The winners and honorable mentions in this year's PR news Platinum PR awards issue exemplify the most innovative approaches to redefining traditional PR with anything-but- traditional strategies. From a marketing communications effort that united a country over the search for the stars of a 1950s TV commercial to an event that landed a flock of pink flamingos around the windy city, the following winner confirms that the PR profession has indeed stepped out from the shadows to take a front-and-center role in delivering business results to their own organizations, and to their clients. Below is the winner of the 2008 PR News Platinum PR award for podcast/videocast.
Lion Brand Yarn & Converseon
Lion Brand Yarncraft Podcast
Lion Brand Yarn, one of the country's oldest hand-knitting yarn companies, wanted to expand its online presence and promote a greater solidarity among its target audience by making digital content available to knitters and crocheters.
Working with Converseon, the team decided to launch a podcast series to appeal not just to the "knitterati," who are already engaged in social media, but also to less-tech- savvy Lion Brand consumers as well.
Knitting Together a Podcast
To create and implement the podcast, the team needed to create a voice for Lion Brand yarn to bring the family brand into the online world and leverage its knit/crochet content with a new medium. Also, seeking out new relationships and partnerships (as evidenced by their spokesperson Vanna White) was critical for generating new opportunities.
"It was important to us that the podcast sound like an authentic conversation with the Lion Brand team and not a rehearsed, overly produced broadcast," says Christin Eubanks, account executive at Converseon. "For this reason, and to keep costs down, we opted against a sound studio and instead recorded from the Lion Brand design studio, on the road at events and over the phone for long-distance interviews."
The first podcast launched on Oct. 16, 2007. Since then, 16 episodes have reportedly aired. Two Lion Brand staffers, Liz Shaw of product development and Zontee Hou of marketing, served as primary hosts of the podcast; an accompanying YarnCraft blog fields comments from listeners. The podcast is also heavily promoted through existing lion brand vehicles, such as the Web site, the weekly e-mail newsletters and blogger outreach/link-building.
Presently, the total downloads for podcasts is 255,846; the average number of downloads per episode is 17,056. Since the podcasts started airing, there have been 130,000 visits to the YarnCraft blog, with a total of 210,000 page views.