Wed 12 Jun 2013 @ 10:12
Regina Pyne from Affect PR shares her top tips on how to motivate your workforce...
Organizations often have the misconception that “one size fits all” when it comes to keeping their entire staff motivated. However, all employees, whether entry, mid or senior-level, require different tactics for staying motivated and feeling appreciated. No matter what the method of choice is, it’s critical that it drives the individual and shows concern for their staff.
Just remember, everyone has one common goal: achieving success. That said, it’s imperative for an organization to take an active role in helping their employees succeed. In order to yield happy workers, companies need to keep the goals and what motivates each specific level in mind to ensure productive work and higher retention rates.
Here are 5 tips to guarantee an enthusiastic and driven team:
Taking the time to understand the personality of your staff is a fundamental factor for company-wide satisfaction. Although it’s harder in a larger organization, make the effort to get to know your team and learn what stimulates and inspires them. They’ll appreciate the interest taken in them and you’ll establish a stronger relationship with them.
- Create customized programs
Gear programs and activities towards the average demographic. If your staff includes people of a wide age range with varying interests, make sure what you plan is fair for all and doesn’t favor only one end of the spectrum.
- Consider the size of the company
As an organization expands, the responsibility of keeping sentiments high needs to travel down the chain of command. Don’t put too much weight on anyone’s shoulders – distribute the mentoring and training responsibilities equally so that everyone receives the proper amount of attention.
- Make check-ins a regular part of the week
No matter the level, there’s always going to be a point when an employee will want to talk about their professional development. Establish consistent check-ins to make sure no one’s feeling overwhelmed or not challenged enough.
No matter the rank, your staff needs to know they have a person they can go to help problem solve. Establish a safe zone during check-ins (within reason, of course) and ensure the conversation is confidential and judgment-free.
Here at Affect we focus on motivating our employees and consider maintaining high morale a top priority. Although other aspects of the business may take precedence, keeping staff challenged and inspired should be at the top of your to-do list. A supportive work culture keeps sentiments high and shows employees that they’re valued.
What are some of the ways you maintain a positive culture and foster motivation?
Thu 16 May 2013 @ 11:00
Engage PR's Suzanne Panoplos gives her top tips on how to manage and build a relationship with key industry analysts...
Often we hear prospects and clients tell us that they do not need help with Analyst Relations (AR)—typically because they believe they already have good relationships with key analysts. We whole-heartedly agree that our clients should ultimately own the relationship with an analyst. But are they equipped to actually manage it?
Here are a few ways to get a better handle on your Analyst Relations Program:
Initiate regular and frequent contact: Most analyst firms want to be part of a regular communications schedule. Analyst firms such as Gartner prefer monthly updates, whereas other firms prefer a bi-monthly or quarterly schedule. An agency can help you determine the right schedule and make sure that regular interactions take place.
Provide relevant and thoughtful information: A good agency can also keep analysts updated with the information that is relevant to their research and interest areas. This is not to suggest a “spray and pray” approach that includes spamming analysts with a rapid succession of press releases. Rather, a good AR manager will ensure the analyst receives only the information that is relevant, bridging the interest of the client and the analyst to form a more productive relationship.
Ensure participation in key research reports: One of the biggest frustration points for most companies is either not being included in an analyst research report or even worse, being positioned inaccurately. A good AR manager will be in front of all deadlines, helping the client to navigate through the timelines, questionnaires and reference requirements to achieve the desired outcome.
Manage key influencers: With the dynamic nature of the analyst world, it is not unusual for analysts to leave or transition into other coverage areas. In most situations, your PR agency contact is already speaking to these analysts and is aware of their movements and wider areas of interest. With this broader perspective, the agency is able to advise organizations on the most appropriate strategy for connecting with the right analysts and achieving the most from that relationship.
So the next time you think you do not need assistance in managing your AR program, you might want to think again.
Fri 12 Apr 2013 @ 14:00
Affect PR's Brittany Bevacqua gives her top tips on running a successful PR campaign...
