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!

How to Tackle Facebook’s News Feed Changes

Remember when your mom first joined Facebook and wrote on your wall? How embarrassing. As more parents and grandparents joined the network, I began worrying that this awesome social gathering space wasn’t going to be so awesome anymore.


As Facebook opened the platform to businesses through Pages, the site became less about connecting with friends and more about reading news story after news story after cooking video after meme.

For a while, Facebook encouraged it. As I continued honing my social media marketing skills, Facebook continuously tweaked its algorithms. Managers had to learn to stay up to speed on every small News Feed change as we watched our organic reach dip and the amount of money needed to boost a post rise.

So, when Mark Zuckerberg announced on Jan. 11 that Facebook’s News Feed was drastically changing, it’s probably no surprise that I felt that rising worry. It wasn’t embarrassment like when mom first signed “Love, me” after commenting on a photo. But it meant everything brands had been working toward building on Facebook for the past five years was about to change.


After taking a breather from this news and thinking it over, though, I’m not as worried as I was – and you shouldn’t be either.

From a brand perspective, this change will severely impact how we do business on Facebook. But don’t panic! This doesn’t spell doom for brands on Facebook. In fact, I’d challenge you to think of this as an opportunity to connect with your audience on a more meaningful level, rather than passively posting links and hoping for robot clicks or likes.


Here are tactical steps you can take to mitigate the inevitable changes coming to Facebook’s News Feed:


Goodbye, Clickbait

Now, we would never advise a client post clickbait. Whether that’s posting a video with, “You won’t believe what happens after one minute!” or “Like this post if you love Princess Leia!” this is just bad content. But when you see these types of posts getting hundreds, if not thousands, of likes and comments, it’s hard not to want to try it, right?

Facebook is cracking down on clickbait. Any click- or reaction-baiting is going to be severely cut out of Facebook’s News Feed, and they’re not shy about telling you. Viral videos aren’t going to disappear from the internet, Facebook just doesn’t want you to watch them on their site. Even Mark Zuckerberg “expect[s] the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down” by making these changes.


Stop: Posting anything that can be construed as click- or reaction-baiting. Your post ranking in fans’ News Feeds will be punished.

Start: Writing more meaningful content. Even passively informative posts like news announcements that redirect to your website aren’t going to see as much traction. Instead, try posting about an issue in your community or sharing your company’s culture and why it is that way. Encourage comments and have an open conversation with your audience. This will entice them to swing by, see what you have to say, give their two cents, and even share with their friends. This will all boost your ranking in the News Feed.


Hello, Groups


Facebook really likes their users to join groups where they can interact with people with similar tastes and have deep, meaningful discussions. (No word on what they think of the pyramid scheme groups you’ve been added to.) Indeed, some even posit that through groups, Facebook is “almost building a new News Feed, a separate Facebook.” They wonder, “[are] groups the next Facebook?”

Not every brand will build a group their fans want to join, but for many companies, they certainly have loyal fans who want to interact with them and may even want to get their friends involved.


Stop: Pushing all of your content out to the public to try and get as many eyes on it as possible.

Start: Cultivating a group for insiders and influencers to join. Think of some perks that would make joining the group well worth their while – more so than just coupons or surprise sales. Customer appreciation celebrations, sneak peeks at upcoming events, or even giving members the opportunity to share their thoughts on a new product before a big announcement can all encourage group growth and active participation.


It still pays to pay

When Facebook first drastically cut the organic reach Pages saw on status updates, social media managers were conditioned to pay for boosted posts. Then when reach on boosted posts continued to drop, we started making ads. The more money we gave to Facebook, the more Facebook encouraged us to post.

This cycle of pay-to-play has in part created the passive News Feed that Facebook is now railing against. While it’s definitely frustrating that these News Feed changes can be seen as punishing brands who played by Facebook’s rules, ultimately, this could be a good change for the community-building Facebook is trying to accomplish.

That doesn’t mean you should scrap your social media marketing budget, though.


Stop: Assuming boosted posts will always work as well as they do now. As fewer News Feeds will show your content, paying to boost your posts won’t always increase your chances of being seen.

