How to Become an (Instant) Industry Expert

Once you commit to being a PR pro, you’re left to decide whether agency life or corporate communications is right for you based on personal career goals, interests, company culture preferences, etc. While some agencies specialize in only one or two industries when it comes to clients, many, including Dittoe PR, do not take that approach. And, in my opinion, that’s where the fun comes in.

 

Whether it’s day one or 1,000 on the job, agency professionals are consistently challenged to become experts in numerous fields on behalf of their clients. It’s not uncommon for a client roster to include everything from healthcare to technology to hospitality. It’s this kind of diversity that makes agency work appealing to so many, knowing he or she can work with clients representing a wide range of industries and services—making no day the same.

 

So, what are the first steps to take when you’re added to an exciting new account that represents an entirely new industry for you as a PR pro? It’s a given your agency and account team leaders will provide invaluable instruction and experience, but there are also many proactive and immersive tactics to conduct on your own to become an immediate value-add to your team and client.

 

Industry publications

When a client represents a new field or trade, it’s critical to begin consuming as much of that field’s media content as possible. It’s up to you to present news and storylines that spark industry reporters’ interest, and you’ll have the most success when you commit to monitoring these publications’ news feeds through e-newsletters and social media channels. In addition, be sure to read publications’ long-form feature articles to gauge their tone, recurring topics, and sourced insights to understand how your client’s voice and expertise can be interjected.

 

Content marketing

The content your new client marketed and distributed can present meaningful learning opportunities. Make it a point to inquire about any and all customer case studies so you can read about the company’s product or service offering and how their solutions benefit customers. Whitepapers and market research reports are also fantastic tools to understand the state of the industry in which you’re now operating, its challenges and opportunities, and your client’s recommended best practices. To get additional perspective, check out the content marketing pieces being produced by your client’s competitors.

 

News monitoring

Finally, for continued education, it’s important to stay up to date on the key topics in your client’s industry. Make it a point to carve out time each week to read the news and developments surrounding the topics relevant to your client. Whether it’s 5G wireless, artificial intelligence or an area of government legislation, this will provide more context and guidance as you frame up story ideas for your client. Tools like Talkwalker Alerts can be very helpful to deliver industry and competitor news directly to your inbox.

 

Here’s to embracing the challenge and landing exciting new clients that keep you loving life as an PR agency pro!

Tips for Successful Influencer Relations

Although it’s been around for decades in the form of celebrity endorsements, influencer relations is the latest craze in public relations and integrated marketing and is only going to continue to grow in relevancy. Rightfully so, too, because if done correctly, partnerships with influencers equate to a more personal approach to telling your brand story and thus generate brand loyally over time.

 

If you aren’t already incorporating influencer relations into your strategy, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Working with an influencer can result in a number of things, including increased website traffic, social followers, new subscribers, brand recognition, and hopefully product or service sales.

 

First things first, though: Spend time identifying your goals and objectives for a social influencer campaign, as well as a clear understanding of your target audience. Once that is set, you can build your list of influencers – researching to find ones that align with your brand, have an engaging follower base, manage a presence across more than one platform, and showcase the ability to tell a story with each post. Influencers come in many forms – from celebrities to bloggers to creatives – so look far and wide to find those that are most likely to positively impact your brand and convert into engaging customers.

 

As PR pros, we have been bred to run successful media relations campaigns. We understand the research and creativity it takes to consistently secure our client’s a spot in the headlines. Whether earned or paid, successful influencer relations campaigns require just as much thought, strategy, and personalization.

 

There is not a hard-and-fast equation to follow when engaging with influencers. Instead, ensure that these relationships are specific to both the influencer and the brand you represent based on the desired target audience, deliverables, and outcome.

 

Here are a some of our top tips for your next social influencer campaign:

 

Lay out partnership expectations up front. Social influencer partnerships are often set up as an exchange of product and/or payment for social or blog content. Proposing a clear list of expectations – timeline, number of and type of posts, etc. – will set the partnership up for success from the very beginning.

 

Take the relationship beyond transactional. This rings true in media relations, too, and it’s just as important with social influencers. Treat them as professionals but don’t forget to be personable. Engage with them on their core channels and build a relationship before, during, and after the partnership.

 

Do your research. As previously mentioned, the personal brand of the influencer should align with the brand of the company you’re representing. Spend time reading their blog, scrolling their Instagram, or watching their videos to understand what content performs well for the influencer before proposing a partnership. Every relationship and partnership should be customized.

 

One post is not enough. Work with the influencer to build a partnership that extends beyond one post on one platform. Opportunities that engage with an influencer’s audience repeatedly are going to have a higher ROI by gradually creating better brand recognition and by extension brand loyalty. In other words, consider monthly partnerships with options to extend based on the success of the campaign.

