Thursday, December 20, 2018

Tricks of the Trades

While coverage in a big-name media outlet will always be a huge win, a feature story in a niche trade publication can be just as valuable – if not more so – to a client’s bottom line. Like all earned media, trade publications offer exposure and powerful third-party endorsements. Furthermore, trade outlets reach highly targeted audiences, including key decision makers and buyers. By establishing solid relationships with trade reporters, PR pros can ensure top-of-mind awareness for their clients and secure substantial placements that raise brand awareness and, ultimately, result in new business leads.

Here are some insider tips for planning and executing a successful trade media relations program for 2019:

Know your stuff. Trade reporters tend to have considerable experience working in the field
that they cover – so it’s important to do your homework. When pitching, let your inner geek out. This is when you need to shine and show off your expertise about your client’s products or services, as well as their industry. If you can demonstrate that you are knowledgeable and can serve up reliable information and sources, journalists will continue to come back for interviews, images, information and insights from you and your client.

Keep an eye on the competition. In addition to knowing your client inside and out, it’s important to stay on top of what their competitors are doing. Monitor the companies’ media coverage, regularly visit their websites and familiarize yourself with their product lines and promotions. Flag competitor news for your clients in real time to demonstrate your savviness and to keep them informed. Not only will this help you know the industry better, it can inform your PR strategy, strengthen your pitching skills and lead to new media opportunities.

Track editorial calendars. While editorial calendars for consumer outlets are primarily geared toward advertisers, many trade publications publish detailed calendars of their planned editorial for the entire year. These serve as great resources for crafting timely, relevant pitches for editors. To stay on top of upcoming opportunities, create a calendar that outlines potential opportunities month by month to ensure that your client is represented in any relevant articles or product roundups.

Maximize trade shows. Industry events are ideal for cultivating media relationships and placements. Smart practitioners will leverage opportunities to generate coverage for their clients before, during and following these events. In the months leading up to the show, pitch your client’s news to publications that typically publish pre-event coverage. (This is where those editorial calendars come in handy!) Invite media to stop by your client’s booth to see products firsthand and interact with company representatives. If possible, book appointments. Editors who schedule appointments tend to spend quality time at the booth and provide useful insight into upcoming projects. Beyond appointments, be ready to hustle! On-the-spot “wrangling” throughout the show can draw more media into the booth. A general rule of thumb is to introduce yourself and pitch your client to anyone with a camera. During any meeting, keep good notes so that you can provide quality follow-up and drive post-event coverage.

Showcase successes. Most trade magazines feature project profiles or case studies because they offer real-life examples and highlight the perspective of contractors and customers, rather than companies. Collaborate with clients to generate a steady stream of project success stories. This non-commercial, evergreen content is like gold to editors. Plus, case studies are invaluable for establishing clients as leaders in the industry and educating readers about the benefits of their products, services and brands.

By applying these tricks to your trade PR program, your account team will earn quality media coverage that will get your client in front of important, influential audiences – establishing them as thought leaders, increasing their visibility and generating leads.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Holiday Home Safety with First Alert and The Marc & Mandy Show


The gift of home safety will always be in style, so to help share this timely reminder with consumers LCWA’s home PR team set out to land high-profile coverage for our client, First Alert, to round out the year. As a result of our proactive pitching efforts in Canada, our team was able to secure a great opportunity with The Marc & Mandy Show, one of Canada’s top day time talk shows.

Hosted by the husband and wife team, Marc Atiyolil and Mandy MacLaren, The Marc & Mandy Show is a national design and lifestyle program that airs weekly on eight networks across Canada. As popular home décor and DIY influencers, the show presented the perfect opportunity to easily reach our target audience in a fun and festive way by featuring the First Alert 10-year Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm in a live studio audience giveaway during the show’s hit holiday episode.

In addition to this national TV clip, this giveaway generated coverage in Canadian Home Trends, a shelter magazine that covers all home topics from décor and gardens to building and renovating. The First Alert 10-year Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Alarm was featured in its Holiday Special Edition and in its online holiday gift guide.

With more exciting announcements on the horizon, the LCWA team looks forward to continuing to bring First Alert great results in the Canadian home market!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Three Tips for Creating Video Content on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has long been a platform for work-oriented and business professional people. The social media website originally launched in 2002 as a way for working professionals to connect and network with others. Today, it is a massive social media tool that is vital to professional networking, recruiting, sales and much more.

Like Facebook and Instagram, advertising and sponsored promotions on LinkedIn have become important ways for businesses and brands to leverage the social media community. While still image ads and sponsored posts remain effective ways to reach a targeted audience, video can be an even more dynamic and useful option.

Here are three tips from the LCWA social media content team on creating effective video for LinkedIn:

Know your audience
When creating video specifically for LinkedIn, it’s especially important to understand your audience. Because of LinkedIn’s professional setting and business-focused users, it’s essential to create video with them in mind. Focus the video on one topic and target accordingly using LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions.

