February 5, 2017
Help Explore Best Practices for Leading Inter-Departmental Collaboration
By Kirsten Whitten, adjunct lecturer of communication and public relations at Curry College, Stonehill College and Regis College, Ph.D. candidate of Regent University and PRSA Boston Member
Public relations (PR) publications and conferences nationwide are focusing on the importance of staying relevant in today’s collaborative environment. Last year’s PRSA Strategic Collaboration Conference focused on “multidisciplinary knowledge, actionable approaches and critical skills” necessary to become and stay significant to an organization’s communications strategies”.
This was also a topic of discussion at PRSA’s Annual Northeast District Conference (PRXNE) in Boston in June 2016. During this assembly, the panelists in the C-Suite Success discussion focused on the importance of education and leadership in working with c-suite executives. Moderator Carl Langsenkamp, Senior Marketing Manager for Xerox Corp. asked panelists Duane Brozek, Senior Corporate Communications and Public Relations Executive for Epson America, and Jane Carpenter, head of Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Wayfair, how they position themselves as leaders in collaborative planning across the organizations they represent. Jane pointed out the importance of “integrating with marketing to work together for unity in brand infinity”. Duane said he, “positions [himself] as a partner [by] making sure he is a part of the [c-suite] conversation”.
One area where PR professionals can impress corporate executives is in social media relations. Since public relations and corporate communication professionals have had primary responsibility for social media monitoring and participation since its inception (USC Annenberg, 2012, 2014), it seems plausible that they could leverage this expertise to take a leadership role in planning these responsibilities across the organizations they represent. But to take advantage of this opportunity, industry experts point out that PR executives need to act more boldly. As Fred Cook, Director of the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations and CEO of Golin, said recently in a PRWeek interview, “My outlook in the future of PR is simply that PR needs more balls and I translate balls to mean courage“.
As a PR professional, educator, and Ph.D. student, I wondered about the current state of this situation and what type of guidance is available for PR executives to answer this call. I found that a handful of prominent PR companies and scholars have offered models for guiding collaborative efforts, but most of these do not focus on leveraging social media expertise as the guiding principle. Therefore, it seemed reasonable to survey PR, corporate communication and social media executives to explore what types of leadership styles and collaborative planning practices have resulted in successful social media integration efforts. If you would like to help answer this question for our industry, please take this 8-minute survey: www.SurveyMonkey.com/r/SocialMediaCollaboration.
My hope is that the results of this study will unveil specific strategies and methods that PR executives can use in their quest to lead successful collaboration of social media efforts across the organizations they represent. Also, please feel free to comment to this post and share your own experiences in leading social media initiatives across functions
June 10, 2016
Bill Gates was right. Content is king.
It’s been 20 years since Bill Gates published his infamous “Content is King” essay on Microsoft’s website, accurately predicting “…content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” Today, content marketing firms like 72Point are engaging audiences, inspiring earned media and creating points of entry to businesses everywhere.
We recently caught up with 72Point’s Vice President of Strategy & Client Services Mindy Gibson and asked her about the process of creating content and feeding the media beast.
Why should infographics be a part of my strategy?
It’s actually not about whether infographics should exclusively or specifically be included in your strategy. It’s about the broader category of visual assets – and the “why” is digital media demand. Each visual type – infographic, video, animation or interactive -contributes to digital news outlets’ success metrics, such as dwell time. Some outlets require stories be accompanied by videos because they enable pre-roll ad insertion.
Visual assets help sell the content story of the story too, as it tells the story from multiple angles and can determine which outlets you’re pitching, and what your budget can support. We advise all our clients that integrating visuals increases the likelihood their story will get picked up, and the absence of visuals decreases their chances.
How can a PR poll be used to increase brand awareness?
A PR survey is first and foremost about news generation, with earned media as its primary goal. A survey-supported news story is therefore no different in its role increasing brand awareness than any other type of earned media initiative. The better the concept behind the story, the more media earned. Surveys have the advantage of being conversation starters. The more talk-ability, the more “legs” the story will have with other media outlets and, so importantly, as part of the social conversation.
Are PR surveys only for earned media news generation or do they have paid media applications?
While PR surveys have been traditionally used for earned media coverage, the basic principles can certainly be applied to creating paid media content. The results of a compelling survey with reference to brand but not banging readers over the head with brand help branded content and other paid advertising feel less “branded” which is a good thing. One thing we’ve learned with the growth of paid media is that consumers do not want to be “sold to”. They want to be informed, entertained and engaged but not sold. This is particularly true for younger consumers. Research is informative, and if done well, the results can be entertaining and engaging. We see our clients reaching to us more often for content to support paid media initiatives, and can track social media shares resulting directly from the story and assets and provide that information in our post-project coverage books but we don’t dissect it nor do we track the social media initiatives our clients control using the same content.
Is email still relevant in the age of social media?
At the risk of giving my age away, I am not a millennial and so grew up in business before social media had business applications and long before it had any life application at all. Without intended reference to any current political story, in a business setting, email is absolutely relevant. Email is how I communicate regularly with colleagues and clients of ALL ages and generations. It is still the most efficient, effective and private method of business communication – if anything is actually really private. I do not foresee myself IM’ing business communications. That said, the use of email for social communication is already irrelevant to younger adults and future business applications of email may not be far behind – whether I like it or not.
Mindy Gibson is a Boston University grad, and a strategic and creative media executive with domestic, multicultural and global content and communications experience in charge of strategy and client relations at 72Point.US.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author or the individual being interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PRSA Boston, PRSA National, staff or board of directors of either organization.