Executive Summary

PR News Digital PR Conference

June 1-3, 2015—The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Miami

 How to Make Video Work for Your Brand

Heather Whaling, Founder/CEO, Geben Communication

  • Video gives your brand a personality, a face and a voice.
  • Answer these questions when crafting a video strategy: What are your goals? Who do you need to reach to achieve those goals? What kind of content/tone will resonate with your audience? What key messages do you want to convey?
  • Don’t focus on video just because everyone else is. More key strategy questions to answer: Do you have a compelling story to tell? Is video relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach? How does video fit within your existing PR/marketing efforts? Have you laid the proper foundation to start leveraging video?
  • Be realistic when choosing between hiring a videographer or taking a DIY approach.
  • When hiring a videographer: Know what you’re looking for and do some social stalking to get a feel for who they are and what kind of work they produce.
  • Remember that good videos don’t have to be complex.
  • To find the perfect run time for a video always try to tell your story in less time, without leaving anything out.
  • Good content is inherently social.

Tod Plotkin, Founder and Principle, Green Buzz Agency

  • Things to communicate to video professionals you work with prior to shooting:
    • Final primary platform for video—online, television, mobile, DVD, etc.
    • Primary audience—internal/external, level of knowledge, multiple audiences.
    • Focus on one to three major themes that make your video unique.
    • Style of the video—narrative, documentary, motion graphics, animation, scripted voiceover, etc.
    • When you need the final video delivered—ASAP, specific event, specific campaign launch, etc.
    • How long should the video be—short (under 15 seconds) gets shares more.
    • The goal of the video
    • Technological advancements have made it more important for you to be creating video. It’s cheaper to produce, cheaper to view and there is a proven return on investment.
    • 96 percent of consumers say online videos are helpful when making purchasing decisions.
    • Click-through rates are 40-times higher using videos versus text.
    • Shooting tips:
      • Always use a tripod or tripod replacement.
      • Interview subjects should avoid wearing solid white or black, small patterns and flashy jewelry.
      • Avoid backlighting subjects.
      • Shoot in 24 framers-per-second.
      • Remember to white balance and focus before filming.
      • 70-80 percent of production process in is post-production: sounds design, motion graphics and editing.
      • Use color correction to enhance your videos.
      • Slow motion and camera movement make your videos more dynamic and engaging.
      • The goal of your video should be to engage your audience on an emotional level, not go viral.
      • The future of online video content is documentaries and branded content.

Patricia Garofalo, Global Communications Leader, Water & Process technologies, GE Power & Water

  • Look within your organization for content.
  • Ask yourself: Is my content interesting on multiple levels? Does it have longevity? Can it be repurposed to suit multiple audiences or channels?
  • To build awareness showcase emotional stories, create overview videos about your company and produce product summary videos.
  • Justify your work by building case studies with your ROI data.
  • Distribute your video through the proper channels. Different types of content work best on different platforms.
  • Optimize your videos by writing interesting and SEO friendly summaries and titles that will draw a viewer in.
  • Places to start measuring your videos: inquiries received or lead tracking metrics, numbers of video views, average amount of time watched and social engagement.

Anastasia Khoo, Director of Marketing, Human Rights Campaign

  • You don’t always have to create your own content, but you need the tools to edit it.
  • Break news on YouTube instead of broadcast outlets. It affords you all the benefits of social embedding and distributing.
  • Understand where your audience is and where your communications are going.
  • Video is great but it has to have some resonance. There has to be a connection for it to be good content.
  •  Social distribution is key.
  • If you’re posting organically you’ve missed the boat. You need to promote your content or get lost in the noise.
  • There’s a difference between vanity metrics and brand awareness. Look to how people are interacting.

Think Big, Act Small—How to Grow a Sticky Brand

Jeremy Miller, Author, “Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers and Grow an Incredible Brand”

  • Build relationships early and often. The ideal time to engage your market is 3 years before they need your expertise.
  • Conversations nurture relationships. Engage your audience in a conversation. Get them to say, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”
  • If you don’t blow your own horn, nobody will. Share the conversation far and wide. Get everyone involved in your brand.
  • Know your expertise. What do you know really, really well?
  • Think of the human quality you’re trying to create. Trust builds relationships.
  • Stop shackling conversations. Push the envelope and create stories that make your brand stand out.
  • Use PR strategy to punch outside your weight class.

