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Be the PR Star on the Top of the Christmas Tree

By Mia Hays

During the holidays, our time overflows with gift buying and wrapping, holiday parties, family and friends and the revolving door of welcome and not so welcome guests. Our time and focus are split. Therefore, many competitors are “gone skiing,” so to speak, while potential clients are accessing the same material and sites as the rest of the year. This presents you with the perfect opportunity to end your year with a bang. Follow these tips and you’re sure to find more success and cheer this holiday season.

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  1. Don’t stop. The media is scavenging for stories, and now is the time when you may get a story published that may have been normally overlooked. Write an end of the year summary. Review the year with your bookkeeper and a few clients about the year. How did you do financially? How did your clients feel about your performance this past year? Type it up and send it off to an industry trade publication.
  2. If you can’t beat them, join them. Our holidays are flooded with festivities. You can’t avoid them, and if you try, you’re either ignored or deemed a scrooge. Think about it. When you pass a shop front, what grabs your attention? Is it the everyday display sets or those with holiday decorations and lights? The same is true for your business. Create articles, images or blogs that embrace the season. Potential clients and the media will take notice and remember.
  3. Use social media. Always. Everyone wants some vacation time over the holidays, us PR people included. However, that does not mean that we can stop with our social media presence. Plan your posts, pictures and captions in advance, freeing up some time at the peak of the merriment. If you don’t want to be doing the posting manually, then schedule the release by investing in an app like Hootsuite or Spoutsocial that will do it automatically while you are making merry!
  4. Expect to have to follow up with people. Both clients and the media have untraditional schedules and other distractions due to different vacations or abnormal time away from the phone or computer. An extra phone call or reminder email will often help.
  5. Send out New Year’s cards from your business. This not only sets your card apart from the flood of Christmas cards but also reminds people that you are still there when they are looking to start the new year strong.

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Journalism’s Style Monarch: the AP Stylebook

By Mia Hays

When referring to percentages in a press release, blog or article, do you write out p-e-r-c-e-n-t-or use the % symbol? How do you refer to military personnel by title? What about state names and their abbreviations? Is the “Deep South” capitalized in an article or is it “deep south”?

Why should you care, anyway?

All of this and much, much more is covered in the Associated Press Stylebook, a must-have work tool for professionals in the public relations and media industries. We can’t live without it. It sets our standard for consistency and plain old good writing.

Picture courtesy of the Associated Press.

Picture courtesy of the Associated Press.

Associated Press style, or more informally known as AP style, is most commonly used by most print journalists and public relations professionals. Birthed from the need to relay news of the Mexican-American War, the Associated Press was created as an independent news organization when six New York City newspapers combined resources, developing a more efficient way to spread news. The Associated Press has since gained momentum and is now the biggest news organization globally, with its news reports and articles read by people all over the world, every day. Through its success, the Associated Press has created its own style of writing that dominates published media.

As editors, writers, and publishers each make their mark on a piece of work, AP style is essential to maintain consistency in writing. Guidelines for AP writing include capitalization, abbreviation, punctuation, spelling, and numerals. Such rules are made with the intent to ensure accuracy, neutrality, brevity, and clarity.

The first AP style guide was published in 1977. As the language we use and our culture change over time, and new words and phrases are introduced into everyday dialogue and writing, the AP style grows and evolves too. After all, we didn’t have words like “Internet” in 1977. The AP adapts.

Like fashion trends, correct names and ways to reference a group, person, place or thing continually change. Therefore, every so often AP guidelines are revised, and a new edition of the AP Stylebook is published annually in the spring.

My advice to you? Pick up a copy of the latest Associated Press manual from Barnes and Noble or order it online. With the interest of specializing in published media, one needs a copy at hand or, at the very least, to be prepared to thoroughly Google the correct AP grammar and style use before publishing.

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Happy 19th Birthday, Google!

By Mia Hays, Account Executive 

Who was the wife of the 18th president? Don’t know? Google it.

How often each day do we just google the answer for a nagging question? Nineteen years ago yesterday, two Stanford college students created Google in their dorm room. With the goal to organize the seemingly infinite information on the World Wide Web, creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin revolutionized the way the world accesses material.

Initially attracting the attention in academic circles, Google is now used by millions of people everyday. Want a phone number or email of the editor of the city’s most influential newspaper? There’s no more need to rifle through the Yellow Pages or call the office and ask around in hopes of coming across a friendly receptionist. Instead, we Google it. Moreover, if you need to know demographic of an area of a client’s business, there is no need to conduct your own field research before beginning your media campaign. Simply Google it.