LinkedIn’s targeting options include location as well as specific workplace criteria, such as company industry, name, size, as well as an employee’s job title, function, skills, degrees and more. When getting across a specific message, don’t be afraid to be specific! Being selective with your target audience will put your content in front of the right eyes, making it even more effective.

Understand your Time Frame
Most people who are on LinkedIn are there for a reason. Unlike Facebook or Instagram, you typically don’t just peruse LinkedIn with no objective at hand. You don’t want to distract users too much from their objective, instead you want to grab their attention and deliver a concise, useful message. A good rule of thumb is to keep LinkedIn videos under 1:30 minutes. This should be plenty of time to convey your message to viewers while still holding their attention. Have more info to convey? Try a series of short videos instead of one long one.

In addition to knowing how long to make the video, it’s also important to know the best time to post the video to the timeline. In general, the best time to post to LinkedIn are weekdays in the afternoon. Employees are taking their afternoon break and browsing social media during this period, making it perfect posting time!

Make it Conversational and Informative
The best video content is made with a conversational and natural tone. No one wants to watch an uptight, boring video. Also remember the goal of your video. Is it to provide tips on a topic, or to drive clicks and purchases on a website? Whatever the goal is, construct your video to meet it.

Don’t be afraid to have fun with your video production! Get creative and enjoy the process by switching up your filming locations, doing a demonstration on camera or giving the audience a behind the scenes look. Discover what your LinkedIn “voice” is and continue that tone throughout your content. This will help establish a fan base so that people know what to expect out of upcoming videos.
  
Keep these tips in mind when you create your next – or first – video for LinkedIn! Social media is constantly evolving and sometimes it’s tricky to stay up-to-date, but if you consistently create engaging, thought-provoking content, you will always find success. 

Monday, December 10, 2018

The Power of Face Time

I recently returned from Des Moines, Iowa, where I traveled to represent our client Trex Company as part of a “speed-pitching” event held at Meredith Corporation (whom you may be familiar with for publishing magazines like Better Homes & Gardens and Traditional Home). With some great Trex outdoor living products in the cue for 2019, we saw this as a timely opportunity to get these new offerings in front of influential long-lead editors while they are in the midst of planning their spring/summer issues.

A Decked Out Booth
To capture the attention of attending editors, we decked out (pun intended) a visually compelling Trex display, creating a product playground where editors could interact with samples and view stunning photography of Trex products in actual outdoor living settings. Trex even provided us with branded Bluetooth speakers to give to each editor – what better way to enhance your outdoor living experience than by cranking up your favorite tunes?

Building Products and Building Relationships
In an increasingly digital world where people spend the majority of their days looking at screens and interacting with others primarily by email, PR continues to be a business of relationships that require nurturing both on and offline. These personal connections are key and often open doors to opportunities that might otherwise get lost in an overflowing inbox.

Live and In-Person
The face-to-face interaction afforded by this event not only gave us the perfect environment for showcasing the new Trex products, but also enabled us to connect with many editor friends with whom we have worked for decades, and put faces to some of the newer names on the Meredith team. This opportunity to truly engage with editors led to highly productive and valuable discussions about their likes, dislikes, favorite projects and plans for 2019.

Solving Individual Problems
As tends to happen in these settings, things also got personal. For example, one editor shared her disappointment with how her wooden deck at home scratched so easily. This provided an ideal opportunity for us to highlight how a Trex composite deck would be able to solve that problem thanks to its high-performance, scratch resistant shell. We even got the editors of Wood Magazine thinking about the benefits of composite!

These personal conversations effectively brought Trex top-of-mind and fostered interest in their new product offerings. Just as important, they allowed us to reinforce, and in some cases create, lasting relationships with media that we will continue to cultivate throughout the coming years. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

LCWA Drives Visitors to Water Tower Place for Virtual Santa Sleigh Ride Experience

This winter, Santa came to town in style with a fun seasonal adventure at one of Chicagoland’s premier shopping destinations. LCWA client, Water Tower Place has partnered with Portable North Pole (PNP), a web and mobile platform that specializes in customized Santa videos, to bring a unique virtual sleigh ride experience exclusively to Chicago. Driving awareness and visitors to the iconic PNP red sleigh, LCWA’s aggressive local media, influencer and tourism campaign has resulted in nearly 30 placements in priority Chicago and feeder market media outlets and blogs including WLS-TV (ABC), WMAQ-TV (NBC), Chicago Parent, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and many more.
 
Between November 16 and December 24, Chicagoans and tourists can experience the holiday magic of an interactive virtual ride on Santa’s sleigh, parked on the 7th floor of Water Tower Place. Visitors can take Santa’s reindeer on a training flight with immersive technology and have a recorded video of their thrilling adventure from Chicago to the North Pole sent to their email address to be shared. After the sleigh ride, children can greet Santa’s elves and meet with Santa to have their picture taken.

