Friday, October 28, 2016

How to Come up with Blog Topics

By Gina Rubel
Blogging does not have to be a daunting task for lawyers. As most blogs address a single topic in a short and concise manner, it should be easy to come up with blog topics that serve your target audience with information about your  areas of practice to establish you as an authority.

·         Keep a notepad next to your phone or keep notes in your mobile device. Every time a colleague, client or prospect asks you a substantive question, write it down. The answers to those questions are almost always worth blogging about.

·         If you’re a transactional attorney, consider every transaction for a blog topic. For example, every contract has many clauses. Contract attorneys can write short blogs about the benefits and/or pitfalls of various contract clauses such as termination clauses, non-compete clauses, liability clauses, etc.

·         Review your memos of law and briefs for substantive (non-fact-specific) content that can be edited and sanitized of client-specific information and turned into blogs.

·         Utilize materials from CLE programs and seminars you have presented for blog topics. In fact, CLE presentations are a great source of imagery to support blog topics (such as screenshots of a single PowerPoint slide that supports the premise of the blog post).

·         Set up a free Google Alert on specific topics in your area of practice and review them daily. If something is breaking in the news, you’ll be on top of it. If you do set up a Google Alert, consider creating a rule in your email system that sends the alerts to a dedicated folder that you check once a day. That way, alerts will not clutter your inbox.

·         Subscribe to or regularly review any of the following syndicated news feeds to stay on top of the issues being discussed by other firms throughout the country: Lexology, Mondaq, JD Supra, National Law Review.

·         Have someone record presentations you are giving and then have them transcribed. Edit the transcription into several blog posts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

How Much Should I Budget for Facebook Ads?

By Heather Truitt

We recently discussed top tips to keep in mind when considering whether and how to advertise on Facebook. One of the most important factors, however, deserved a whole post of its own – setting the budget.

If time and money were unlimited resources, there would be no need to set a budget for anything, much less advertising. But, of course, those resources are not unlimited, so determining a budget for your Facebook advertising campaign is crucial. As with many things in life, spending too little will hamstring your campaign before it even begins, while spending a great deal may be overkill.

Here are some basics to keep in mind when deciding how much to spend on Facebook ads.

Setting the Budget

Facebook advertising works on a budget. You can set the budget to spend a certain amount per day or a “lifetime” budget of the amount to spend for the entire campaign. If you choose a budget per day, after the daily budget is exceeded, Facebook will stop delivering the ad to viewers until the next day. If you choose a lifetime budget, the advertisement will continue until your budget has been spent down to $0.

As far as how much Facebook advertising really costs, if you are setting your budget per day, the minimum budget fluctuates from $1 to $40 a day depending on the way by which you select your ads to be charged. Below are the tiers Facebook has set up showing daily minimums:

  • If the ad set gets charged for impressions, its daily budget must be at least $1 a day.
  • If the ad set gets charged for clicks, likes, video views, or post engagement, its daily budget must be at least $5 a day.
  • If the ad set gets charged for low frequency events like offer claims or app installs, its budget must be at least $40 a day.

Some examples: If you set up a “per day” budget at $5 per day, and set your duration for 30 days, your overall ad budget for the month is $150. If you set up a “lifetime” budget at $200, and set your duration for 30 days, Facebook will try to evenly distribute the budget (about $6 a day).

Click here to read more about advertising budgets and how they work on Facebook.

Tracking Results

When first beginning a Facebook ad campaign, you can set your budget relatively low and track the results to see what works best for your organization.

You can also test out different images and text and see which works best. You can create several ads with variations and track which advertisements drive better traffic and click-through rates.

Boosted Posts

If you don’t want to invest in an entire Facebook ad campaign, “boosted” posts are another option Boosted posts appear more frequently in people’s news feeds, increasing the chances that your audience will see the posts. Similar to Facebook ads, you also can set a budget and duration for boosted posts, and you will be able to see how many people have viewed the post. Click here to learn more about boosted posts.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top Tips for Advertising on Facebook

By Heather Truitt 

When integrated marketing and PR agencies such as Furia Rubel create advertising campaigns for clients, one channel we often consider is Facebook. Different social media platforms are appropriate for different kinds of businesses, but Facebook is one that is often appropriate for our professional services clients.

By now, it should be no surprise that social media platforms enable companies to target advertising to very specific audiences, and Facebook certainly offers that ability. More than 1.4 billion people use Facebook, and more than 900 million of them visit the platform every day, according to statistics from the company.