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            Google’s influence in the media is undeniable. Each year Google has taken in more advertising dollars than American print media. This may be due to its discarding of stories from rival search engines and prioritizing its own material and paying customers. It may also be because almost 75 percent of the world uses it Google. Richard Gingas, Google director of News and Social Projects, depicted Google as a method “to connect the dots between a consumer’s interests and informational needs and the most relevant available knowledge from the best possible sources.” (1). All we as consumers need is a keyword in mind and Google does the rest, compiling all the most relevant and important sources for us.

            So, how can we freely attract publicity using Google? When it comes to social media, Google rather surprisingly states that it does not take into account a profile’s importance or influence. However, if you include links to a credible source in your posts, the links will then boost your search ranking within Google. In addition, when frequently searching brand names or companies, social media profiles are among the top results. Therefore, make yourself available on every social media platform you can properly and professionally maintain. Ensure that each profile is clean as it may very possibly be one of your respective client’s first impressions. Making an accurate profile description of your product or person, including keywords that people would use to search for you, is also crucial. Be sure to update your profile as well every few months, keeping it current. Google creates an opportunity for news and information to gain an amount of publicity that did not previously exist, so take advantage of it!

Thank you, Google, and happy 19th birthday!

(1) Jordan, Brooke. "Google's Impact on Journalism." UFSocial , 26 Oct. 2016. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

(2) Ratcliff, Christopher. "What are the top 10 most popular search engines?." Search Engine Watch, 8 Aug. 2016. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.

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6 PR Tips for a More Effective Social Media Presence

By Sarah Glasco

If you want to grow your business and your brand, tackling the mammoth that is social media is essential. Your social media presence can do wonders for expanding your customer base as well as increasing brand confidence, as long as it is properly and carefully managed. The following tips can be applied to any business, large or small--implement them and watch your business grow!

1. Make sure you’re on as many networks as realistically possible. There are hundreds of social media platforms out there in the digital world--pick the ones that will benefit your company the most. Be selective, but not too frugal; the more networks you’re on, the more visibility and influence your business benefits from. Just make sure that you aren’t on so many platforms that you are incapable of consistently updating each of them. At the very least, make sure you have an active presence across the basic networks: LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

2. Keep your posts simple. The most effective and widely read social media posts are the ones with clean, uncomplicated images and straightforward yet informative captions. It’s also better to use visuals instead of plain text--research shows that tweets including images are retweeted about 150 times more than “plaintext” tweets.

3. Adjust your format depending on the platform. You’re allowed 140 characters on Twitter--keep those broadcasts short. Videos work well on Facebook, visually pleasing photos are the most effective for Instagram, and LinkedIn is the best place to post a link to a website or write a long-winded opinion or appreciation piece. Even though the format is different across platforms, you should still be delivering the same content and the same message.

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4. Know your audience. Surely your business has a target audience in mind, and it is that audience that your social media presence should intend to deliver information to. For example, if your business caters to teens and young adults, it would be beneficial to be aware of common internet lingo and trends to utilize in your social media posts. Using #hashtags can also increase engagement in younger audiences. Also, it is essential to know when your audience is usually online, so that you can post information when your followers are most likely to see it. Tools like Tweriod, Google Analytics, and Insights for Facebook provide information about when the most of  your followers are online--this is your target posting time.

5. Be consistent. Once you identify when your audience is usually online, schedule regular posts. Know what you are going to post and when you are going to post it, and be sure to stick to your plan. You can’t expect the same audience engagement if you don’t post anything for months and then suddenly switch to multiple posts in a day--remaining consistent boosts customer engagement because your posts are now aligned with audience expectations. Ideally, you should be posting across all your networks at least a few times every week.

6. Actively respond to and engage with your followers. This can be difficult for large     businesses, but it really is the best way to increase brand confidence. Start by following back your customers. Post responses to their comments on your photo, and say something short and sweet on their posts every once in awhile. Thank them for “liking” your content. Not only does this show your customer base that you really do care--it increases your visibility to all of your followers’ followers, boosting the growth of your audience.

With these six simple tricks, your business’s social media presence will improve positive brand association and will increase visibility. Social media can be extremely intimidating, but with the right tools and these PR tips, you will be well on your way to conquering the challenges these platforms pose.

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Nothing Is "Off the Record"

We’ve all heard this term before: “Off the record.”

So, what does this mean when referring to a source that is being interviewed by a reporter, blogger or publicity writer?

Who knows! That’s the point.

“Off the record” isn’t defined universally. It doesn’t mean the same thing to different people. This is why it’s better to avoid trusting or publishing anything at all that is “off the record.”

In our publicity world, nothing is “off the record.” In the materials we write and publish, we seek and use information that can be verified by a trusted source. We don’t want rumors, we don’t want unverified information and we don’t want information from someone who isn’t willing to back it up with their name. We want facts. We want truth. We don’t deal in the business of “fake news.” Neither should you.

