Tagged: social media

Five PR Tools to Make a Difference

By: Sarah Arnett

When I entered college, I did not know what I wanted to major in. While I knew I wanted to make a difference, I continued to explore and research, eventually landing in Dr. Tricia Hansen-Horn’s office to discuss public relations. However, I was unsure how public relations made a difference in the world around me. As I begin my senior year, I have a set of tools in my back pocket, ready to utilize and make a difference. 

– Networking 

Networking is crucial to public relations. To be a successful professional, it is important to make connections whenever the opportunity presents itself. Whether it be at a professional event or at the local Starbucks, never pass up the opportunity to make a connection with somebody. You never know, they may be your next partner on a groundbreaking campaign! 

– Social Media 

Gone are the days of reading the morning newspaper. Instead, you can catch people scrolling through Twitter and checking their email first thing in the morning. A strategic public relations professional knows that social media is a powerful tool to share messages and appeal to human interest. 

– Team Work 

As much as some hate group work, there is no denying that the best ideas come from the culmination of several ideas. When used effectively, group work sparks creativity and inspires great ideas. These ideas are the ones that motivate audience members to take action, making a lasting impact. 

– Setting SMART Goals 

If you want to change the world through public relations, big goals are to be expected. However, it is important to make those goals SMART. A goal must be strategic, with sound reasoning and research backing it up. It must also be measurable, to ensure that it is results driven and justifiable use of resources. A goal must also be attainable and realistic, as there is no point in setting a goal that has no chance of being accomplished. A goal must also be time-bound to ensure that resources are being used efficiently and team members are focused on providing results. By setting SMART goals, public relations professionals have a strong plan in place to change the world. 

– Finding Your Passion 

At the end of the day, the biggest results will come from efforts you are passionate about. There will be projects that you work on that don’t set your soul on fire, and that is okay. But the best ideas and results come from working on things that set your soul on fire. Whether that is grounding breaking technology or a new brand of coffee, the best results are those that you are proud of and feel that you made a difference with. 

By combining these skills, as well as many others, public relations professionals are able to provide results that make an impact on the world one message at a time. I’m excited to put them to use in my future career as a public relations professional!

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Five tips for building your brand on Twitter

By Brittany Green

When Twitter was first launched, people were uncertain how successful it would be. Now in 2016, there are millions of users and more than 500 million tweets sent out every day. People are using Twitter to find news, share information and connect with people and businesses around the world.  It has become a very powerful tool, not only for social purposes, also to help businesses market their brands.Some of the most successful companies use Twitter because it allows them to reach a large audience, interact with them quickly and keep them updated with content information.

Image credit: @chipotletweets via Twitter

Image credit: @chipotletweets via Twitter

Chipotle is a great example of a company that efficiently uses Twitter to interact with it’s audiences. According to a 2011 Nation’s Restaurant News Study, 90 percent of the company’s activity on Twitter is responding to customers through @mentions. Chipotle currently has 743,000 followers that it can interact and share content with. That is certainly amazing, but also something that, in principle, any business can do. If you’re interested in using Twitter to build your brand, here are some tips to help you get started.

Use the search feature

One of Twitter’s most powerful tools is the search feature. It can operate as a “global human search engine” of sorts and allows people to find others on Twitter with relevant information to share. Researchers also can look to see which topics are trending to stay informed and gauge audience interests. Hashtags (#) can help people immensely when searching. Just put a “#” in front of a topic and a lists of relevant tweets will appear. This can save you a lot of trouble and makes it very easy to search.

Know your audience

It is VERY important to know your audience. This will help you communicate clearly and make information relevant to them. If the content is not interesting, they will quickly move on to the next thing that interests them. The search feature can be very useful for learning about your
target audiences. It can tell you what is trending and their opinions on what’s going on. Another option is to look at various profiles and start collecting information. What are their interests and opinions? When are they active? Who do they follow? Which demographic groups do they belong to? These details can help give you an edge when creating strategic messaging for your audiences.

