Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Using Editorial Calendars as Roadmaps for Trade Pitching

As a leading national provider of decorative commercial railing systems, our client Trex Commercial Products has supplied products for some of the largest projects in the country – from sports arenas and educational institutions to healthcare facilities and hotels. With a target audience of architects, contractors, glaziers, fabricators and more, our agency team executes a successful trade-marketing program to connect “TCP” with the architecture and design industry.

As part of this trade program, our team comprehensively researches and monitors the editorial calendars for key industry publications to identify potential coverage opportunities. At the beginning of each year, we compile a month-by-month list of planned editorial coverage that serves as a roadmap for our media outreach.

From our experience, we find that editorial calendars play a crucial role in any successful trade marketing program. They allow us to align our pitches with the topics that are most relevant to editors and afford us timely reasons to reach out to keep our clients top of mind for editorial inclusion.

Following are some examples of opportunities where we have been able to pair a compelling case study with an editorial calendar to garner high-profile coverage for Trex Commercial Products:
  • Interiors + Sources Magazine – Every month, Interiors + Sources features a product showcase in the “Sources” section of the magazine. We pitched the editor a line-up of projects from Trex Commercial Products, showcasing the company’s work in healthcare, hospitality and aviation. The end result was a beautiful full-page round-up, positioning Trex Commercial Products as an expert of architectural railing systems.
  • Retrofit Magazine – Responding to an editorial calendar focus on hospitality renovation projects, we pitched and secured a great case study feature on Trex Commercial Products’ work at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in St. Louis Park, Minn.
  • Architectural Products Magazine – Inspired by the magazine’s planned editorial focus on universities, our team pitched a Trex Commercial Products’ project at Hope College in Holland, Mich. We successfully secured a full-page feature on the project, highlighting how TCP’s Track Rail System enhances the sense of community at the student center.

As you can see, editorial calendars can be valuable roadmaps for pitching, especially in niche markets like the A&D industry. When working with Trex Commercial Products, we put our hard hats on and think like an architect. By doing so, we are able to build awareness and demand for Trex Commercial Products and position the company as an expert and go-to resource for commercial railing systems.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Six Daily Habits for Success in a PR Agency

The fast pace, always changing environment of PR can leave many wondering how to ensure success in agency life.  Here are six daily habits every PR agency professional should adopt:

Define Success Each Morning – Start each day with an action plan. Outline what must get done for the day vs. what would be nice to get done. Make it a goal to get through the entire “must do” list and to also check off one to two items from the “nice” list.  This will ensure the day is a success and also set you up for success tomorrow. 

Be Flexible – PR is unpredictable. What seems like a fairly routine day can quickly be turned upside down with an influx of media requests or a client crisis. Be nimble and learn to adjust goals and priorities for the day at a moment’s notice. This also means being a good internal communicator. It’s important to inform team leads if your attention needs to be diverted to one client. Account leads can help reassign or reprioritize other client work.       

Be in the Know – From the latest in industry and social media trends to what’s happening in world news and pop culture, be in the know.  This helps better serve clients by offering recommendations on everything from the latest social platforms to utilize to pop culture trends to leverage to postponing a new product announcement due to breaking news.   

Write it Down – Pen and paper can be two of the most important tools in any job. Whether taking notes in a meeting, creating a to-do list or capturing a creative idea, writing everything down serves as a great method to recall important information and ideas. Notes are an invaluable resource to refer back to in the future.

Turn “No” into “Yes” – At LCWA “no” is not in our vocabulary. If media are saying “no” to a pitch, find a new angle to go after them with. If a client has a challenging request, find creative ways to make it happen. Turning a “no” into a “yes” is a daily practice and a way of agency life.

Never Stop Learning – With the emergence of social media and the 24 hour news cycle, the PR industry is changing at a pace that is more rapid than ever before.  Never stop learning about new and emerging tools and trends. Carve out time each day to read up on industry news. This helps better serve clients with cutting edge and effective communications solutions.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Will You Dare 2 Compare Your Paper Choice?

Do you know what brand of paper your office uses? Is it recycled paper? If you’re not sure, you’re likely not alone. LCWA launched Boise Paper’s Dare 2 Compare influencer campaign with the goal of driving awareness for Boise® ASPEN® Recycled papers.