How to Build Digital Business With 2020 in Mind: Staffing, Budgeting, ROI

Allison Sitch, Vice President, Global PR, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

  • Look for people who know authenticity, creativity and how to listen and motivate. Then, trust and empower them.
  • Don’t be afraid to rely on user-generated content for social.
  • Measure success based on engagement.
  • Even the smallest individuals, no matter who they are, have huge contributions they can make to your brand.

Kai Wright, Vice President, Communications and Business Development, Atom Factory

  • Always level-set expectations when talking about digital.
  • Start great and finish strong.
  • Establish parameters for execution, set goals to inform ROI metrics, categorize your assets and plan out your tactics.
  • Strong leaders not only do, but also inspire.
  • Skills of a digital PR leader: Think like an editorial director, have a strong pulse on culture, have an early adopter attitude, have an eye for aesthetics and be personable and friendly.
  •  Plan to recycle assets during the production process.
  • Introduce influencers behind brand efforts for additional lift.
  • Regularly review case studies and best-in-class work.
  • Keep an eye on trends that could create moments of disruptive thinking.
  • Turn the mechanics of your engagement into a digital PR springboard.
  • Raise the comfort level of a client or the C-suite by making strategy development interactive.
  • Whoever creates the content controls that conversation.

How to Make Your IT and PR teams Work Together to Lead Change

Raul Duany, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, American Cancer Society

  • Focus on transparency through prioritizing timely engagement.
  • Define IT and PR staff partners to facilitate cross-department efficiency.
  • Deploy a variety of communications tools: Targeted, project-related communications, performance reports, audits and surveys and utilize internal media channels if available.
  • Once best practices and relationships are established, execute, measure and validate. Then innovate all over again.
  • Think outside the box and off the shelf.
  • Understand attitudes and barriers around impending change.
  • Plan to cooperate or plan to fail.

How to Prove the Value of Digital PR With Paid, Earned and Owned Metrics

Brandon Anderson, Director of Marketing, Cision

  • Don’t use advertising value equivalencies to prove PR’s value.
  • Work across marketing and PR teams.
  • Do it all: utilize paid, earned and owned media. You can’t manage your PR without measuring your total impact.
  • Track your links to stay on to of your progress.
  • There’s no silver bullet in PR. Identify your business goals and work backwards from there.

Integrated Communications: How Marketing and PR Are Collaborating on Digital Now

Jody Sunna, Executive Vice President, Havas PR North America

  • Maintain message consistency across all channels and platforms.
  • Coordinate: Look to bring all marketing, PR and digital team members to the table from the get-go to uncover opportunities and workarounds.
  • Tap local influencers and local conversations to drive buzz.
  • Cross-promote and amplify content outside of your channel. Share PR stories, fan feedback and social interactions with marketing teams, and share marketing sales figures, etc. with PR teams.
  • Turn a misstep into a tap dance.  Sometimes even cringe-worthy moments can be made into marketing magic.
  • Make it a team effort: No matter the scale of the campaign, work as a united movement where PR, marketing and social teams all have equal importance.

Torod B. Neptune, Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications, Verizon Wireless

  • Expand your PR department by hiring executives from digital agencies, as opposed to traditional communications professionals, who are well versed in all things digital.
  • Train PR execs to speak in a marketing vernacular and learn the terminology that the marketing department uses.
  • Encourage PR execs to be more proactive, rather than reactive, about establishing the corporate narrative and speaking in the brand voice.
  • Communicators who think like brand marketers will have a better appreciation of the purchase path.

George Stemper, Vice President for Sales and Development, Onstream Media Corp.

  • The key to developing clear objectives is to establish lines of communication between all functions and teams.
  • All team leaders must know about the different projects and campaigns that other teams have in progress.
  • Social media, content marketing and SEO have a co-relevance among all PR and marketing activities.
  • Social media can go against the corporate grain of controlling the message.
  • When issues arise, companies have to be prepared to embrace the dialogue, then influence and guide the conversations.

