Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Top 5 Actions to Achieve Blogging Success

By Laura Powers

Many professionals today are blogging on their own blogs or on a company blog in support of a team marketing effort. There are many things that contribute to making a blog successful with its target audiences. The essential factors of topic relevancy, good writing, timely content and a point of view are a given, but what about other factors like length and frequency of posts?

A recent annual survey of 1055 bloggers shows interesting trends from 2016. There are 5 actions taken by bloggers who report successful results:

1. Write posts with 1,000 words or more



In general, blog posts are getting longer. Posts with 500-1,000 words are still relevant and acceptable, especially if you’re a working professional who includes blogging as just one marketing and public relations tactics you employ. Although the average word count should be something that is comfortable for the author, there is often good reason to dedicate more words to a topic if it will benefit your audience.

2. Include video, lists or multiple images


As the amount of content grows across the Internet, competition for readership increases. Rich media such as video and images, as well as lists (like this one you're reading) that provide specific directions or tips, have become fundamentally more important to call attention to online content.

3. Frequent blogging is best


Most bloggers surveyed are posting every week, however, the bloggers that report the best success are also the ones that post the most often. This makes sense as their main marketing efforts are probably centralized around blog content and promotion. Most bloggers publish when it works within their schedule, but should consider increasing frequency if possible.

4. Use paid promotional services and leverage influencer audiences


When bloggers in the study reported strong results from their efforts, the promotional channels that they used most were paid and influencer. Paid promotion are tactics like LinkedIn Sponsored Content campaigns – the amount you can invest will vary with the scope of a campaign and the platform. Influencer marketing involves reaching out to credible individuals who maintain a high level of celebrity status within their industry to promote your blog post through their own extensive networks and profiles. This process involves dedicating time to grow your understanding of why they would want to share your content (what’s in it for them?) and building trust through developing a relationship.

5. Measure through analytics 


You won’t know if you’re successful if you aren’t looking at the analytics. Monitoring key data points of each post such as overall traffic, blog comments, and amount of social media sharing and engagement will show long-term success and set future content strategy.

While we can’t always access multiple, relevant images for a post, or invest in creating a professional video, or even find time to write more than 1,500 words, attempting to achieve some of these benchmarks throughout 2017 may significantly affect your blog. Take action to write posts of quality content of 1,500 words or more that include rich media and are posted on a frequent basis for maximum audience engagement and blogging success.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Event Recap: Meet the Philadelphia TV & Radio News Directors

By Caitlan McCafferty

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a panel with some TV & radio news directors in the Philadelphia market. The event was hosted by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Mid-Atlantic Chapter and Drexel University. The panel was moderated by Susan Buehler of PJM Interconnection and the speakers included:

  • Steve Butler, Director of News and Programming for KYW Newsradio 
  • Sandra Clark, Vice President of News and Civic Dialogue for WHYY
  • Margaret Cronan, Vice President and News Director for CBS3 and the CW Philly
  • Tom Davis, Vice President and News Director for 6ABC 
  • Jim Driscoll, Vice President and News Director for FOX29 
  • Anzio Williams, Vice President for NBC10/Telemundo62

The panel members' discussion ranged from their goals as news directors to their career trajectories and their advice for young broadcast journalists. Each of them provided rich insight into their motivations as journalists and how their production and reporting teams are dealing with the ever-evolving media landscape.

An event bringing together six competitors in the country’s 4th largest media market was an interesting dynamic to begin with. But it soon became clear that they actually had many things in common. As news directors, they are responsible for the strategy and journalistic integrity of their stations. Each cited the same motivation – providing a public service and telling people’s stories.

But, certain differences, such as the allocation of resources, sets Clark, VP at a public media affiliate, apart from the others on the panel who have the resources of major network affiliates at their disposal. Despite a challenging media landscape, the panelists are more willing than ever to provide local audiences with the honest and informing stories they need and want.

When asked about digital media trends, the panel members were generally positive. Tom Davis talked about how 6ABC uses social media for brand enhancement and Cronan echoed that sentiment by talking about brand consistency in social media. In the radio space, Clark talked about how important podcasts have become to WHYY’s success. Butler also discussed how he was hopeful about digital media and that he was doing the most hiring for social media positions at KYW.

Some of the news directors also talked about some of the digital tools they use for stories. Driscoll uses Fresco, an app for citizen journalists, to curate footage of events. Williams uses Banjo, a news aggregator, to stay on top of up-to-the-minute happenings in the Philadelphia area.

So with all this in mind, the news directors had some helpful tips for PR professionals to consider when pitching:
  • Only pitch local stories. Each panelist has a local focus, and KYW has a hyperlocal focus. 
  • The panelists talked about struggling to allocate resources to the suburbs. If pitching a story about an event in the suburbs, be sure to contact the newsroom the week before to give them time to prepare. 
  • Use digital tools to stay on top of the news. Pitch your client as a source if they could be a resource to journalists on a certain issue. 
  • Contact the right person in the newsroom. The news directors spoke highly of the talented producers that work at each station in the Philadelphia market. The producers are responsible for assigning stories and putting the final broadcast together.  
  • Follow the news station and key people at the station on Twitter to keep current on their interests and projects. 

