Brevity is de rigueur for PR professionals, especially when it comes to pitching—both traditional journalists and bloggers. And while we’re now using social media to assist with these efforts, these tools have created an entirely new dimension of brevity.
A leader in the PR and social media world, Peter Shankman suggests that brevity is among his four “rules” for communications practitioners in effective social media engagement. If today’s average attention span is 2.7 seconds, then long gone are the days where journalists are reading much beyond your headline!
Surely strong writing helps to crack this nut. The trick is to balance brevity with clarity, as shorter may not always be better. Another challenge is to be brief without compromising captivation. It’s tough when you want to paint a full picture while filtering words that may give your pitch that “oomph” to sell in your idea.
It really boils down to basics for all communicators, not just PR practitioners. Strong writing is clear, concise, and balanced with compelling punches. Condense your idea(s) into a short but sweet message.
Well it was a valiant attempt to practice what I’m “preaching” here. My post was not quite as brief as I had intended, but hey—I’m not on Twitter now, am I?
Anyone have Twitter-esque thoughts on the importance of being brief in communications?
When it comes to social media, some people are keen on writing about the pecan-encrusted tilapia or risotto Milanese they had for dinner. Others—nearly 20 percent of them—are tweeting about brand names or products, according to the “Twitter chief scientist” at Penn State University. He and a doctoral student sought to uncover why people mention brands on Twitter.
The study revealed that many use the microblogging site to “inform others or express a view’’—ultimately to connect with a brand or product. The tweets involve sending out a query or responding to one. Also, the brand comments are positive as a whole. These findings are similar to those in a recent report by eMarketer, which found that more than 50% of social network users are voluntarily connecting with companies or brands.
Of course this is great news for advertisers and companies because, with this “free advertising” comes sales leads and overall brand awareness, among many other benefits. While we’re on the topic, companies that employ a listening strategy—that is, monitoring conversations about their company, competitors, and industry—glean feedback and insight directly from the end users of their product or service. This “free market research” can then be used to address concerns or issues more quickly, and even make strategic business decisions.
Statistics around social media are changing by the minute—maybe six months from now, 2 out of 5 tweets will be considered “free advertising.” But one thing’s for certain in this uncertain world of social media: it continues to evolve the way we communicate in general, and how companies can reach and engage their key audiences.
— Sharon Harper
Rochester is home to considerable communications talent. On the heels of yet another successful Addy Award ceremony, the Public Relations Society of America Rochester Chapter celebrated the 20th year of its annual PRism Awards program. The event was held on June 11 at Casa Larga Vineyards.
The PRisms acknowledge the highest standards of performance in public relations. This year’s theme—“Who Says PR Is Easy?”—speaks to the process of making our clients look good while we make it look easy.
Categories are included for web and print materials, direct mail, brochures, and press kits, among others. Both corporate and not-for-profit sectors are recognized in each category. For the very first time, the PRSA Rochester Chapter extended the awards to include social media categories. (With full disclosure on shameless self-promotion, Martino Flynn was honored for its innovative work in two of these non-traditional categories, including “blog” and “blogger relations”). This year’s Best of Show for the Corporate category went to Text 100 for their B2B campaign, “Xerox Takes the Headache Out of Office Printing.”
Individual PR professionals from the area are also recognized, like the CEO of The Year. The Rising Star award is rewarded to someone who demonstrates exceptional competence, skill, and leadership, and has no more than seven years of experience. The Sharleen M. Bruse award goes to a PRSA member with more than 10 years of experience who epitomizes the integrity and professionalism of a public relations practitioner. This recipient is also very involved in community service and routinely help advance the career development of other chapter members.
So congrats to all the 2009 PRism winners. As well, a BIG thanks to everyone in the profession for their contributions that are fostering growth in the field and taking us to new heights.
It was tough getting back to the grind yesterday after a relaxing Memorial Day weekend, which began with a family visit in Connecticut (truly there’s no place like home, but only in small doses…). I grew up in a small town surrounded by state forest with three traffic lights and one recent fast food addition. So continuing on to the Berkshires for the latter part was seamless and enjoyable.
Unlike Rochester, these smaller, more self-sustaining Berkshire communities typically have one or two stores for each type of business—a general store, pharmacy, bookstore, ice cream parlor, and so forth. As I strolled through the quintessential small town of Lenox, Mass., my eyes caught an eclectic collection of sculptures made from scrap metal and recycled parts. The artist mentioned his outdoor gallery is primarily for viewing pleasure, but that he also sells pieces on occasion.
