Posts Tagged ‘Communicators’

2012 Counselors Academy Conference – Your Secret Sauce Ain’t No Secret: The Power of Transparent Marketing to Transform Your Brand and Business in the Digital Age

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Colleen Flood*

Marcus SheridanIn a previous blog post, I recapped takeaways from the keynote session, Groovin’ to Your Own Beat: How to Build Your Business by Merging Your Personal and Professional Selves from the 2012 Counselors Academy.

Today, I would like to offer a roundup of a breakfast keynote given by Marcus Sheridan, president and founder of The Sales Lion.

“When it comes to marketing, all businesses say they want more sales but few are willing to start thinking, talking, and walking like their customers in order to make this happen,” says Sheridan. There is a fear of embracing social media and doing things outside of the comfort zone. Communications professionals are afraid that others are going to copy what they do and be successful. So they participate in ostrich marketing and bury their heads in the sand.

“They think everything they do is ‘secret sauce’ and this has got to change,” asserts Sheridan. Instead, marketers need to focus on what consumers really want, which is value, authenticity, and truth.

Developing Consumer-centric Content Marketing

  • Gather company employees together and ask, “What are the questions you get?” Companies rarely take the time to answer these questions – the why – and this aggravates consumers.
  • Make it priority to answer 50 of these questions and write two posts per week.
  • Embrace the idea about cost. Consumers always ask about price, so why turn away?

Where do we all go when we are going to make a purchase?  Google! Another way to deepen your consumer-centric content marketing is to pay attention to how consumers are searching. What are the questions they ask Goggle? Marketers should get ahead of the problem and educate the consumer. If they don’t, consumers will research and find out the information one way or the other.

  • Rule: If your client or prospect asks the question, you need to answer it. 
  • Build links by writing good stuff.
  • Don’t be afraid to have an opinion.

The Ideal Blogger/Content Provider
No one wants to be left out of the party. Marketers need to make the shift and embrace the way their consumers think.

  • The face of content is a real person.
  • Everyone in the company embraces content marketing.
  • Listen to the questions and answer them.
  • Understand the consumers.
  • Write like you talk.
  • Focus on being great communicators. See yourself as the best teacher in your industry.
  • Be known as something and create an identity for your company.

And remember, you can’t be great at every platform. So, choose who you are and then be the best in the world.

How are you using transparent marketing to transform your brand and business in the digital age?


*Bio: Colleen Flood has been a sales consultant with BurrellesLuce for over 12 years and is eager to become a more integrated part of the social-public relations community. She primarily handles agency relations in the New York and New Jersey metro-area. She is not only passionate about work, but also about family, friends, and the Jersey Shore. Twitter: @cgflood LinkedIn: Colleen Flood Facebook: BurrellesLuce 

The Art of Storytelling

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Communicators need to shift from providing information to showing outcomes in their writing. This was one of the points at a recent Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) professional development lunch to help PR professionals tell their organization’s stories effectively.  

Flickr Image: Jill Clardy

Flickr Image: Jill Clardy

Panelists Cindy Atlee, partner, The Storybranding Group; Nancy Belmont, CEO, Belmont Inc.;  Danny Harris, founder, People’s District, and moderator Donna Savarese, director of communications, Innovative Solutions Group revealed ways to find and craft an effective story. Atlee lead the panel by asking attendees to choose a character from a list (i.e. every person, lover, jester, caregiver, hero, etc.) they felt most like that day and then tell us why. The panelists agreed that offering role names can often encourage people to open-up about their emotions toward a product, place or organization, and you can then find the emotion behind the story.

Harris says stories can have a magical construction, where you don’t realize there is a call to action. He reminded the group every good story has three parts:

  1. Challenge
  2. Struggle
  3. Resolution

Belmont encourages creating and finding deeper connections with your audience. She added we should look for the “like.” The more detail you can get into the story, the likelihood you will find something in common with your audience and the more likely they will like your story. She used the example of her client the U.S. Army. They look to tell the story of the everyday soldier, who we all like, not the war.

Not all organization’s stories seem interesting, so Savarese says she uses case studies to tell her organization’s stories. She always looks to give the resolution meaning to everyday people. She encouraged adding visuals, pictures and video, to help pull the reader into the story.

(In a recent Fresh Ideas post, my BurrellesLuce colleague Tressa Robbins addressed the issue of overloading your press release with too much information, and gave some great tips for crafting a story-based release.)

The panel also encouraged communicators to look outside the communications department, when looking for an organization’s story. Everyone should be involved and recommended several books on effective story telling:

How have you used storytelling to promote your organization or client? What were the challenges? Do you have any advice for BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers?

2010 PR News Media Relations Conference: Yanique Woodall, 1-800-Flowers, interviewed Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the PR News Media Relations Summit. And I’m here with Yanique.

Yanique, will you please introduce yourself?

YANIQUE WOODALL: Yes. My name is Yanique Woodall, and I’m the vice president of enterprise public relations at

BURKE: And, Yanique, you’ve led a session that I think is invaluable for communicators and PR professionals especially, talking about how you targeted your audience, and the research and the focus that you used with your existing audience. Can you share how you did that?

