How to Choose the Right Communication Channels for Your Communications Campaign

How to Choose the Right Communication Channels for Your Communications Campaign

With so many communications channels to choose from, it’s easy to see how some businesses might get overwhelmed.

According to a recent survey by The Manifest, 64% of small businesses use two or more channels when relaying messages to consumers.

By choosing a combination of channels, businesses can ensure their messages are being received by the widest possible audience.

Although it might be tempting to use as many communications channels as are available, businesses would benefit from a more deliberate and mindful approach.

 

Know Your Audience

One of the first steps of planning a successful communications campaign is knowing exactly who the campaign is for.

Ask yourself:

  • How old is the target audience?
  • What are their communication habits?
  • What types of messages do they respond best to?

For example, if your target audience is younger, social media might be the best way to reach them.

Businesses should also consider whether the target audience is current customers or people they’re trying to convert into customers.

“Current customers are going to listen to that message quite differently than folks who don’t know who you are or haven’t had any sort of relationship with you,” said Mike Rosenberg, CEO of Veracity, one of the top PR agencies in Portland, Ore.

 

Consider Your Message

 The next step to planning an effective communications campaign is to consider the message you want to share.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you sharing information about a new product or service?
  • Do you want to share company news?
  • Is the purpose of your message to inform or incite a specific action?

Businesses should always consider the nature of their message before determining which communication channel would be the best fit.

 

Think About What Kind of Return You Want to Gain

After you’ve considered your audience and the type of message you’ll be sharing, you also need to consider the type of return you want to gain from your communication efforts.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the goal with communication to customers?
  • What action do we want them to take?
  • Do we want them to buy something?
  • Do we want them to start a conversation around our brand?
  • Is this more a matter of customer service?
  • How will we track our returns?

For example, if you want to jumpstart buzz around your brand or a new product, social media might be the best channel. If you want to offer customers exclusive news or discounts, email or direct mail might be best.

Whatever your intended return is, make sure it is trackable so that you can measure the success of your campaign to prepare for future campaigns.

 

Business-Consumer Communications Requires a Well-Thought Out Plan

While businesses should use multiple platforms to emphasize their messages, they should do so in a deliberate way. By considering their audience, message, and the return they want to gain, businesses can create a communications campaign that strengthens their public relations, marketing, and reputation management strategies.

Featured image from Ethan Hoover
Podcast: Martin Waxman: Spin Sucks

Podcast: Martin Waxman: Spin Sucks

Not Sure if You’re in a Relationship with Your Phone? Just Ask Google!

Martin Waxman, CMO of Spin Sucks, Discusses the
Human/AI agent relationship and why PR should care

Apparently we are on a Spin Sucks “jag!” This week we are rounding out the theme by talking with Martin Waxman, CMO of Spin Sucks. Our last interview was with Spin Sucks founder Gini Dietrich. However, Martin and I didn’t necessarily talk about Spin Sucks. Since it is a professional development hub for PR and marketing professionals, you can imagine that the CMO of the organization would have something to say about the industry.

Of course we discussed how PR is evolving and Martin had some interesting insight into how PR people need to bring visuals into their pitches and try to get a little bit more savvy with photos, video and design.

We then spent a lot of time talking about the fascinating intersection between PR and AI (artificial intelligence). Not to toot my own horn, but this was really one of the first times an interviewee brought a topic to the table that I honestly hadn’t thought of before. Martin is currently completing a Master in Communications Management from McMaster/Syracuse and researching AI, relationships and communications. His thesis was on the relationships humans have (or will have) with machines, which he calls the human/AI agent relationship.

If you don’t think you’re in a relationship with your phone, Martin gives this example — who do you believe when you are lost in your car? Google maps or your passenger? If you answered that you’d kick your mother-in-law to the curb before you’d believe her over your phone, congratulations, you are in a relationship with your phone!

Since PR is about relationships, Martin argues that PR people should take an active role if their clients are considering implementing the technology. “Not that we need to learn how to code, but we need to understand the language and mechanics of AI.” How people interact with your brand through their devices, whether using their voice or their fingertips, has everything to do with PR.

Martin goes deeper into this topic in an article he penned for Spin Sucks called “How to Put AI in PR and Demonstrate the Value of Communicators.”

