Friday, September 23, 2016

Favorite Finds

It was another big week of news and trending topics! Some of my favorite stories of the week are below.
  • It’s over!Brangelina, one of Hollywood’s most talked-about and high-profile celebrity couples, is calling it quits. The story broke after Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from husband of two years, Brad Pitt, citing “irreconcilable differences.” Although the marriage only lasted two years, Jolie and Pitt have been romantically linked since 2005, when the couple’s film, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, debuted. Pitt was still married to Jennifer Aniston at the time, but soon after Pitt and Aniston divorced, Brangelina started soaking up the spotlight. New reports have begun to surface stating that an investigation is underway looking into child abuse claims against Pitt.
  • Humanity knows no age – A six-year-old boy, Alex of New York state, wrote a handwritten letter to President Barak Obama, asking him to please bring Omran Daqneesh, a young Syrian boy who is well-known for his viral photo, to the US to live with him and be his brother. President Obama was so touched by Alex’s letter of genuine, heartfelt emotion and care that he shared the letter at the Leaders Summit on Refugees.
  • Fall is officially back – With the official first day of Fall comes the release of many new TV seasons and series. This week, to name a few, Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Law & Order: SVU, The Voice and many more are back and better than ever. Also making headlines are some new series sure to get you hooked on the small-screen. Designated Survivor, Speechless and This Is Us are some of the big networks new shows – hoping to make it past the first season.
  • Not-so-happy hacking – Yahoo, the website you might have an old email address with, second in line to Google and multi-media platform, announced on Thursday that a hacker – possibly working for a foreign government – stole as many as 500 million users account information in 2014. This hack includes email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, passwords and other security information. Yahoo has since updated its security FAQ page to include response tactics and a security email to affected users. So, if you haven’t gotten a READ ME NOW email, you are probably in the clear, but it wouldn’t hurt to change that three-year old password anyway.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

Favorite Finds

With fall just around the corner, this week was full of companies rolling out new products and updates. Here are some of my favorite finds from around the web this week. 
  • On the heels of Apple’s new product announcement, The Fruit’s newest operating system rolled out this week, to both praise and criticism alike. The update revealed a slew of new features, including the ability to delete default apps, send reactions and effects with text messages and updated emojis. 
  • The newest crop of words have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, and it’s evident that this update was heavily influenced by a younger generation. Words such as YOLO and yogalates are now officially part of the English language. 
  • It’s amazing what people can do when they come together for a good cause – including helping Nelly pay off his debt. After it was revealed that the rapper owes the IRS a large amount of money, a superfan discovered that if Spotify users stream his most popular hits more than 287 million times, the celeb can collect the money he needs. Thousands of fans have since committed to silently play his music overnight.
  • Earlier this year Twitter announced that they would be rolling out an update where links, photos, videos and handles are no longer included in the platform’s 140 character limit. This week they announced that the new changes will go into effect beginning on September 19. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Favorite Finds

Fall has unofficially started with the passing of Labor Day and the beginning of school for many – including Chicago students. However, the humidity and 90+ degree days that have been hitting Chicagoland seem to be feeling the summer fever. Despite the swelter, here are my favorite finds:
  • Death to the jack: Apple’s fall event did not disappoint, and was full of luster with new products and software – including the new iPhone 7 – which, to the disappointment of many (and celebrated by some), will do away with the headphone jack. Instead, Apple will be including an adapter for older headphones, and has launched new wireless earbuds, AirPods, which have been mocked on Twitter – don’t forget the reaction to the Apple Pencil.
  • No more newspaper? This week, the Newspaper Association of America, a trade group that has represented major newspapers since 1887, dropped the word that defined it: newspaper. The group will now be known as the News Media Alliance. As the media world continues to change, the news arena continues to evolve to keep up.
  • #Zoom in: Instagram has launched a new feature – now individuals have the ability to zoom in on photos and videos by pinching the screen. Check out how some brands are already utilizing this to up their ‘gram game.
  • Are you an upstander? This week, Starbucks unveiled its first content series, “Upstanders,” which is available via written stories, videos and podcasts. The series is designed to highlight 10 positive and inspiring tales from across the country. Rather than creating branded content to promote Starbucks, this is storytelling for the public interest from a Fortune 500 company.
  •  Measuring Connections: LinkedIn announced this week a new feature for conversion tracking for marketers’ text ads and sponsored content, offering tools to track the number of sign-ups, content downloads, leads and purchases from campaigns.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Favorite Finds

With Labor Day around the corner, let’s take a quick look back at this week in social media!  Here are a few of my favorite recent reads:
  • This insightful article from Maximize Social Business reminds us all that engagement in all its forms is key, not the number of “likes” or page views a brand receives. It’s sometimes too easy to focus on big numbers and metrics that may not be as meaningful to the brand or company.
  • We have worked with a number of entrepreneurs over the years. This MOMeo story succinctly outlines some essential skills a successful entrepreneur must have – or at least foster – to be successful.
  • Few people would describe me as outdoorsy, but I do enjoy time out-of-doors in the city with friends and family, including my nephew. This thoughtful post from The Stir may give you some fresh ideas for outdoor urban living! 
  • Crain’s Chicago Business published a wonderful fall cultural calendar for Chicagoans and visitors to the Windy City. There’s something here for everyone!
  • One of our client Trex’s “Trexperts,” Kate Campbell, whom you may know from HGTV, posted this beautiful photo reminiscent of fall.

