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Is This The Worst Logo Update Of 2013?

Is This The Worst Logo Update Of 2013? | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
The Appalachian State Mountaineers have just unveiled a new logo and it looks like a deranged Simpsons version of Abe Lincoln. What were they thinking?
Alexa Hillery's insight:
This is a very interesting perspective on brand change, or at least rebranding your organization. I just read another article about the trending change in design recently and the fact that flat design is more popular now. This article notes that retro logos are very trendy especially with sports teams. While this is a fun change, Appalachian State University took retro a little too far. App State changed their logo (which was pretty cool to begin with) to "drunk Abraham Lincoln's evil twin." It looks like someone drew this logo on Microsoft Paint, not a modern twist on a retro logo. This is the ugly logo that everyone laughs about after they change it. The reason they changed it permanently was because "students liked the retro change" but I don't think students thought it was going to be a lasting thing. This could be a marketing tactic and a way to just make more money with people purchasing new gear with the retro logo on it. While this is mostly a marketing issue, this is their reputation and currently they have the reputation of the worst logo update of 2013. Chances are, they won't sell many shirts with this ugly logo, which will affect everyone in the department. This would be an example of integrated marketing communications (Guth & Marsh, p 169). The public relations department at App State is having to deal with the marketing department's decision to change the logo. They will have to respond to all the questions and figure out a way to fix the issues they are having. How many potential freshmen are going to want to go to a school with an ugly mascot? I also think that App State isn't thinking about all of their publics. They are a recently converted NCAA Division 1 school, which means that people other than students at their school are going to be more invested in their mascot. They need to focus more on their outward special publics (Guth & Marsh, p 142). A lot of people might only know App State by the tiny picture of their mascot on Sports Center. It's analogous to changing your profile picture often; it is discouraged because people won't recognize your profile. I think people won't realize this logo even is App State because it's so drastically different from their previous one. I am surprised that App State changed their logo, but I am not surprised at the negative reaction from their publics. It doesn't seem like App State really thought about the consequences of their change, but I wonder if they will have any reactive media relations because of all the negative feelings toward "Victory Yosef" (Guth & Marsh, p 114). So far, they have just been supporting the change and saying that all of their students like it.
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4 Apostrophe Mistakes to Avoid « PR Fuel – Public Relations News & PR Tips

4 Apostrophe Mistakes to Avoid « PR Fuel – Public Relations News & PR Tips | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it

Via HighPoint IELTS Prep
Alexa Hillery's insight:
It almost embarrasses me that this is something PR professionals would have to be told but...mind your apostrophes!
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10 Surprising Social Media Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Your Social Strategy

10 Surprising Social Media Statistics That Will Make You Rethink Your Social Strategy | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
“Know what the fastest-growing demographic on Twitter is? Or how many new members join LinkedIn every second? The answers will surprise you!”
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Don’t be the James Franco of corporate communications

Don’t be the James Franco of corporate communications | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it

"I wonder how many corporate communicators can be guilty of acting like dilettantes when it comes to their jobs. Being a dilettante might sound glamorous, but really, you’re not getting anything done."


Via Thomas Faltin
Alexa Hillery's insight:

I actually saw this article on Twitter and retweeted it just to make sure that I wouldn’t forget about it for my scoop.it page. The point of this article is just like the title hints: Don’t be the James Franco of corporate communications. James Franco is described as a “dilettante”, or someone who does something just for the sake of doing something.

The first point they say is to not do everything. If your company is on every social media outlet and you’re managing all of them, chances are you’re not doing all of them well. Levco suggests using Google Analytics to find out what people are actually reading. “You don’t have to be everywhere, especially if your audience isn’t even there. “Focus on what is working, and if you need to scale back, do so! “A strategy can mean scaling back. There’s no shame in that.”