To learn more about this and many other more interesting techy-type-topics, follow Martin on LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com), where he is an author and offers online courses. He is also a professor of social media, PR and journalism at Seneca College and the University of Toronto, serves as President of Martin Waxman Communications and co-hosts the podcast, Inside PR.

About the guest: Martin Waxman

Martin is President of Martin Waxman Communications, CMO at Spin Sucks, a professor of social media, PR and journalism at Seneca College and the University of Toronto. He’s also an author on LinkedIn Learning and  Lynda.com, plus co-host the Inside PR podcast, a past-chair of PRSA Counselors Academy, and past-president of CPRS Toronto.

Martin is also a published novelist/story writer (The Promised Land, Everything in Winnipeg Begins in a Car); founder of three agencies, an ex-journalist/standup comedy MC/ad copywriter.

Connect and follow Martin on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Tips for Creating iPhone Videos

Tips for Creating iPhone Videos

Updated for 2019! Creating share-worthy videos is easy!

The primary update to these tips is in regards to #4 below, shoot horizontally. With more and more social media (and website usage) being consumed on smartphones, it is not ALWAYS best to film horizontally. According to this post by Covideo, 94% of smartphone videos are consumed vertically…people simply aren’t willing (or able in the case of many apps like Twitter and Instagram) to turn their phones. So shooting vertically may be best when your target channel is social and your social audience consumes your content on their phone.

If you don’t want to invest in buying equipment or can’t wait for it to arrive, you can certainly create iPhone videos without any extra gear all by yourself. The video below was created without using external equipment and handheld by the speaker (me). No tripod, no external microphone, no special lighting. It’s really pretty easy to get a post-worthy video with just a little thought.

You can also view the video on YouTube for some tips on taking videos with an iPhone (or most any smartphone) including:

  1. Be aware of your lighting. Shooting outside (be sure the sun is not directly behind you) or near windows is good if you do not have lighting equipment.
    • Take a sample video to see how it looks. Experiment using the phone’s flash, or the flash of a second phone.
  2. Do not use your phone’s zoom (zoom the old fashion way by moving toward or away from your subject).
  3. Use your “exposure lock” on an iPhone (and most other smartphones).
    • This is done by touching your screen to “lock” in on your subject, hold your touch until it displays “AE/AF LOCK” which will help keep the lens from changing the exposure (how much light it lets in) automatically.
  4. Shoot horizontally.
    • Unless the primary purpose is for social media feeds (vertical shots do not play well on websites, but social users on mobile prefer vertical)
  5. Have a steady hand or prop your phone on something stable.
    • Or you can use a tripod (you can find a great one for around $20). Check Amazon Prime for a variety of options.
  6. Place the phone’s microphone close to your subject.
    • Or get an external microphone, we use a clip-on lavalier with an extension cord.

You can also easily step up your production value by investing a little (certainly under $100) by purchasing a tripod &/or external microphone. The following video was taken using a tripod and external microphone (again, no extra/special lighting). The set-up used to film the below video included a tripod, lapel microphone and extension cord, all for about $50.

Quick Tips for Creating an iPhone Video (w/ tripod and microphone) from Veracity Marketing on Vimeo.

Once you have recorded your video, see our tips to edit your videos and tips on uploading and publishing your videos.

 

 

Podcast: Gini Dietrich: Spin Sucks

Podcast: Gini Dietrich: Spin Sucks

Spin Sucks’ Gini Dietrich is Worried for Our Industry:

Describing a Possible Takeover of PR

This week I hopped on the phone with Gini Dietrich, all the way across the country in Chicago. If you couldn’t tell from our conversation, we immediately felt like fast friends. Gini is best known for her role launching and leading Spin Sucks, which is a professional development hub for PR and marketing professionals. She is also the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc., a PR and communications firm that “runs like a well-oiled machine.”

At the helm of the very active blog that is Spin Sucks, Gini sends out newsletters every day to thousands of subscribers. There is also a members-only component called Spin Sucks Pro that offers PR and marketing courses online. What was originally a blog, Spin Sucks actually morphed into is own book, written by….drumroll please….Gini Dietrich of course! The book, officially called “Spin Sucks: Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital Age” is available on Amazon. As Gini walked us through her experience we discover that she honed her book-writing chops first with “Marketing in the Round,” which she co-authored with Geoff Livingston, also available on Amazon.