Day 2

Effective Email Communications: From Pitching to Internal Messaging

Jessica Nielsen, Vice President of Communications, Lockheed Martin

Allison Robins, Director of Public Relations, Zumba Fitness

  • When structuring emails for media begin with email and not with social. Instead, follow up on social and keep fluff and buzzwords out of your communications.
  • Know your reporter. Don’t mass pitch: Create a unique, compelling angle that is in line with the journalist’s beat.
  • Keep your pitches short and sweet. Use bullet points to highlight important information and don’t include attachments.
  • To make journalists’ stories more shareable include video and images and keep it brief and localized.
  • Nearly three-quarters of journalists are creating original video content to accompany their stories. They probably wont take fully formed video content, but give them ample B-roll to use in their work.
  • To showcase success to leadership generate a steady rhythm, make everything measureable and structure metrics dashboards to business objectives.
  • Ego is not your amigo.

Case Study: A Winning Social Media Campaign From Conception to Execution

Krisleigh Hoermann, Director of Operations/Digital and Social Media Consultant, American Heart Assosication/American Stroke Association

Alexandra Paterson, National Communications Lead, Kids Market, Department of Public and Media Relations, American Heart Association National Center

  • When strategizing a campaign, start small and don’t overthink it.
  • Social media events aren’t just about shouting, they’re about creating community and letting them guide the conversations.
  • Make all your materials readily available and easily accessible to your team. Consider the “Swiss cheese press release,” which has hole for your team to customize the release for specific outlets.
  • Bring in your key players—media partners, other internal teams, etc.— early in the game.
  • Work with influencers and bloggers to help move the needle.
  • Allow budget and time to produce bilingual materials to help broaden your potential reach.
  • Produce quality video for social sharing and for broadcast.
  • Meet your consumer where they are and engage with them there.

Blogging Strategies That Inspire Trust and Shares—and Build Your Brand

Tim Haran, Director of Social Media, USANA Health Sciences

  • Create credible content that not only provides value to your audience, but also motivate them to share it.
  • Connect your blog to business goals.
  • Find a voice and unique topics that set you apart.
  • Interact regularly with your readers to keep them coming back.
  • Be authentic in you blogging by valuing honesty and transparency.
  • Spend extra time on your headlines to make sure they are eye-catching.
  • Create easy and readable content.
  • Develop an editorial calendar, create monthly themes and save ideas for later.
  • Remember that your blog is about people and tells your story through them.
  • Learn what people are searching for on ubersuggest.org
  • Decide what your should write about by using Google’s Keyword Planner (in AdWords).
  • Seek out collaborators to your blog to establish a variety of voices and expand your reach.
  • Embrace your haters. Respond to most comments, both positive and negative.
  • Identify ambassadors and interact with them regularly.

How to Engineer the Unexpected for Your Brand

Tania Luna, Author, “Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected”

  • Interrupt people’s patterns through words for an element of surprise.
  • We feel most comfortable when things are certain, but most alive when they are not. Keep your audience on their toes to stand out.
  • Be flawsome: Turn a potential problem into a win through responding with an element of surprise and delight.
  • There are no maps for explorers, so trust your instincts when forging a new path to delight your audience.

How to Manage an Escalating Crisis in Real Time

Cynthia Martinez, Director, Global Corporate Communications, Royal Caribbean Cruises

  • Establish your brand as the main source of information for all stakeholders during a crisis.
  • Provide a steady stream of accurate information, leveraging social media to communicate quickly and efficiently to the largest audience.
  • Own the conversations around the crisis and control the visual elements of the story.
  • Be open, honest and transparent when responding to a PR crisis.

Miguel Piedra Principal, Managing Partner, Rock Orange

  • Gather a multi-disciplined taskforce to address the problem from every angle.
  • Identify actionable items and create a strategy to address each facet of the issue.
  • Develop a consumer-facing plan to both restore confidence and engage consumers.
  • Track and monitor initial conversations in traditional and social platforms.
  • Quantify the sentiment in order to identify the most critical pain points.
  • Develop an external strategy that includes outreach to traditional media as well as social.
  • Show boldness: Talk to your biggest critics and acknowledge the crisis.
  • Be fast. Decide on activities quickly and put out statements within hours, not days.

