Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Social Media Don’ts

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

So everyone knows you should be on social media and there is a wealth of information about
what you should be doing on social media.  But what shouldn’t you be doing?  Here are a couple of my thoughts.

Don’t use social media just to use it.  What’s your plan? What do you want to share or accomplish? What’s your identity or online brand?

Don’t spew.  Say what you have to say but be brief and concise. Rambling doesn’t translate well in social media (or anywhere else for that matter!).

Don’t over-promote.  Sure, everyone slips in a plug now and then for their business or favorite organizations. But, if all you do is promote, promote, promote….you’ll be promoted right off someone’s follow list.

Don’t be obnoxious.  True in life and true online. If you’re obnoxious in real life, get help because you won’t be going far.

Don’t ignore comments.  Social media is meant to engage. We all get busy and sometimes get behind on responding to comments or questions; just don’t make it a habit.

Don’t trash your employer, your teachers, your family members or friends. Venting may feel good at the moment but if you think they aren’t going to find out, you’re going to be surprised. And not in a very good way.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Unless you over-promote, spew, are obnoxious or ignore others. Enough said.

So what are your don’ts for social media?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

PR planning a big part of Cabela’s grand opening

By: Cole Buergi, Vice President of Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

If you live in Northeast Wisconsin, you’ve no doubt heard about the new Cabela’s store opening in Green Bay today. Whether it was print, radio, TV or social media, there has been a continual buzz about the opening for the past six weeks. This was no accident as months of planning went into the effort to create the buzz.

Planning included:

  • Creating a targeted media list – being sure to include specific reporters that cover hunting or the outdoors.
  • Developing key messages to convey the Cabela’s brand.
  • Identifying key store features for the media to focus on.
  • Developing and distributing news releases highlighting events and activities.
  • Hosting a media pre-view day prior to the opening.
  • Hosting VIP nights for various groups to generate additional buzz.
  • Preparing the team for media interviews.
  • Arranging media interview schedules and learning what each outlet has an interest in covering.
  • Seeking opportunities for the media to get involved in setting their story’s atmosphere.

As for the grand opening media activities, we had to ensure enough Cabela’s staff was available to do the interviews as we had multiple media outlets seeking interviews at the same time. It was vital to have several team members prepared and available to accommodate the media’s live shot time frames. Equally important was having a detailed schedule of when each reporter’s live shots took place so everyone on the Cabela’s was aware of the timing.

We also planned for what areas of the store we wanted to highlight and encouraged the reporters to focus on these areas. Of course, reporters all want their own angles, but being able to provide them with ideas helped us highlight parts of the store the media may have not thought about.

In addition, we worked with the reporters to help set the mood. One radio reporter captured the sound of a bow being shot; two others wore outdoor attire to help set the atmosphere for their stories. Another great visual was one reporter feeding the fish in the trout tank. The trout swarmed on queue as the reporter tossed in fish food while reporting live. (No, we didn’t train the trout in advance.:))

The end result was Cabela’s received incredible media coverage that went smoothly because of the advance planning.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Public Relations: A Recipe for Success

By: Angela Raleigh, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Everyone wants good PR. But behind every successful PR campaign is a well-thought out plan that is proactive in generating ideas, yet flexible to be able to respond to change. So where do you start? Here are five things to consider when putting your PR plan to work:

1. Be true to your expertise. Journalists want to cover popular and emerging topics, so publicize your expertise. Bring a new perspective to trending issues and you can create a win-win scenario. There's no need to come up with your own brilliant story idea:  events already in the news provide a useful time hook. Identify what you can bring to the conversation and then you've got a way to piggyback on the story.

2. Keep it simple. Determine what makes your company or product unique, and say it briefly. Write a catchy email subject line or news release headline. Messaging must be short and sweet, as you want to grab the media’s attention.
3. Be selective. Do your research and target individual magazines and reporters. Look for reporters that cover your industry and build a relationship with them. Send personalized emails tailored for both their media outlet and individual beat.
4. Make content sharable. Hands down, more people use social media networks to get and share news. So when pitching a story, think about the additional materials you could provide to enhance your idea. Photos, diagrams, and infographics are highly shareable on social media networks and are often something that the media doesn’t have time to create themselves. 