After talking about how these books came together in conjunction with Spin Sucks, running a firm, co-hosting the podcast, Inside PR, and how she manages to do it all with a small child, we delved into the true meaning of Spin Sucks — uncovering the various misconceptions PR people are faced when encountering the public. For Gini, the “spin doctor” reputation runs rampant, but I find that people exaggerate how fancy and fabulous PR jobs are.

We also discussed some very big topics like: what PR actually is, how it is different from marketing, and why it matters. But most importantly we talked about how worried Gini is for our industry.

Listen to her insight as she describes a possible “takeover of PR.” And new pro’s will most definitely be empowered hearing Gini’s one piece of advice for people coming up in the industry.

About the guest: Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is also the lead blogger at the PR and marketing blog, Spin Sucks, author of the book Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing In the Round, and co-host of Inside PR, a weekly podcast about communications and social media.

Catch Gini speaking at these upcoming conferences: Content Marketing World, September 3 – 6 in Cleveland, Ohio and PRSA’s 2019 International Conference, October 20 – 22 in San Diego, California.

Connect and follow Gini on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: Mike Rosenberg: CommCon2019

Podcast: Mike Rosenberg: CommCon2019

Traditional PR Transformation: Maximizing PR for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I will be presenting at PRSA Oregon’s CommCon event on May 3rd to help PR and communications professionals add SEO to their marketing toolbox. With a short history lesson, the overall basics of SEO and some specific how-tos, I hope attendees will realize that they are already doing many SEO-worthy activities. A little extra work and strategic planning can pay major dividends.

Presentation Abstract:

Many traditional communications professionals may be surprised to learn they’ve been part of the “IT” crowd all along. In fact, we’re leading the way. Due to continued competition and Google’s ever-evolving ranking algorithms, it continues to be difficult to achieve high rankings in Google for a website. Instead of completely removing “traditional” PR’s role, now the most technical search marketer must rely on our savvy to take their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to the next level.

This presentation will offer attendees a deeper understanding of the SEO game, instilling them with the confidence, language and basic understanding to insert their skillset into any digital or website discussion. We’ll then delve into how to transform typical PR strategies to include SEO results. And finally, we’ll offer hands-on practical tips that should be infused into any digital PR campaign.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Podcast: CommCon Keynote: Suzanne Stevens

Podcast: CommCon Keynote: Suzanne Stevens

Portland Business Journal Editor, Suzanne Stevens
to Keynote CommCon2019

Since Suzanne Stevens, editor of the Portland Business Journal, is going to be keynoting PRSA Oregon’s CommCon2019 event coming up on May 3rd, we thought this would be a perfect time to re-air this interview we did with her a while back. It can’t hurt that this is one of my favorite episodes…because it is really helpful! She jam packs this with real tips on how to get covered in the Business Journal. Any time anyone says that they want to get into the Business Journal, I automatically direct them to this episode. At this point no one has any business pitching the Business Journal if they can’t take the time to listen to this episode…You’ll see what I mean…

For more info and tickets to CommCon, where Mike Rosenberg is also speaking about the convergence of PR & Digital, visit PRSAOregon.org.

See original write-up and listen to the original interview (episode 6) below

Podcast: Getting in the Portland Business Journal: Editor Suzanne Stevens Reveals How

If you ever wanted to get into the Portland Business Journal (PBJ), you MUST listen to this or at least read our write up of tips from PBJ Editor, Suzanne Stevens. She gave so much advice that I was tempted to pull out a pen and paper in the middle of the interview and start taking notes!

Connor and I had fun getting to know Suzanne on a personal level. Self-defined as someone with a bit of “wanderlust” who loves to travel, Suzanne has lived in places as varied as Louisville, Charlotte and New York. She spent 12 years working for NPR before entering print journalism, but once she exited radio she’s been “all print all the time.” An Oregon Business magazine editor position brought her to Portland — a town she’d been eyeing like many current transplants. She then came over to the PBJ where she first worked as the Digital Editor and is now going on year three as Editor.

The Pitch Opportunity:

The Portland Business Journal is a weekly publication released each Friday that is revered by local business executives. Its email newsletters hit the in-boxes of movers and shakers throughout the city on a daily basis. Subscribers have the option of receiving more frequent newsletters focusing on a specific industries (Healthcare, Real Estate, Tech/Start ups).

