Name: Tressa Robbins
Bio: A country girl at heart, who loves the city, I’ve worked in marketing/public relations, consultative sales, and media relations for the better part of over 20 years. The skills acquired from these positions come in handy in my present role as Implementation Vice President at BurrellesLuce. This is an exciting time of change in the world of media and public relations, and I hope to initiate conversations that will assist and support public relations professionals in the industry. In my personal time, love the outdoors, boating, fishing, camping and being mom to my three dogs. Twitter: @tressalynne; LinkedIn: TressaLynne; Facebook: BurrellesLuce
Posts by Tressa Robbins:
- There is a content and media surplus.
- There is an attention deficit.
- The customer journey is dynamic.
- Consumers have tunnel vision.
- Everyone is influential (regardless of your Klout, PeerIndex, Kred scores).
- Storytelling: Media companies tell stories. Traditional news organizations also tell stories but theirs are typically recent and breaking news. Your brand as a media company will have to decide what story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.
- Content: Media companies are content machines with an “always on” mentality.
- Relevance: Media companies provide content that is relevant to those who are seeking information at a very specific moment in time.
- Ubiquity: Media companies are omnipresent. They dominate search engine results and their content is shared daily across various social channels.
- Agility: Media companies are nimble and able to move quickly. They have writers on-hand ready to produce content on any topic at any time, as well as creative teams capable of producing visual content on-demand. They are not captives to brand team or legal counsel approvals.
- Build a team.
- Assign roles and responsibilities.
- Define your brand narrative.
- Create channel strategy.
- Establish the content supply chain.
- Build real-time capabilities.
- Integrate converged media models.
- Invest in the right technology.
- Set short-term goals. For example, attend at least one professional industry networking event over the summer. Or, read industry blogs and/or articles and comment on at least one each week.
- Set long-term goals, write them down and number them in order of importance. For example, attend at least one industry professional networking event per semester. And/or get involved with on-campus pre-professional organization (like PRSSA or AMA).
- Work on your portfolio. Gather writing samples–or create some by volunteering to write a guest blog post, or better yet, start your own blog. Be sure to include any public relations or marketing plans you’ve created, press releases, anything written in AP Style, research papers, newspaper clippings, presentations, creative design samples, reference letters, special certifications, etc. If you haven’t yet created an online portfolio, do so. The earlier you begin, the more prepared you will be come graduation time. NOTE: If you are including any work that was done as part of a group, be sure to notate this and identify which part you actually did.
- Practice your elevator speech. You should have a 30-second spiel that is memorable and opens a window to your personality, your passions and your mindset. Not a laundry list of skills but rather what you can offer to a potential employer. Practice OUT LOUD. Use your smartphone to record yourself so you can play it back and make improvements.
- Clean-up and hone your online presence—including your social media accounts. Google yourself (be sure to ‘hide personal results’ by clicking the globe in the upper right)–and don’t forget Bing and Yahoo!. If the first page results do not represent who you are, immediately begin digital damage control. This is even more important if you have a common name and can easily be confused with a dubious doppelgänger. Seek out and follow industry leaders so you can network and learn from the professionals, not just fellow students.
- PR professionals must view themselves as “brands”—it’s a very competitive industry. Your business cards, resume, online portfolios, etc. should present a cohesive message. Work on ensuring that all these match your “brand.”
- Research agencies, organization, companies that you would like to intern with or work for. Reach out to them and request an information interview. Face-to-face is best but Skype or Google+ Hangouts work, too. Ask what (coursework, degrees, activities, skill sets) they are looking for when hiring. Ask, given identical academic backgrounds, what makes some candidates standout above the rest.
- If you have free time, volunteer at a local non-profit organization and offer to help with public relations, marketing, social media, blog content creation, special events. This is experience—it all counts!
- Who is saying what?
- What platform(s) are most popular in these exchanges?
- What is being talked about?
- Where are they talking
- Who’s talking? Are these people in my target audience or are they influencers of you target audience?
- What are they saying?
- Where are most of the conversations happening?
- When are these dialogues taking place?
- What does your company want to achieve in social media?
- First and foremost, know your audience—inspire them
- Increase your engagement so that others see your brand
- Add a Like box to your website and blog
- Offer something in exchange for Likes (ie. a free drink, a discount)
- Tag your page from your personal profile
- Ask and thank. Wagner says the two most powerful words in social is “thank you.”
- Advertise on Facebook or use Sponsored Stories
- Share original content—especially photos (which have recently shown to produce the most engagement, closely followed by video)
I’ve followed Michael (aka @Britopian) and virtually interacted with him for a couple years and but had not met him in real life—that is, until Social:IRL brought him to St. Louis to present “How A Social Business Strategy Can Enable Better Content, Smarter Marketing And Deeper Customer Relationships.”
The book just arrived and I haven’t yet had a chance to read it, but below are just a few snippets from his presentation.
Brito began with the five truths that are shaping today’s digital ecosystem:
To top it off, with all this chaos, business objectives remain constant. This means YOU have to change, and Brito suggests you and your organization start to think and act like a media company. Change makes sense, but why a media company? What is a media company anyway?
According to Brito, your brand must adopt these five characteristics if you want to break through the clutter.
Brito goes beyond the “why” and details the “how to:”
He discussed his definition of a social business strategy, the pillars of the social business transformation, using social business framework to enable positive outcomes, and more. I have several pages of notes from his presentation and will provide some additional takeaways in my next post but a couple of blog posts cannot summarize 247 pages of integrated marketing brilliance as well as multiple case studies from brand leaders worldwide!
Do you agree that brands must become, or are already transforming into, media companies? Is your brand (or client) moving in this direction?