Customize the profile page

Image credit: @Royals via Twitter

Image credit: @Royals via Twitter

This plays a BIG role in visitors’ decisions to either read your content or move on. If your page is boring and doesn’t attract visitors, they probably aren’t going to follow you. The profile page should grab the visitors’ attention and convey who you are and what you’re about. While customizing the profile page, perhaps the most important decision is choosing a good avatar, as it will appear next to every tweet that is sent out. Make it something recognizable and eye-catching. Brand logos often fit well here since they are usually designed with these ideas in mind. An attractive banner image is a nice touch as well, and don’t forget to include links to your other social media accounts and/or website in order to create deeper engagement.

Tweet interesting content

This one may seem obvious, but bland content is still a common mistake that plagues the social media of many businesses. The Twitter feed is built around scrolling endlessly through a series of short posts. To escape the monotony, many people just scroll until something grabs their attention. Content should be fun, interesting and useful. Common themes or ideas in your content can help to establish your brand identity and keep readers coming back. Interesting, personal content is what separates your brand from everyone else, so use it to your advantage.

Engage with other accounts

Engaging with other accounts, particularly those within your industry/field, can be highly beneficial. Building relationships can help to build your reputation, grow your brand, increase awareness, provide sources of interesting content and keep you informed. This can also keep you informed about what your competitors might be doing and the state of the market.

 

More and more businesses are using Twitter as a professional communication platform, and if you follow these tips, yours can be one of them. On that note, remember to follow Innovative PR on Twitter and Facebook.

Get the most out of Instagram: tips for business and personal use

By Jamie Jackson

I love Instagram. I really do. It’s fun to post pictures and to get a sneak peek into strangers’ lives (why is this not a weird statement anymore?).

Instagram is a popular social media outlet for personal use, however, it is also becoming popular among companies for branding and marketing. Here are a few tips to get the most out of Instagram for your business (or even your personal account).

Use brightly colored and well-lit photos

Image credit: Leon Bridges via Instagram

Image credit: Leon Bridges via Instagram

Image credit: Starbucks via Instagram

Image credit: Starbucks via Instagram

An attractive photo stream doesn’t usually involve unedited, dull pictures. Starbucks’ Instagram feed is full of colorful and attractive photos.

However – not all black and white pictures should be thrown in the trash. Leon Bridges’ photo stream has some great examples of how black and white pictures can still be great for Instagram.

Leon is an R&B artist embracing soul music. These black and white images line up perfectly with Leon’s personal brand and the subjects he sings about.

Instagram is effective when people follow you, and you gain followers by giving people what they want. On Instagram, that means aesthetically pleasing photos.

Be personal

No one wants to see another ad on Instagram. Sure, if you’re a clothing store, post pictures of new arrivals. If you have a great new product, it’s okay to feature it in a post. But Instagram shouldn’t be used as an online store. Try something like this:

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Image credit: Microsoft via Instagram

Tell stories. Show consumers the faces behind the name.

You are more than an ad agency or a boring, unoriginal company. Show the fun! Unless you really want people to think you’re a boring, unoriginal company – in which case, I’m afraid I can’t help you there.insta

If you use Instagram, actually USE it

Post consistently. Don’t post once or twice, or for a season. If you put an intern in charge of the account, make sure someone else takes over after they leave.

Consistency is key in posting and branding. If you use hashtags on Twitter or Facebook, use the same for Instagram. Use your same logo as the profile picture, link to the same website, use the same voice and use your brand. Instagram provides a unique opportunity to tell your story solely through pictures. As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Steward them well.

Be hip

Image credit: McDonald's via Instagram

Image credit: McDonald’s via Instagram

By this, I don’t mean try to use modern slang just because it’s used by young people. You risk misusing or misunderstanding words and phrases, potentially losing credibility and followers. Instead, follow current trends and try to stay fun. This post from McDonald’s is a great example.

Celebrate things like hump day. Be relevant in your posts on holidays or during big world issues. This might seem like it won’t affect sales, but an online presence that seems real and personal is so valuable to a company – especially with younger people.

