Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Finding and Using Compelling Stats to Get News

In the PR business, including stats in press releases and other media-facing materials is vital. They add significance and credibility to your clients’ announcements, and can also be a great way to craft headlines — creating news that can bolster client messaging, help garner media results during a lull in client activity or even spearhead a campaign.

You also want your clients to be the leader in their industries, and having a library of stats lends them authority and helps them be the “go-to” source for media when they are looking for expert resources to help shape their stories.

But, the stats need to be legitimate and compelling, or the media won’t be interested. So, how do you find and use stats to deliver the best client service? Here are some recommendations from the LCWA team:

How to find stats: 
  • Deploy a survey: A high-level, consumer-friendly survey can help secure a variety of news angles that can be used to drive coverage. The survey can be wide-ranging if you’re looking for topics that can be used throughout the year, or the questions can be narrowed down if you’re looking for a brand new story to spearhead a campaign.
  • Ask the experts: If you work with an organization that represents experts, such as medical professions, conducting internal outreach for their insights and day-to-day observations can allow you to bolster current messaging and come up with new information that interests media.
  • Audit the research: Some clients may have a cache of studies that haven’t been adequately utilized for marketing purposes. It may behoove you to review the materials and see if there are newsworthy nuggets, or overarching themes, that can be pulled and used.

 How to use stats:
  • Craft your own news: Even if it seems there aren’t any original client stories to tell that would actually interest media, you still need to deliver results. However, if you can find a key stat that allows you to conduct outreach on a topic that hasn’t been sown in your clients' industry landscape before, this can allow your client to become an authority on the subject or even create breaking news. Media are always looking for something new, and this enables you to deliver.
  • Create a library: Your clients’ online newsrooms or media kits are a great place to host an easily accessible list of impactful stats. When a reporter can simply pull stats to include as references in stories, a rise in impressions and coverage is sure to follow. Stats that are owned by your client will be attributed to your client in stories, indefinitely.
  • Visualize the information: Stats are perfect for infographics and other visual content that tell your story in an intriguing way for use in social media or to help deliver the increasingly busy media the information and digital content they need.
  • Determine your outreach strategy: So, once you have the stats, what do you do with them. As mentioned above, it depends on your goals — ongoing pitching or campaign-leading news. You may find that the information you gathered can lead to a combination of the two. Some recommended tactics include press releases, wire releases, wire releases, direct-to-editor fact sheets, supporting infographics and visuals, spokesperson quote sheets and more.
In this media landscape, you need to have a leg-up on the competition, create authority and keep your client relevant, lead with new information and make things easily digestible for reporters — who are covering multiple beats or topics they don’t know much about and are under tight deadlines. Finding and using compelling stats can set you and  your clients up for success.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

How to Utilize Content across Social Platforms


When creating social content for a client, not all social media platforms should be used the same way. Each platform has different goals and audiences, so it is crucial that your content, social calendars and formats are created specifically for each. Follow these tips to help each platforms audience get the most out of your content:  
  • Tailor your message. Instead of copying and pasting your text from one platform to the next, vary the length, image formatting, hashtags and vocabulary based on the platform you’re using. This ensures you won’t lose part of a caption on Twitter, tag an Instagram handle on Facebook or invite your followers to retweet you on LinkedIn. 
  • Post consistently. How consistently you post on a social platform should be specific to which platform you are using. Post content on Twitter multiple times per day to reach the maximum audience, but for Instagram and Facebook, post content less frequently to avoid spamming your follower’s feed. Consider using Instagram and Facebook stories to keep your client top of mind on days you aren’t posting to your feed.
  • Keep the time in mind. Just because you are sharing similar content across social platforms, doesn’t mean it has to publish at the same time. Schedule posts for the individual peak times on each social media network. Posting when the most amount of people will see it, will maximize engagement. For example, post on LinkedIn between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays to reach the largest audience.
  • Consider the media you’re using. Before deciding on content, think about how you can integrate videos, images, text or gifs based the platform you’re posting on. To get more engagement on Facebook, create a video or image to get your message across. On Twitter, tweet an image or gif along with your text for more favorites and retweets.

