Posts by Greg Surber

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 entirely foreign concept to public relations, but it is one that isn’t recognized and elevated …

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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 with key stakeholders and address their main interests and concerns. The more adeptly your organization …

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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 to tactics before identifying a clear strategy. It’s understandable. Tactics are easier to understand. …

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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 of negligence. Virtually every CEO, CMO, VP (you get the point) has an intimate understanding …

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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 might be rushing to sign up for a Snapchat profile if you don’t already have …

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Why you should always give your social media videos subtitles

One of the biggest challenges facing anyone in PR or marketing is figuring out how to break through the noise to reach your customers. That’s why we’re all constantly keeping an eye out for the next big thing that people still find inherently interesting and different, which for the last year on social media has been video. Why the sudden increase? Two main reasons: 1.) it’s getting easier and cheaper to produce high-quality video content, and 2.) social networks like Facebook have made it easier to post and share videos on their platforms. It’s working too. Video content has a …

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Why (and how) you should be converting your video subtitles to blog posts

Arguably the most common challenge facing any organization implementing a content marketing strategy is developing enough content to “feed the engine.” Blog posts – like this one – are great content tools to drive traffic to your website. But they aren’t always the easiest to write – whether because of writer’s block or simply not enough hours in the day. Slice the turkey! We’re big believers in getting the most mileage out of your content and finding ways to divide and repurpose larger pieces like an e-book and white paper into a series of accompanying blogs posts, social updates, etc. …

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Online Video Content – Immediacy Versus Quality

For many veteran videographers, production quality was (and still is) sacrosanct. Any deviation from this was subject to screaming, projectiles, public ridicule – you get the idea. But part of this belief stemmed from the extreme disparity in cameras and sound equipment. The end product could look and sound horrendous or professionally done, without much for anything in between. Over the last decade though, the average smartphone is now capable of capturing video that rivals the most expensive cameras from a generation ago. Not only that, but people’s expectations for video content has changed. Some of the most shared and …

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PR may be becoming more like marketing, but that shouldn’t change our strategy

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the merging of public relations and marketing.* Even here at Hodges, some of our most successful work over the past few years has been for those clients who’ve charged us with identifying leads and supporting sales (ya know, kind of like marketing). Which shouldn’t be a surprise. Consumers are more jaded than ever with traditional marketing strategies, instead drawn to compelling stories and content designed to entertain and inform, rather than explicitly sell. PR pros also are relishing the fact that we finally have clear, quantifiable data that can illustrate our successes, …

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The (Mobile) Medium IS the Message

It’s been over 50 years since Marshall McLuhan famously stated, “The medium is the message,” kicking off countless arguments about whether that’s true. It’s my impression that as PR people, we have a bias toward the message. But technology’s rapid evolution, especially the past few years, has dramatically impacted how we communicate, tipping the scales toward the medium. Arguably the biggest example of this – the proliferation of mobile devices. Increase of mobile devices At first, smartphones were a secondary means for accessing the internet. Great for a quick check-in while you’re out and about, but definitely not the preferred …

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