Thursday, March 09, 2017

From Oscars Flub to Fake News: What We’re Reading Now

By Jackie Sofia

‘Envelopegate’ and the Power of Public Memory
The PR nightmare continues for PwC in the wake of this year’s Academy Awards, during which the accounting giant somehow mixed up the envelopes announcing the coveted “Best Picture” award winner. Jaws were left visibly hanging after Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway handed the golden man to the wrong man.

After the debacle, PwC was spotted on Twitter trying to bury their shame amongst unrelated news content about the firm. The distraction was not very effective; CBS News reports that the two individual accountants involved will never work the Oscars again, and the relationship of the entire firm is “under review.” While PwC’s reputation is now tarnished, they may have inadvertently buffed up the image of several other accounting firms just in time for tax season. One man’s loss is another man’s win.

An Instagram How-To: Multiple Image Posts
Instagram continues to advance its offerings for users. A new feature allows users to post multiple photos at once with a slideshow effect. The digital flip book allows you to post up to 10 photos simultaneously and already has been implemented widely by advertisers on the platform.

Marketers can use this feature to relay more extensive messages to their audience, or get creative and compile step-by-step guides for their products and services. Speaking of step-by-step guides, here’s a tutorial explaining how to use the new feature.

What the CIA is Saying About the New Wikileaks Document (Vault7) 
Wikileaks released its latest batch of CIA documents, a series titled “Vault7.” It’s a cool name, but the contents may be more sobering. The information released this past week includes thousands of documents that describe software tools and techniques for breaking into people’s phones, televisions and other electronic devices.

CIA spokesman, Dean Boyd, said of the surprise release, “We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents.”  Michael Hayden, the former CIA and NSA director, tried to further soften the blow by assuring viewers on CBS’ The Late Show that these purported tools would not be used inside the U.S. unless a domestic agency received court permission. The jury is still out on whether these leaked documents will be followed up with additional details, and whether the agency will have to come up with a more pointed public response on the matter.

Facebook Launches ‘Fake News’ Flag
Facebook has finally taken steps towards identifying “fake news” on its platform. The company launched the beta version of a two-pronged initiative back in December, which allows users to “dispute” an article if they think it’s fake. The reported dispute is then passed on to third-party fact checkers who determine whether the article receives the label permanently.

Granted, Facebook isn’t known for its transparency, so it’s unclear whether this will be a truly crowdsourced initiative, or whether a select few will have their say on the back end.

Meanwhile, be prepared for disputes over whether a news source should be marked as disputed.

Battle Alternative Facts with a Customized, Fact-Based Infographic

If you still have reservations as to whether Facebook is doing enough to combat the spread of fake news, take your own initiative and fight the good fight with a sharp infographic. People process visual content 600,000 times faster than text, and retain 80 percent of what they can see, compared to only 20 percent of what they read.

This is reason enough to ensure that your visual content doesn’t get buried among all the alternative facts. We’re digging this step-by-step hack for uploading custom-sized graphics along with your Facebook posts.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Should Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Use Chat and Photo Apps Like Snapchat for Marketing?

By Gina F. Rubel

Should Solo and Small Firm Lawyers Use Chat and Photo Apps Like Snapchat for Marketing?
I am of the opinion that lawyers don’t need to be early adopters of new technologies, and that includes many social media tools.

As with most businesses, law firms have a finite amount of time and money to invest in marketing. Limited marketing budgets, particularly for solo attorneys and small firms, should be focused on social media platforms that already have been tested and proven effective for legal marketing. For example, I advocate that all lawyers should have robust and active profiles on LinkedIn. And attorneys with consumer-targeted practice areas like family law, criminal law, wills, trusts and estates, workers’ compensation and social security disability also should maintain robust firm pages on Facebook.

But social media changes rapidly. Some platforms will flourish while others will fade away - think Ping, Orkut, Xanga, Digg, Friendster, Myspace and a myriad of other sites, many of which you’ve probably never heard of.

That means that until some of the newer photo and chat apps are tested by those aforementioned early adopters and found to be effective for legal marketing, law firms should focus their time and attention elsewhere. For example, Snapchat, What's App, Pinterest, Instagram and other chat / picture applications used by entrepreneurs are probably not good investments in legal marketing for most firms in 2017.

There are some legal marketers who would disagree with me on this, particularly as it relates to Snapchat, and others who are in full agreement. My biggest issue with Snapchat is that the majority of users are female between the ages of 13 and 25. Of those who are considered Generation Z (born after 2001), none of them are the target audience for law firms (yet).

Snapchat For Lawyers - Various Points of View

Snapchat for lawyers – is it really happening by Kevin O’Keefe
Lawyers Need to Pay Attention to Snapchat by Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. for Findlaw
4 Things Lawyers Need to Know About Snapchat by Monica Zent for Inside Counsel
Practical and effective social media use for lawyers: Snapchat edition by Scott MacMullan for The Daily Record

If your law practice is focused on reaching young millennials and, more specifically, millennial consumers, you should by all means keep a cursory eye on the social media platforms as they evolve. Until they are proven to work well enough to justify a return on your marketing investment, you likely will be better off focusing on creative ways to use existing social media channels for which content marketing best practices already have been developed.

Does your small firm use social media for legal marketing purposes? What kind of results are you seeing? Tell us in the comments.

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