn’t always have to focus on a company. Whether you are new to the PR field or a seasoned professional you can always rebrand yourself. Maybe you want to break into a new area of PR work or just trying to stand out from the crowd as another PR newbie; either way you can take these same six principles I described to rebrand yourself in the PR field!

Well I hope this topic helped you learn something new! If you have any success stories or mistakes about rebranding that you want to share just comment below. Until next time enjoy your weekend!
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