We often see people in the community - from politicians to actors to business leaders - facing a public relations nightmare and then being forced to seek crisis PR services because they said something they thought was “off the record” but wasn’t, and it wound up on the front page.

Here are four “best practices” interview tips:

1.      Don’t go “off the record.” If an interviewer asks you something that is “off the record,” respond by saying it’s your personal policy not to discuss anything “off the record.” Stick to this no matter how hard they may try to pry “off the record” material from you. And, don’t offer up any information that you want kept secret or that you think is “off the record.”

2.      Never say anything you don’t want published or you don’t want other people to hear or read. Remember that you are being interviewed for the media or a public relations company, and what you say is being written down with the intent that it’s fair game for publication. A blogger or reporter may not publish the information at all, they may publish the information and not use your name, or they might publish the information and find other sources to support it. Overall, for the source, it’s better to avoid the risk and steer clear of questionable material.

3.      Be prepared. Know the topic of the interview in advance and have at least five talking points ready before stepping into your interview. Keep in mind that you were invited for an interview because people want to learn about you, your skills and services, so be organized and share what’s important.  Don’t ramble off on tangents.

4.      Be conscious of your interviewer’s language. Pay attention to where your interviewer is leading a conversation and whether their language is controversial or a question is inviting a controversial response. It is common to want to please the interviewer and give a great interview, but make sure not to agree or repeat any negative statements, insults or controversial language that they use, because you could be trapped into being perceived as agreeing with it and saying it too. A great interview is about showcasing your talents and sharing the information that you want published – without wrecking your reputation.

 

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PR Tips for Every Business

By Kelly Carlson

Every entrepreneur and business owner needs to know the basics of public relations (PR). The following tips apply to all companies and organizations – large and small. Implement them and you will see your business benefit in a short time.

PR tips for every entrepreneur and business owner:

PHOTO: www.projectpalermo.com

PHOTO: www.projectpalermo.com

1.   First you need to answer this question: Why do you want the publicity? There needs to be a direction before you embark on your PR journey. Reflect and see what kind of publicity you want for your company or product. Ask yourself – what value, feature, or expertise would I like to showcase? What is newsworthy about our company or product? Who is my target audience?

2.  Time to strategize: The goal is to build an esteemed reputation where, in your field, you are the expert and your company is viewed as the gold standard. Begin with research. Read, read, read! Look at daily newspapers, business journals, and trade publications.  Participate in industry-related social media, such as LinkedIn groups or special Facebook pages. Follow your clients’ social media – and your prospects’ social media. Take note of the comments and questions, and see what is trending within your industry. Gathering this information will allow you to see what could be compelling topics for your business as you begin to brainstorm what you would like to send to the media.

3.  Networking: Making connections is important. However, so is the adage “time is money.” So, when getting involved in your community, you want to make connections that last. Remember, networking is listening; networking isn’t about selling (1). Be sure to put on your listening ears because those conversations will build your reputation - "reputation is the new currency." (1)

4.   Create a media list: In what outlets, such as publications, television channels, and radio stations, do you want your news to appear? Research and gather contacts for these outlets. Make sure to keep a file on each contact with email, phone number, and any other vital information you feel is helpful. Once you have created your media list, update it regularly so you always have a current contact.

5.   Write a press release on your news item. (Refer back to #1.) You can find sample press releases with a simple Google search. Once your press release is prepped and ready, send it out to the media!

Sounds do-able, right? It also can be a lot of fun. Start your PR campaign today!

 

(1) Pollard, Catriona. "5 PR Tips For Entrepreneurs." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 June 2016. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.

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The Press Release: A Staple of Any Effective Publicity Strategy

By Jennifer Goddard Combs 

Those who have worked in publicity, marketing and the media for many years know that while the medium and the messages may change over time, one thing that has remained a constant - from the print era into the digital age – is the value of a press release.

A well-written press release remains an important publicity tool, even in the digital age. Here’s why:

It all starts with the basic information: What’s your news? A press release showcases what’s new at your company: your new service, your latest hire, your new product or your latest award - whatever you want to tell the public, business community, specific industry or targeted audience. You need to put it down, in writing, so others will know who you are, what you offer, what your news is, and how to contact you. Gathering the information and writing a press release is the starting point.

Credit: Zerbor/Shutterstock 

Credit: Zerbor/Shutterstock 

What’s in your press release? A solid press release should have a catchy headline, state your news, include a quote from someone important such as the company president, and include contact information for a source that can provide more information. This contact person’s phone number and email also should be provided on the release. In addition, it helps to provide a website link and a professional image if possible, and if it’s for the Web, maybe a video or multiple images. For instance, if the release is announcing a new hire, a nice color headshot of the new employee in a jpeg format will help get attention.