To get the most out of your investment in Facebook advertising, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Advertising Goals 

Make sure to set a goal before you start to spend money. What do you want to accomplish? More Facebook likes? More website visits? More completed forms on the website? Setting a goal first is necessary in order to effectively measure the success of the campaign.

Images and Text for Your Advertisements 

When you start to design your ad, one of the decisions you will have to make is which text and which images to include – and how much of each. If you have overlaid text on your image, Facebook has a set of guidelines, which you can view here to see if you have too much text on your image.

Facebook prefers 20 percent or less of your image to contain text. Facebook ads that have little or no text will cost less money, and they will achieve better delivery rates than images that contain text. See below for different examples of image-to-text ratios.

Facebook also has a helpful automated system that you can check to see whether your image falls within Facebook guidelines.

Ad Targeting 

Ad targeting is a way of setting the parameters to determine the audience for your Facebook advertisement. You can set the targeting using the following criteria:
  • Location – by country, state, city, and/or zip code. This can be as targeted as you would like. If you want your ad to be seen only in Chicago and the surrounding areas, set the City to Chicago and then add a 10- or 20-mile radius surrounding Chicago. 
  • Age – settings range between the ages of 13 to 65+. 
  • Gender – female or male, or all. 
  • Language – reach people who have set their Facebook preferences to a specific language.
  • More Demographics – provides a listing of other items including relationship status, education, work, financial, home, ethnic affinity, generation, parents, politics (US), and life events. 
  • Interests – search for specific interests, or pre-select from Facebook’s list. Facebook will show you interest levels for various topics. 
  • Behaviors – reach people based on interests such as how they shop, what kind of device they use when checking Facebook, specific job roles, if they are a homeowner, etc. 
  • Connections – add people who like certain pages, or exclude people who like certain pages. This is helpful if you want to reach new customers that aren’t already connected to your Facebook page.
While you are setting your ad targeting, watch the “Audience Definition” meter to the right of the page. As you start to narrow down your target market, the numbers will diminish for your audience selection. If you target too specifically, the daily reach could be less than 100, which would not be ideal.

How to Measure Success 

Facebook offers robust tracking systems. If you are tracking people who go to your website to fill out a specific form, or purchase an item, you would install a small snippet of code, and then Facebook will know if the action was completed. If you were driving traffic to your website to have a form filled out, you would place the tracking code snippet on the “Thank you for filling out this form” page. By adding tracking code, Facebook will track the “completed” actions for the advertisement.

If you are considering whether a Facebook advertising campaign is right for your marketing strategy, contact the experienced marketing and PR team at Furia Rubel Communications.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Remember Your Audience: How Evolving Holidays Affect Communications

By: Caitlan McCafferty

Communications and marketing professionals often plan messages and campaigns around holidays. You will always see social media posts wishing you a happy Fourth of July or an ad announcing the President’s Day Sale. But, what if attitudes toward certain holidays are changing? 

If you had off from work or school this past Monday, Oct. 10, you probably called the holiday Columbus Day. But, in many states this is changing. Due to a movement to support Native Americans’ contributions to the United States, many communities have changed the holiday’s name from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples' Day. The movement started in big cities such as Seattle and Albuquerque and, over time, extended to smaller municipalities and school districts. In fact, in the year since 2015, 14 communities have joined a growing list of towns and cities that now use the day to honor the history and voices of indigenous people.

The actual holiday of Columbus Day may not affect you – only 23 states and Washington, D.C. recognize it—but the shift away from celebrating Columbus represents a larger movement to reevaluate American history. The history of Columbus Day is littered with controversy. It is widely accepted that Columbus did not “discover” America, and he was responsible for the death and mistreatment of innocent indigenous people. Native Americans have been protesting the holiday since FDR made it a federal holiday in 1937 , and the conflict came to a head in 1992 with the 500th anniversary celebration that brought protests from around the world. 

Martin Luther King Day similarly remains controversial for some parts of our country. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, but it wasn’t a federal paid holiday in all 50 states until 2000. The last state to recognize the holiday was South Carolina. However, Arkansas, Alabama, and Mississippi observe MLK Day (federal holiday) and Robert E. Lee Day (state holiday) both on the third Monday in January. In each of these states, there continues to be a battle over separating the two holidays, as many find it wrong that a Confederate general and a leader of the Civil Rights Movement are celebrated on the same day. 

So what are the implications of such controversies for professional communicators? For one thing, the debate reminds us that different parts of the country approach the history of our country and its culture differently. It makes sense that cities with larger Native American populations, such as Albuquerque, changed the holiday’s name to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It’s a good reminder that what might be a common touchpoint for one market segment of the country may not resonate in the same way with another region.