Following these tips can help you run successful social media campaigns, gain new followers and get great exposure for your clients.    

Monday, August 12, 2019

Boise Paper and the Red Cross Join Forces this Summer to Fill the Missing Types

As part of its Paper with Purpose® promise, our client Boise Paper is committed to making a difference in the communities its customers and employees call home. And this year, Boise Paper is demonstrating that commitment through its ongoing support of the American Red Cross.

This summer, Boise Paper joined other global brands to help raise awareness of the Red Cross’ Missing Types Campaign, a movement to inspire 325,000 people across the U.S. to help save lives by donating blood. Here are a few stats that might surprise you:
  • There are 50,000 people in the U.S. who have never donated blood before
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood
  • Only three out of every 100 people donate blood in the U.S. in a given year
  • Blood types typically go missing in the summer
Alarming, right? There simply aren’t enough people donating blood to help patients in need. When A, B and O blood types are missing from hospital shelves, lives could be changed forever. That’s why the Boise Paper team hit the ground running to help raise awareness of this important cause. Here’s what we accomplished in a very tight time frame of only one month:
  • Updated the Boise Paper logo without the letters A, B and O
  • Drafted original content for Boise Paper’s social channels
  • Presented a Facebook sweepstakes
  • Created a Facebook ad
  • Distributed an e-blast
  • Hosted a Twitter Chat with the Red Cross, AND …
  • Launched an influencer campaign 
Each initiative stressed the importance of blood donations and encouraged new and existing blood donors to visit RedCrossBlood.org/MissingTypes to schedule a blood donation appointment. The entire campaign garnered over 33 million total impressions in June – all in an effort to inspire more people to donate blood and help save lives.

Through the support of generous blood donors, blood drive hosts and partnerships like the one it has with Boise Paper, the Red Cross is able to provide 40% of the nation’s blood supply to 2,500 hospitals across the country every day.

To learn more about the Missing Types Campaign and how you can get involved, please visit RedCrossBlood.org/MissingTypes.

Monday, August 5, 2019

DAP Platinum Patch Honored as a Best New Home Product

Product award programs can lead to editorial accolades and powerful third-party endorsements that drive awareness and sales for clients and their products. That’s why LCWA has established an annual awards program for DAP. Each year, our team works to ensure DAP’s newest innovations are recognized by some of the top awards programs in the Home and Building Products industries.  Most recently, DAP was recognized by  This Old House on its list of Top 25 Best New Products in the Building Materials category. After months of research, reviews, testing and input from industry pros, This Old House magazine’s editors recently released its list of top products that represent the “finest in new materials and mechanical systems for construction and remodeling projects.” We’re proud to have help our DAP client secure a spot on this coveted list. 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Celebrating Summer at Santa’s Village with The Jam

Who says you can’t celebrate Christmas all year-round? LCWA client Santa’s Village Amusement Park in Dundee, Ill., is the perfect place to do just that! During the summer months Santa’s Village is the ideal destination for Chicagoland families with young kids. The park features everything from animal attractions and Kiddieland rides to weekly entertainment shows and a brand-new arcade. To showcase the exciting attractions, LCWA secured and coordinated a dynamic on-site segment with WCIU – The Jam. It’s safe to say that everyone had some fun!

The Jam host, Kelsie Huff, visited Santa’s Village and saw more than 200 animals, birds and fish, chatted with president and owner Jason Sierpien, and even rode the park's most popular roller coaster, the Super Cyclone!  With live clips airing throughout The Jam's morning broadcast between 6 and 8 a.m., we reached many Chicagoland viewers. The story now lives on the WCIU website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.


There’s still plenty of summertime left, so be sure to visit Santa’s Village with your family.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Award Spotlight: Creating an Engaging Microsite with AboutPF.org

In October 2018, LCWA and the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) developed and launched this new microsite to help introduce key information, symptoms and risk factors about pulmonary fibrosis (PF)—a debilitating lung disease—to the vast majority of the population who do not know about the disease.