How is a press release used? In the old days when newspapers and magazines and other print publications were the only media in town, a press release would be sent to the newspaper either by snail mail, fax or later, email. Today, press releases are sent mostly via email to a host of places, including newspapers, newsletters, businesses, city and other government officials, local business organizations, online news providers, television networks, industry trade publications in print and online, and news or talk radio stations. You can target your audience as well to reach a niche of customers.

Press releases in the digital age: Press releases can be posted on a company’s social media pages (such as Facebook) and cut down to 140 characters or less and sent out as a Tweet on Twitter. You can use it on LinkedIn as a news update and you can include the news from the release in your company newsletter or e-newsletter. In addition, you can post it to your website to make it more interesting, updated and visual. Your website can have a “news” link, and this is where you can post all those press releases. In some cases, websites of other news organizations will allow you to upload your press release to their site as well. You can blast the press release in an email to business colleagues and clients. A press release can go many places.

There’s no doubt about it: you get a lot of bang for your buck with a well written, interesting press release.

 

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What is the definition of free media?

By Kelly Carlson

Free media consists of traditional and social media. Traditional media includes television, radio, and print, such newspapers and magazines. Social media includes platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Today the advantages of free media have been a hot topic because the current presidential candidates have been taking more advantage of free media than advertising. 

Free Media vs Advertising 

A company’s exposure is essential, and there are two options: free media and advertising. Both have benefits. However, free media helps control the message and has a further reach than advertisement. Free media is able to control a message through traditional media, and social media is the tool used to further the message’s reach [2]. Free media’s successfulness is evident in this year’s presidential election. Donald Trump generated up to $400 million in free media last month and has used up to $2 billion worth of media attention overall. He has had one of the smallest campaign budgets in this election [1].

The above charts reveal that free media works. Hilary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders have spent the most on free media, and have been the most talked about candidates, with Clinton and Trump clinching their respective party’s nomination [1].

Comparing these results to the days of George W. Bush reveals further that the world is moving towards free media rather than advertising, which used to be the guarantee of a candidates’ core group of supporters voting for them [3].  There was more of a direct correlation between how much money was spent on advertising to how well one did in an election, however new data shows free media is more effective and with a further reach to bring out core and new supporters [3].

The obvious choice between free media and advertising is free media.

 

[1] Confessore, Nicholas, Yourish, Karen. "$2 Billion Worth of Free Media for Donald Trump." The New    York Times. The New York Times, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.

[2] Vargas, Steven. "Panel Speaks about Social Media in Election | Daily Trojan." Daily Trojan RSS2. University of Southern California, 12 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.

[3] Spenkuch, Jjrg L., and David Toniatti. "Political Advertising and Election Outcomes." SSRN Electronic Journal SSRN Journal (n.d.): n. pag. Northwestern University, Apr. 2016. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.

 

 

 

 

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How Will a Speaking Engagement Benefit You?

By Amanda Clark

1.       It can act as a brainstorming session. By addressing potential clients, you will see what they respond to. This will allow you to figure out what is effective for your targeted audience.

2.       A speaking engagement gives you the chance to represent your company. You will have the opportunity to showcase your ability and demonstrate your expertise. This is not only beneficial for your company’s reputation, but also your own.

3.       You will be given the undivided attention of potential clients and may get referrals. The crowd will be comprised of people interested in your topic, and if you deliver an effective message they will be more interested in you and your company.

4.       It’s free! Your public relations representative can secure a speaking engagement on a topic of your interest and of interest to the community.

Your Public Relations Company Secured a Speaking Engagement for You, Now What?

1.       Come prepared with a simple, yet meaningful visual aid. You have been the given the unique chance to demonstrate your potential. The easiest way to make the most out of this chance is to create a visual aid that does not distract from your presentation, but adds to it.

2.       Practice your speech until you feel confident in your delivery. Competence leads to confidence, and the best way to ensure competence is through practice.

3.       Don’t sell… inform! Establishing credibility is best done by being knowledgeable. The audience won’t appreciate a heavy sales pitch. 

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The Importance of Newspapers in the Information Age

By Amanda Clark

There has been much talk about the death of newspapers, but does the public really understand the effects that would have on our world? Nowadays, we have become used to going to the Internet or TV for a quick update on the world around us. People are constantly sharing articles, and TV hosts like John Oliver and Trevor Noah make jokes about the political, social, or cultural climate of our world. News seems so much easier accessible than when we paid for a newspaper that showed up on our doorstep every morning.