Instagram and Pinterest Tactics That Can Help Any Brand Compete With Strong Visuals

Erin Allsman, APR, VP, Public Relations and Social Media Director, Brownstein Group

  • Align your content with organic keywords and trending topics.
  • Optimize your caption copy and board names based on Guided Search Tiles on Pinterest.
  • Put the audience first. Understand each platforms demographics and think of how you can help them.
  • Think like a publisher and create editorial calendars.
  • Create custom content that is native to specific platforms.
  • Build your content in response to listening data.
  • Make it easy to move from site to social platform and vice versa.
  • Support campaigns with paid/promotional support.

Kristin Montalbano, Director, Digital Publicity and Media Relations, National Geographic Channel

  • Define your story: What story are you trying to tell and how can you tell it visually?
  • Always curate your content. Think quality over quantity.
  • Give followers an inside look. Share snapshots from your offices, company events, promo shoots and press tours.
  • Organize a takeover of your account by influencers your audience follows.
  • Introduce a contest of photo challenge and feature on-brand entries.
  • Think outside the photo by using memes, quotes, illustrations, collages and stop-motion animation
  • Stay relevant with your content by linking up to cultural trends and happenings.
  • Encourage cross-company ideas and submissions.
  • Look for content from different perspectives—interns, other team members etc.
  • Be ready to create additionaly content as opportunities arise or adjust your posts based on how content is being received.

How to Craft Multimedia Press Releases That Cut Through the Clutter

Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social Media, Business Wire

  • Multimedia press releases get three-times more activity than text-only releases.
  • Identify existing content from your websites, blogs, landing pages and social media accounts.
  • Determine your brand voice in accordance with who your ideal customer is and how you want people to feel.
  • Create a release around they types of content that your audience consumes.
  • Multimedia may act as a content quality signal, which increases CEO.
  • Leverage all your channels including paid, owned, earned and shared.
  • Know your asset rights before you use outside content in your releases.

Steven Curtis, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A

  • Make a journalist’s life easier by creating a quality online newsroom. 97 percent of journalists say it’s very important for a company to have a newsroom.
  • Recent changes in Google news algorithms are moving news releases and corporate statements up in search ranks.
  • Create an easy to remember URL for your newsroom.
  • Include a search functionality of all your posts.
  • Have a list of PR contacts with names and emails for reporters to contact.
  • Include both high and low resolution images with releases.
  • Make sure your newsroom is optimized for mobile.
  • Meet the demand for visuals. Three out of four stories published have multimedia content.
  • Think like a journalist on a deadline. Use good storytelling, impactful images, and engaging video with your releases.

How to Build Your Brand’s Reputation on Twitter

Christine de la Huerta, Vice President, rbb Public Relations

  • Breakout brands are all about the customer, not the competition.
  • Social media is about your brand’s voice first and products second.
  • Proactively build a positive online reputation with happy customers.
  • Foster brand advocates and positive reviews and mentions.
  • Your reputation across social media will affect search results.
  • Every online user has power; so don’t be quick to ignore someone.
  • Designate a team member to monitor for online reputation management.
  •  Add a follow button to your website to drive awareness for your Twitter account.
  • Join industry related conversations and connect with influencers.
  • Use links and images in your tweets to increase engagement.
  • Don’t be rude on Twitter, even when they are.
  • Always research trending hashtags before you use them.
  • Use advertising strategically to meet communications objectives.

Lauren Cochran, Director of Interactive Marketing and New Media, Miami Heat

  • Put unique content first and foremost on Twitter.
  • Social media doesn’t always equal direct sales but is great to listen and learn from engagements.
  • The only constant on social media is there is no constant. Keep evolving.
  • The best partnerships create a logical connection between the brand and the partner and enhances the reason a fan follows the brand.
  • Create a connection between your brand and what a wider audience is talking about on Twitter.
  • Sometimes it’s the little things that work best on Twitter. Wish a fan happy birthday, buy a fan lunch or just acknowledge tweets to build a community around your brand.
  • Listen to your audience. Their wants and needs could influence your strategy.