AboutPF.org is a key component in a multi-faceted three-year program designed to increase awareness of both PF and the PFF. The site features simple animation, bold text and easy-to-understand information highlighting primary PF symptoms and risk factors, and funnels visitors into the additional detail and resources that PFF provides. Key features include: 
  • Dynamic design: Interactive animation, obvious “lung” visual cues and bright colors offer approachable and engaging content for site visitors. 
  • Key statistics: Focused content explains the scope of the disease, core symptoms and risk factors, with opportunities to click through to additional information.
  • Multi-media content: PFF patient videos offer personal stories to make the symptoms relatable, while demonstrating three unique paths to diagnosis and treatment.
  • Calls-to-action: A printable “risk list” gives patients a tool to further review their symptoms and risk factors with their doctor. A “Find a Doctor” resource points to local physicians who can provide care for those who need it.
In order to drive visitors to the site, all campaign materials and efforts lead to AboutPF.org. Tactics include consumer and trade media relations, digital and social ads, and an educational Twitter chat. Since its launch, AboutPF.org has received thousands of visitors and we look forward to watching that number continue to grow as we enter the second year of this important awareness campaign.  

The AboutPF.org site was awarded a Silver Trumpet from the Publicity Club of Chicago in the category of websites.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Presenting Tips to Keep the Focus on You…Not the Phones

It’s hardly a secret that we’re overwhelmed with information, particularly in our industry. Texts and tweets, emails and posts, all demand our attention, fighting to be read, digested and responded to.  In this noisy environment, the prospect of giving a presentation or a speech can be daunting to say the least.

With attention spans so short (and meetings sooo long) the ability to communicate persuasively and in a concise manner is more important than ever.
Listed below are a few tips and techniques that might help you make the most of your next presentation opportunity.  They’re designed to get your audience to put down their phones and listen up. Read on!
  • Know your material inside and out. There’s no winging it with presenting.  Know your subject matter and anticipate potential questions.  The quickest way to lose your audience is by showing a lack of understanding and relevance to the issue at hand. If your audience doesn’t think you know the material, they will tune out.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  No matter how good you THINK you are, or how many times you’ve presented, you can always be better – so rehearse. Out loud. If possible, practice in the very room you plan on presenting in.  Use the same tone of voice you plan on using during the actual presentation.  Early in my career, I used to script out every single word and memorize it.  It was pretty extreme, I admit, but it also worked.  I got promoted a lot.
  • Start and finish strong.  The two most important parts of any presentation are the beginning and end.  So make sure they work.  Start off with something relevant – tell them why what they’re about to see and hear is important.  Then after you review the deck, close with a big finish. Sum up the idea, the results, and impact, as enthusiastically as you can.
  • Do your homework. How long do you have? Who, if anyone, are you following? How many people are you presenting to? Who are the decision-makers? What time of day are you presenting? (Avoid after lunch if possible; mid-mornings are best.)  What are the hot-buttons for this crowd? The more you know ahead of time, the better you’ll be.
  • Speak up! Forty percent of a presentation’s impact comes from the way you sound. So speak up! Use inflections. Be enthusiastic. Speak at an even pace. Make eye contact if possible.
  • Make the deck eye-pleasing. Everyone has their own style when it comes to the visuals but there are some basic rules-of-thumbs.  Use a horizontal format; highlight key words; don’t use more than two or three colors; limit the copy to six bullet points of no more than six words; use charts and stats sparingly (don’t overdo them.)  Short videos or photos can also help ensure attention levels remain high. Avoid using a laser pointer. (Do they still make those?)
  • Don’t talk to the visuals.  The visuals are merely there to support you and help you tell your story.  Refer to them but don’t read them. Sum them up and provide details, context and perspective. Remember, your deck or slides aren’t the star – you are.  So shine on.
  • Body language. Use hands and gestures appropriately.  This will help maintain attention and help you relax you as well.
  • Leave time for questions:  Be cognizant of the time.  A terrific presentation can be ruined because there wasn’t enough time left for a robust question and answer session.   In my experience, the Q&A is the exclamation point of a presentation.   It’s usually the last chance you have to make an impression, so plan accordingly!

Jim Kokoris has close to 40 years of speech writing and speaker training experience. For more information, contact Jim at Jkokoris@lcwa.com.