WOODALL: Specifically, when I joined, it was important for our internal in-house–our internal PR team, as well as our external PR agency, to align ourselves with the marketing partners to really understand our target audience. But for us it was not just about knowing who the target audience is, because 1-800-Flowers services anyone from 18 to 54, basically anyone with a credit card, we wanted to know the sweet spot of the audience, the brand influencers, the ones that were going to move the needle. So we knew that when we put together a PR campaign, it would affect that audience and we could show measurement at the bottom line.

Specifically, it was important for us to be a part of the focus groups, be a part of the surveys, be a part of the opinion polls, to understand the customer. And once we figured out that customer, we understood she was a social media maven and she was in Twitter, she was in Facebook, and she wanted to engage with brands through social media tactics. Specifically, once we found that best media vehicle, which we understood it would be social media tactics, we needed to do some research to understand if that vehicle was going to have an impact on our brand. And through some research, we did find out that social media has a great impact on the brand, and we decided to go about that route.

Looking ahead, we did a case study for Mother’s Day around our Spot a Mom Movement. Basically, we’re encouraging all of our customers, our best customers, to celebrate every mom in their life. In this case, we saw an increase in multiple purchasing and we saw an increase in total transactions, so we knew that that was a success.

BURKE: Fantastic. And where can people follow you in social media?

WOODALL: If anyone has any additional questions in reference to social media, they can follow me on Twitter @woodallpr.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much.

WOODALL: Thank you.

2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Martin Murtland, Dow Jones Solutions for Communicators, Interviewed Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the 2010 Bulldog Media Relations Summit. I’m joined by Martin.

Martin, will you please introduce yourself?

MARTIN MURTLAND: Good afternoon. My name’s Martin Murtland. I’m vice president at Dow Jones Solutions for Communicators. I’m here at Bulldog Reporter News Summit.

BURKE: Martin, can you talk about the qualities that PR practitioners need to have?

MURTLAND: That’s an interesting one. I think there’s probably two key qualities that I see communicators needing in the future, first one being their alignment to the business media, both to truly align themselves with what the business is trying to achieve. And secondly, I would say regards to analytical skills, the ability to question things. I’ve sort of looked at the future and sort of tried to create a–I’m interested in scenario planning, sort of four scenarios what the future may, may not hold. You sort of imagine a two-by-two grid where you have, at one end, people who are very much aligned to the business, and the other end people that have sort of, “vanity publishing.” You’re just going to get a publication where the coverage of the story with their CEO is actually a hometown newspaper. And the other axis we imagine something like highly analytical skills and that augment, you know, very uncomfortable with analytical skills. So what I would say, somebody who’s got high analytical skills and a–and strong alignment in business are going to be the winners in the future. And those are the things we should strive to try to become as communicators.

But some of the other scenarios, what I would say, they’re what I would term the bluffers. They’re people with good–can talk the talk. They’ve got political alignment to the business, but they don’t have the strong analytical skills to back it up. And they’re typically people who’ll move on after shorter period of time, perhaps before they get found out. And the other end of this expert spectrum I would sort of look at people who I call ostriches. They’re people that are very much into vanity publishing, or a world future that’s sort of run by ostriches. They’re very much into vanity publishing, and their idea of measurement would be how large–how loud the clip book makes whenever it hits the desk.

And then there’s the–sort of the final scenario for what the future may hold, is a world that’s sort of controlled by the gamblers. They’re people who do have strong analytical skills, but then they’re basing on flawed content or data. And so they’re doing the sophisticated analysis on not complete information. That’s why I call them gamblers. But what I–what I think, and certainly what I’m getting across in this conference is there’s a lot of winners out there, and how there’s a very good future in store for communicators as we look forward.

BURKE: Martin, thanks so much. And where can people find you in social media?

MURTLAND: I’ll try and do the–without doing the funny dot-com bit. You can find us at the

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much.

MURTLAND: Thank you very much.

2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Maggie Fox, Social Media Group, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the Bulldog Media Relations Conference.  I’m joined by Maggie.

Maggie, will you please introduce yourself?

MAGGIE FOX:  Sure.  My name is Maggie Fox.  I’m the founder and CEO of a company called Social Media Group, and we are one of the world’s biggest independent social media agencies.

BURKE:  Now, Maggie, you just did a panel, and I was just wondering, you know, so many people are talking about social media.  For those people, perhaps, that haven’t quite started or don’t have a lot of traction yet, can you please share your couple of tips on how PR professionals and communicators can get going in social media?

FOX:  Sure.  Well, I think we have to recognize that social PR, that reaching out to people of influence and connecting with them in the hopes of getting them to tell your story for you is no different than traditional media relations.  It is not brain surgery, the approach is very similar. The only thing that is different is the language.  It is, you know, what they’re going to want from you, the way they’re going to want you to approach them, and kind of that human relationship piece, I think, is a lot stronger.  The other part of it is, you know, that the reality is if you want people to tell your story, you want people to talk about you, you want them to share your content, it has to be good.  So the notion that you are becoming a broadcaster, you’re starting to produce content of entertainment quality or asking other people to experience something that is really special is what’s always going to break through to us.

BURKE:  Great.  And where can people find you in social media, Maggie?

FOX:  They can find me on Twitter @maggiefox, all one word, or on the Web at

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.

FOX:  Thank you.