When the next holiday rolls around, then, remember your audience. Are you posting a Happy Columbus Day tweet? Or a Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day tweet? Understanding the cultural differences at play will help you craft a communications initiative that does not inadvertently offend your target audiences. 

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Of Travel, Writing, and Having Your Clients' Backs: Q&A with VP of PR, Sarah Larson

Our VP of PR, Sarah Larson, has spent much of her life traveling
 and meeting people wherever she could,
including these two young girls in central Turkey in 1995.
Our VP of Public Relations, Sarah Larson, is celebrating a work anniversary here at Furia Rubel. To mark the occasion, she shared with us some insight into her career path, her growth as a writer, and her favorite part of her job.

How long have you been working for Furia Rubel?

Three years

I know you’re not a native Pennsylvanian, so, where did you grow up and how did you wind up in PA? 

My wanderlust took root at a young age. I was born near San Francisco and raised in Moline, Illinois. When I was young, my family traveled for months at a time (both my parents worked in education and had summers off) throughout the western states. When I was in college, I worked part-time for a cruise line and traveled throughout the Caribbean, and after I graduated from college, I moved to Hungary to teach English for a couple years, traveling throughout eastern and southern Europe every chance I had. Moving to Pennsylvania for a career opportunity in 2000 was a no-brainer.

When did you first realize you liked writing? Did you write stories as a kid? Were you on the school newspaper?

Before I began to write, I first loved to read. On weekly trips to the public library, I would come home with a stack of 10 to 12 books at a time. Once, a librarian even asked me why I took out so many books. “There’s no way you can read all of these before they’re due back.” I just looked at her blankly. I read every one of those books, and more. 

After consuming so many words, it was inevitable that I would one day begin to release those words back into the world. I really started writing with purpose in fifth grade. I wrote poetry, short stories, murder mysteries, courtroom dramas, and more; I was the kid in class who couldn’t wait for the essay assignment. By the time I got to high school, I worked on the staff of my school’s annual creative arts magazine, and the yearbook, and was first a writer then an editor for the school newspaper.

What made you decide to be a journalist?

People fascinate me. Telling their stories was natural for me - and even policy stories or breaking news stories really are about the people affected by those issues and events. My love of history and politics drove me to see connections and give context to events, while my love of science helped me explain complicated subjects to my readers.

What is the biggest change when going from journalism to public relations?

The move from journalism to public relations is a well-worn career path. Many of the skills you need in order to succeed are the same in both careers. The main difference is allegiance. In journalism, you are an objective third party, but in public relations, you are actively advocating for that client. To advocate effectively on their behalf, you have to believe in them, and they have to have trust in you. 

How has your journalism career influenced how you practice PR?

Having worked in journalism for so long gives me an understanding of how the news is made at both a tactical and a strategic level. This benefits my clients in innumerable ways, from knowing the best day to put out a press release, the best type of story to pitch directly, the best time to hold a press conference, and how to plan an event that will be newsworthy enough that the press will want to cover it.

What do you like most about being VP of PR for Furia Rubel?

Change and challenges are like oxygen for me; I need them to survive, so I love the fact that every day is different. Particularly with the growth in our Crisis Communications services, I never know what the day might bring. My team might be crafting a public statement for a business under scrutiny or arranging a last minute press interview or announcing a major initiative. The uncertainty keeps things interesting.

Do you have any hobbies that help you wind down from a hectic week at work?

I love to travel, and go to shows or museums. I read and write every day. Other hobbies vary with the season. This summer, I spent most of my free time outside in the garden, growing heirloom tomatoes and other veggies, and then in the kitchen, canning and freezing the produce. In the winter, my indoor pursuits usually include something creative (stamping, scrapbooking, card-making, photography, and other artistic pursuits) or related to my family history research. My primary ancestors hailed from Ireland, Scotland, Norway, and Sweden, and I’ve traced the oldest known branch of my family back to 1598 in Gloucestershire, England.

Name four of your favorite apps for your phone.

Paprika, for recipes, meal planning, and grocery shopping
Waze, for driving and navigation
Splice, for video editing
Broadway Box, for discounts to Broadway shows

What are you reading right now?

“Alexander Hamilton,” the biography by Ron Chernow that inspired the Broadway musical with which I am currently obsessed; “The Signature of All Things,” historical fiction by Elizabeth Gilbert; and “Leading from the Front: No Excuse Leadership Tactics for Women.”

To learn more, check out our website or connect with Sarah on LinkedIn.