Those who were seniors this past year are now graduated and moved on, leaving room for the next class of future PR professionals to fill their shoes—to take next steps on the path of their PR student career. So, what should they be doing during summer break? Listed below are a few items that came to my mind (but I’m hoping some of our PR pro friends will chime-in with additional tips):
What else should students (or young PR pros) be doing in preparation for their career? If you are a student or recent graduate, what have you done (or are doing) to progress your career? We want to hear from you.
Every day, my Google Reader is chock full of “how to” and “must do” articles especially when it comes to social media. We read about how important it is to “engage with our audiences.” We hear that we must be “in the conversation.” We’re told that our brand will die if we don’t have a Facebook page – just kidding, but you get the idea.
I’d like to take a step back—back to the basics. I believe many of us got onto social media sites because we thought that was the thing to do. While that may be somewhat true, some may need to re-think why they are there; and, surprisingly (to those of us in the biz), there are a whole lot of businesses and organizations that are just now getting into social media. So, let’s talk about what you should do before making that leap (or if you want to re-evaluate why you’re there).
One thing it seems a lot of folks miss is that before you start posting, purporting, and professing in social media, you should stop, look, and listen. Just like we were taught as kids before crossing the road. Here is a partial list of things to look and listen for:
Track your competitors.
Observe industry issues/trends.
Monitor your own company/organization/issues
Once you have the answers to these questions, then you can make an educated decision about whether you need to simply have a passive presence or need to be actively involved and on what platforms. In this way, you are able to create a plan of action and decide how to best allocate resources.
As Seth Godin says, “It’s a process, not an event.” Social media is not something you should just jump in and “wing it.” It takes time, commitment and resources to be done right.
What tips would you offer someone who feels intimidated or tentative about using social media channels?
Facebook “likes” has been the topic of some controversy for several years now—ever since brands began to get in on the action. The fact that Facebook continues to tweak the newsfeed algorithm and is introducing Graph Search keeps companies on their toes as they are forced to adjust not only their expectations but their approach.
Nearly all companies, causes, organizations, brands—anyone with a page rather than personal profile —on Facebook want to be “liked.” When someone likes a page, that page’s content then appears in that person’s newsfeed. And, that’s what you want, right? More eyeballs? No, actually, it’s not. A Facebook “like” has nearly no real-world value—until you nurture that connection. What you want is engagement. But you do have to have “likes” in order to nurture and engage.
I’ve seen all sorts of promotions and contests to get likes. One method, that is particularly troubling, was brought up by Gus Wagner in the #SocialIRL Non-Profits Conference series recently. And that is, companies partnering with a non-profit organization exchanging likes for monetary contributions. For example, a NPO posts on their page to go like this company and if the company gets x number of likes, they’ll donate x amount of money to the non-profit. The biggest problem with this is it is strictly forbidden by Facebook’s Terms!
According to Wagner, “Facebook audiences are not looking to connect with brands, or non-profits, unless given a call to action. Whether it is a coupon on a pair of Levi’s for a Like or a connection with a local non-profit for someone else to make a contribution, these are the motivations for average audiences to connect with a brand.”
As a matter of fact, there are lots of ways to get Likes. Here are some of them:
How is your brand or organization growing your Facebook fan base?
Marketers and public relations practitioners have long known that storytelling is critical to any campaign. Storytelling is about relating to people, about making a connection with your audience. PR has long been a text-based, word-driven method of communicating messages, but it’s no longer enough to simply broadcast these written messages. “PR historically has been about words—telling. Now it’s show and tell,” says Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman in a recent AdWeek article.
I’ve read copious articles in the past year on the “new trend” of visual storytelling. Articles that point out we are a society of “visual learners.” Visual storytelling classes have recently been added to university course catalogs, professional development and continuing education workshops and webinars are abundant. Infographics have become a popular way to socially share messages in the past couple years. Some say this shift is due to how we consume information and communicate in the digital mobile age. But I say this is a trend that actually began more than a hundred years ago!
Over the holidays, my husband and I watched the History Channel mini-series “Mankind The Story of All of Us” that we had DVR’d. In the final episode, they talk about the Congo rubber trade in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s under King Leopold II’s dictatorship and the brutishness of forced labor. A common occurrence was to physically maim children as a warning to villagers. Enter Alice Harris, a British missionary, and her camera. (I know you were wondering where I was going with this J).
Brian Williams, of NBC Nightly News (and one of the commentators in the series) says, “The invention of photography and the means to get them in front of people held more power than its inventors ever imagined. Photos don’t blink and they don’t go away. Once you’ve seen that image, you can’t rewind.” Harris took hundreds of photos of the atrocities—photos which were then published in newspapers across the world, shocking millions of readers. These photographs were so horrific and communicated so broadly that it transformed public opinion and changed society, forcing King Leopold to quit the Congo rubber trade. I would argue that this was the beginning of visual storytelling—at least in the modern mass media age. (Visual storytelling actually dates back to more than 30,000 years ago with cave paintings.)
In addition, “Once you’ve seen that image, you can’t rewind,” Williams went on to say, “The expression ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ –that’s a low ball estimate. A picture, a good picture, is worth so much more than that.”
This is especially true in today’s digital age. As PR and communications professionals we are increasingly tasked with disseminating messages in a crowded online space. The content we produce must not only gain the attention of audiences – but keep it as well.
Like our ancestors, we must create stories that paint pictures – either via our words or via images – to sway public opinion and, perhaps more importantly, persuades people to respond to our calls to action.
Check out this BurrellesLuce Storytelling newsletter for more helpful tips.