Posts Tagged ‘Doug Simon’

Connect Content Marketing to the Bottom Line

Friday, December 20th, 2013
flickr user photosteve101

flickr user photosteve101

by Sharon Miller*

Content marketing is a hot topic in the PR community, but plenty of organizations are still trying to figure it out. Last week, I attended the PRNews Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington, D.C. and attended the session “Show & Tell: Examples of Content Marketing That Connects to the Bottom Line.”

The sessions presenters were Doug Simon, president and CEO of D S Simon Productions; Julie Craven, VP of corporate communications at Hormel Foods; and Blair Austin, marketing director at ILMO Products.

Simon began with his five-step process for content marketing and what he calls “PRketing,” which goes far beyond brand journalism. The steps are:

1. Identify the behavior you’re trying to change

2. Identify the people who you’re trying to reach and where they consume content

3. Create content that will effectively change their behavior

4. Place the content where they’ll find, view, and share it

5. Measure, assess, and revise

Simon used the American College of Physicians as an example. The college created an iTunes channel for its members, allowing them to download important news on studies in a digestible, user-friendly format. So they not only identified a new channel in which their members consumed content, but changed the way they delivered information they deemed important for members.

Next, Craven explained that we’re competing against everyone now on social media, and that means our messages must be on target or we won’t get any time with our target consumers. Craven advocates developing a hub-and-spoke model to drive awareness and conversion via branded content. This model requires setting a goal and defining what you’re trying to accomplish, and using content, set in the middle and connecting to every goal, to push toward that goal.

Craven stressed that hub content must be concise, graphically driven, and shareable. And of course, that content must be channel specific to provide utility and drive conversion.

Finally, Austin spoke about how to get attention with little money. She used a case study with ILMO, a medical, industrial, and laboratory gas provider. Their challenge was not only budgetary, but also that their industry doesn’t support marketing. The company’s goal was to generate national media attention with its 100th anniversary, and share that media attention on its existing channels to encourage its core audience and position ILMO as an industry leader in marketing and communications.

So, when the company turned 100 years old, it created an event: The organization gave each of its 100 employees $100 on the 100th day of the year.  They fostered engagement by driving it to social media channels and spread brand awareness all on its small budget.

What content marketing strategies do you use to drive engagement? What new models have you developed to reach your target segment?

*Bio: Sharon Miller has been with BurrellesLuce for 25 years, and is currently the VP of Enterprise Solutions. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and social work from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She did her graduate work at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Ohio. Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Sharon Miller

Using Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine for Visual Storytelling

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Using Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine for Visual Storytelling BurrellesLuceby Alfred Cox*

No matter your brand’s industry, you can still leverage the marketing power of visual social media platforms like Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest. Visual storytelling is applicable to every kind of organization, and at the Digital PR Summit in October, three panelists shared their strategies to spot opportunities for visual storytelling, as well as create campaigns, tell your brand’s story, and be inspirational in order to drive views back to your brand page.

The three panelists were:

Amanda Junker, digital director at Shape Magazine

Allison Robins, director of global public relations for Zumba Fitness

Doug Simon, president and CEO of D S Simon Productions

For Junker, using these platforms is all about engaging with your fans and fostering community. She says that Pinterest is central to their digital strategy, which Shape uses to both tell the brand story and increase site traffic. In one promotion, for users to participate in a contest, they had to follow Shape on Pinterest and pin one promotional item to their personal boards. According to Junker, it was red hot, with 2.9 million social impressions, 3,900 entrants, and 11,000 new followers.

Robins of Zumba recommends promotional partnerships; one particularly successful partnership for Zumba was with Billboard, which Robins says was great to promote the fitness method as well as the stars participating. She also advocates for live-Tweeting events for maximum exposure. For brands working with a PR agency, Robins stresses that the agency must get your story out on all social media platforms; diversifying social media usage and maximizing audience contact is key to growing an substantial fan base.

Visual must come first, advises Simon, who stressed that visuals are more important to users than ever before. When it comes to video, he surveys web influencers to determine how they are using video, and advises PR pros learn how to create content and video for Instagram. He also converts broadcast video from media promotion tours into Instagram-compatible video, with the added benefit that the video is high quality. He also emphasizes that production value isn’t limited to visuals alone; the audio must also be excellent, and the overall production value must equal the brand.

How does your organization use visual and video social media to tell its story?


Bio: Alfred Cox is a rare commodity of a performer who combines a relentless drive to succeed with the ability to provide “first-person” touch to his clients, creating loyalty and repeat business. He has a hard-nosed work ethic in a results- driven environment and he is often called the “Network King.” Alfred has been in the PR industry for the past 18+ years and joined the BurrellesLuce team in 2011. Connect with him on Twitter: @shantikcox Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Alfred Cox

Online Video: Another Tool in PR’s Arsenal

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Valerie Simon

On Wednesday CEO Jeff Bezos chose to talk about the Zappos deal on YouTube. By speaking directly to the public, and bypassing the press, Bezos was able to assure that his key messages were clearly articulated. The video spread quickly via social media, and became a part of the story in the traditional media.

There is little doubt that online video is exploding. The July issue of the BurrellesLuce e-newsletter, devoted to online video, notes that according to comScore’s Video Metrix, published in June 2009, 78.6 percent of all Internet users viewed online video during the month of April 2009 (16.8 billion videos), a 34.5 percent increase in video consumption from April of 2008.

The rapid growth of online video provides public relations professionals new opportunity to engage the public and media. Tuesday I moderated a PR News webinar, “How to (Really) Leverage YouTube for PR,” designed to help PR practitioners use online video to take their media relations to the next level. Anthony Allen, director of Digital Media for the American Society for Training and Development, provided some practical advice on creating and sharing videos. Christi Day, emerging media specialist from Southwest Airlines, shared great examples of how Southwest has been able to engage the media and audiences using online video. And Rick Wion, vice president Dialogue, GolinHarris, offered great suggestions on what organizations should be measuring.

As Rick pointed out, “Viral is not a strategy.” Effective use of online video means assuring that it is seamlessly integrated with your overall PR plan. The Jeff Bezos video provides an excellent example of how to tell a story, while simultaneously aligning the video to key messages. While it took Bezos nearly six minutes to mention Zappos, he was quick to talk about the company’s core values; a customer centric philosophy, constant invention/innovation and long-term focus.

With that said, the Bezos video was not without its critics. Is eight minutes too long for an online audience? Why did it take six minutes to get to the news viewers were waiting to hear? Was the quality of the video lackluster?

As business communicators, we all have a lot to learn about how to harness the full potential of online video. Back in February of 2007, Doug Simon, president of D S Simon, noted in his welcoming vlog post: “In two years, websites and blogs without video will be the exception, rather than the rule.” Today, online video has become an essential element in communications plans and is an important part of what we monitor for our clients.

Be sure to check out these tips for using online video from BurrellesLuce.  How do you incorporate online video into your PR plan?