The Media Food Chain

The truth of the matter is, newspapers are closing, and that creates a host of problems for ALL of us. The media is a food chain that goes a little something like this:

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Newspapers feed the media we so easily and hungrily consume. If we pay close attention, we will notice that many of the articles shared on social media, posted on various websites, and joked about by our favorite late night hosts cite newspapers as the original source of the information. Why? Because newspapers have dedicated journalists that have the time and energy to thoroughly investigate and report on pivotal news.

Digital Demands of Journalism

Journalists writing for online news sites have increased demands put on them that newspapers don’t. They are expected to produce much more content due to the nature of the Web. They write multiple blogs, comment on other blogs and posts, post on social media, and create video content. These demands cultivate mistakes and a lack of time for the journalists to make worthwhile content. They are expected to produce whatever gets the most “clicks”, which is never what is of importance, as we all would rather see a cute kitten than become aware of the atrocities of the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Because these journalists are so busy and have demands for popular content, our news is becoming less important, relevant, and fact driven.

With each closing of a newspaper we are seeing a decline in journalists, and a less informed public. Although we don’t realize it, newspapers put out the content we need to see, even if it is not what we want to see. They are much more pivotal to our world.

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The Power of TV

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The Power of TV

By Charlotte Cheek

Television is powerful, but what about television is so powerful? It gets you in front of a large audience quickly and engages them visually. Television gets people to focus on one screen and absorb everything on it. At the same time, less and less people pay attention to advertisements. With Netflix, Hulu, and DVRs, skipping over commercials is normal, so how does television remain so powerful? How can a business reach people on television without advertising?

Get into the Content People Watch

First, move away from paid advertisements into the content people are paying to see. People pay for Netflix, Hulu, Cable, etc. so that they can watch television shows, sports, and the news. Most businesses cannot afford product placements in viewer’s favorite shows or to sponsor sports teams, but businesses can afford publicity in the news (especially the local news). Anyways, advertising is expensive and it lacks third party validation that local cable stations have. People trust their favorite news stations and reporters to tell them the truth more than they trust a business’s 30-second commercial to tell them the gritty truth. Publicity is free and television is a powerful tool for business. The trick is finding the story and pitching it to the right news station in your area. 

Power of Placement

Being placed in a local news segment is just the beginning. It places you in front of a large audience and uses televisions strengths: sight, sound, and motion to make a lasting impression on the audience. More specifically, cable stations can reach local markets extremely fast. Speed is extremely important in today’s competitive market and one good segment on a local news station can lead to more opportunities for free placement on television, in newspapers, or on the radio by others interested in your story. So, if you want to captivate a large part of your target market visually, then remember how powerful television is.

 

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What Business Owners Need To Know About Plagiarism

By Charlotte Cheek

Plagiarism goes beyond just copying someone else’s words in writing and calling them your own. Plagiarism is the act of stealing someone else’s ideas, written or spoken word, or artistic expression and not giving credit where it is due. Plagiarizing is not just something to worry about for professional writers, academics, or students. The business world must be aware of the types of plagiarism, the laws surrounding it, and the consequences.[1]

Types

Officially there are five types of plagiarism: verbatim, mosaic, inadequate paraphrase, uncited paraphrase, and uncited quotations. All of these go beyond academic writing and can be applied to verbal plagiarism. First, verbatim is self-explanatory, copying words from a source word for word and not siting the source of those words, consequently giving yourself credit for something you did not think up. Mosaic plagiarism is “copy[ing] bits and pieces from a source (or several sources), changing a few words here and there without…adequately paraphrasing or quoting directing,” (Harvard Guide to Using Sources 2016). Inadequate paraphrasing is when you attempt to recreate a source’s words and put them into your own words, but the result is still too closely related to the original work. Even if it is cited, this is still plagiarism. Similarly, uncited paraphrasing, can be adequately paraphrased, but without citing the ideas is attempting to take credit for something that is not your original idea, even if it’s original wording. Putting quote marks around a sentence from a source is not enough to not plagiarize. There must be a source for the quote, or an uncited quotation is plagiarism.[2]

Law

Just like stealing something from a store, plagiarism is illegal. Authors are protected under Intellectual Property Rights. This does not mean that you must protect all of your work under a copyright or trademark. If the original idea is documented, then it will most likely be protected under Copyright Law.[3]

Consequences

Regardless of your level of exposure, being caught will have a very negative effect on a reputation. Specifically, in business, a person or entire business can lose credibility, if not all of their credibility. For individuals, finding a job after an offense such as plagiarism could become nearly impossible. Businesses need to trust their employees who they hire to use their ideas to work and without trust, employers have a very hard time moving forward with employees. As a whole, a business caught plagiarizing will have a very difficult time keeping good relationships with customers and other businesses that now view the business as an untrustworthy organization. Beyond the public image of the company, the legal consequences as written above, although not criminal, can result in “monetary repercussions,” where the plagiarizer can be fined for the amount due to the original author (6 Consequences of Plagiarism 2016). This can get extremely costly for any business big or small.[4]

Regardless of the legal and public image consequences, stealing someone else’s work is wrong. It is easier than ever to copy and paste someone’s work and call it your own, easier than stealing a book from the library. Yet, the ramifications of plagiarism are much worse than an angry librarian for your public image and bottom line.

