Tuesday, December 1, 2020

As Seen on @bookswithgail – A New Perspective on Influencer Marketing

I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. A typical week for me includes reading anywhere between two to five books, so I frequently receive requests for book recommendations from those around me and happily oblige in sharing my favorites. Over the summer, as quarantine boredom hit an all-time high, I decided on a whim to create an Instagram account dedicated to sharing my book reviews. I named it “@bookswithgail” and figured a handful of friends and family members would be interested in following the account for a convenient way to find new reads. When I created the account, I never imagined it would grow to have a following of more than 2,600 bookworms in just four months. 

Managing @bookswithgail has become a hobby that I am so passionate about. Along with reaching thousands of followers, I’ve received dozens of books gifted by publishers, and even started a book club (virtually for now, of course) with some amazing fellow “bookstagrammers” in Chicagoland. The account has not only allowed me to connect with other book lovers, but also with some of my favorite authors. Many authors love connecting with readers over social media and will often comment on and share my posts about their books, which has been a huge highlight of the experience.


As an assistant account executive at LCWA, I love working with influencers for our clients. Running my book Instagram has afforded me valuable insight into the “other side” of influencer marketing. Usually, I’m the publicist reaching out to influencers with whom we want to partner. But now – thanks to @bookswithgail – I get to play both roles and I’m also on the receiving end of those requests, working with publishing houses to review books and post about them before they’re published.

Running @bookswithgail provided me with a fun, creative outlet during a global pandemic, and it’s also given me unique insights into influencer relations. Getting to experience the partnerships from both sides has made me better both as a PR professional and as a book reviewer. I look forward to continuing to use this experience as a “boots-on-the-ground” way to improve influencer programs I work on in the future! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

AASM Experts Say Seasonal Time Changes are Losing Favor

On November 2 we turned our clocks back one-hour, signaling the end of daylight saving
time. While most of us are accustomed to the biannual time change, evidence suggests there are downfalls to the ritual of “springing forward and falling back.” Which is why in September and October, we helped our client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) bring awareness to their position statement which supports eliminating seasonal time changes for the benefit of public health and safety. The position statement outlined the various effects of time changes, which range from increased risk of stroke and hospital admissions to sleep loss and more, arguing that standard time more closely aligns with the daily rhythms of the body’s internal clock.

To drive attention to the AASM’s statement, LCWA drafted a pitch with highlighted results from the AASM’s July 2020 survey, which found that a majority of Americans (63%) are also in support of the elimination of seasonal time changes in favor of a national, fixed, year-round time.

The pitch also touted that the AASM’s statement has been endorsed by more than 20 organizations including the National Safety Council (NSC), the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the World Sleep Society. Legislators have come out in support of a fixed, year-round time in recent months, including Florida senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, who recently introduced a bill to keep daylight saving time in place through the fall of 2021. The bill has been placed on the Senate calendar and remains a timely and attention-grabbing angle as the AASM’s statement continues to gain traction.

LCWA distributed the pitch via Newswise and pitched the AASM’s statement to national consumer and health media. As a result of our direct-to-editor outreach, we secured high-impact interviews for key AASM spokespeople with the Washington Post and Healio.

The statement received extensive national coverage, generating more than 280 million impressions. Notable placements included: 

                Online:

o   Inside Edition, Medscape, CNN, CNET, Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian Magazine, Associations Now, Bustle, Vice, Business Insider, Healthline, Prevention, USA Today, HealthDay, Vox, Everyday Health and WebMD.

Print:

o   St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Kansas City Star and The Des Moines Register.

Television:

o   HLN, WJBK, KTTV, CBS Sacramento, WGN and Good Morning America.

Radio:

o   KYW-AM, WLS-AM, KPLA-FM and AM 900 Hamilton's News Talk Leader (CHML).

These results show that the debate for/against seasonal time changes continues to be a hot topic of interest for the media and American public.

Monday, November 2, 2020

L.C. Williams & Associates (LCWA) Earns Spot on Forbes’ Inaugural “America’s Best PR Agencies 2021” List

CHICAGO (Nov. 2, 2020) – Chicago PR agency L.C. Williams & Associates (LCWA) has been named to Forbes’ first-ever ranking of the 200 best public relations agencies in America. LCWA is a mid-sized communications and digital marketing firm with specialties in home and housewares, healthcare, B2B communications and food and beverage.

