Posts Tagged ‘content’


Breaking Up With Your First Job

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

By Kiley Herndon*

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Upon graduating from college, you will be on a desperate hunt for a job. You will likely search high and low for something in your field and interview so many times you wonder if you are starting to speak in gibberish about your experience and accomplishments. If you are like most recent graduates, you will end up with a job you took just to have one and questioning if what you studied so long and hard for was even what you wanted.

Have no fear! Better things are on their way.

Here are some things you will want to do at your first job that will help you prepare for the next one:

Always offer to help.
In your first job, you will likely not be given enough tasks to keep you busy right off the bat. New coworkers need to get use to having you around and figure out how it is they can utilize you best. So when you hear a coworker say they need something done but don’t have time, speak up and offer to help out. When there is a task that needs accomplished, offer to do it. Then, when it is time for you to take that job you always wanted, your coworkers will realize how useful you have been…and be a great reference

Always keep track of your contacts.
In college, you have likely met with a lot of really great people and gotten a lot of business cards. Keep in contact with them! Mentors are a great source of advice and jobs. Knowing someone will always speed up the hiring process.

Always focus on the end goal.
While you may be working a job that you don’t want to make your career, you can’t forget what you want in the end. If you want to do social media, but can’t get a job without experience – volunteer to do social media for a nonprofit. Blog for companies that need writers. Keep up with social media trends to make a cover letter stand out with your extensive knowledge.

Always keep up with the field you want to work in. 
Companies want to know that you are passionate and knowledgeable, especially considering your age and inexperience, so show them you know your stuff. You will undoubtedly be asked in interviews how you keep up with trends, what blogs you read, or something along the lines of inquiring whether or not you are just working or if you are learning and evolving as a professional. Experience is great, but passion is the icing everyone wants on the cake.

Always apply.
You never know what job you may think you aren’t experience for, but that actually want someone just like you. You may also interview for a job, not get it, but then be called back later!

Ending your first job will be hard, even if you don’t enjoy it. Like any breakup, leaving your first job will be like the end of a bad relationship – you know it is time to go, but all you can remember is the good. Just don’t forget that you must think of the future you in five, ten, or twenty years and where that person will be and ask yourself if you are helping to get there.

Most importantly, don’t forget to leave on good terms. Although this first job wasn’t ideal, the connections you made are vital to that future you. Give two weeks notice, if possible, organize your materials for your replacement, write-up a brief overview of what is yet to be done, if needed, and make sure everyone knows how appreciative you are of the experience.

Even if you can’t see the effect, your next employer will see your experience in your attitude and confidence that only a first job will provide. Your first job helped to break you into the corporate world that you thought you knew and helped you to learn the dynamics of a full time employee. Say thank you.

*Kiley Herndon is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She graduated with a degree in English and Applied Communication Studies. SIUE prepared Kiley to take on a job at Madison County Transit and then transition to her current role at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. Her biggest accomplishment is securing a job post-college and moving into her first apartment in the city. 

Confession of a Social Media Consultant

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

By Brad Wester

secret-1142327_960_720 I’ve been a freelance social media consultant for several years, and I have a confession to make.

The power of social media is a myth.

You know that great idea you have for your next Facebook post? It’s probably worthless. I’m not trying to be harsh, and I’m not saying you have terrible ideas, but take a moment to think about it. How many people are going to see that post? Hint: not enough.

In 2015, Facebook organic reach dropped from an average of 12% to under 6%. This trend has continued in 2016. Facebook’s organic reach is low and continues to drop. Reaching less than 6% of your audience isn’t powerful. It’s time to stop posting and hoping for the best. It’s time for a plan.

The power of social media has always been a myth. The true power is in the planning – it’s in the development of a social media strategy.

Posting on social media without a strategy means your posts may be missing your targeting audience. You may be posting at the wrong times, creating the wrong content and using the wrong call to actions. You could be using improper tracking methods or relying on the wrong metrics to show success. Without a social media strategy, you’re at risk of wasting time and energy that could be spent more effectively on other parts of your business. You may even be hurting the future success of your Facebook page due to poor performance now.