 

[1] What is Plagiarism? (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.plagiarism.org/plagiarism-101/what-is-plagiarism/

[2] Harvard Guide to Using Sources. (u.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://usingsources.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k70847.

[3] What is Plagiarism? (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.plagiarism.org/plagiarism-101/what-is-plagiarism/

[4] 6 Consequences of Plagiarism. (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2016, from http://www.ithenticate.com/resources/6-consequences-of-plagiarism

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Let Publicity Do the Work: Generating Social Media Followers

By Amanda Clark

Social media has altered the modern world, and the numbers only prove its merit in the business realm. A recent study reported in TIME magazine that 76% of small businesses tracking their ROI saw a positive return on social media efforts. Despite proof that social media is a successful marketing strategy, many businesses admit that they are unable to acquire an audience that represents their customer base. This is where publicity becomes pivotal. It creates visibility potential for more engaged followers that become customers.

Improve Your Visibility, Improve Your Sales

Sure, advertising can improve your visibility, but as we have mentioned on a previous post, “Why is Publicity Better Than Advertising”, publicity does it more effectively. Publicity provides third party validation, driving traffic to your social media.

Here are a few helpful guidelines to make the most out of the visibility publicity can generate:

1. Showcase your work. Post often, but ensure the posts look professional and showcase the best of your abilities. Are you particularly proud of a certain product? Let your followers know! Did you just celebrate an anniversary? Share the good news!

2. Offer links. Drive the traffic from your social media straight to the source. You want your followers to easily be able to access your product, and links are the best way to achieve this. 

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The Advantages of a PR Agency

By Charlotte Cheek

Working with Multiple Clients

At first, this might not seem like an advantage, but it is! PR agencies work with multiple clients and multiple media outlets day in and day out. This means they have a huge pool of contacts in the media to get you where you need to be. In comparison with an in-house PR team, a PR agency does not have a one-track mind which allows them to think outside the box. With a wider breadth of clients and contacts, PR agencies live and breathe media making them experts in all things public relations.

Objectivity

As is true for any business, everyone has a bit of tunnel vision that an outsider can help with. A PR agency comes in without any biases and is able to find the story the media wants. They know where the story is, how to tell it, and where it isn’t. The downside to having only in-house PR is that they are subject to the same biases of the company they are trying to generate publicity for. A PR agency comes in with fresh eyes and will discover stories to tell the community about concerning your business that you may have never realized was newsworthy!   

Entrepreneurial Spirit

PR Agency professionals are fighters. The world of media is fast-paced and cut-throat, but that does not scare a PR Agency. They have the entrepreneurial spirit to continue to come up with innovative ideas for their clients and can keep up with the media around the clock. In order to keep their clients satisfied, they will go out of their way to ensure media hits. This involves the use of creative thinking, being quick to act, and thoughtful. All of these attributes are not only reserved for entrepreneurs, but PR agencies too!

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TV and Politics

Why Earned Media Makes a Difference

By Charlotte Cheek

Did you know you can tell who the front-runners are in the 2016 Presidential race without looking at the voting results? All you have to do is see who is being talked about the most on the TV! There is an extremely high correlation between TV mentions of a candidate and their standing in the race. Coming in on top with nearly 350k mentions January 2015 to March 2016 is none other than Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton comes in second with 200k. The ranking goes on to Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and onwards. Besides Jeb Bush coming in third place with about 100k mentions, the poll results and attention given by the media line up closely.

Number of TV Mentions per Candidates (Thousands)

Regardless of your political stance, the 2016 Presidential Race has been one for the books. Politicians and their teams are pros when it comes to using the media to further their campaign. Trump, arguably the most controversial candidate, has been given an unprecedented amount of time on the television compared with other candidates. I would argue the amount of time he has spent on the television either in interviews or mentions of a recent stunt has paid off (whether you like it or not) for his campaign. For the Republicans, Trump takes up 46% of the republican media mentions. As of right now, Trump has been awarded 673 delegates making up about 55% of the 1,227 split between the three remaining candidates. Cruz holds 411. Clinton has been awarded 1,606 delegates with Bernie Sanders trailing behind with 851. 

So, for every mention does a candidate gain a delegate? There seems to be a correlation! The numbers do not lie. Whether you support Trump or not, he is winning the primaries and he is being mentioned the most. Same goes for Clinton, although, Sanders is making waves in the media and polls as well. What is the take away for the rest of the non-presidential candidate population? TV helps! The more television coverage, the better. Business owners and organizations can gain a lot from getting their names mentioned in their local news. 

