Does a day pass during your life as a PR pro when you don’t need to write? For those of us who do a lot of writing – and that’s most of us – we will, at one time or another, face an insurmountable case of writer’s block. One day you’re at the top of your game, pounding out pitches, speeches, tweets and press releases like a high-powered printing press, and the next moment you’re struggling to find anything to write. It happens to all of us, but there are always ways to jump-start your creativity. Here are four tips for getting out of a creative rut.
In an era of severely limited organic reach, a paid social strategy that optimizes your budget is critical. But how can you best use promoted posts to reach your business goals without breaking the bank? That was the central question tackled by James Chong, senior manager of social customer engagement at TOMS, and Lauren de la Fuente, vice president of marketing and communications at Boingo Wireless, at PR News’ Digital Summit Feb. 24.
In today’s rapid-fire world of communications, brand reputations can be torn down in a moment by a single tweet or Facebook post. One of the major facets of being prepared for such a crisis is having a staff that’s ready to respond and rebuild at a moment’s notice. To investigate the process behind preparing staff for a calamity, PR News opened its Crisis Management Boot Camp on Feb. 23 with a session on building a flameproof crisis team.
This update is important because it takes over a function of Facebook, long the platform of choice for posting albums of pictures. Another important consequence for brands: Instagram users will get in the habit of swiping left and right to see more content, thereby becoming more comfortable with carousel ads, which have already been available to advertisers but different enough from a normal Instagram post that users might not have been inclined to swipe—until now.
Imagine that a restaurant’s menu offers a delicious-looking entree of spaghetti, meatballs and red sauce. Wonderful. Well, sorry, but you are prohibited from ordering them together, on a single plate. Absurd, right? Sounds like a Seinfeld episode. That is the state of earned, paid and owned media. You can use PR for earned media, digital marketing or advertising for paid media, or content marketing for owned media. But mixing them? Blasphemy.
It looks like WhatsApp is taking a page out of Snapchat’s book, just as Instagram did before it. On Monday, WhatsApp unveiled a new wrinkle to its “Status” feature, adding the ability for users to share videos, GIFs and pictures with their friends for just 24 hours before disappearing. Those visuals can be customized with emojis, written upon and captioned as well. In the past, users could only update their status with text—now you can show, rather than just tell, your friends what you’re up to.
It’s too early to say with a lot of certainty, but it appears Uber has absorbed several PR lessons concerning crisis management. It’s had a fair amount of practice. The most recent incident for the SF-based company has Susan Fowler, a former employee, penning a widely circulated blog post about sexual harassment at Uber. It’s hard to fault the response of the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, this time. He’s taken several of the basic steps of crisis management and done so promptly.
To look at the news about Instagram last week you’d be forgiven if you didn’t think it also is a tool for business, particularly suited to small communications shops. The rapper Nicki Minaj, who hinted all week she was about to do something big, posted a photo of her sitting on a small bed in what appears to be a tiny bedroom. True to Instagram’s acceptance of informality, the photo seems far from the highly stylized, professional picture of a celebrity that the public usually sees. The photo’s lighting is spotty, Minaj isn’t centered and the bed is disheveled. Still, it’s a very effective photo. Clad in six-inch heels with tassels, wraparound shades, bikini bottom and nothing else, Minaj makes an arresting subject. Quickly the post had in excess of 10,000 comments and thousands of likes.
[Editor’s Note: This regular feature asks communicators to spot trends and discuss their reactions to them. In this edition we hear from Larissa von Lockner, PR & social media manager, PwC.] The Trend: We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through your social feeds wondering what your friends and family are up to and you just can’t escape the those targeted ads. Those shoes you found last week during your lunch break—the ones you added to your shopping bag but never bought—they’re haunting you!
When social media channels started to emerge in the early 2000s, many of us thought these platforms would improve business understanding and help break down barriers between companies and their critics. More than a decade later, it hasn’t exactly turned out that way. These days the chatter in business sanctums is more about the weaponization of social media. Twitter, Facebook and others are being used to denigrate, belittle and demonize brands as well as the people who run them.