Articles Written By:

Greg Surber

Who Matters Most During a PR Crisis?

Trying to be everything to everyone is a recipe for disaster. People often have conflicting needs, and individuals—or organizations for that matter—only have so much time and attention.   Trying to appease everyone is difficult even in the best of times, but in a crisis, not knowing how to prioritize your stakeholders will compound the problems facing your team at an already stressful time. However, before you can start prioritizing stakeholders, you first need to know who they are. Identifying your organization’s stakeholders Quite simply,…

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Online focus groups in the video chat era

One of the most ubiquitous examples of market research is the focus group – a handful of people in a sterile room with a two-way mirror allowing observers to dissect the conversation. Online focus groups certainly existed before the pandemic, but since then, they have become the go-to format for this type of qualitative feedback. Now that public gatherings are becoming more common, the question of whether to do an in-person or a virtual focus group is on the minds of many researchers. In this…

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Survey says! Tips for developing a good online stakeholder survey

Every successful PR and marketing program has a variety of ways to routinely get insightful feedback from the stakeholders that matter most to their organizations. An online stakeholder survey is one of the most common and effective ways to do this. We often incorporate them into our Research and Insights projects for this very reason. But there’s a lot more to them than simply typing up a list of questions and sending out a survey. Here are seven helpful tips for ensuring your survey returns…

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Don’t let fear and doubt ruin your thought leadership efforts

Media relations can an extremely effective way to boost an organization or individual’s visibility among key stakeholders. This is particularly true in the area of thought leadership – when the goal is to be seen as the definitive expert on a topic or issue. Like any media relations assignment though, getting the attention of a reporter is not an easy task. The average journalist gets hundreds of pitches a day from PR pros. Yours could be one of dozens that day alone pitching an expert…

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What We Heard: COVID-19 PR & Marketing Survey Results

A few weeks ago, we asked the Virginia PR and marketing community to participate in our survey to assess how COVID-19 has impacted our profession. We were fortunate to have 139 professionals respond – and if that includes you, thank you!  At this point, it’s more than a little trite to simply say COVID-19 has impacted our profession. Not to mention the additional unrest. Months into the pandemic, that’s a well-established reality. Some of the most pressing questions we’re now looking to answer include, to…

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How will COVID-19 impact PR and marketing? Help us figure that out.

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned virtually every aspect of our professional and personal lives upside down. Many PR and marketing professionals have been tirelessly working for weeks now helping guide their organizations and clients through challenges usually reserved for the most severe section of a crisis communications manual.  Like many of you, we at The Hodges Partnership have been wondering more and more, “How will COVID-19 impact PR and marketing in the months and years ahead?” To help get some broad sense of…

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PR considerations for “essential services” organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic

As millions of organizations across the country adapt to working remotely, others – those deemed essential services – have to continue operations as normal given the critical function they provide. For these organizations, this not only presents a litany of operational considerations, there are PR considerations as well for how to communicate to both their internal and external stakeholders throughout this crisis. Adopt a “when, not if” mentality that your organization will have an employee test positive As some organizations have already seen, even following…

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Why aren’t PR professionals talking about (not to mention, practicing) empathy more?

Being a PR professional married to a (music) therapist can be a humbling experience. I’m the professional persuasive communicator, but routinely she’s the one teaching me how to communicate effectively. This is more a testament to my personality rather than my profession, but I routinely approach a difficult situation wanting to be right, whereas she is seeking reconciliation. First in that process is empathy, something that is woefully undereducated in PR programs and underappreciated by young and old professionals alike. It’s by no means an…

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Perception versus reality: Why you should routinely assess and survey your stakeholders

A key lesson I’ve learned over the years – painfully at times – is to be wary of assuming how someone feels about something without asking them. Such assumptions easily can be interpreted as indifference. While this holds true for anyone, it can be especially destructive when the victims are those you know well. This might seem like advice for how to manage personal relationships, but it’s also quite applicable for organizations. A key function of PR and marketing is developing messaging campaigns that resonate…

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The Business Case for Strategy Before Tactics

“We talkin’ about tactics. Not a strategy. Not a strategy. Not a strategy. We talkin’ about tactics.”– Allen Iverson (OK, maybe not an exactly transcription of what he said.) One of my favorite YouTube clips is Allen Iverson’s infamous press conference where he bemoans the criticism directed at him over missing practice. His point, the games are what really matter, but people are obsessing over the wrong thing. While this metaphor certainly isn’t entirely transferable, many companies fall victim to a similar trap – jumping…

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The two things to drive success for your marketing and PR efforts

Like so much other advice, one of the best tips for an organization launching any sort of marketing or PR campaign is quite simple, yet at times, deceivingly difficult – define and differentiate. Let’s quickly explain both. Define involves clearly articulating who you are, what you do and whom you serve. Differentiate explains how your organization is different (and better) from your competitors. It might seem like basic advice, but it’s a step that often is rushed, fumbled or overlooked altogether. It isn’t necessarily because…

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FOIA in the Age of Ephemeral Communication (Snapchat and Instagram Stories)

“’Cause we are living in an ephemeral world, and I am an ephemeral…” OK, maybe we stop there. But in all seriousness, ephemeral communication – meaning communication lasting for a short time (e.g., Snapchat, Instagram Stories) – is becoming more and more common. People, particularly younger demographics, love the idea of sending messages and content that disappears after a day or less. In fact, teenagers prefer Snapchat over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter combined. If you’re a brand targeting teenagers, such as a university perhaps, you…

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