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I’m Pinterested in You: PR’s Latest Love Affair

It seems the entire PR industry is totally crushing on Pinterest lately. If you’re looking for the next big marketing tool for your business or brand, here are five reasons why you probably should be, too:

  1. Pinterest is driving more referral traffic than every other social media site combined.
  2. It is proving to retain and engage users way more efficiently than Twitter.
  3. The 15 most popular photos ever pinned include a photo of metallic toes, a close-up of chocolate chip bacon cookies and an inspirational quote about love. (I just thought this was interesting.)
  4. For overachievers or DIY types, it’s super easy to make cool infographics or customize photos all on your own for free.
  5. Apparently, even psychotherapists can double their online traffic by using Pinterest.

On a personal note, Pinterest is my jam. Ever since buying my first home last year, I’ve developed a healthy obsession with the site, turning to it for inspiration for nearly every DIY project I’ve tackled. Until recently though, I’ve struggled to wrap my head around the possibility of using Pinterest as a widespread marketing tool. I mean, what about businesses that don’t have any product to pin? Or what about brands that have no appeal whatsoever to the primary U.S. Pinterest market of women 25-34?

Now that Pinterest has exploded on the social media scene (hello, 3rd most popular social networking site in the universe,) PR pros are stepping in to answer these questions and more, helping guide all of us in using this powerful platform to reach consumers and boost brand equity. Read more

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Facebook Lands 900 Million and the Rise of the Smartphone

In case you missed it: While Facebook ad sales may be down, Facebook use is on the rise like crazy. In fact, the social networking site has just eclipsed 900 million users. And there’s still room to grow. Wowzers, right?

While the fact that the number of Facebook users is now roughly equal to the population of Africa is amazing, here’s what really caught my attention in Mark Raby’s article today: “Facebook said that a whopping 488 million users are logging in on a daily basis from a mobile device. It has pioneered social communications in the mobile world.”

Let me repeat that: a single social networking site has singlehandedly pioneered social communication in the mobile world. And now that we know that everybody will soon have a smartphone (Say goodbye, digital divide! Nevermind this minor production glitch…) that makes browsing those sites that much easier to do, it’s easy to understand why new social media platforms have begun to catch like wildfire, especially those that are simple in design and have high visual appeal (hello, Pinterest!) Read more

What We’re Watching Now: Racial Insensitivity?

A string of stories have been cropping up lately about racial insensitivity in the media. Here is a rundown of the three most recent incidents that come to mind, thanks in no small part to the NPR segment I just listened to:

1. After 23 seasons of rose ceremonies, ABC’s “The Bachelor” has never casted a person of color, according to a class action lawsuit filed against the network this week. (To clarify, I believe they’re just referring to the starring bachelor or bachelorette.)

2. Acura looked to cast a  “nice looking, friendly. Not too dark” actor to play alongside Jerry Seinfeld in their last Superbowl commercial. Acura has apologized, but interestingly, hasn’t promised to not discriminate in future ads.

3. A Burger King commercial featuring Mary J Blige singing for their new chicken wrap went viral this week, spurring criticism that the ad perpetuates harmful racial stereotypes. Burger King has since pulled the ad. Read more

OFf & Running! PR lessons from a Web Series Wrap Party

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending a wrap part for a HILARIOUS new web series that a friend of mine is producing called “Off & Running”.

It is set to launch this summer and it is so good, I would be remiss to not give it a proper plug: Check out the “OFf & Running” Facebook Fan Page here!

But putting the show’s damn good acting and writing aside, they have some serious grassroots PR happening over there, too, which really got my wheels turning.  Most of the action is happening on their Facebook Fan Page, where the “likes” keep on coming thanks to the trivia questions, teasers and behind-the-scenes photos being churned out almost daily.  And all this before the show has even officially launched!

I was so impressed, it made me think about how other, massively huge, big budget productions like, oh say, The Hunger Games, was able to use these very same marketing tools to build a massive following before the film was even released (and has now secured the #1 spot at the box office four weeks and counting.) Read more

Wednesday Updates, Headshot Tips and More…

Good news on all fronts. While a few projects have kept me a little too busy to blog this week, I do have a couple exciting updates to share:

  • Update #1: Discovered that highly recommended photographer/college student was not ignoring my emails after all, overwhelmed (as I had imagined) by my enthusiasm. She simply hadn’t seen them. Confirmed this week that I had the wrong email address for her all along. I have since resent all of my ideas to her and have received an encouraging and equally enthusiastic response back. Photo shoot booked for next week!

(In honor of my ongoing quest for headshots, check out some great headshot-taking tips that I stumbled across here. One of my favs: the darker your suit, the more powerful you appear! And another: No matter what, make sure you don’t wear too much purple!) Read more

Re-Post: Some Words of Wisdom from Grammar Gurus

My first boss, who happened to be one of the most talented writers I have ever met, said it best: If you want to go far in life, learn to write well. In fact, he was such a writing enthusiast, he once had the HR manager purchase grammar books for the entire staff. Although I still carry his wisdom with me (along with that book), I have to admit that following the rules of writing isn’t always easy to do. This is especially true in PR, where pushing out casual, concise and immediate content across social media platforms too often takes precedence over stopping to look up the proper placement for that comma.

Given my own ongoing struggles with this, I find it greatly amusing whenever a new, impassioned plea for better writing pops up in my inbox or on one of my favorite blogs. In an ode to my first boss, here is an excerpt from one article  that landed in my inbox just this morning, along with some other highly recommended reading, after the jump:

Read more

The Pros are going Pro-Bono

Last week, while lunching with a PR friend of mine and dreaming up, as we like to do, future possibilities to work together, he was struck by a brilliant idea. “Why don’t we pick up a pro bono client together?” He asked. The idea of using my PR skills for public service immediately tugged at my heartstrings, and the thought of finally getting to work with my very talented friend made me beyond excited.

Non-profits in need of free work would be far less critical of our not-yet-existent company website, Twitter handles or snazzy business cards, we reasoned. Also, as Jim Senior points out in this PRSA article from 2007, pro-bono PR work reaps tons of benefits. Read more

Holy Headshots!

This is my first blog post and it is dedicated to an increasingly vital, albeit perhaps unexpected, personal branding tool: The headshot.

First of all, is it just me or does it seem like everybody’s now getting them done? In the past couple of years, I have seen them on resumés (I admit, “who does this guy think he is??” may have been my first reaction) and on the Facebook profiles of friends not even remotely connected to the entertainment industry (when did candid shots become so passé?) Sure, headshots may have always been important to PR, but for various reasons I have never felt compelled to get on that train. Until now.

Let me jump in now and clarify that I’m going extremely low-budget for this first run. I have decided this is the best route for me, since I want to see what I’m in for before I make a big investment, and this first investment will be made entirely out-of-pocket.

So, while I still think quality headshots are a worthwhile investment for any PR pro, (for an “executive” headshot, expect to pay $350-$450) I’ll be shelling out 50 bucks next week to get mine done by a college student who came highly recommended. I’ve already emailed her several samples of headshots that I came across and liked, thoughts on backgrounds, lighting, and detailed questions about this $50 package I’ve purchased. She has yet to respond to any of my emails. A bumpy start, but I’m not sweating it. Read more

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