Your company isn’t good at everything, and you shouldn’t tout to be so. Talk about the things your company is good at rather than claiming that you’re great at everything. They compare this to Franco’s poetry writing attempts. (He should stick to acting.) They also note that you should make sure that when you hire someone, they are not too busy with other clients to care about your organization. This section is more about a corporation as a whole, but it can be applied to PR as well. If you are going to tie your company with a philanthropic organization, make sure that philanthropy really cares that you are giving to them and that it will also benefit your corporation. You don’t want to get mixed in with all the other organizations giving to them as well. This will also make sure that the philanthropy is vested in your corporation’s success. They become stakeholders in your corporation and that will be more people helping to make your company a success (Guth, Marsh 142). This would be an example of social exchange theory (Guth, Marsh 142).

The last point is a good tip for all PR professionals. In a job, you might wear many hats and have a lot of things to do. There’s not much you can do about this, but managing your tasks really can help. “Each morning, make a list of high-priority tasks.” Levco also says to shut down your Gchat and your personal Facebook page. Be committed to the tasks that you have on a busy day.

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How Shoppers Use Mobile Phones in Stores

How Shoppers Use Mobile Phones in Stores | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it

Just under one-third (30%) of US shoppers and 40% of UK shoppers use their smartphones when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, according to recent study by Usablenet.


Via Jeff Domansky
Alexa Hillery's insight:

This article explains how shoppers use their phone when they are in a store. Most consumers are messaging or emailing a friend (I know that’s what I’m always doing when I am in a store), but a majority of consumers are also using social networks. The surprising statistic for me was that 51% of responders in the US said that they were checking customer reviews of products! Along with this, 48% of shoppers said they would be receptive to receiving messages and promotions for a store to their phone if they could opt-in to the program.

Consumers are using their phones more and more now to shop and look up if a product is “good” or not. Simple marketing (read: deceptive) is not going to work anymore. Cheap products that break or rip after one use are going to be commented about on Amazon or reviewed on Target’s website, and consumers trust their fellow consumers. Personally, when I look to purchase something new, I go to my favorite blogger’s website, see what she has said about the product, and then go to read the reviews on store websites. This could be a good thing or a bad thing for companies.

Center et al touched on the fact that there is a link between reputation and marketing. Since so many people are online and on their smartphones in stores, if a store does not have a good online presence or positive reviews, their reputation is going to suffer. Center et al says, “As ‘social networking’ or ‘buzz marketing’ continues to grow, the reputation of a company and its brands will play an even greater role in the word-of-mouth communication around products and services.” They could not have been more right. Rather than word-of-mouth, it has turned into word-of-Walmart-review.

A way that companies could utilize these statistics and information to their advantage could be creating an opt-in text service or email service for their customers. When I get a rewards card or a rewards email, it makes me want to use the service more. I got an email about taking a simple survey for a website that I have rented a dress from, and they gave me $20 off my next rental…which prompted me to purchase a rental that day!

There is an app called Shopkick that would be perfect for stores to make the most out of these facts. Shopkick automatically checks you in to a store once you walk in the door. You earn reward points just from walking in! You can also earn more points by looking through products the store has to offer and by scanning the barcode of certain items in the store. This is a genius public relations tool because it keeps people in your store, and the longer you are in the store, the more you are going to buy (generally). Public relations isn’t about making the sale, but like Center et al quoted, “Nothing happens until a sale is made.” Also, once you get enough points, you can get awesome prizes like a Starbucks gift card or a gift card to Tiffany’s. 

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The Effectiveness of Blogging

The Effectiveness of Blogging | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
It’s true you can’t measure brand awareness and reputation, but if you use your blog to achieve those two goals, the revenue will follow.
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7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook

7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
"A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it."
Via Thomas Faltin
Alexa Hillery's insight:
This article touches on things that people should not do on Facebook. The title of the article says that it says seven things, but it expands on much more. This is not necessarily a PR tip, but knowing what NOT to do can be as helpful as knowing what to do. It will also help you keep Facebook friends when you are a PR professional and want to use those connections. The first part of this article talks about how the author noticed his friend's Facebook status that was talking about how great his year had been. It ended with "What a world" when really a lot of the things that he had done were because he had connections with really cool (famous) people. The author showed that there are two reasons you post a status: to serve yourself or to do something positive for the reader. There is some overlap, and those kinds of statuses are okay as well as the ones that do something positive for the readers. Status updates that only serve the author are not appropriate to post on Facebook. "To be unannoying, a Facebook status typically has to be one of two things: 1) Interesting/Informative 2) Funny/Amusing/Entertaining" The article says that if your status is not one of those two things, it typically serves at least one of the following five motivations: image crafting, narcissism, attention craving, jealousy inducing, and loneliness. The first way to be insufferable on Facebook is to brag. There are different types of bragging like the humble brag, the 'I'm living quite the life' brag, and the brag about how great your relationship is. The second way is to post a cryptic cliffhanger of a status like "This cannot be happening..." and then not explaining why or over sharing in the comments section. The third type is a literal status update where the person posting tells you that she went to the gym, then ate a banana, and is now going to study. The author provided a great visual that showed four layers of information: the mundane everyday activities, the things your mom cares about like having a good work-week, the things that your good friends care about, and the things that everyone cares about. Only the last two are not annoying. The fourth way to be insufferable is to post a private message on this public forum. This would include any private jokes or personal messages. The fifth way is to have an outpouring of love on your page to no one in particular like an Oscar's acceptance speech. People post these because they are attention craving, and the author says the only time these are acceptable are during holidays like Thanksgiving. Personally, I think these types of status updates are always insufferable, but that is definitely a personal opinion. As for a Facebook page for a client, it would probably be a good idea to post a status about the holidays. In Center et al, one type of community programming is to have programs around holidays (52). Posting an incredibly obvious opinion is the sixth way to be insufferable. This is an opinion that everyone has used. The example the author gave was "I'm disappointed about some things about Obama's first term, but I'm happy he was reelected and hopeful about what his second term can bring." The last way is to post a status trying to enlighten your Facebook friends. Maybe it is a Bible verse or a Buddha quote, but this narcissistic way of thinking annoys your Facebook friends to no end. This article was humorous, and the stick figure pictures helped to make it an easy read. Facebook can help make your company seem more available (Center et al 52) which can help with community relations. It is good to not be that annoying organization on Facebook.
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A scientific guide to posting tweets, Facebook posts, emails and blog posts at the best time

A scientific guide to posting tweets, Facebook posts, emails and blog posts at the best time | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
“This post was originally published on the Buffer blog.We’re pretty keen on optimal timing for social media here at Buffer, and I figured it was high time I collected ...”
Via Marylene Delbourg-Delphis
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The 34 types of blog post that work wonders for Econsultancy

The 34 types of blog post that work wonders for Econsultancy | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
We’ve been blogging at Econsultancy for the past six years and it has been great for our company. I have long held the view that all businesses should have a blog.
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Planning for a Social-Media Crisis

Planning for a Social-Media Crisis | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
“ Consider these practical points to help minimize the damage left to manage.”
Alexa Hillery's insight:
As social media becomes more prevalent, more crises happen and are managed on social media. This article gives advice on how to handle a crisis on social media and gives tips that the author, Kevin Allen, thinks should always be followed. “There’s no perfect formula,” Allen notes, “but this infographic…gives you a nice outline as a jumping-off point,, particularly in regards to the all-important factor of reacting to the crisis quickly.” The first step Allen points out is to have a plan. This goes along with the crisis communication plans in Adventures in Public Relations (Guth, Marsh 299). Guth and Marsh point out that you should know who the crisis manager and the crisis management team is, which goes along with Allen’s point of having a clear list of who needs to be notified if there is a crisis that arises. The crisis management team should be some of the first to know because they are going to be the ones working on resolving the crisis. The second step is to pay attention to the conversation going on about your company on different social media outlets. Allen notes a good way to listen to the conversation outside of your brand could be a tool like HootSuite. Along with paying attention to what people are saying would be the third step, to know what a crisis is. You should find out how the crisis started, how the person who started the crisis was affected, and why others are rallying behind the issue (Allen). Then, you should take the fourth step and acknowledge it as fast as you can. Center et al note that it is important to know how people respond to issues. They say 1% of people are immediately favorable and 1% are immediately unfavorable, which means they have their minds made up as soon as they hear about an issue. Forty-five percent of people lean favorable or unfavorable, so they have an opinion but will not really do anything about it. The remaining 8% are opinion leaders and are open to discussing their opinion on an issue. I think this has changed since social media has become more prevalent because it is easier for people to share their opinion. Out of the final steps, I would say building an area to house information is one of the most important, other than keeping your cool, because rumors about your company will be spreading through social media easily if there is a crisis. Having a central location that people can go to check the facts will be useful in stopping the spread of rumors and informing people of the ways that you are handling the crisis.
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10 Yetis Ultimate List of Top 10 Lists - PR Guide For Public Relations Newbies - 150 Essential Tips

