Thursday, October 30, 2014

November 5. It can’t come soon enough!

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

The end is near and, I for one, am very much looking forward to it. No, I’m not taking about the end of the planet or life as we know it.

I’m referring to the endless, opponent bashing political ads that are bombarding us from all sides whether it’s print, television, radio or social media. The election is less than a week away and it seems that every available ad space is being used to tilt the scale in favor of one opponent or the other.

Come November 5, we can all take a collective sigh of relief as life becomes less filled with political rhetoric that few, if anyone, truly wants to listen to.

I agree, the candidates all need to have the opportunity to get their message across. However, do we really need the endless bombardment of negative ads from various Political Action Committee (PAC) groups, a great many from outside the state, trying to influence the way Wisconsinites vote? What does someone from Texas, California or Washington D.C. truly know about what’s best for the citizens of Wisconsin? 

No matter your politics, I think we would be better served to have the candidates square off in more debates, whereby the audience, viewers and/or listeners can get a better impression for who they want to support. It would also be great to see the candidates spend more time hosting community meetings and small group listening sessions. Yes, it may be a bit na├»ve or “old school” in today’s money driven political landscape, but it sure would be nice.

Do you feel you know enough about your candidate to make a good decision at the ballot? Will you be happy to have a break from the political ads, at least until the presidential election gets underway? And finally, what have you done to get away from the political noise – did you read a good book, watch movies or simply sit in a dark room by yourself?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Time for a PR refresher

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

The end of 2014 is closing in fast (yikes!). Now is the time for your business to conduct a review of the current PR plan and draft a strategy for 2015 so you can start the New Year right.

As you prepare for 2015, keep these ideas in mind:
  • Don’t feel you have to start from scratch. Review your current plan to find out what worked, what didn’t and what you didn’t have time to do. Some of the ideas and tactics may be able to be rolled over into next year’s plan.

  • Review what the company has on deck for next year. Note any big events, product launches, expansions or milestones as these may be great PR opportunities. Determine if these are newsworthy items in advance so you have time to plan ways to attract local media.

  • Make sure your website is current. This is especially true if you are driving social media traffic to your website. If content is out of date, links are broken or images are old, add “refresh website” to the PR plan.

  • Note opportunities for using images and video. Image sharing is huge. If you want to make an impact, especially to your online audience, you’ll want to post content with photo and/or video. Remember to keep the videos short and relevant to your post.

  • Develop or update the company media kit and send it to local media outlets so they know they can tap into your expertise for any stories. Make hard and electronic copies.

You’re going to put a lot of work into developing a PR plan for your company – so make sure you use it! Note outcomes as the year progresses so you have helpful feedback when it comes time to develop a new plan. Does anyone have suggestions on developing a PR plan? Share your ideas!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do you remember more if you read it in print?

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

A new study from the University of Houston (UH) says readers remember more from newspapers than online. That’s an interesting finding given that more and more people are looking to the Internet for their daily news.

It’s no secret that I still look to the printed newspaper each morning to start my day. But I’m also among those who read online news sources at other times of the day. Do I remember more from my morning newspaper reading habit? That’s certainly up for debate.   

The UH researchers used two groups of students who were told to avoid reading news stories for a period of time. They were then instructed to read the New York Times for 20 minutes – one group reading stories from the print version, the other browsing the NYT website. The study found that those who read the print version remembered an average of 4.24 news stories a short time later, while the online readers remembered 3.35 stories. 

The lead author of the study, Professor Arthur Santana, says there could be a number of reasons. He notes that there are more distractions in the online version. The online story placement and prominence are always changing so readers may be less apt to register which are the important stories of the day. He notes that the print newspaper is generally dedicated mostly to news and print readers may be more methodical.

The UH study was done to help newspapers become more aware of the differences in reading news online versus in print. It will be interesting to see if those who lead news operations are able to capitalize on these findings as the newspaper business continues to evolve.

What do you think? How often do you read a printed newspaper? Do you remember more when you read something in print as opposed to online?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Cure for Communication Overload

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

Let’s face it…most of us are “connected” 24/7 these days. Do you even remember what it felt like not to have your phone next to you all day, every day? Do we really need to be connected all the time?  I can hear the shouting right now, “yes, Yes, YES!” 

O.K., I hear you. I’m one of you. BUT, after starting to feel like there was a never a break, I have been making a concerted effort to have some “disconnect” time lately. No phone. No iPad. No laptop. That means no Twitter, no Facebook, no email and no news. No calls from family, friends and clients alike (at least until I turn the phone back on). Yikes! Just the thought of that could put me in a panic.

But I have found that occasionally unplugging has been a really good thing. I try for a couple of hours a week, usually on Sundays. What do I DO on those days/times? Enjoy the quiet and think about everything or nothing; go for a walk; listen to music; read a book; clean a closet – uninterrupted. (That might seem odd, but for someone who really likes being organized, a clean closet is heavenly!).  Now, mind you, I’m not at the point where I could go all day without being connected but, even for a few hours, it turns out to be a really good thing. It’s relaxing and, in many ways, rejuvenating. Turns out, I never really miss anything. Eventually, I go back online and catch up with the calls, emails and news. Just like always.

So before you think or say you can’t possibly disconnect, I challenge you to try it. You might be surprised how much you actually like it!