Thursday, May 16, 2019

Eyeballs for Eblasts: Creating Attention-Grabbing Enewsletters That Drive Clicks


How many emails do you get in a day? If you’re anywhere close to the average American professional, the number typically hovers around 100-150.

When it comes to launching an enewsletter or “eblast” campaign, it’s important to keep this reality in mind. According to Constant Contact, the ideal open rate for enewsletters is around 15%, and for many industries such as tourism or hospitality, the number is closer to 10-11%.  While this may seem low, remember that it’s all a numbers game. For a brand that’s looking to reinforce key messaging, raise awareness or promote a product, this 10-15% can make an impact.

At LCWA, we recommend, design and distribute e-newsletters for a variety of clients, from healthcare associations to office product manufacturers. Because email distribution systems provide valuable information such as open and click-through rates, each email is an opportunity to hone our approach and improve results. That being said, we’ve developed some tried-and-true tactics to ensure each communication captures readers’ attention and spurs action.

Go Niche
Bigger isn’t always better. While it may seem counterintuitive to limit the reach of your e-blast to a select portion of your key audiences, content that is tailored to a particular audience almost always performs better than general eblasts with broad messaging. Remember, it’s engagement rates that indicate performance, not number of recipients.

Make sure your messages are drafted with a particular audience in mind (for instance, business owners, parents, association members, etc.) and only include information that is relevant to them. You may have lots of great points to make, but unless they pertain to that audience, you run the risk of losing the attention of readers, or worse – have them click the “unsubscribe” button. Don’t forget to apply this advice to your subject lines as well. The more personal you can make your subject line, the better the chances of readers opening the email.

Keep It Simple – And Scrollable
Most readers will only spend a few seconds browsing your email, so text-heavy and graphic-laden designs can distract from your messages – and no one wants to read an essay. My advice is to use short, condensed phrases and bullet points. When it doubt, edit!

When it comes to design, consider that most people will be viewing your email either in a desktop window or on their mobile device. Opt for a more vertical layout – with phrases and elements listed one after another, rather than in a row. Presenting one bit of key information at a time is easier for readers to digest, and also encourages them to scroll for more. Use elements like colors and bold-faced type to draw focus on particular messages or actions you want the reader to take.

Create a Strong Call-to-Action
Be sure your readers know from the moment they open your email what action you want them to take. Whether it’s to “Learn More,” “Donate,” “Apply” or “Buy Now,” clear call-to-actions lead to greater click-through rates.

Whatever your call-to-action is, use strong action verbs, and design the text button large enough so that there’s no way readers can miss it. Typically, I design call-to-action buttons with a bold, contrasting background color, and leave plenty of space surrounding it so that it stands out from other content.

In addition, consider embedding links in headlines, logos and product images, as well as textual links in the body of your copy. The more opportunities you provide, the more likely they’ll click on one of them.

Don’t Go Overboard
Some businesses or organizations may be able to get away with more frequent – or even daily – eblasts, particularly if they have a passionate audience or are launching a campaign. However, the last thing you want to do is saturate your audience to the point that they unsubscribe.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how often you should email a particular audience. As long as the content is fresh and relevant, it’s valuable. Go with your gut – if your call-to-actions and messages seem repetitive or stale to you, it is likely that your audience feels the same. One helpful metric is to track unsubscribe rates, which tend to level off after a few initial emails. If you notice a significant uptick, it may be time to scale back.

Subscribe
Chances are, you have a handful of enewsletters in your inbox right now. Open them, read them, study them. Take note of what works and w hat doesn’t, and apply to your own campaigns.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Reaches Audiences on Airwaves Nationwide


LCWA recently helped the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) raise awareness about pulmonary fibrosis through a coordinated radio media tour with stations across the country. Our goal was to educate adults 60 and over about pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive and debilitating lung disease that affects more than 200,000 Americans and remains largely unknown.

The series of radio interviews took place over the course of one morning with PFF’s senior medical advisor, Dr. David Lederer. Coverage included several nationally syndicated interviews including “Bill Martinez Live,” “The Angie Austin Show” and “Let’s Just Talk,” as well as 10 local radio stations including the “Dr. Pat Show” in Seattle. The tour reached more than 27 million listeners nationwide to educate them about this deadly lung disease.

Visit www.AboutPF.org today and find out if you are at risk for pulmonary fibrosis.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

LCWA Goes Pink for Mother’s Day


When Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park approached LCWA to help raise awareness of the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk, we knew we had a great story tell. Since 2002, the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk has raised over $6 million, directly supporting the needs of breast cancer patients and survivors in Chicagoland. The walk not only harnesses hometown pride as it honors those impacted by the disease, but also raises funds for the state-of-the-art treatment and services provided by Little Company of Mary Hospital.

LCWA was proud to join the cause and rally media to cover the 20th anniversary of this hometown event. Take a look at how we helped raise awareness in advance of the event by sharing two patient and walk committee members’ stories on Chicago’s WGN Midday News.

For more information about the annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk or to donate, click here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Creating a Winning Broadcast Segment

Securing a broadcast segment is a big win in the PR world. Broadcast television is a great way to deliver messages to a wide audience in a short amount of time. Keeping it visually compelling, identifying strong spokespeople and staying on message contribute to the success of the coverage. There are plenty of tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure the segment garners meaningful and positive attention for your client and goes as smoothly as possibly.