 

Create a social media budget. These days, most social influencers require compensation, so be prepared to offer more than just a product exchange. Set aside a percentage of your marketing budget for influencer relations if it’s an important medium for your business. There is always room for negotiatian but be careful not to discredit an influencer’s work.

 

It’s not about the follower count anymore. Influencers worth working with should have an engaging and loyal audience. Also deemed as micro-influencers, those with fewer followers may have a higher ROI than those with tens of thousands of followers. Analyze how their followers engage with their content – such as comments and likes – and the type of content that performs best for their audience.

 

We’re no strangers to successful social influencer campaigns. Need assistance? Contact us for a consultation.

 

Changing for the better, Instagram goes corporate

Four new features on Instagram you need to know about (and six tips you should consider!)

 

With major changes hitting Facebook’s News Feed soon, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Facebook-owned Instagram is getting some snappy updates as well. Whereas the Facebook changes may have induced anxiety is some social media managers, these Instagram updates are more tactical in nature. By incorporating the following updates into your Instagram plan, you’ll start seeing positive results sooner rather than later.

 

Putting the “social” in social media

Instagram can give your followers an intimate look into your brand – whether that’s your life, your business, or your product. Naturally, this means you’ll want to build a strong relationship with your followers, and one of the best ways to escalate this connection is by engaging with social influencers.

Collaborating with social influencers is like a really good TV crossover episode. Arguably, “Grey’s Anatomy” had a little extra oomph during the “Private Practice” days, and “Arrow” improves every time Barry Allen speeds into town. This is the same sensation your followers will get when a social influencer pops up on your channel or some of your own insiders see their favorite Instagrammers using your products.

Start connecting with social influencers in your city and industry today. Checking out local blogs (like your local theCityMoms blog), or even just following hashtags (like #VisitIndy) could provide great insights into the people making a splash around town. (We’ll revisit following hashtags below.)

 

Make the switch

If you haven’t already, now is the time to switch your Instagram account from a personal account to a “Business Profile” to gain access to analytics, scheduling, and paid advertising options. Just like the tools you already use on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see best times to post along with most successful content, the same is true through Instagram business profiles. Are you looking to promote posts or know who is looking at your content? Use demographics such as age range, gender, and cities to your advantage.

 

This is particularly important with the new algorithm Instagram is using. Instagram now gives priority to business profiles over personal profiles, plain and simple. Will your account show up more on the explore page? Yes. Will you be able to see if your posts are reaching more than just your current follower base? Yes. With so many advantages it’s negligent to not make the switch and start generating successful results for your brand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow the leader

Since the creation of the hashtag, users have been able to search, piggyback, and explore others who use the same phrases on their photos and videos. This has been a great way to connect with like-minded influencers and brands while also building up your profile. Instagram’s new feature allows you to now follow hashtags so they show up in your timeline, even if you don’t follow the account that used the hashtag in its caption.

Instagram recognizes when business profiles follow hashtags and ranks them higher – increasing your likelihood of popping up on the explore page. These hashtags can be as simple as the name of your brand or cities or regions where your target audience resides. For example, as an Indianapolis Instagrammer, good hashtags to start following would be #DowntownIndy, #LoveIndy, or #VisitIndy, and for those on the sporty side, #GoColts and #GoPacers.

 

Spontaneity is king

If you’re not already using Instagram stories, now is the time to dive in. Instagram just launched new fonts and a searchable gif library to enhance every story, and Instagram supports live broadcasting, too. As we know from Facebook, live video where users can interact in real time with your account significantly increases your views. Instagram is the perfect medium to experiment with this.

If you prefer Snapchat over Instagram for your spontaneous content, it’s time to rethink that strategy. While Snapchat offers clever filters, Instagram has more than four times as many daily active users than Snapchat. With a larger audience pool and Instagram’s efforts to continuously launch new features, if you’re going to invest your time into one real-time story-sharing app, you should invest in Instagram.

 

Quick fixes

In addition to the top four updates above, here are six more tweaks you should start incorporating into your posts immediately:

  • Use no more than five hashtags per posted photo.
  • Include the hashtags in your caption, not as an additional comment.
  • Do not edit captions within 24 hours of posting – yes, even if you make a typo.
  • Tag accounts in the actual photo rather than using the account’s handle in a caption.
  • Use geo-locations for specific areas/restaurants/businesses – this is great for stories, too.
  • Respond to comments within an hour.
    • We know “response” can mean two different things on Instagram. Is it just a like? Or do you need to write a response to every comment? We’re still not clear on that just yet. It’s safe to say that you should acknowledge every comment. Some will be replies, some will be likes. The important thing is that you respond.

 

Want help navigating Instagram? Request a consultation with us today and find your way to social success!

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