Further down the square, I saw that the local realtor had bought one of the artist’s chairs for the front doorstep…or had he? Had I stumbled upon effective cross-promotion and word-of-mouth at their finest? After all, business owners in small towns by nature have a greater advantage of fostering more personal, intimate relationships with their customers. A recent study found that our peers are considered as credible as industry experts, and when it comes to sources of information about a company, people trust what both employees and peers have to say.
The state of the economy certainly changes things up as well…are local businesses stepping outside of their traditional domain—seeking to attract “foreign” investment—and therefore relying on new word-of-mouth channels? To that extent, how are the increasing prevalence of online networks and e-commerce changing the marketing strategies of these small-town businesses? It will be interesting to see how “mom and pop” shops adapt to and leverage the evolving technologies, which can bring new customers from the global marketplace right to their doorstep.
In my previous blog post, I wrote about Twitter…particularly about its growth rate and how it competes with Facebook. That was not very long ago and, yet, so much has happened since. Oprah endorses the micro-blogging site; Ashton Kutcher is the first to exceed one million followers; and the Rochester community prepares to host its first local Twestival (or “Twitter + Festival”) this evening to support Foodlink.
By leveraging Twitter and other social media, organizers of the Rochester Twestival 4 Foodlink were able to coordinate the event within a short time span, as well as bring to light the hunger crisis within our own community. Tonight’s event has been organized by the same core group of volunteers, who rallied the community’s participation in the global Twestival event back in February.
This was the first event of its kind that united communities worldwide on the same day, using social media to raise money and awareness for the global water crisis. Rochester ranked 18th in overall fundraising out of the more than 200 participating communities, with $2,690 raised for the benefitting non-profit, Charity: Water.
The overarching concept behind the Twestival is “social media for change.” Twitter is not only showing explosive growth in connecting people, but is also becoming a premier technological platform to pay it forward.
Twitter and Facebook are seasoned veterans of the social media scene. Yet, there continues to be considerable discussion around these two behemoths of late—particularly when it comes to their mind-boggling growth rates.
Twitter is a phenomenon in its own right. With a 1,382% annual growth rate, it’s hard to disagree. There’s even talk about Google acquiring the micro-blogging site (which would warrant its own blog post if and when that happens).
Though I regret to admit I’ve been slacking on my own tweets, it seems I personally have been surrounded by all-things Twitter over the past two months. Our agency supported the Rochester Twestival—the first event of its kind that united 200+ local communities worldwide on the same day, using Twitter to raise money and awareness for a good cause. While watching NCAA basketball, commentators were glogging via Twitter to capture the action as it unfolded. Oh, and RAF requested to follow me too!
Now, what about Facebook and its robust 200% growth rate? Is it really taking over our lives? I was surprised to learn that Facebook’s fastest growing demographic is women 55 and over—up 175% since September 2008. Also, for the first time, I saw a commercial that included VitaminWater’s Facebook page—instead of the company’s website.
These are all solid examples of how both Twitter and Facebook have already transformed the way people communicate in general, as well as how businesses have adapted to reach their customers in new ways. It will be interesting to see how these two evolve, and what results from the competition between them. Will the companies continue to one-up each other? Will they remain private entities, or eventually be acquired? Ultimately, is their growth sustainable?
I was thrilled to have been chosen as a RIF RAF blogging team member. Ever since, I’ve been looking forward to my inaugural blog post. Yet I’ve also been debating what to write about, because I am a PR girl in RAF’s largely advertising world.
It seems there are several misconceptions about what public relations entails, so I thought it made sense to lead with a discussion about the value of our work.
True, public relations often goes unnoticed, but if we’re doing our job correctly, the work of a PR professional should go unnoticed. We are Jacks-of-all-trades, working behind-the-scenes to bring our clients’ news to the attention of their key audiences.
As a matter of fact, the Martino Flynn PR team recently did just that for RAF. In advance of the ADDY Awards tomorrow, we crafted a press release and secured an item in the D&C about the event.
While generating publicity (aka “media relations”) is one facet of public relations, our arsenal of tools allows us to do many things…whether it’s organizing trade shows, ghostwriting byline articles, or even establishing a crisis contingency plan.
Ultimately, PR can be a credible, cost-effective complement to the communications mix—helping a company to foster relationships with its constituents, and position how it is perceived now and in the future.