Having a fully developed social media strategy is essential and should include the ability to track and analyze data in each step. Tracking data will allow you to determine what social networks you should focus on, what type of content is most effective, if it’s more effective to create a wide variety of content, simply promote high performing content to a larger audience and even how much you can afford to spend on promoting your high-performing content.

More social networks, including Instagram and Snapchat, are creating algorithms to determine what content to show users. These algorithms will continue to decrease organic reach and increase competition, driving up the cost of effective social media marketing. Developing a social media strategy will help you rise above your competition.

It’s time to stop posting and start planning.

 

Byline

Brad Wester is a freelance digital marketing consultant specializing in helping small businesses create engaging online experiences that generate leads and drive sales. Follow Brad on Twitter: @wester_brad.

How – and Why – to Fact Check Your PR Writing

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

How – and Why – to Fact Check Your PR Writing Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Public Relations Media MonitoringAs the tragic story about MH17 broke last week, broadcast news networks (especially those of the 24-hour variety) scrambled for any scoop they could find. In the mad dash to find an eye witness, MSNBC got pranked pretty good when a caller who said he was a sergeant stationed at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine claimed he’d seen a missile hit the plane.

He then made a lewd reference and cursed at the host, Krystal Ball, who didn’t pick up on the rather obvious fact that he was pranking her. Both MSNBC and Krystal Ball come away looking rather poorly; someone manning the phones at MSNBC obviously didn’t bother to verify the man’s story – a simple Internet search would have shown that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is stationed in Kiev, which is more than 200 miles from Hrabrove, the site of the crash. At that distance, he wouldn’t have seen a thing.

Put that whole story next to the study released this week, which shows that journalists live tweeting during the 2012 election acted more as stenographers than reporters, as 60 percent of them just repeated what the candidates said, instead of fact-checking such claims for veracity.

As more and more marketing and public relations professionals are themselves becoming content creators in addition to their long-established role in working with journalists, it’s important to remember that with your organization’s reputation on the line, fact-checking is something we all need to do – not just journalists.

This doesn’t mean you need to employ a fact-checking machine a la The New Yorker, but it does mean that taking a little extra time to double-check that everything is in order can save you or your organization from making a silly but meaningful blunder.

Things that always need to be fact-checked:

  • Names, dates, locations, job titles
  • Quotes – always check that you have not only the words right, but the context as well
  • Numbers and statistics
  • Basic facts – because “facts” aren’t always completely factual

Google is a useful fact-checking tool, but if you’re Googling to find out whether a statistic is correct, make sure that the sites you’re using for verification are themselves reputable, and that you can find the same statistic in more than one place. While Wikipedia can also be useful, keep in mind that pages can be and are frequently changed and updated, so it should not be your independent source of information, especially if you’re doing an online-only fact check.

Email and the telephone are also great tools – if you need to make sure someone actually said what they said, just call. In journalism, fact-checkers won’t read a quote back to the speaker, but in public relations and marketing, there is no such restriction, so if there’s an error, it’s easy to re-work a quote.

Chances are that you won’t be live-tweeting election debates and that your account won’t be held up to as much public scrutiny as a journalist’s, but even if you’re at a conference and life-tweeting a presentation, keep in mind that if the speaker makes an assertion, you tweet it out, and that assertion later turns out to be incorrect, you could come away with a negative perception. You never know when what you tweet will come back to haunt you – just ask Justine Sacco.

The New Reality of Facebook

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
flickr user mkhmarketing under CC BY license

flickr user mkhmarketing under CC BY license

By now you’ve probably heard about the changes Facebook made to their News Feed algorithms in December. These changes brought a negative impact to a substantial portion of Facebook users marketing their content and promoting their business. The change was implemented to allow what Facebook deemed “high quality content” (mostly news articles) to feature more prominently over “meme photos.”