10 Yetis Ultimate List of Top 10 Lists - PR Guide For Public Relations Newbies - 150 Essential Tips | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
10 Yetis Ultimate List of Top 10 Lists - PR Guide For Public Relations Newbies - 150 Essential Tips
Via Pedro Da Silva
Alexa Hillery's insight:
A great list for students to quickly look for! Top 10 of 15 important topics for a newb in PR.
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Facebook and Public Relations: It's all in the Strategy - PR Newswire (press release)

When it comes to using any type of social media for your public relations campaign, strategic planning is essential.

Alexa Hillery's insight:

Social media is an increasingly popular way to reach one’s public. As Dr. V. often says, the internet is sort of a Wild West right now. This is a good thing because we are all learning together, but it can also be a bad thing if you don’t know how to correctly connect with your audience on social media. This press release shows how to cross Facebook and public relations with a successful PR strategy.

Having a clear call to action is the first tip to your strategy. This is very similar to a typical strategy, but when it is on Facebook, it needs to be explicitly stated in a way like “Click here”, “Find out more”, “Go to…”. Center et al notes that some of the proven maxims that every practitioner must know are that a degree of clarity, simplicity and symbolism has an effect on success of message acceptance and that explicitly stated messages produce more behavior than long explanations (5). You have to explain what their desired behavior should be because your public won’t sit there and think about it long enough to figure it out, and once they do, they probably won’t produce the desired behavior (Center et al 14).

Providing human interaction is the second tip that you should follow. Many companies have set up automatic responses to posts on social media, but people see right through that. If someone notices that, it could be more detrimental to your brand than not replying to the posts in the first place. Center et al defines public relations as a condition common to every individual and organization in the human environment that refers to their reputation and relationship with all other members of the environment (9). Now we have added robots to that mix, and it adds an extra level of difficulty. Humans appreciate contact from other humans because they feel like you took the time to actually respond to their post or message. This will encourage more people to like or engage with your brand online.

The last tip is to provide value to interactions with your brand. If you engage with your public online and give them reasons to visit your page, they are going to. Stores may offer discounts to get people to follow them on Instagram or Facebook. In Student Government, we give away meal cards to the Morris University Center as incentives to people following or liking our page and sharing the message to others. This gets them on our page and from there we can keep them engaged in other ways. This author notes that, “The fact is that giving back will help to encourage engagement from Facebook users.”

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The 30-Second Rule: How to Create Unforgettable Presentations

The 30-Second Rule:  How to Create Unforgettable Presentations | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
Whether your audience is your boss, your banker, a small team of direct reports, a ballroom full of conference attendees, or thousands of people worldwide connected via teleconference, your success depends on being able to make a great presentation.
Alexa Hillery's insight:
When thinking about PR tips and tricks, I often think about writing press releases or getting people interested in my Facebook page. Public relations is not just this; it is a lot more. One facet of public relations that might not be thought about as much would be public speaking. Public relations professionals might give a speech to one or two people that they report to, or they could speak to a room full of hundreds of people. They have to be good enough at public speaking to grab and keep attention and get their message across to their audience. The steps that this article gives are much like the steps in the public relations process (Center et al 11). Brainstorming ideas is the first step. This is analogous to doing research. Brainstorming can be a very rough process and often, people do not brainstorm in the correct way. Brainstorming should be a natural, open process that has no criticism attached to it. Ideas will not naturally flow if people are constantly talking about why they won’t work. You do have to have a starting point, however. Economy suggests that you consider your audience. “Who will be there? What do you want them to understand at the end of the presentation, and what impact do you want to have?” Next, you should write a basic outline of what you want your speech to consist of. This will help with the actual speech writing process, and it will narrow your brainstorming down a little bit. This would be the planning stage of the PR process (Center et al 11). Your outline should be what it might have been in middle school when you were writing a five-paragraph paper. You need an introduction, three main points, and a conclusion to recap what you have talked about. This will also help you be able to have a “bang” at the beginning of the speech to hook your audience. You have 30 seconds or less to hook them, so make it count with a joke, funny cartoon, or impressive statistics. Once you connect everything and fill in the details, make sure you polish and practice your speech! This will make the speech seem free flowing and natural. Also, turn up the energy during while you are speaking. Let your personality shine through and keep the audience interested in what you have to talk about. Don’t read straight from the script and summarize your main points clearly to conclude!
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How a Winery Uses Social Media to Increase Sales and Brand Loyalty