In partnership with market research firm Statista, Forbes identified the best PR firms in America through a survey of more than 12,700 experts and 20,500 customers who nominated more than 5,000 firms. Click here to see the full list.

“We are honored to be included in this inaugural list from Forbes, which was created with input from industry experts and actual customers,” said Kim Blazek Dahlborn, president and CEO of LCWA. “Reputation is such an important factor in our business. We are thrilled that our happy clients continue to spread the word about LCWA’s high-quality work and meaningful results.”

LCWA shares this honor with eight of its Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) PR affiliates: Three Box Strategic Communications (Dallas), The Castle Group (Boston), Landis Communications Inc. (San Francisco), The Hoyt Organization (Los Angeles), The Conroy Martinez Group (Miami), S&A Communications (North Carolina), Buchanan Public Relations (Philadelphia) and The Fearey Group (Seattle). PRGN is a leading network of more than 50 hand-selected public relations firms servicing key markets around the world.

In making the announcement, Forbes commented: “As public relations professionals look to navigate their clients through an uncertain, volatile and noisy year. . . PR agencies have increasingly sought to integrate with their clients to provide new types of information that help with both external and internal communications.”

For more information, visit www.lcwa.com, or follow LCWA Team on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About L.C. Williams & Associates (LCWA)

L.C. Williams & Associates is a mid-sized Chicago PR Firm. Founded in 1985, the company provides a full range of services including brand building, media relations, social media, influencer outreach and grassroots marketing. LCWA is one of the top 75 independent PR firms in the country and one of the top ten in Chicago, according to O’Dwyer’s list of national, independent PR firms. It also is ranked as one of the top three agencies specializing in home products public relations, in the top 35 of agencies working in food and beverages, and the top 45 of agencies working in healthcare public relations.


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Driving Awareness for Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month


In September, we helped our client the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) celebrate Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month to drive awareness for this serious lung disease affecting more than 200,000 Americans. This year presented a particularly difficult media environment, with health coverage focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, but our team found creative ways to cut through the clutter.

News Coverage

To kick off the month, we distributed feature articles to media in both English and Spanish. We also sent out a press release about the common myths and misconceptions surrounding pulmonary fibrosis (PF) causes, treatments, diagnoses and more. News coverage generated more than 400M impressions.

Radio Media Tour

PFF medical expert Dr. Sonye Danoff got the word out nationally in a series of radio interviews. She described the symptoms and risk factors of PF and encouraged listeners to discuss the disease with their physicians. Dr. Danoff completed 17 interviews, totaling 473 segment airings with more than 29M impressions.

Web Blitz

For additional coverage, we submitted articles by the PF medical team and patients to national websites, generating more than 21M impressions. Sample articles included:

  • EmpowHER.com: PFF Ambassador Melissa Wheeler shared her first-hand experience with PF and her lung transplant journey. She also encouraged women to be their own advocates and speak to their doctors.
  • Patient’s Lounge – PFF Ambassador Fred Schick discussed his unexpected PF diagnosis, as well as symptoms and risk factors to look out for.
  • Thrive Global – PFF’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gregory Cosgrove discussed key signs and symptoms of PF, along with how to get involved during PFAM.
  • Vocal Media – PFF Medical Expert Dr. Joyce S. Lee defined PF and highlighted available treatments.
  • Medium.com – PFF Medical Expert Dr. Sonye Danoff shared important facts about PF and ways to spread the word in September.

Digital Ad Campaign

To amplify our messaging even further, a digital ad campaign in both English and Spanish reached key at-risk and general awareness audiences. The ads – both in text and video formats – highlighted PF myths, symptoms and risk factors, as well as portraits of PFF ambassadors to raise awareness and fundraising efforts. The digital ad campaign significantly drove clicks to AboutPF.org and AboutPF.org/Espanol, garnering 24,000 clicks and nearly 2M impressions across Facebook and banner ads.