Start: Monitoring your boosted post successes and looking more into Facebook Ads. There’s been no word on how or if Facebook Ads are going to change, but Facebook’s cost per click (CPC) rate is often more affordable with better targeting than other online advertising spaces such as Google. Despite the News Feed changes, brands should still have access to a great deal of information about their audiences: location, age, and even likes and dislikes. This means targeted ads will continue to pay off as you highlight products, events, and experiences your audience could be interested in. What’s more, seeing one of your ads could entice someone to learn more about you – and maybe even join your new influencers group.


The changes to Facebook’s News Feed took many of us by surprise. But ultimately, I believe the steps Facebook is making to provide a meaningful gathering place for friends and family online will ultimately be a good thing, not just for us as humans, but for the companies we interact with, too.

Not sure if you can weather these Facebook changes alone? We hear you. Drop us a line so we can discuss how Dittoe PR can help manage your social media channels as the platforms continue to change.

Top PR Trends for 2018: Part 2

If you’re like most busy marketers or entrepreneurs, you barely have time to get through your own to-do list, let alone research and stay on top of the latest PR trends that can help your brand increase its visibility and attract more customers.

We’re here to help.

Today, we’re continuing our two-part series on the top PR trends for 2018. My colleague Megan Custodio shared some incredibly valuable insight on the continued rise of influencer marketing and the evolution of the press release in her blog post last week. This week, we’re diving into two other big PR trends shaping the industry this year: the role of media coverage in social media and the rise of thought leadership.


The role of media coverage in social media

Social media has not only changed the way we interact with our favorite brands, friends, family and celebrities. It’s also drastically changing the way we get our news.


More Americans than ever are getting their news from social media. According to a Pew Research Center study, two-thirds of Americans get their news on social media.


We are already primed to consume our news and stay informed through stories our friends share on Facebook. If you aren’t constantly sharing your media coverage on social media – and positioning it in a way that provides tremendous value to your audience – you’re missing out on a big opportunity.


You can no longer simply post your media coverage on the news section of your website and hope a potential customer reads it. You must take your media coverage where your audience is – social media.


One important fact to remember about social media is this: people don’t spend time on social media to be “sold to.” They want to be entertained, connect with others, as well as find and share interesting news, blog posts, videos and pictures. Sharing your media coverage on your social media platforms provides you with a perfect opportunity to provide interesting, valuable news with your audience.


However, you must position your media coverage in a specific way to get the right type of engagement from your audience. This is where many brands miss the mark.


As the old adage goes, everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). You must apply the WIIFM principle to everything you create for your audience, and a social media post sharing one of your pieces of media coverage is no exception.


Instead of publishing a Facebook post that simply says, “We are in The Wall Street Journal! Click the link to read the story,” analyze this piece of media coverage from the WIIFM standpoint of the customer. Ask yourself what interesting ideas or knowledge your customers can gain from this story that will make their lives and/or business better.


Then, find a way to pique the interest of your audience with attention-grabbing copy that tells them exactly what they’ll learn and how it will help them if they read this story. For example, “Struggling to reach enough talented people to hire and grow your business? Learn why text interviews can help you screen more job candidates in a shorter amount of time than traditional phone screening interviews. Discover what our CEO Aman Brar has to say about this topic in The Wall Street Journal and learn how Canvas is helping employers improve their interview process with the first enterprise-grade text-based interviewing platform.”


The rise of thought leadership

With smaller staff sizes struggling to produce enough content to satisfy the needs of their readers, media outlets are more open than ever to receiving contributed articles by outside subject matter experts.


And who are those outside subject matter experts, you ask? They are our clients – and experts like you.


Right now, there is an unprecedented opportunity for brands to position their team members as trusted thought leaders in their field through contributed byline articles that demonstrate their expertise. While it may sound counterintuitive, one of the best ways to attract new business is to stop talking about your business.


Instead, find ways to share your experience and knowledge of the industry through contributed byline articles. Whether it’s sharing best practices, trends, or other educational topics that provide value to a media outlet’s readers, you can establish yourself as a trusted, knowledgeable expert within the field. Becoming a published author in a media outlet your ideal customers read gives you instant visibility and credibility.


There’s a fine art to pitching and securing this type of thought leadership media coverage, and at Dittoe PR, we help our clients share their expertise, get in front of their ideal customers and establish themselves as valued thought leaders within their industries.


Are you ready to take your company’s media coverage and social media to the next level in 2018? If so, let’s discuss how we can be of service to you. Click here to schedule a call or meeting with us today.

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