Evaluate

While Insta is more fun and exciting than a lot of other tools, it’s still very measurable and very valuable. Do it better by evaluating your efforts with Instagram analytics tools. Instagram is great for reaching younger audiences and telling your story with photos. Evaluating any social media effort is a chance to show the C-suite their money is being used well. It also gives coordinators a chance to change their efforts as needed depending on what works and what doesn’t. Evaluation helps to refine and target your audiences and determines if you are indeed reaching them. All efforts are wasteful if not evaluated frequently.

 

Social media is a wonderful branding tool when used properly. Millennials grew up with this stuff, so employ some of them to help you navigate new waters. It’s worth it. Speaking of social, you’ll want to follow IPR on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.

 

Jumping on the live streaming bandwagon

Image via thehrcreative.com

By Kristina Keeling

Trends in social media come and go, and the big trend right now is live streaming. So how are we, as PR professionals, supposed to know if we should jump on the bandwagon or let it run its course? This week, we take a closer look at the live streaming trend to see if this is something we should take seriously.

MeerkatMeerkat

Life On Air released this mobile live streaming app in February 2015. When you start recording, it sends an automated tweet telling others that you are live via Meerkat. It was a huge hit – for the first few days – and then twitter decided to pull the plug on its Application Programming Interface (API). Without this software, Meerkat couldn’t integrate Twitter’s social graphs. So what does this mean? Well, when new users joined, they weren’t automatically connected to those they followed on Twitter. This hinders Meerkat because users won’t be automatically notified by the app when friends are broadcasting unless they manually build their followers. This, in turn, means people will not be on the app.

In response to Twitter’s decision to block access to their API and social graph, Meerkat’s CEO, Ben Rubin, told Yahoo Tech, “We are definitely going to start our own network. We are already starting to decouple the social graph.” In the meantime, the app released an update to help users connect, so now users can search for others by their Twitter username.

Periscope

Why was Twitter so intent on shutting down Meerkat? Well, with a quick Google search, I found out that Twitter bought a competitive app, Periscope, in March 2015 – just after Meerkat launched. Periscope works similarly to Meerkat in that it allows others to know when you are live streaming via tweets and notifications. Twitter pulled their API and made it harder for Meerkat to be integrated with the platform, thus making Periscope the only live streaming app that is seamlessly connected to Twitter.

A quick breakdown of the apps

PeriscopeThe layouts of the two services are different, but both are user friendly. When you open Meerkat you are brought to a “landing page” where you can let your followers know what is happening. In Meerkat you are able to schedule live streams, so you can let your followers know that you will be live in the near future or that you are talking about a topic right now. When you scroll down on the landing page you can see who is live now, and further down you can see what is scheduled.

When you open up Periscope, you see who on your followers list is live, followed by featured live streams and your followers’ most recent live streams. Periscope also offers a world map and a list view of who is live.

In short, both apps offer attractive features.

Which one should I use?

In terms of popularity, Periscope is definitely winning the race between live streaming services. Each app, however, has its own advantages and disadvantages that may suit your personal preference. Personally, I enjoy the world map on Periscope seeing who is live streaming around me, but I do like how you can schedule live feeds on Meerkat. Since I downloaded the apps, I have definitely checked Periscope more often, as it has the advantage of notifying me when the people I follow are live streaming.

Live streaming is definitely still in its infancy. I was expecting to see more people I personally knew using the apps and was surprised at how few used them. I do think that live streaming will gain more popularity when major events, such as pro baseball and football championships roll around. Live streaming apps will have an advantage because they will allow people to feel like they are really at the event. Celebrities and major influencers in the social media world will be able to live stream the backstage experience, or other things  at major events.

“The Sleeping Giant of Live Streaming”

YouTube Live

Image via waltribeiro.com

Periscope and Meerkat might soon have some competition in the live streaming realm, as YouTube recently released its own live streaming capabilities. YouTube will likely target different audiences for its live streaming services, though. Right now, YouTube live streaming is popular with the sports and gaming audience. Once more YouTube “creators” jump on board the live streaming trend though, YouTube may be the go-to destination  for live streaming.