Enjoy the long weekend and the start of fall, just around the corner.

Monday, August 29, 2016

In the Mix…Going the Extra Mile(s) for MAVEA

Pictures are nice, but seeing is believing – which is why the LCWA team spent this spring and summer crossing the country to introduce influential editors, bloggers and tastemakers to the next generation of water filtration products from our client MAVEA.

Starting in Des Moines, Iowa – home of media conglomerate Meredith Corporation and its flagship title, Better Homes and Gardens – the team spoke one-on-one with editorial staff and influencers, offering demonstrations of the new MAVEA MicroDisc water filter and positioning MAVEA as a buzz-worthy player in the water filtration industry.

From there, we headed to the media capital of the world – New York City – for back-to-back media events focused on holiday gift guide opportunities. Our interactive display offered attendees a first look at the MicroDisc and its corresponding products – the Water Filter Pitcher, Carafe and Water Bottle. All attendees were eager to try the products for themselves – providing us with an ideal opportunity to follow up and secure future media coverage.

The key to long-term PR success for our clients is establishing real relationships with media – and in this digital era of media relations, events such as these are even more valuable for solidifying relationships with veteran editors and establishing rapport with new ones. With introductions complete and follow-up underway, we look forward to converting these leads into placements! 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Favorite Finds

This week the Twitterverse witnessed the rise and fall of social influencers on the media battleground. Here are my favorite trending hashtags from the week:
  • #LochMess – While the buzz about the Olympics may be over, Ryan Lochte is still making headlines and tre
    nding on social media. Four sponsors have dropped the medal-winning swimmer since his infamous night out in Rio. The incident can serve as a valuable lesson for PR pros who work with #influencers.
  • #DogsofInstagram – The newest online influencers are four-legged and furry! Dogs are now major social media stars, posing for photo shoots and bringing in the big Hollywood bucks. Meet Toast, a puppy mill rescue who earns $3,500 - $5,000 per sponsored Instagram post on his site #ToastMeetsWorld.
  • #Snapchat – From the recently launched Promoted Video on Pinterest to Instagram Stories, the battle of messaging apps intensifies as challengers try to compete with Snapchat. Adweek gives a breakdown of how Snapchat’s competitors stack up.
  • #Gawker – The shutdown of Gawker, the controversial website with an unapologetic brand of journalism, reignited heated discussion about privacy and freedoms of speech. Founder Nick Denton published a lengthy obituary to the website, further fueling the online debate. 
  •  #SocialJournalism – A new study offers insight on how to reach more journalists on social media. More than half of the surveyed journalists said they use three or more social sites for sourcing, but their habits and preferences differ by age, beat and geographic location.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Favorite Finds

While the games of the 31st Olympiad continued to dominate world news and social media this week, there were a few other stories that caught our attention. Following are just a handful of our favorite non-Olympic happenings – and mishaps:
  • Something New on the Political Menu – Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a new campaign cooking. The Democratic nominee has launched Chefs for Hillary, a food-focused initiative in which celebrity chefs share recipes they’ve developed for her campaign. The first round of patriotic-inspired eats, which are available on Pinterest, include dishes from the country’s top chefs including Mario Batali‘s signature grilled swordfish; Dominique Ansel‘s democratic (blue)berry cookies, and Katie Lee‘s patriotic penne pie. The campaign also encourages voters to show “Team Hillary” pride by sharing their own recipes using #ChefsForHillary.
  • This Just Pin…er…InImage-first platform Pinterest has made a big move into video. On Wednesday, the company launched Promoted Video, allowing users to access full auto-play video with sound, and brands to display up to six Buyable Pins beneath each video as it plays. According to Pinterest, video will now be a "core part" of the user experience.
  • On No She Didn’t! – When writing social content/graphics, it’s probably a good idea to first ask, “is there any possibility someone could be offended by this?” This week, TV personality Ellen DeGeneres uncharacteristically found herself at the center of racial backlash when she tweeted a Photoshopped meme of herself piggybacking on Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt with the caption, "This is how I'm running errands from now on."
  • Stick ‘Em Up! – Following the June launch of its new ‘Stickers’ tool, which enables users to attach customizable, emoji-like pictures to their photos, Twitter announced Monday the introduction of Promoted Stickers. This expansion allows brands to create and promote custom stickers as a way to engage with fans. Pepsi will be the launch partner for Promoted Stickers, sharing some 50 custom stickers across 10 markets as part of its “PepsiMoji” campaign.
  • Pikachu Piques (Even) More Interest – As the Pokemon GO craze continues, an increasing number of city leaders want in on the action. Since the game entices users outside to engage in their community, it could prove an ideal medium to encourage even more civic interactions – everything from promoting local landmarks to reporting graffiti or broken street lights.