Boise ASPEN has a number of differentiators, including a 99.99% Jam-Free® Performance Guarantee and its status as America’s Top Selling Recycled Paper Brand. To show off these attributes and encourage business-focused audiences to make the switch to Boise ASPEN, four influencers first tried the paper and then created engaging, informative content for their followers. The results? Influencers love ASPEN:
  • “I’ve been using Boise® ASPEN® Recycled Copy papers proudly, which is made with recycled content that is consistent with Boise Paper’s high quality standards and hardworking characteristics.” – The Mogul Mom
  • “Now I realize the importance of measuring all of those factors plus the cost. That’s why I like using Boise® ASPEN® Recycled Copy paper, because they have a great 99.99% Jam-Free® Performance Guarantee!” – Naturally Stellar
  • “I use paper a LOT – for presentation handouts, sales proposals, marketing strategies, client work and so much more! Boise Paper is a brand that understands that we have deadlines to meet, people to impress, and work to do. All of their products add up to Quality You Can Trust™.” – The Motivated Millennial
  • “When you can get that kind of quality, and be doing your part to help the environment, is there any real choice?  When you take the #Dare2Compare challenge, we’re betting you, too, will become a Boise ASPEN fan!” – Ms. Career Girl
The campaign generated more than 290,000 impressions for the Boise ASPEN brand. Next time you need to buy a ream of paper, will you Dare 2 Compare?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Livecasting News and Events

Using video is key to a successful marketing approach – especially if it’s live. Nowadays, we consume everything directly from our mobile phones, tablets or computers, bringing content right to our fingertips. And if you’re someone like me, who doesn’t have basic cable, I’m frequently livestreaming news and events online. According to Go-Global, by 2020, live streaming is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic. If you want your news or event to reach more people, you have to make it accessible online. But, where do you even begin?

Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
  • Utilize livestreaming tools: Thanks to live video broadcast tools available today, you don't need any fancy equipment to broadcast live video. As long as you have a working camera and microphone built in to your computer or smartphone, you’re smooth sailing. Consider social channels like YouTube Live or Facebook Live, as well as tools such as Wirecast and Restream.io, where you can broadcast to multiple streaming platforms simultaneously.
  • Set the stage: Before going live, pick an optimal location from which you’ll broadcast your stream. Identify a location with the best lighting and avoid backlighting your subject. If outside, be mindful of the sun’s glare, which can make your live cast hard to see.
  • Practice makes perfect: To alleviate some of the stress of going live, preparation is key. Find time to rehearse and test everything before going live – from your equipment to the Wi-Fi connection. You can even run a test before you go live to make sure everything is working well and that you understand the controls of the live stream tool you’re using.
  • Spread the word: Market your livecast ahead of time by promoting on social media leading up to your event. Let your followers know the specific time and place you will be going live. And, don’t forget to record your live show so anyone who misses it can catch up later.
  • Be creative: Find ways to weave in graphics, audio or video files. For example, a clock indicating event time remaining, or a simple graphic to identify a speaker. Tools like Wirecast allow you to add backgrounds, graphics, screen captures, video files and more during your live stream. You can even add remote broadcasters to join the conversation as well!
  • Interact with your audience: One of the benefits of livecasting is that you can get real-time feedback from your followers. According to Facebook Live, users spend more than 3x more time and comment 10x more when the video is live. Bring the audience into the broadcast and interact with them by reading and answering comments.
     Not only is live casting cost-effective, but it’s highly engaging and authentic as well. Following these simple steps will help you live cast like a pro!

Monday, September 30, 2019

AASM Shares Back-to-School Health Tips

To help prep parents and kids for back-to-school season, LCWA and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine conducted media outreach providing families with tips for a healthy sleep routine this school year. In conjunction with sleep hygiene recommendations for children, LCWA promoted the official sleep recommendations from AASM and drove parents to the online bedtime calculator, which allows users to enter their age and needed wake time to determine their bedtime for optimal health and success.