 

I think that live streaming is here to stay – for a while, at least. It is a great tool for instant news and entertainment. What do you think? Is live streaming here to stay? Comment below with your thoughts on Meerkat, Periscope and YouTube Live, and don’t forget to follow IPR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Social media safety: how to protect yourself and your content

social media 1

Image via socialmediatoday.com

by Briana Piercey

We live in a world that is totally saturated with social media. Being constantly connected is the new standard. If you don’t post, tweet or “snap” a video of your every move, people may just assume your life is boring. The problem is, this habit can cause people to share too much, which can have much worse consequences. Let’s just say that everything isn’t meant to be posted.

There’s an old saying: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” When it comes to social media, though, it’s not how you post, it’s what you post. Social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms where people brand themselves — whether they intend to or not. Posting without careful thought can create unnecessary risks, and although social media sites are great for sharing and connecting with others, they can also taint your professional image.

Control your content

Some people may think that if their profile pages are set to private instead of public, they’re protecting themselves. Although that’s ideally true, that’s not always the case. Despite the general privacy settings on a person’s page, the content they share is often available to “friends of friends,” which greatly increases the number of people who can see their post. Always check your privacy settings to see who exactly can view your content.

The “non-renewable” post

When on a social site, think of your control of your content as a non-renewable resource; once you’ve used it, it’s gone. When a Facebook or Twitter user hits that post/tweet button, that status leaves their control, never to be returned. Of course, you might have the option to delete specific content, which may provide a sense of authority as a social media user. However, websites often keep caches of everything people post and other users are able to take screenshots of content. By the time you delete something, it may already be too late. Once you post, you can delete but you can’t hide.

Social media safety

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Image via teamjimmyjoe.com

Along with potentially damaging your image, being careless on social media can also pose risks to your physical, financial or legal safety. Features such as location tracking or the contact information section of your profile page, for example, can reveal more than you might think. Crimes related to social media have increased at an alarming rate in recent years, so if you want to be cautious, here are a few tips for staying safe on social media:

Don’t announce your every move

“I just brushed my hair in the bathroom on 122 Lane Avenue and I’m headed to the Lennox shopping center all by my lonesome!” Okay, so this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it definitely simulates posts made by our fellow social media addicts. Publicizing your every move keeps family and friends informed of your whereabouts, but it updates potential predators as well. Play it safe and spare us the details. Simplicity is key.

Know who your friends and followers are

Contrary to what they would have you believe, not everyone on social media is your friend, and some may even have ill intentions from the moment they message you. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know and be aware of who’s following you. It might help you steer clear of hackers or other potential threats.

Avoid using profanity, images with alcohol, or other questionable content

smeblog3Regardless of what you’re told, don’t think future employers, the Greek organization you’d like to join or even potential predators won’t do their research ad check your social sites.

Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing if something is okay to post: If you’re not sure whether or not you should post it, #DontDoIt.

 

Are you conscious of your social media content? Do you have any tips to help people stay safe on social media? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The realities of being a PR Major

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UCM PR Students

by Maria Schomer

“What do you do?” It’s usually the first question I get asked when I tell people I am a public relations major. My friends, who know little about PR, assume that I take the easiest classes and all I learn is the structure of a press release and how to manipulate the public. My family, however, believes public relations takes a lot of skill and that I know how to speak in front of a large crowd without getting nervous.

So what do public relations majors actually learn? Social media? Event planning? Sure, we cover that (among other things). But what people and other students don’t realize is the amount of time and hard work we dedicate to being a public relations major.

Thinking back to the simpler, less stressful days of my freshman year I realized how my understanding of different aspects of public relations has changed.

AP writing can consume you

When you think about public relations, do you think about writing? I didn’t. What about writing in a different way than standard English composition? I really didn’t consider that either. The Associated Press (AP) is a style of writing that is used by all public relations professionals. It’s not quite like learning another language but you do have to learn different ways to punctuate sentences, whether or not a word needs to be capitalized, correct use of titles and a whole lot more. Fortunately, we do have a reference book, or survival guide of sorts that we can use to help: the AP Style Guide.

How hard can social media be?