Day 3

Ekaterina Walter and the Power of Visual Storytelling

Ekaterina Walter, Author, “The Power of Visual Storytelling,” and “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO”

  • 94 percent more total views were attracted by content containing compelling images than without.
  • In the age of infobesity, visual storytelling is a solution to leaving your own footprint on the hearts of others.
  • Use a cartoon. Marketers using cartoons see newsletter open rate of 45 percent versus between five and eight percent otherwise.
  • Customize your content for each platform.
  • Even if your product is boring, find ways to add humor.
  • Go behind the scenes to humanize yourself to your audience and increase your reach.
  • Make marketing personal: People never forget how you made them feel.
  • Instead of sitting down and typing, put a camera in front of you and make a video response.

How to Apply Listening Data and Analytics From Social Campaigns Back to Your Business

Enric Llopart, Senior Vice President, Head of Digital Latin America, Edelman

  • Living brands need to adopt responsive models to keep relevant, with listening in the center of all they do.
  • Understand the key questions your organization needs to answer, and apply listening to help do so.
  • Listening is not just about marketing and communications, but also about almost any area of the organization.
  • Go beyond your brand: focus on the brand-user relation and the factors that influence that.
  • Use listening not only to evaluate the performance of your digital marketing, but also to predict the next moves.
  • Create dashboards that respond to your business goals, and invest only in those tools that let you answer the key strategic questions.
  • Mashable’s Velocity algorithm can help you predict what’s about to go viral.

Christine Senke, Digital Media Specialist, Jackson Health System

  • Gather results from campaigns like web traffic, clicks, impressions, mentions and leads generated.
  • Disseminate a summary of campaigns to internal department staff through meetings and email.
  • Build a folder of weekly media reports for the C-suite and monthly KPI numbers.
  • Integrate and repurpose previously made stock content for added value.

How to Reach New Audiences on Snapchat

Alexandra Kirsch, Associate Vice President, Finn Partners

  • Snapchat may not be right for you. Are you interested in targeting the platform’s demographic? Do you have the resources to produce creative content?
  • Tell you brand’s story by allocating resources, creating a Snapchat visual strategy and building a sustainable resource plan.
  • Set realistic goals about visibility, engagement, content curation and conversions.
  • Set a clear objective for each piece of content—is it a deal, an opportunity to curate user-generated content etc.?
  • Take content cues from your other marketing channels.

Alex Buznego, Director, Business and Digital Innovation, Miami Marlins

  • Cross promote content on other social platforms.
  • Deliver behind the scenes, fun content.
  • Embrace a light, raw finish to your content. Imperfections promote authenticity and are a part of the game on the platform.
  • Keep your expectations low. The lack of good analytics tools means you may not know what the effects of your work are.
  • Only attribute a small amount of your team’s bandwidth to the platform.
  • When launching your account, be aggressive on other platforms to convert those followers.

How to Use Facebook to Amplify Your Message and Reach Your Audience

Brian Weber, Corporate Director of Public Engagement, Bright House Networks

  • Always work backwards from your goals to facilitate better measurement and evaluation.
  • Set reasonable KPIs and demonstrate your success.
  • Use tracking in URLs to show effectiveness of posts.
  • Take risks with unique images. Use what works and throw out what doesn’t.
  • Let the potential reach of a paid spot dictate your spending.
  • Show the value of reaching customers where they live.
  • Offer high quality social customer care through your Facebook channel.
  • Know the 20 percent rule of Facebook (Facebook ads cannot be more than 20 percent text).

Gamification Tactics That Stoke Audience Engagement

Albe Zakes, Global Vice President, Communications, TerraCycle

  • Set valuable, but realistic goals for your gamification strategy.
  • Understand what type of player you are trying to reach and what drives their motivation to stay involved.
  • Stay flexible but clear in what results you are measuring.
  • Provide the proper motivation to your audience to facilitate engagement.
  • If the concept isn’t well designed it can lead to a variety of problems.