Source: 2016 Campaign Television Tracker

 

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The PR Spillover Effect

By Charlotte Cheek

The PR Spillover Effect in Action

The PR Spillover Effect in Action

You’ve probably heard of the Spillover Effect in a psychological context. If someone receives great news about their personal life and then goes to work in a good mood because of it, then their cheery attitude towards their coworkers is the spillover effect at work in the workplace! In the same way public relations can benefit other aspects of your business in positive ways. 

The Bottom Line

Simply speaking, there are two ways to make money: increase sales or decrease spending. How can spending money on PR save you money? It’s more cost effective. You can reach the same people using PR that you reach when paying for an Ad. An advertisement can cost a company anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for a one-time placement in a print newspaper. You can get the same amount of page space with a calendar listing, press release, or company/individual spotlight for pennies on the dollar. Paying for the same coverage (and more) is less expensive than one Ad. You’ll reach the same people and as we have said in the past there is the bonus of third party validation. You are not just saying you are awesome, someone else is taking the time to talk about how awesome you are!

Search Results

The more online platforms you show up on, the better. Showing up repeatedly on different online platforms makes you relevant to search engines like Google. So, for example, after a successful placement in multiple media outlets online, when someone searches the name of a company they are more likely to show up, because they have media coverage versus a company with just a company website and advertisements. PR helps you hack the Google algorithm instead of just paying Google AdWorks for an artificial top-of-the-list spot. Unless you have a Super Bowl Ad, there is not a high chance people will search for your company ad you had placed in a magazine, but they will probably be interested in any article written about you!

Publicity

Yes, part of the PR spillover effect is more PR! Newspapers are hungry for good stories and your company is full of them! One hit in a newspaper can be sent to multiple media outlets. One story can lead to a follow-up and more coverage. In comparison, there are no follow-ups to advertisements, the story ends. As we like to say at The Goddard Company, publicity is the gift that keeps on giving, as long as you keep giving it.

There is more to PR then the press release or calendar listing, there are positive spillover effects that come from getting your name into the hands of a third party. PR is more cost effective, improves your online presence, and brings you more publicity with every story!

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Why Publicity is Better than Advertising

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Why Publicity is Better than Advertising

By Jennifer Goddard Combs

Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.

And why do we pay for publicity? Because it is far more effective than advertising. The implied third party validation by an editor or newscaster is far more persuasive than a one-sided commercial. Additionally, while advertising builds exposure, Public Relations builds trust.

Jean-Louis Gassée is best known as the former executive of Apple Computers from 1981-1990.

Jean-Louis Gassée is best known as the former executive of Apple Computers from 1981-1990.

First, a quick review. Advertising is paid media. You spend a specified amount of money for a specific product, e.g. a full-page ad in the Sunday newspaper supplement or a one-minute commercial on the local news. You dictate and approve the content of the advertisement. Public Relations, or publicity, is earned media. Editors and reporters are convinced to place your story in the media, e.g. magazine feature, spot on the evening news, or a post on blog that’s gone viral. You don’t have control over the message, why it’s imperative to have a seasoned PR professional working for you.

Advertising certainly has its place, and my intention is not to bad-mouth it. The purpose of this post is to highlight the effectiveness of Public Relations.

In the article “The Real Difference Between PR and Advertising” in Forbes.com, contributor Robert Wynne writes “Almost every article you read or see in the media is ‘gift-wrapped’ or originates from a public relations agency. Think about it:  A new smart phone. An attack from a Congressman criticizing the President. The latest report on glaciers melting in Antarctica. None of these stories appear out of nowhere and end up in front you of and millions of other consumers. All of these stories were written, tested, practiced and formulated by publicists, staffers, speechwriters or corporate experts before being sent to reporters who processed the information, rejected some assertions, accepted others, then decided to produce a news product.”

Need further convincing on the benefits of Public Relations? Below I give my top three reason to hire a Public Relations professional.

1. Build Your Bottom Line through Exposure (while Saving Money)

PR exposes you to a variety of media. With the right match of a publicist, you are able to tell the world what you think they should know in the most efficient manner. An attorney specializing in Trusts & Estates is interviewed on a local newscast as an expert. A CPA is the featured speaker at an industry/trade awards ceremony. A financial planner’s OpEd is featured in Sunday’s business section. Try figuring out how much that kind of exposure would cost in advertising dollars.   

2. You only have 24 hours a day (like the rest of us)

How much time are you able to devote to actually making money with your business? You know, billable hours? Payroll, facilities management, human resources … all very time consuming. And you want to add Public Relations on top of all that? Remember, the best PR professionals have relationships (years and years of history) with the media. That’s part of what your are paying for – the inside track on getting your name and your company’s name in front of as many people as possible.