You use it everyday, sometimes multiple times. Social media is easy to understand, right? Take Facebook: you just log in and update people about what is happening in your life. How hard is that?

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Clip from “Parks and Recreation” — GIF found at gubulldog.wordpress.com

In reality, as public relations majors, it’s much more complex. You have to grasp the latest social media platforms and trends. You must have an understanding of where different publics generally traffic social media platforms and why. You may think that Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are what companies mostly use to share news with followers, and you’re not wrong. However, social media is much more than a weekly status update, it can help build relationships between a company and its publics. Creating a dialogue like this helps build costumer loyalty and provides valuable feedback.

To put the importance of social media into perceptive, Lucas Miller, a PR specialist at Fusion 360, believes you have to show the return-on-investment while working with social media for an industry. This is because, although social media continues to grow every day, companies are still skeptical about the effects social media can have on their publics.

It’s a networking world

Getting to know others in the public relations field can be a valuable learning experience. There is no better time to network with a professional than when you are in college. Professionals are often willing to help a college student out because they know what it’s like being a student with little to no experience. Additionally, most professionals are willing to be a contact if you ever have any questions or want them to look over your résumé.

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PR professionals weigh in at a UCM PRSSA event

But how do you network when you’re still in college? There are several options that a college student can use to network. They can join their campus chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Also, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is a national organization that hosts networking and workshop events for professionals and students alike. Students often don’t realize that networking can help further their career and the more they attend networking events the better their connections will be.

 

Is Public Relations the easiest major out there? No. But can it be the most rewarding? Absolutely.

We want to hear from some current and alumni public relations majors! What advice or reality would you want a new PR major to know?  Comment below and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Maintaining Creativity for PR

by Maria Schomer

Maintaining creativity can be difficult and most people tend to believe they are not creative. This is not true. Everyone has a little creative nature to them. Kirk Hallahan of Colorado State University suggests that creativity is not passed down through genes; rather, people learn how to think creatively.

As an Innovative PR specialist I have to be creative every day, working on different projects, from creating messages and graphics for social media, to writing blogs and press releases. The question becomes: how is creativity important to public relations?

Working creativity in PR

Almost every course we take as part of the UCM PR Program requires us to think strategically and creatively. As future public relations professionals, we need to understand what our audiences want, what is most important to them, and how to communicate with them effectively. Let’s use social media as an example. Among other things, we need to know what will engage the public to participate in conversations with our company or clients. Using hashtags is a powerful way to do this to get things started, however, we need to think creatively about what the hashtag will say and how it can be communicated.

Unlocking Creativity

Many times people can experience a creative block, where the continuous flow of ideas instantly comes to a stop. Getting the creativity flowing again can be challenging. Larry Kim, founder of WordStream, wrote “9 ways to become more creative in 10 minutes” for Inc. Here are the four techniques Kim talked about that I feel are most effective.

  1. Draw Something. It can be doodles of circles or a tree. By drawing you are able to stay focused in meetings and your surroundings, this can spark creative ideas.
  1. Join Flash Fiction. Flash Fiction is a type of writing where you can write whatever you feel but in a quick manner consisting of about 100 words. When you use flash fiction there’s no need to feel pressure, you can simply get your thoughts written and ideas can start flowing again.
  2. Take a break from brainstorming and take a walk. Brainstorming can be highly effective to create ideas. However, breaks are needed sometimes, especially if a creative block occurs. Taking a walk can help ease your mind.
  1. Have a stress ball handy. Focusing on something other than the problem can help spark ideas. Having a stress ball or toy on your desk is good for a five minute break so you can unlock your creativity.

What do you do when you are stuck in a creative block? We would love to hear from you! As always follow Innovative PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Starbucks Gets Roasted

by Nikki McClaran

If you got your iced caramel macchiato at Starbucks last week, you probably found “Race Together” written on your cup. No, this was not a challenge to initiate a store-wide coffee drinking competition, but Starbucks’ attempt at a social awareness campaign about racial inequality.

The idea: Initiate conversation about diversity through your cup of Joe.
The outcome: Serious backlash, a shut-down Twitter account, and the halt of the campaign the week of its launch.