Every week, we like to hold mini-training sessions on everything from insider info from local “meet the media” events to the latest features on social media platforms. It’s a great way for our team members to share their expertise with the broader agency and learn valuable tips to help with the daily grind.
Recently, I had the pleasure of leading a session that’s near and dear to my heart – running a PR campaign. Any successful PR effort requires careful planning, flawless execution and a heavy dose of creativity. And while seasoned communicators know this process like the back of their hands, it’s a tall order (and a lot to juggle) for those newer to profession.
So in an effort to break down the process, I came up with ten words to describe the major activities that go into any basic PR campaign:
- Plan – Before the campaign begins, it’s critical to have a solid media plan in place. What are the goals and expectations of the campaign? Who’s the target audience? What’s the timing? What assets will you need?
- Assign – In a team setting, it’s absolutely critical to assign responsibilities to individual team members. Who’s going to 1) write the press release and/or the pitch? 2) create the media lists? 3) be the point person for updates to the internal team and/or the client?
- Research – Are there stats/trends that could make the pitch more compelling? Who are the relevant reporters/pubs and how will you find them? Is there anything, competitively, that you could tie in to the pitch?
- Build – Create all of the materials that your team will need, including media list(s), a briefing document outline, talking points for spokespeople and more.
- Write – Now is the time to put your thinking cap on and draft that press release or media alert, customize your pitches, come up with a unique byline abstract—anything you’ll need to make the campaign a success.
- Distribute – What’s the best approach for your campaign? Will you distribute news via a wire service? Send the news or story idea to select journalists using a media database? Or, do custom emails make the most sense? What type of media follow-up is appropriate?
- Communicate – With everyone! Share feedback/challenges/opportunities with fellow team members and managers, and always keep your client informed on progress and next steps.
- Search (for coverage) – While Google Alerts are useful, go the extra mile and check the pub’s website or look at the reporter’s twitter handle (many reporters tweet out their stories). And if you’re expecting something longer-lead, put a reminder in your calendar to check in at a later date.
- Recap – It’s also important to document everything you’re seeing or hearing from your contacts – coverage, feedback/interest, requests for follow ups and more. Establish a recap frequency with the client, and stick with it.
- Measure – Whether you have a simple process in place, or need a more detailed analysis, measure, measure measure! Keep track of the number of articles, interviews conducted, share of voice, notable spokesperson quotes—anything that helps move the mark for your client, and raises the bar for your team the next time around.
While this list isn’t exhaustive (and every campaign is different!), I hope this simplifies the process a bit for people that are just dipping their toes into the PR world. Happy pitching!
To visit the Tech Affect blog, you can click here.
Tue 2 Apr 2013 @ 13:13
Sterling PR's Amanda Hoffman looks at how Twitter has changed the PR industry...
Recently marked the 7th anniversary of the first tweet. For a service that was initially met with much skepticism (why does the world care that I’m eating a sandwich?), Twitter has steadily become a necessary PR tool, taking its place alongside (or in some industries, ahead of) the traditional press release. In honor of Twitter’s 7th anniversary, we have compiled 7 ways Twitter has changed the PR industry as we know it.
- Information dissemination. Perhaps the most tangible use of Twitter today is the ability to quickly distribute news to a mass audience. Twitter moves fast, and its users are constantly checking to see what’s happening now. The downside is that it’s easy to miss the opportunity if you don’t jump in quickly, and in some industries or organizations, a lengthy approval process can translate to missed opportunities for the organization. The solution? Sit down with executives, legal, investor relations, and anyone else who may be skeptical of the process and come up with a list of best practices and approved topics.
- Scandal. No doubt about it, Twitter can be a double-edged sword for PR pros. While the ability to quickly distribute news and opinions makes for more timely and relevant opportunities for a brand, it can also spell disaster when tweets are not thought through carefully before posting. Just a quick search in our own blog archives shows numerous instances where a Twitter faux pas has been the cause of a major cleanup job for a brand’s PR team (none of our clients, of course!).