3. The Credibility Factor (every business needs it)

Having a PR team shows you are serious about your business and its reputation. Also, a PR professional will guide and groom you and your business, which bumps up confidence, which bumps up success.

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Get Your 2016 On

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Get Your 2016 On

By Jennifer Goddard Combs

The end of the year is a slow time for many non-retail businesses, and it’s a perfect time to prepare for the good things to come your way in the New Year.

Now, stick with me here. This isn’t an out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new fairy tale promising untold riches by making and keeping impossibly difficult resolutions. Rather, it’s a few suggestions along with reassurance that 2016 can be better for your business.

In no particular order, I present the following:

happy-new-year-pics-sand.jpg
  • Leave some stuff undone. Yep. Don’t get to it all. Understand and accept that you’re human and only capable of so much. Of course, you need to prioritize and tend to the items you deem important. Plus, you need to own your decisions, which may have consequences such as missing or attending your child’s soccer match.
  • Reacquaint yourself with your ideal client. This can be done literally, if you, indeed, have an ideal client, by reviewing what makes them ideal. Factors may include: regular work and they pay on time; interesting subject matter and enjoyable jobs; excellent growth potential; and nice people.  Or maybe you need to start from scratch and create a profile of your ideal client. You can do it simply by making a list with paper and pen (must have big marketing budget, must be in financial sector, must have over 50 employees, etc.) or get grandiose with a vision board. It doesn’t matter. Here’s the takeaway: Intimately knowing your ideal client makes it much easier to give them what they want, which makes it much easier to find or attract them.
  • Give a nip and tuck to your outer image. (Remember, this is a PR blog.) When was your Web site last updated? How old is your headshot? Is that a misspell in your email sig? Must the recycle bags be parked at your office door next to the dead plant? What did you mean by that last Facebook post? Didn’t you say you were going to join a LinkedIn discussion group to raise your profile? Come on, you know what I’m talking about. This kind of stuff can be knocked off in less than an afternoon.
  • Now, give a nip and tuck to your inner image. What in the heck are those piles of papers on the “conference” table? (If you can’t remember, you may want to consider hiring a productivity or organizing consultant.) How are your files? Client records up to date? Can you approximate the location of your tax stuff? Do this – Take everything off your desk. Now, clean the desktop with a rag and cleanser. Give it a good scrub. Then, be very discriminating about what you put back on your desk.
  • Plan something nice for early January. The first month of the year can be a bit depressing with the hangover from the holidays and the slump in sales. It’s a perfect opportunity to make a special lunch date. Or take a mental health day. Or decide to dress up just for the heck of it. Whatever it is, a little shot in the arm will go a long way.

Here’s to a wonderful 2016! Hope your year is everything you want it to be and more. 

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Can Traditional Media Reach Millennials?

By Charlotte Cheek

Recently I read an article in Business Insider titled “Millennials don’t actually watch the news.” I read on and I agreed with Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix. I, a millennial, do not tune in to the newscast at 6 PM on my TV. Just because I and many other millennials do not turn on the news daily, does not mean we are not consumers of the same news stations. We reach the same media outlets in different ways.

As outlined in Tim Stenovec and Skye Gould’s article, millennials get their news from social media, digital outlets, and smartphones. At the same time, millennials are not following random medias or downloading Apps from obscure sources on their phones to get their news fix. Instead, millennials are downloading, following, watching, liking and reading from the same media outlets that other generations tune into nightly on the television.

The Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, and Generation X may watch CNN every night, but millennials follow CNN on Twitter, like CNN on Facebook or may even have the CNN News App. Moreover, other generations may read the local newspaper or the Wall Street Journal every morning while millennials seem to skip a morning news brief. In the age of hashtags and up-to-date news, millennials reach the news throughout the day quickly and learn from top news outlets through Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Particularly Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat all have top media outlets on their sites and apps. Millennials wake up and check their Twitter, for example, to see what is going on in their immediate circles and in the greater world. So, do not discredit the nightly news channels, even local news channels (they have Facebook, Twitter, websites, etc. as well!), because millennials are still following them, just in a different way.

We may be even more tuned into the news, because our news is not bound by a limited amount of space in the morning newspaper or a limited amount of time on the television. We are constantly being updated to the world around us through-out the day through the same media outlets online sources.

Traditional media outlets like the nightly news on your local news station still reach millennials and millennials want to be reached. Traditional Medias use the same content from their newspapers and nightly news online. That is why traditional media still holds an important seat in your set of marketing tools. Businesses still need to get their business featured in traditional medias to continue to reach millennials and baby boomers, alike. 

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