LCWA secured coverage with numerous outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Newswise, Drugs.com, Healthday, Health News Digest and News Medical. Overall, this outreach increased awareness of sleep hygiene for children and families among consumers nationwide, drove traffic to the bedtime calculator and earned more than 16.8 million impressions.

To ensure you are sleeping enough on a regular basis, try the bedtime calculator for yourself!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Own an Issue: Keys to Establishing Effective Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is a marketing strategy that can help a company build a reputation and establish itself as an industry expert and authority. With an effective thought leadership strategy, experts can establish credibility for an issue, differentiate a business from the competition, and create positive brand interest.

Customers and clients often prefer companies that are recognized as thought leaders because these organizations are perceived as industry leaders. According to the 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study, 89% of B2B buyers said that thought leadership content increased their awareness of a brand.

Here are some key steps to consider when building a thought leadership program:
  • Identify Issue and Influencer – The first step in creating a thought leadership program is to identify an issue to own that is insightful and persuasive, differentiates your organization and will resonate with target audiences. Concurrently, it’s important to select a spokesperson who is a savvy speaker and can connect his or her subject matter expertise to company goals and messages.
  • Create Inspiring Content – Once the issue is established, it’s vital to craft valuable and pertinent content that speaks to a brand’s purpose. Consider investing in proprietary research that can serve as new news to pique the interest of the media and target audiences. Authoritative content from a trusted source is more likely to earn public approval and support. 
  • Make the Commitment – Conducting an effective thought leadership program doesn’t happen with a single whitepaper. It requires a long-term strategy and a willingness to share ideas and concepts in a meaningful way. Consider a variety of ongoing tactics to reach target audiences including the development of bylined articles, opinion pieces, videos, talking points, speeches, blog posts, media pitches, podcasts and more.
  • Be Go-To Resource – Ensure that the spokesperson is media trained and fully
    prepared for all types of interviews and speaking opportunities. Once a reporter or editor sees they can count on a spokesperson quickly for a story or expert comments,
    then you become a valuable resource to them.
  • Partner with Thought Leaders – Collaboration can help boost a thought leadership program and help build momentum quickly. Consider partnering with another high-profile influencer, executive or speaker to expand your reach and platform in the industry.
  • Review Strategy – Evaluation of a thought leadership program is essential. Be sure to improve and update the program strategy as you learn what types of materials and content resonate most with target audiences. 
Thought leadership is a proven and powerful marketing tool to showcase and support ideas and viewpoints – and to build credibility and expertise for an organization. A long-term strategic thought leadership program can build trust over time and, most importantly, move target audiences to action.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

PFF Ambassador and 9/11 First Responder Shares PF Story

Each September, our client the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) observes Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, a 30-day campaign to raise awareness of pulmonary fibrosis (PF), a devastating lung disease affecting more than 200,000 people in the United States.

To raise awareness of pulmonary fibrosis and #PFMonth, the PFF team tapped PFF Ambassador and retired NYPD detective Tom Frey to help us shine a light on this disease. Tom was a 9/11 first responder who was called to Ground Zero on that fateful day in 2001. Years later, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and then PF, all linked back to the toxic chemicals from his 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts.

In the months leading up to September, we proactively pitched Tom’s story to national media outlets in hopes that we can help others understand the many journeys people affected by PF have experienced. As part of these efforts, we secured national print, online and broadcast coverage in support of Tom’s heartfelt story.

Broadcast: We worked with NBC New York to plan a segment, where Tom revisits September 11 by walking the grounds of the World Trade Center Memorial with NBC 4 reporter David Ushery. You can watch the full segment here.

Print: Cindy Dampier of the Chicago Tribune spoke with Tom and the PFF’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Cosgrove on a piece about 9/11-related illnesses on the rise among first responders. Read the Tribune cover story here.

Online: Tom shared his PF story with Today Show Online’s health contributor Agnes Pawlowski. Read about his experience at Ground Zero in his own words here.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that remains largely unknown, even among doctors, and can lead to later stage diagnoses. With more than 50,000 new cases of pulmonary fibrosis diagnosed annually, it is imperative that we raise awareness of the disease and educate patients on all of their healthcare options. To learn more, visit www.AboutPF.org.