For Facebook to want our News Feeds to be of higher quality seems like a noble cause, but what’s happened is that businesses that rely on Facebook to promote themselves find that their posts are reaching only a fraction of the people their posts used to, resulting in fewer fans seeing and engaging with their posts. Food blogger and cookbook author Stephanie Stiavetti publicized this issue back in December, when she noticed her engagement had nearly halted and that barely more than 1 percent of her followers were seeing her posts. An analysis by Ignite showed that organic reach declined an average of 44 percent, and sometimes as high as 88 percent decline.

What does Facebook have to say? Officially, not much. But in a post on Business Insider, Nicholas Carlson spoke with an anonymous Facebook source to shed light on the situation. Apparently, “Facebook has changed its mind about brands. It has decided that users do not really want to see a News Feed full of updates from brands.”

Another lesson: The number of fans you have is not and never has been the number of people who will see your message. Perhaps most importantly is that we all have to deal with the new reality of Facebook. This means our messages are in direct competition with major publishers who spend a lot of money on professional, journalist-vetted content.

So now that the reach of Facebook posts has diminished considerably, what’s a marketing or PR pro to do? Facebook would certainly like you to pay to boost your post or post an ad. This can be circumvented or reduced if your posts already garner a lot of engagement in the form of comments, likes, and shares, but that’s a pretty special case.

This means Facebook marketing is going to have to get a lot more targeted and relevant in order to garner the engagement necessary for people to see messaging, and content will have to be that much more compelling. And since it’s in direct competition with content created by organizations with big production budgets, messaging must be even more timely and viral-ready. It may also be worth targeting specific audiences through selective posts boosting and measuring results from that. Ultimately, we need to know our outputs/posts are driving a business initiative, or we need to retrench no matter what the algorithm.

Businesses for which Facebook is the main source of messaging are going to have to reevaluate. Putting all your eggs in one messaging basket isn’t a great strategy anyway, so it’s the ideal time to diversify and spread messaging on other channels. The appeal of Facebook was the higher engagement rate, but with that gone, will another channel rise up? Or will Facebook adopt the Google model of constant algorithm calibration, which can improve results depending on the alteration?

How will you change what you share on Facebook? Have you noticed a drop in reach, and how are you strategizing to compensate for it?

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: Statues, Socialocity, The Loop, Compelling Content, Groundhog Day, Advocados, Quoting Accurately, and Lawyer Up

Friday, February 7th, 2014
Squared Splash by flickr user derekGavey used under CC BY

Squared Splash by flickr user derekGavey used under CC BY

It’s been a busy two weeks here at Fresh Ideas. This week’s Shot of Fresh rounds up our Fresh Ideas content for the past two weeks:

Get Thee to a Lawyer: What You Need to Know About Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

Almost every commercial email falls under purview of this law, so if you have affiliates, headquarters, clients, or leads in Canada, there’s a lot to do before July 1.

Issuing Citations: How to Quote Wisely and Accurately

Friends don’t let friends misquote. Misquotes shift the focus from your message to your mistake – here are some tips to quote someone accurately.

Jargonology Episode 3: Advocado

Don’t be an advocado – that’s what fact-checking is for. Don’t know what that means? Check out the video for your latest jargon jar addition.

Five PR Takeaways From Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is still just once a year, but PR lessons from the movie are forever.

How to Build a Brand Using Compelling Content

It’s the age of content marketing but that content needs to be compelling and contagious in order add to the brand. Check out the three E’s of contagious content.

The Loop: A 360° Approach to Public Relations – Registration Now Open

Know a PR student? Then they should attend The Loop, a PRSSA conference in downtown Chicago early next month. Plus, our own Tressa Robbins is a speaker.

Art Discourse, or Community PR?

When an ultra-lifelike, nearly naked statue of a sleepwalking man appears on the Wellesley College campus (a women’s college), is it PR stunt, or glaring misread of the audience?

Jargonology Episode 4: The Story of Socialocity

We’ve all witnessed socialocity firsthand – the rapid-fire pace at which an offensive tweet is shared, the traffic and comments a fan base can bring – and let’s face it: We all want to be on socialocity’s good side, even if it means performing emergency hashtagectomies, quarantining our influenzers, or reforming advocados.