Here’s an in-depth guide:

  • Reporter’s Pages: Each reporter’s weekly section highlights news within their targeted industries. There isn’t much room for PR pitches here.
  • Strategy: A weekly feature goes in-depth with stories and rotates among reporters. Bring story ideas for this section — it’s a great way to get covered.
  • Executive Interviews: Even though they have a list of 2,000 local business leaders they’d like to feature in this section, keep it in mind if you have a quirky business executive.
  • People On the Move: You can now upload these yourself here for digital coverage. We’re still debating whether or not this is the best way to get your executive news to also run in print though.
  • Digital Newsletter: Send your story to the relevant reporter, but also include digital editor, Andy Giegerich, so he can consider it for the email newsletter. “Include Andy on most things as he’s always looking for web stories.”
  • 5 Things to Know: Also handled by Andy Geigerich as part of the newsletter. This is great for “anything that is funky or weird that might never fly as a news story.” It’s also where you’ll read about events as they aren’t frequently included in the paper or other digital sections.

Competition is High:

On a “good day,” 200 emails await Suzanne in her morning in-box, but messages can reach upwards of 400. “That’s because I’m the editor. The reporters probably get 100 new emails per day,” Suzanne clarified. Make no mistake — the majority of these emails are from PRs! Everyone at the PBJ knows what they want from us, too — they even wrote an article about PR do’s and don’ts!

Breaking Through:

Suzanne loves PRs who do their homework to understand what the publication covers and to get a handle on what each reporter writes about. Best practice? Know who covers each beat and include a pitch about why the PBJ should cover your idea.

Suzanne explained the multitude of new product releases flooding her inbox that lack broad appeal. “Thousands of companies are releasing new products in Oregon. Why would we write about that?” Instead, Suzanne advised adding details like expanding staff, additional funding or bigger industry trends to catch their attention.

Nut Graphs:

“Sell your story in one paragraph [less than 300 words],” Suzanne advised. “We’re looking for the ‘nut graph,’ which tells readers what’s coming if you stick with the story. We want to know if it impacts the business community.”

Exclusive Content:

The prospect of exclusive content gets the PBJ really jazzed. If you haven’t already blasted your news all over town, you might consider contacting the PBJ first and offering an “exclusive.” But if the PBJ accepts, your story can’t be placed in other media outlets — so you might float the idea by your boss or client first.

5 Reporters & 5 Beats:

Suzanne receives many pitches that are irrelevant to her role at the PBJ, but everyone makes it a daily practice to give all emails a cursory glance. Suzanne seems to be very easy going, considering how busy she is, and is happy to pass emails on to the right reporter. However, she’s careful to state that she doesn’t assign stories. “My seasoned staff know their beats better than I do.” More specifically, here’s when you’d email Suzanne:

  • You can ‘cc her if you’re worried that a busy reporter won’t see it, and she’ll pass it on.
  • Send Op-Ed or Guest Column ideas to her or Eric Siemers. “We love getting these written by business owners on a topic of interest in the news.” Best to send the pitch first before investing time in writing the article.
  • Still not sure whom to send your pitch to? Five reporters cover five primary beats, explained in detail on PBJ’s website.

Timing is everything:

Suzanne generously added that she’s happy to talk through ideas, provided you call at the right time. Here’s a typical week at the PBJ:

  • Mondays & Tuesdays: Reporters are writing and planning the stories for that week’s paper.
  • Wednesday: Deadline Day! This is the worst day to send an email and absolutely DO NOT CALL as the newsroom is getting the paper ready for Friday’s publication.
  • Thursday: Planning and writing day. Suzanne meets with reporters to strategize next week’s stories. This is a better day to call.
  • Friday: Paper is in print. Reporters are working on next week’s stories. This is a better day to call.

Throughout the week Suzanne is editing what comes across her desk, helping reporters organize upcoming stories, and planning future coverage.

Truth be told, getting business journal coverage can be tough. But if you remember to do your research and customize your materials before contacting them, you’ll not only increase your chances, you won’t inadvertently kill your future pitches as well. Oh, did you think newsrooms didn’t talk? Don’t be the person who sends the irrelevant pitches or calls excessively. Trust me, they will all know.

About the guest: Suzanne Stevens

Suzanne is editor of the Portland Business Journal, overseeing the newsroom and guiding all news operations.

Connect and follow Suzanne on social media:

PBJ editor Suzanne Stevens

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.