Despite a unique news cycle, we were still able to increase awareness of PF during this important month. To learn more about PF, visit www.AboutPF.org.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Inaugural Student Sleep Health Week Paves the Way for Student Success

From September 14 to 20, the LCWA healthcare PR team helped the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) hold the inaugural Student Sleep Health Week. Amidst a back-to-school season unlike any other, the observance amplified critical messaging surrounding student sleep health, powered by expert spokespersons, influencers, partner organizations – and even Congress!

We kicked off the campaign by obtaining newsworthy statistics with a survey of 2,000 adults across the U.S. In the survey, over half (57%) of parents of school-age children said that they have a child or teen who does not get enough sleep on school nights. This stat, and others from the survey, were highlighted on the Student Sleep Health Week landing page and throughout content.

To widen the campaign’s reach, we coordinated outreach to other organizations which have stakeholders in the student health and wellness arena. Signing on to support the week were American School Counselor AssociationAmerican School Health AssociationNational Association of School NursesNational PTANational Safety CouncilProject SleepSociety for Health and Physical Educators, and Sleep Research SocietyPartners, along with state and county health departments, were provided toolkits including press releases, custom social media content and graphics, and copy for newsletters and websites.

A press release highlighting the stats drove editorial media coverage, including The Houston ChronicleThe Herald News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. We also placed byline articles by experts across a range of thought-leadership media outlets, including MediumThriveGlobal and ScaryMommy.

To drive the buzz on social media, we had partnerships with 16 online influencers, who drove conversations about the benefits of student sleep with content on FacebookInstagramTikTokYouTube and blogsInstagram Live interviews also drove buzz and covered a range of topics related to student sleep, from the benefits of melatonin to the importance of a consistent bed and waketime.

This first Student Sleep Health Week will become a first annual -- Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Congressman Rodney Davis introduced House Resolution 1103 to support that National Student Sleep Health Week be held annually during the third week of September.

We look forward to working with the AASM to continue holding Student Sleep Health Week for years to come!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Be Ready for the Unexpected This Fire Prevention Month

While our client First Alert, the most trusted brand in fire safety, works hard year-round to educate others about the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) safety, First Alert’s mission becomes increasingly important come Fire Prevention Month in October. Throughout the month, fire departments, nonprofit organizations and other safety advocate come together to educate the public about the importance of whole home safety.

The First Alert brand and PR team uses the month of October as an opportunity to push First Alert’s smoke and CO safety messages to the media and consumers alike. We work hard to saturate the media in a variety of ways to deliver helpful and informative safety tips to people across the country.

Media Relations  

As a first step toward educating the public about the importance of being prepared for the unexpected this Fire Prevention Month, we issued a multi-media press release in both English and Spanish to complement a bilingual broadcast media tour. In addition to the press release, the team also distributed a syndicated feature story to coincide with Fire Prevention Week but that includes tips to generate interest throughout the fall. Both releases underscore the importance of whole home safety as we continue to spend more time at home, and encourages readers to create an emergency preparedness plan with their family.

Partnerships

October is an equally busy time for many of our non-profit partners and media partners. Beginning in late September and throughout October a variety of initiatives – many virtual – extend our whole home safety messaging to audiences of all ages. Local media campaigns with TV and radio stations reach audiences however they obtain content. And this year more than ever our local partnerships have proven that creativity wins. The Aurora Regional Fire Museum, DuPage Children’s Museum and other Chicagoland organizations have worked with us to create and share content with their audiences.

Celebrity PSA

A cornerstone of First Alert’s Fire Prevention Month campaign is a celebrity PSA intended to remind Americans to talk to their families about fire safety and take key steps to help protect what matters most. Actor Taylor Kinney, who plays a firefighter on television, as entered millions of households with his compelling safety message.

To learn more about First Alert and the importance of fire safety, check out https://www.firstalert.com/firepreventionmonth/.

Friday, September 11, 2020

LCWA Honored by PRSA Chicago and PCC

Like everything else, awards season looked quite different this year. But Chicago’s
PR 
community is creative and resilient, and we were proud to gather with our peers at two amazing virtual events. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Chicago conducted its annual Skyline event earlier this summer, and the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) held its Golden Trumpet Awards last night. Adding to the fun? Winning some awards for our great client work! We were lauded for three campaigns:

Thank you to these organizations for recognizing our efforts, and to our teams and client partners for striving for excellence every day!