Posts about Strategic Communications

What is TikTok? Here’s what marketers need to know

I’m hailing it the most cringeworthy social platform yet. But then again, my mom never let me have MySpace. Plus, it’s the first platform where I am older than the primary target audience, so maybe I’m just getting old and crotchety? TikTok. The what Remember Vine? RIP. And how about Musical.ly? Similar to both those ghosts of app pasts, TikTok is an app for making and sharing short videos. In fact, TikTok used to be Musical.ly until it was purchased by the Chinese company, ByteDance and merged into what it is now. In the app, video creators, normal people like …

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Questioning Facebook’s News Desert Designations in Virginia

Virginia is home to 133 daily and weekly newspapers. I know because I work with many of these hyper local outlets on behalf of clients. (I also counted and double-checked with the Virginia Press Association late last year.) I’m questioning Facebook’s latest research into Virginia’s news deserts. To support its new Today In section on the Facebook app, the company is working “to better understand the local news vacuum” and looked at news deserts across the U.S. According to Facebook: To build Today In, we needed to know, for any given community in the US, what local news was available …

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Need a Communications Audit? Answer These 10 Questions to Find Out

I get excited about preliminary meetings with prospective clients. It’s not so much the possibility of helping solve their communications challenges – though I love that – but I like hearing folks tell us their story – how they were founded, what they do better than their competitors, how they came up with their latest big idea? Inevitably, layered within that story are varying degrees of uncertainty. How can we do a better job at communicating who we are to our important constituencies, including sales prospects? How do we make the best use of our limited budget? What should our …

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The College Admissions Scandal: A Lesson in Reputation Management

I was on a long car trip a couple weeks back with an old college friend, and as the miles rolled by, we got a chance to share our perspectives on the issues of the day. He’s among my smartest friends (I tell him he’s easily in the “Top 50”) and works as an international consultant advising technology companies about go-to-market strategies. Like me, he stays up on the news, and despite the fact that we live 3,000 miles from one another, we seem to share common wisdom on many issues. When the topic came to the recent college admissions …

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Help us help you: five things we need from clients to thrive

There have been a few recent client meetings where I’ve had a client stop and ask, “What can we be doing to make our relationship more productive?” That kind of question is music to any PR person’s ears. After all, it takes two to tango, as they say, and any relationship is better when all parties are working to make sure that it’s as effective as possible. If you work with a PR firm or you’re considering working with a partner on PR efforts in the future, here are five ways you can help your collective PR efforts thrive: Help …

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Can you sell and be a storyteller at the same time?

Imagine this scenario. You’re looking at shirts and a salesperson says, “You should definitely buy this shirt. It’s a really great shirt. It’ll keep you cool, and you’ll look so good in it.” Okay, thanks, you know you look good in cotton. But what if that salesperson said, “The other day I was at the Nationals game, and it was 95 degrees outside with zero shade. I wore this shirt and it was so breathable and light. It saved the day.” The latter approach is relatable, it appeals to your emotions, and it makes you want to buy the shirt …

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Writing Woes: The Losing Side of a Particular Punctuation Point

And Now This Important Communications Issue: The Exclamation Point

My eyes caught an article online the other day that included this sentence: “Officials also stated that an innocent 35-year-old passerby who found himself caught up in a long-winded dispute over use of the serial, or Oxford, comma had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.” My first reaction was, “damn, so it’s come to that.” I know many people whose ardor toward their preferred rules of grammar and usage is consummate. But it’s hard to believe such passions would end so tragically. Only upon reading further did I realize I was hoodwinked again by a satirical piece from The Onion. …

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Why NPR’s New Podcast Measurement Tool is Really RAD

In the 15 years since their inception, podcasts haven’t just become a household name, they’ve become a go-to industry for advertisers. In fact, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) 2018 report, podcast advertising revenue grew from $68.6 million in 2015 to $257.4 million in 2017. And the industry is only expected to continue to grow. While it’s clear that podcasts and podcast advertising aren’t going anywhere, we’re seeing a renaissance in how listenership and engagement are measured. For many years, the gold standard for podcast measurement was downloads. And while downloads are great at showing audience size, they don’t …

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Content Marketing is an Organizational Effort

All too often we are approached by clients who struggle to initiate and maintain an ongoing content marketing program. Typically, it’s not that they don’t recognize the value of such a program, it’s more a gnawing fear of how they will find the time to implement what is likely a time-consuming strategy. After all, it’s usually our friends in the marketing and communications departments who often shoulder the entire brunt of the effort, without a lot of help from the rest of their organization. What most don’t realize though is that in order to be successful, they are going to need a …

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Blocking Critics on Facebook Is Not Just Illegal, It’s Bad Business

More than a few years back, we had a client that had an aversion to social media. A small government agency, it was intrigued by the idea of being able to post its news directly to its constituencies on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. After all, such tools were changing – and have changed – the face of public relations and put several target-seeking arrows into the PR quiver. But when the agency realized that citizens would be able to comment on its otherwise oh-so-positive news, it put on the brakes, recoiling over the prospect of John Q. Public not …

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