- Engagement. PR used to primarily serve as a one-way communication function — and often a third party function at that. The traditional chain of command was brand –> journalist –> target audience. With Twitter, conversations look more like brand <–> target audience.
- Media relations. In addition to serving as a great channel for connecting brands to their audiences, Twitter has also become a great way for journalists and PR pros to converse, giving journalists story ideas and real-time feedback on their articles, in addition to discussing industry news in general.
- Humanization of brands. Whether a large enterprise, your neighborhood coffee shop or a celebrity, Twitter has enabled consumers to feel personally connected to people and organizations they wouldn’t have such close contact with otherwise. This human touch can go a long way in terms of making consumers feel more connected to a brand, knowing there’s a real human on the other side of the computer screen.
- Customer service. In the same vein that Twitter has humanized brands, it has also provided a valuable customer service channel. While some brands may shy away from having their dirty laundry aired for all to see in the way of customer complaints, how a brand chooses to address these issues can go a long way in shaping public perception. A brand that’s responsive – even if it’s just to say “email me at ___ and we can discuss this further” – looks more in-tune with the customer than a brand who turns a blind eye to customer complaints. Remember, conversations are happening about your brand, whether you’re a part of them or not.
- Viral tactics. How did things go viral before Twitter? Or was this term even a part of our lexicon before then? Whichever the case, there’s no denying that Twitter has been essential in viral marketing campaigns. The very nature of the retweet makes sharing as easy as one click, enabling links, videos and articles to spread like wildfire across a large audience.
So there you have it. 7 ways in which Twitter has changed PR as we know it. Did I leave anything off? Fellow PR pros – how has Twitter changed how you work?
Mon 18 Mar 2013 @ 17:26
Guy Blackden at DWA discusses limited budgets and the need for risks to be innovative...
“If your result needs a statistician, then you should design a better experiment” – Ernest Rutherford (1871 – 1937)
Sometimes it takes a renowned nuclear physicist to talk simple sense in a complicated world. Ernest Rutherford wasn’t talking about media analytics, but he could easily have been. His favoured approach was to tackle any problem in the most simple, most easy to implement and most cost effective way. As an industry, we seem hell bent on doing the opposite. Don’t worry, I’m not going to write about the complexities of Big Data and all its possibilities here (you can read this post for a simplified view on data). I want to talk about taking risks – trying something new; experimenting.
Now anyone that has seen me snowboard will see the irony in me writing about risk taking, but I think the industry plays it safe all too often with marketing activities. Having spent 20 years in B2B communications of some kind or other, one of the most recurring themes is having limited funds (compared to the deep pocketed world of consumer advertising) and having to make those limited funds work extremely hard. It creates a kind of Catch 22, where you can’t experiment, because you can’t afford to; but if you don’t experiment, you can’t improve on what you’re already doing. For a while, the measurability of online media capitalised on the offline world’s inability to measure things effectively, i.e. you could measure your experiments, but these days there are plenty that would question the value of those simple online metrics as we enter into the world of Big Data.
Many within the tech industry live in this low risk world, relentlessly buying leads on a guaranteed basis and wondering why it is getting harder to find the leads and harder to convert them. It holds them to a pattern of activity that requires a level of risk and experimentation to get out of. My hope for Big Data, is that it will help provide the confidence to take risks – it’ll free up that locked in thinking to experiment with brand, with media selection, with creative and with content.
One of the questions we are asked most often by clients is ‘what innovative stuff is out there at the moment?’ Now don't get me wrong there is plenty of innovation out there, but more often than not innovation equates to risk and so those who want that innovation need to embrace the degrees of uncertainty that go with it. That’s where the data and brainy people (and I’d like to include the folks at DWA here) come into play.
“We haven’t got the money, so we’re going to have to think” – Ernest Rutherford (again)
To visit the DWA blog, you can click here.