How a Winery Uses Social Media to Increase Sales and Brand Loyalty | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it

Excellent case study on how a Napa Valley winery hit on a winning social media formula that pays dividends in both increased sales and brand loyalty. How can wineries use social media to increase sales when the law prohibits them from giving away product samples?

Alexa Hillery's insight:

 This case study caught my attention because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love wine? Whitehall Lane, a winery in Napa Valley has been using that fact to increase their social media presence. However, there is just one catch. Due to the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), they are regulated on their advertising. And the TTB considers social media advertising. While most companies would give away their products on social media, Whitehall Lane cannot do that and has had to get creative.

Whitehall Lane has done three things: 1) partnering with complementary brands, 2) rewarding loyal fans and 3) educating and telling stories vs. selling. They identified that certain brands “fit” with their objectives for contests. Instead of giving away wine, they give away wine glasses with their logo on them. They have also given away Whitehall Lane olive oil. The case study said that they also have retweeted content on Twitter and Instagram of brands that complement them in Napa Valley. This could be comparable to choosing a public issue campaign for your company, but less of a liability. You have to think about who your target audience is and how liable your brand would be if something bad happened with this brand (Center et al, p 208). Because Whitehall Lane is promoting other local businesses, there probably will not be much liability to them. The winery pairing up with a nearby inn makes sense and fits logically into their mission and objectives (Center et al, p 209).

Whitehall Lane does not want to have a “refer a friend” system of advertising. They would rather reward their loyal fans and keep them coming back for more. Instead of going out and getting new email addresses, they use contests to collect the email addresses of their current fans. Whitehall is out for quality, not quantity, and it has been paying off. The direct sales manager of Whitehall Lane said that since they have authentic followers, they don’t even have to ask them to share their content because they will do it on their own. One post that they showed had a chair with a wine glass holder and the caption, “The perfect lounge chair. Who wants one?” Without offering anything or asking for a like or a share, they got 429 likes and 145 shares (as of Dec 12, 2012).

They have done a lot of trial and error with their PR strategies. They tried advertising a 2-for-1 special for their tasting room to get people to come in, but this brought in traffic of people who just wanted a free tasting and weren’t looking to purchase wine. They changed their Twitter strategy instead and started posting about wine pairings and fun wine facts. This will get their Twitter fans thinking about that delicious cheese and wine that they have been craving and get them to go out to the winery.

They have experienced more people coming in to the winery and being a part of their club membership where you get a shipping of wine each month (I think my mom has this…). Whitehall Lane thought outside of the box and used simple social media to get the community relations that they wanted. They are reaching out to quality users, which works for them because they are a winery in Napa Valley.

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Mistakes Start-Ups Make the First Year

