Friday, July 29, 2016

Should you tie your business to a national news story?

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

Because the media is always “on” and always “live” there is the need to constantly search out new content. Often, when there is a big national or international story, local media looks for local businesses, organizations or individuals that may have ties to the story or have expertise related to the story. For instance, if there is a natural disaster, the media may turn to the local Red Cross or The Salvation Army. If, a few months down the road, rebuilding in that impacted area isn’t going as fast as anticipated, local media may turn to area home builders to find out just how long it takes to build a house. In those cases, it doesn’t hurt to showcase your expertise.

But, the media may also call when there’s a national recall or a controversial study is issued. Generally, you don’t want your business or organization tied to that type of negative event. First of all, you probably won’t have all of the pertinent details so it could be difficult to make an informed comment. You could also wind up defending your industry or practices or be put into a position of criticizing a competitor.  

So how do you evaluate whether that kind of a news tie is right for your organization? Ask yourself these questions: Is the overall story positive or negative? Will I have anything to say that will reflect on my business/industry in a good way? Can I reassure others that something similar is unlikely to happen here? And if you decide to go ahead with the interview, find out all you can about the national/international news story and make sure you’ve taken the time to develop and practice your main talking points. 

Sometimes unsolicited media attention can be a good thing; but other times you may want to take a pass.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Want to get your message across, start listening!

By: Cole Buergi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Communication overload is happening more and more every day. It seems that everyone is being bombarded with information, in all forms including verbal, email, texts and social media. In some ways that’s great because we can get much more work completed in a shorter amount of time than 20 or more years ago.

The problem is, with the amount of information coming at us, are we really taking the time we need to truly listen and understand what the message is?

That’s important because, in order to be an effective communicator, you need to hear and process what others are saying. Unfortunately, in today’s fast paced world, thoroughly listening to someone and truly processing what they are conveying goes against most people’s desire to reply instantly to everyone, all the time. Right or wrong, it’s the world that we live in.

I can remember a time (and, yes, I’m old enough to say that now) when the only people you talked with were the ones you were spending time with at that moment. And you listened to what they had to say and responded appropriately. Now you put a group of 20 somethings in a room, and it seems like the only person they are not talking to is the person sitting next to them. Most, if not all of them, will be on their smart phones and only partially engaged in what’s transpiring around them. 

I understand that’s not all bad. In a sense, it almost allows us to be in two or more places at once. However, at some point in everyone’s life, there will be a need to be able to communicate face-to-face, particularly when it’s their boss. And, in these situations, you better be listening to what they are saying and be able to communicate accordingly. 

Not too many employers I know will accept an emoji smiley face as a response to a question.

What do you do to take time to truly absorb the important messages you receive and prepare to respond?

Friday, July 8, 2016

What are your best practices for social media video?

By: Scott Stein, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

There’s no question that video is now a key component for social media marketing. More and more brands are using video effectively and consumers have come to expect it. Even small enterprises are finding ways to incorporate video in their social media strategy.
I recently came across a piece that discussed the “26 Ways to Use Video for Your Social Media Marketing.” Some of the recommendations apply to most areas of public relations (grab attention early, appeal to emotion, choose the right headline, focus on one message), so I certainly don’t want to discuss all 26 suggestions. But there several good ideas to keep in mind when delving into video for social media.

  • Create how-to videos – How-to videos have become very popular on many social media platforms. Think about all the food videos you come across. But be sure your video is simple and to the point. 
  • Fine-tune your video – there are a number of good editing tools available. Spend a little time researching the options and soon you’ll be adding voiceovers and deleting sections of video that aren’t needed. 
  • Optimize for autoplay – OK, I’ll admit I do get annoyed when videos start up automatically on my feed. Then again, if the video grabs my attention, I just may stick around the watch the whole thing.
  • Ensure good sound quality – Bad sound quality distracts from your message. 
  • Add subtitles – People can’t always listen to what they’re watching. With subtitles, they can still watch and understand your video while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or even in a work meeting.

Those are just a few of the tips that jumped out at me. What would you add to the list?