5. Be easy to work with. Be prepared with fact sheets, photos and experts to interview and become a resource for the media. Help them make their stories happen. 

With persistence and planning, good PR is almost always covered because a good story has been well-told to the right people. Have you coordinated a successful PR campaign? What worked for you?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A New Perspective of the Courts

By: Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

While the nation is watching closely as the George Zimmerman trial continues in Florida, I had my own unique perspective on the justice system this week – jury duty.

Those who’ve been contacted for jury duty know that the call to the Jury Hotline the day before usually means you don’t have to report the next day. In fact, that was the message for three of the four days of my jury duty week. The call for Tuesday, however, was different and there I was checking in with the bailiffs on Tuesday morning. 

As I stood in the hallway waiting, I was thinking that I hope the process goes quickly and I don’t get picked so I can get back to the office. It also appeared that most of the others on the jury panel felt the same way. I’m not sure if any of us really WANTED to be there, but most seemed to feel civic responsibility to serve when called.

With fewer than 40 people making up the jury panel, I knew the chances of my name being called for the initial 20-person jury pool were greater than 50-50, so I really wasn’t surprised when the clerk called my name. Sure enough, after questioning from the judge and attorneys, my name was called a second time when the 12-member jury was announced for the one-day trial.

After opening statements, we heard from two prosecution witnesses and one witness for the defense. After closing arguments from the attorneys, the jury had the case by early afternoon.

While the testimony and arguments were interesting, the time in the jury room was most fascinating to me. It was a diverse group – a teacher, a cab driver, one retiree, a daycare center owner – and others. We talked about the testimony and evidence, considered everything that was presented to us. Everyone participated; everyone listened; no one dominated the discussion. We took a look at all possibilities before rendering our verdict.

As a long-time reporter in my past life I spent a lot of time covering the courts. I’ve always been impressed with the way the courts operate in Brown County. Of course, you’ll always hear different arguments from those who find themselves sitting at the defendant’s table.

Having now seen the courts from the perspective of the jury box and jury room, my impression remains the same. The American judicial system may not be perfect, but it’s probably the best you’ll ever find. 

Have you ever served on a jury? What did you think of the process?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Trolling Along...

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations 

If you have a strong audience for any of your social media outlets, you have probably run into the dreaded troll. Haven’t heard of a troll? Don’t worry… you will. A troll is someone who purposely posts rude and inappropriate comments to provoke and draw in either the brand or its audience into nothing more than a fight. It is what they live for. They use rude language, profanity and say things that will definitely get under your skin and make you angry. Why do these people exist? I don’t know – why do bullies exist? Call it boredom, stupidity, whatever. The fact is that they are out there.

So how do you get rid of a troll once they plague your social media site? There are a couple of schools of thought on this topic. It really depends on what course of action you feel the most comfortable taking. Weigh the options:

Ignore the troll. If the one motivating factor for a troll is to pick a fight, ignoring the troll might be the answer for him/her to go away because you aren’t taking the bait. If a troll isn’t getting what they are seeking, they will most likely move on.

The one drawback to this is that after the troll leaves, they have now left some ‘wonderful’ comments and posts that you and your audience would rather not see. Do some damage control and go through every comment and post to make sure you’ve cleaned up the mess and let your online community know what you are up to.

Delete or block the troll. I think this is by far the most popular way to go, however, before you hit the delete button, be sure you have your ducks in row. Make sure your social media policy is up to date on the kind of behavior you will or will not tolerate online and the actions you will take.

Just be mindful of deleting and blocking. While it can be the best course of action, some people may get upset about being blocked and you don’t want the troll bad mouthing your brand on other sites where you don’t have the control. One way to help with this is to post why you blocked this person to the rest of your online community. They will most likely support you in the end and will back you up because, really, who likes a troll?

A word of caution: you have to know the difference between a troll and an upset customer. If a poster has a legitimate gripe, then maybe there is something you need to do. If they are fighting for the sake of a fight, you might want to consider the options above.

Anyone out there encounter a troll? What course of action did you take? I’d love to hear it!