“ From going out too much to having too many founders, here's what you've been doing wrong.”
Via Rajaraman Raghuraman
Alexa Hillery's insight:
Since my group is doing PR for a start-up company, I always am naturally drawn to articles about start-up organizations. This article shows that start-up organizations may not be able to do public relations the same way as an older organization. It is interesting, but young organizations have to think about the fact that they are young and choose their tactics based on that fact. The article says that start-ups should be cautious about getting press just because or too early. If you don't need less right away, you should not go out and look for it. If you are looking for users and your product is a prototype, you should be cautious of how much press you give it because it could backfire. One good reason to have press is to get money to run your business, but the author of the article says that one ad could be sufficient to raise money. Having more than one cofounder and not too many will help a start-up be successful. This is important to know as a public relations professional that if you are going to do PR for a start-up, you might also have to be a mediator to the cofounders. Going out too much is also an issue start-ups face. There is a fine line between relaxing, going out to promote your start-up, and partying every night. As the PR person for this organization, you are also going to have to act like their parents or clean up the mess when they start to get a bad reputation. This "party person" reputation might make you lose investors because they do not want to invest in an organization with an irresponsible founder. Communicating with your publics effectively is one of the most important things you can do as the PR person for a start-up. The author states, "Keep lines of communication open constantly and force yourself to listen to critics. Learning how to manage people takes work. But if you don't learn how to communicate, you'll destroy your relationships with customers and employees." It is important to remember who your publics are. Who is reading your tweets? Who is reading your blog? Communicate through those means, but know who you are communicating to and what you want to get across to them. The article also talks about not using white lies with their consumers. The author notes that since start-ups are private companies, if journalists do not search too much, their PR person can easily tell white lies. It is important not to do this because it could cause much bigger crises; they will just be delayed by the lies. Doing work for start-ups can give you a good focus to be able to work for organizations like these. St. Louis is a big start-up community which is really cool for PR pros with background work in start-ups. There will be jobs if you have experience and know how to maintain the success of the start-up organization.
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5 Goals of Any Public Relations Campaign

5 Goals of Any Public Relations Campaign | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
“ Public relations is not always complicated, but it does require a certain precision and ability to push the right buttons and say – exactly – the right things.”
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8 Ways to Stay Calm in the Midst of Chaos

8 Ways to Stay Calm in the Midst of Chaos | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it

Via The Learning Factor
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Real-time PR monitoring speeds crisis response

Real-time PR monitoring speeds crisis response | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
Do you miss reports of your company on TV? Monitoring tools allow you to track coverage—and respond—especially when facing negative coverage.
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New-school ways to grab attention with your press releases

New-school ways to grab attention with your press releases | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
If your news items seem stale, try smartening up how you link, adding visuals and encouraging social sharing, to freshen them up.
Alexa Hillery's insight:

Writing a press release is a sensitive thing. You have to make sure you get in all your information while keeping the interest of the gatekeeper. You want your press release to be interesting and fun, which might be hard sometimes because not all topics are interesting or fun. This article gave tips on how to grab attention in your press releases. Once you have their attention, you’re sure to keep it!

One point in particular I thought was interesting was the use of links in a press release. Things are always changing in the world of technology, and as a public relations professional, you have to keep on top of it. A few tips the author points out are embedding links to blogs or websites of people who are mentioned, embedding a call to action, or even putting a Click-to-Tweet link within the press release! The last point was my favorite because that is a quick and easy way for the most important part of you press release to have the opportunity to be released to a larger public. Center et al touch on the fact that media influence is cumulative and long-term, so any positive tweet or post or mention that your client can get is a good thing! (Center et al, 160)

The main power of the media is to make us aware of things, and the media often concentrates on reporting bad news (Center et al, 160). It is going to take you some work to convince the media that they should report on your client’s positive actions. Incorporate storytelling into the press release and make it seem like you’re connecting with the public on a more informal level. If you do that in your press release, it will make the gatekeepers feel more comfortable reading it and they will be able to transfer what you say easily to their media outlet. The more that you can do as a public relations professional to make it easier for your information to be shared, the more your information will be shared.

A final point that this author touches on that I think is important to keep in mind is the use of visuals in your press release. Obviously you do not want it to be obnoxious or distracting from your information, but if it is helpful in getting across your point, it will be useful! It will make it easier for your information to be shared on other outlets such as Pinterest or Facebook.

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Sarah VanSlette's comment, September 15, 2013 8:39 PM
Alexa, this is a fantastic post. You picked some excellent concepts from the book and your writing is impeccable.
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17 Free Apps / Services that I Use to Run My Business

17 Free Apps / Services that I Use to Run My Business | PR Tools of the Trade | Scoop.it
17 Free Apps / Services that I Use to Run My Business http://t.co/g34QCC33eq #photography #arts

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