These five tips can serve as a guide to get the most out of your client’s few minutes in the spotlight:
  • Craft a Creative Pitch: Whether you’re pitching a live demo of a product or a food or drink sampling, make sure it is visually compelling and relevant to viewers. Community impact elements and entertainment factors are also helpful. If you have graphics or b-roll, include those visuals in your pitch. For breaking news or events, pitch the local news desks. For in-studio or longer-lead story ideas, pitch the appropriate producer or reporter.
  • Have a Game Plan: First identify your audience and the type of segment you secured – live, pre-recorded, in-studio or on-location. The type of segment will determine how to prepare your client and what key messages and visuals will be most appropriate. It is also important to know who your audience is and what you want them to know.
  • Identify Strong Spokespeople: An effective spokesperson is not just a messenger, they represent the bigger picture. While your spokesperson should be an industry expert, they should also be comfortable on camera and experienced telling the story to an external audience. The strength of your spokesperson makes a significant difference in how an audience will perceive your company, products or services. 
  • Deliver Key Talking Points: Broadcast segments are typically brief – a few minutes in length – and time flies! That means that there is a limited amount of time to deliver your key messages. When drafting talking points, pinpoint two or three top-line messages that you want to communicate – no matter what the questions are.
  • Schedule Media Training: Part of our jobs as PR pros is to provide media interview preparation for clients, including body language and eye contact. Sharing the dos and don’ts of being on camera (e.g. good posture, looking at the reporter not at the camera, be conversational) and suggesting what to wear (avoid patterns and white shirts), are all necessary for nailing the segment.
TV offers a unique opportunity to share a client’s message in a powerful way. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way creating a winning broadcast segment.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

How to be the Greatest Trade Showman

In-person, hands-on interaction with media at trade shows can offer invaluable relationship building and product education opportunities. And planning ahead ensures that every opportunity is capitalized on, to rise above the clutter for a memorable experience and media coverage.
  • Reach out before the show. Most trade shows will provide contact information for registered media in advance. Even if they don’t, reach out to priority contacts before the show to let them know you’ll be there and where to find you. Setting up appointments in advance will ensure you are able to meet with your key targets and make the most of your time. 
  • Create an experience. Trade shows can be a great way to enable media to interact with your product and get hands on. So help them experience the best features of your product. Whether they can push buttons, make a small project or hear what it sounds like, this tangible interaction will stand-out.
  • Make eye contact, shake hands. This seems really obvious, but yet so many booths are full of staff who stand around on their phones, which could mean missed media and sales opportunities. Put. The. Phones. Away. And make sure those staffing the event know who the primary media contact is so any media who stop speak to the right people.
  • Be social. Personal connections support professional results. Attend, or even host, social gatherings where media will be present to build relationships that will extend beyond the show.
  • Stay in touch. Make sure you get media contact info and that they get yours. This could be a press kit, small giveaway with contact info attached or a business card exchange. Follow-up within 1-2 weeks of the show with personalized notes and don’t forget to add them to your LinkedIn network. Ensure any sample requests are delivered in a timely fashion.
Trade shows are a significant monetary and time investment, but these tips can help deliver media coverage amplifying product news and innovation. And don’t forget: smile, greet, dance, repeat. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

First Alert Talks Fire and CO Safety with ABC 7 Chicago

As the most trusted and recognized brand in home safety, our client First Alert is committed to educating the public about fire safety and the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. As part of this effort, every school year First Alert teams up with the Chicago Fire Department and the Chicago Bulls to organize a “Take Charge of Safety” program to educate elementary school-aged children in Chicago Public Schools across the city about home fire and CO safety – now in its fourth year!

During the 2018-2019 school year, LCWA set out to promote the “Take Charge of Safety” events and the importance of teaching kids about whole home safety, including escape planning and what to do when an alarm sounds. As part of our media outreach, we secured an in-studio segment on ABC 7 Chicago featuring First Alert Brand & PR Manager Ashley Gocken as well as CFD Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder. Watch the full segment here.

In addition to stressing the importance of fire safety education for kids, Ashley and Chief Schroeder also discussed fire and CO safety tips every homeowner should know, such as...
  • How often should people check their smoke and CO detectors? Test your alarms regularly and replace batteries every six months (unless you have a 10-year sealed battery). Daylight Saving Time is a good reminder of this.
  • Where should smoke and CO detectors be placed in people's homes? Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, including the basement, inside each bedroom and in the main corridors, and carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on each level of the home and in a central location outside each bedroom.
  • When do you know it’s time for a new alarm? It is necessary to replace smoke alarms every 10 years and carbon monoxide alarms every five to ten years. If you don’t know how old an alarm is, the safest bet is to replace it immediately.
The “Take Charge of Safety” program is just one out of the many collaborative events First Alert supports every year across the country to positively impact the long-term safety for both families and their communities. To learn more about First Alert and fire/CO safety, please visit www.FirstAlert.com.



Monday, April 22, 2019

LCWA and Santa's Village Make a Splash for Park's 60th Anniversary


This summer, LCWA will help Santa’s Village celebrate its 60th anniversary with a Chicago-area media and influencer outreach campaign designed to showcase the amusement park’s long-standing tradition of creating life-long memories for local families.   

We kicked-off the celebration by announcing the planned addition of Santa Springs, a family-friendly, interactive water play attraction within the amusement park. News of the coming attraction was featured on NBC 5 Chicago (WMAQ-TV) and in the Elgin-Courier News and Lawndale News.
 Opening this summer, Santa Springs marks Santa’s Village’s largest expansion ever and will join the park’s list of premier attractions, including thrill rides, kiddie rides, games, shops, food temptations and more than 200 animals. The water experience will feature zero-depth entry to a 10,000 square foot, 8-inch deep wading pool with a two-story interactive water play structure. The water play structure will include dozens of water toys with two giant tipping buckets and six water slides, including a 50-foot long, four lane kiddie racer slide.

Stay tuned in the coming months for more exciting announcements on the celebration of Santa Village’s 60th anniversary!