This was not Starbucks first dive into social issues, the Starbucks Foundation being a large part of the global corporation. So, how did this campaign manage to fail so miserably, even with such good intentions? Looking from a purely PR perspective, Starbucks’ committed two missteps that really burnt the beans.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Racial inequality has been a serious topic in the news this past year with headlines from the Ferguson, Mo. crisis and Eric Garner’s death. Unlike Starbuck’s past campaigns that addressed AIDS and jobs in America, this social issue stands out in that it is at a peak of tension with two distinct sides. Making customers believe that Starbucks was truly invested in the issue rather than being financially opportunistic required thorough planning- something Starbucks failed to do.

Planning comes at all levels, and not only did the corporate executives not know how to handle the situation (spoiler: that’s next), the baristas didn’t either. Videos of baristas being unaware of the program or not wanting to discuss it began popping up all over the web.

Starbucks, I get that you’re a big company and it’s hard to get everyone on the same page, but with such a heated topic, better preparing the ones who are primarily responsible for executing the campaign might be a good idea, especially since you were just accused of creating gentrification. It could prevent you coming off as a money-hungry corporation, seeking to capitalize on sensitive issues.

Brew up a crisis plan, and actually follow it.

Social media is like coffee. It has the ability to brighten your day and energize all of your efforts, but it also has the capability to give you really bad breathe before that 8 a.m. meeting. As an active social media beast, you would think that Starbucks is prepared for the negative consequences social media can bring, but that didn’t seem to happen. Almost immediately after its launch last Sunday, Starbucks began receiving serious Twitter backlash.

I’m assuming (and hoping) that Starbucks had a crisis plan established, yet rather than follow it, they responded the worst way you probably could- they didn’t. Corey duBrowa, Starbucks’ senior vice president of communications, fueled the fire by supposedly blocking Twitter accounts that responded negatively to Race Together and deactivating his own account. Bad move, duBrowa.

And now Starbucks’ chairman and CEO, Howard Shultz, is defending that the halting of the campaign as planned and intended. I hope this is true, rather than a last-minute attempt to justify the company’s actions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to visit Starbucks for my soy, no foam latte. Honestly, Starbucks has done a great job with social media engagement and humanitarian events in the past. This just wasn’t Starbucks’ cup of tea and from it we can see the value in proper campaign planning and crisis management. Want to espresso your thoughts? Comment below.

Be sure to like IPR on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

 

The Art of Opportunity (aka Newsjacking)

by Chelsey Webber

Ah, newsjacking – the art of piggybacking off of the day’s biggest news stories and using it to turn attention toward yourself. This brilliant communications tactic is one public relations professionals should certainly take advantage of because, quite frankly, it works.

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Some familiar faces participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Marketer and author, Seth Godin, coined a term that I believe we should all be familiar with: Ideavirus. According to Godin, “an ideavirus is an idea that spreads through various networks like the Internet and grows rapidly within a target population.” The unique thing about an ideavirus is that it’s infectious. When an idea becomes infectious, it spreads and becomes bait for newsjacking.

Take, for example, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge–an ideavirus through and through. It began with the efforts of a few Bostonians looking to make a change and soon erupted into one of the most viral trends to ever grace the Internet. The Challenge’s success was utterly remarkable, with countless individuals and brands taking part. In fact, because of this ideavirus, the ALS Association received an estimated total of $115 million in donations.

Trends that become viral are important to watch and can open the door for opportunity. How exactly can professionals take advantage of such opportunities, you ask? Newsjacking, my friends. I’ve done my research and to further illustrate the effectiveness of this tool, I now present to you my favorite examples of newsjacking: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good: The Salvation Army gets creative.  

The Salvation Army recently utilized the “brilliance that is newsjacking” by taking advantage of our super strange and utterly inexplicable obsession with “#thedress.” You know the one – the white and gold/black and blue one. Salvation Army made the brilliant decision to use this ridiculous obsession to bring awareness to something that actually matters – and it worked.

The Bad: AT&T gets tactless.

The anniversary of 9/11, what was quite possibly one of the darkest days in American history, is certainly something to be remembered. But did AT&T get it right? Nope.

Taking advantage of a very sensitive subject in order to drive sales probably isn’t the greatest idea. Unsurprisingly, the post received a lot of backlash from people who felt that AT&T was guilty of tactless newsjacking. The post was taken down, apologies were made, and the situation soon blew over.

The Ugly: DiGiorno, go stand in the corner and think about what you’ve done.

social-media-compliance-training-6“Terrible newsjacking” is brought to you by DiGiorno Pizza in what is quite possibly one of the most infamous examples of newsjacking gone wrong.

When the hashtags “#WhyIStayed” and “#WhyILeft” were trending on Twitter, users shared their stories of abusive relationships.

Enter DiGiorno. The person in charge of its Twitter account no doubt saw these trending hashtags and, in utter ignorance to the actual meaning of the hashtags, decided to jump on the bandwagon with the lovely tweet you see to the right.

Rest assured, the tweet was deleted and apologies were made. I’m not sure whether DiGiorno’s social media manager lost their job, but a lesson was certainly learned: do your research, people.

What I Learned

These examples, along with the social media managers responsible for them, taught me three things about newsjacking.

  • Stay on top of current trends, especially the viral ones.
  • Stay classy. Newsjacking is great; tactlessness is not (*cough* AT&T).
  • Understand the news. Don’t jump on a bandwagon you don’t belong on… DiGiorno.

If you have any newsjacking rules of your own to add, let us know. Don’t forget to follow Innovative PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Boost your personal brand with your own website

by Evan Whittaker

Personal branding is an important part of your success in the public relations industry. As with any profession, you are competing with a multitude of other individuals who posses many of the same skills that you do. So what sets you apart? Often it’s your personality, experience and professionalism. Unfortunately, these facets can be difficult to convey without meeting your intended audiences in person. But there is good news. A personal website is a fantastic way to showcase personality before meeting a potential client, interviewer or hiring professional.

Where to start

While creating a website can certainly seem like a daunting task, there are numerous tools at your disposal that can simplify the process. Gone are the days of slaving over a Notepad document to modify and insert line after line of HTML code. Instead, various platforms exist to take care of the heavy lifting and have your site up and running in a matter of hours.

WordPress

wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbThe tried and true website creation software, WordPress boasts more than 11 years of experience on the web. With thousands of plugins and templates available for free, WordPress offers users tons of options for customizing the appearance and functionality of their sites. In addition, WordPress is one of the best blogging platforms on the web, allowing for seamless integration of your blog into your website. For more information, visit WordPress.

 Squarespace

28uIqxzSIf you’re looking for a great combination of function and ease-of-use, Squarespace is another great place to start. Its website editor is deceptively simple for how powerful it is. Nearly everything you do on Squarespace is visual instead of text or code, making it an ideal choice for those who prefer a point-and-click interface for creating content. While its features are more limited than those available through WordPress, the gorgeous layouts and animations and simple designs make up for its shortcomings. Anyone interested in Squarespace should check out the website.

 

Wix

Wix.com_LogoIf you’re wary about using either of the above platforms but still want to create your own website, Wix might be the choice for you. Wix utilizes a drag-and-drop interface for website creation, which makes it incredibly easy for users to create a custom website. However, as this article from Biju Creative points out, Wix’s simplicity is a double-edged sword of sorts, as much of the customization options and features you might find with other platforms aren’t available. Still, for those looking for a quick and painless solution for a basic website, Wix shouldn’t be overlooked. Visit Wix to learn more.

What to include in your site

Your website is a reflection of you. What you include in your site should give visitors a professional impression of who you are and what you do. While there are numerous things that you can include in your site, here are a few solid options for content you should consider making available to visitors:

  • A profile or ‘about me’ section with details about your experience and interests
  • A portfolio or showcase of your previous works
  • Your personal blog, which can serve as a sample of your writing style and interests
  • Your resume, which can be made available for download for prospective employers
  • Your contact information

Do you have a question or comment about building a site for your personal brand? Let us know how we can help! Don’t forget to follow Innovative PR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.