Water Tower Place welcomes walk-ups to the Santa sleigh ride experience, or visitors can skip the line by making a reservation at https://www.celebrateyourholiday.com/Reservations.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Carrying the Banner: Tips for Designing Successful Digital Banner Ads


One element of a well-rounded digital campaign is a set of banner ads. You know...the little rectangular ones you see on the side of your computer screen? They help drive traffic to your website, and clicks can be quantified to help you gain insight into your viewers. But what makes someone click on a banner ad when it is off in the peripherals of their original website visit? Here are a few tips to make those tiny little banner ads count:
  • Compact Copy - You're trying to communicate a message to your viewer, and more often than not, you wan't to do so with words. In this type of ad, though, your entire playing space is about 300 pixels wide...so that really great sentence you just wrote that captures your brand so simply isn't even simple enough. Cut it down, and then cut it down again. If you can't write your text on a mini Post-It with a sharpie, you've probably got too many words. 
  • Lights, Camera, Call to Action - You've figured out that you only have few words to play with, so make them count. What is the goal of your digital campaign? Do you want website views? Are you pointing viewers to a document to help raise awareness? Chances are you are looking for the viewer to go somewhere else online, so put a clear call to action in the ad. As simple as it sounds, people love clicking buttons.
  • Consistent Content - Keep your branding consistent. Designing your ad to mimic the visual style of your brand, and specifically the site the ad is pointing to, helps your viewer know your brand even quicker. By the time they are on your website, it already seems familiar.
  • Make a Motion - To make your ad stand out, try breaking the horizontal/vertical grid of the website. Adding a tilted image or text, animation, or any kind of motion draws the viewer's eye from the standard web layout to your content.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Flu Season Is Upon Us: Top Five Things To Know

Last season’s historic influenza-related death toll is driving more people to get vaccinated
this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 80,000 people died from the flu, while more than 900,000 were hospitalized, during the 2017-2018 season.

To help people get ready for flu season, we connected the President of the Urgent Care Association (UCA), Dr. Sean McNeeley, with Prevention magazine for a five-part series about the importance of getting the flu shot. The resulting five articles not only educated, but also helped position UCA as an expert on the topic. Here is what we learned:
  1. It’s not too late to get vaccinated – The flu season has only just begun and won’t wrap up until April. If you get your shot now, you’ll likely be protected for months to come. 
  2. Don’t procrastinate – As it can take a few weeks for the vaccination to take effect, you should get your flu shot ASAP.
  3. If you’re sick, wait it out – If you get your flu shot when you’re very sick, the vaccine may not be as effective and it can prolong the amount of time it takes you to get better.
  4. To ward off the flu, follow some simple steps:
    • Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to avoid spreading of germs and viruses
    • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth
    • Avoid close proximity to sick family, friends and co-workers
    • Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep and reduce stress in your life
  5. Find an urgent care center near you – With walk-in, after-hours and weekend availability, urgent care provides on-demand access to flu shots, cold and flu treatment.
You can read the complete flu series at Prevention.com. Stay healthy and influenza-free this season!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Brainstorming with the Best in Bucharest

In October, I had the pleasure of meeting up with our Public Relations Global Network colleagues in Bucharest, Romania, hosted by our partner firm there, Free Communications. As always, it was wonderful to connect with and learn from our peers from around the globe. Some of the key takeaways from this conference include:

Trend Spotting and Innovation
A trend spotting and innovation expert, Delia Weisser, spoke to our group about the trends to watch and how to integrate them into our upcoming programs. From artificial intelligence to highly-personalized retail, the future is coming at us fast, and this lively discussion gave us new ways to think about using emerging technology and data on behalf of our clients.

Stronger Storytelling
We spent time discussing storytelling techniques and learning from our San Francisco partner, Landis Communications, about how they lead the information gathering with clients to produce engaging, personalized stories. No matter the channel we use, storytelling remains at the heart of our work in public relations.

Using Research to Drive Strategy
Our Malaysian partner, Perspective Strategies, shared many key learnings from recent research projects and how statistics were used not just to drive news, but to truly invent strategies and program direction. LCWA was built knowing that research should be a foundation of strategic programs, and it was great to see a like-minded philosophy from the other side of the world.

Engaging with a Common Purpose
The most valuable time was spent networking and talking through our day-to-day business dilemmas. It is always heartening to know that our common challenges – from finding new team members to staying creative for our clients – are universal. Networking with these dynamic, successful business owners always fills us with ideas and energy for the months ahead!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Media & Influencers Liked the Sound of This: Onelink Safe & Sound Launch

Our client First Alert made noise in the smart home space with its launch of the Onelink Safe & Sound – a 3-in-1 alarm that serves as a first-rate smoke and carbon monoxide detector, premium home speaker and virtual assistant. It’s the first alarm with fully enabled Amazon Alexa built-in and high-end audio – putting it in a category of its own.

The LCWA home PR team helped kick off the 2018 product debut back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The week-long trade show was packed-full of media appointments and on-site interviews, which earned First Alert coverage in several top-tier outlets, such as ABC World News Now, Digital Trends, The Verge and Tom’s Guide.

In the spring, we took the First Alert team to the NYC offices of influential tech and shelter media to introduce editors to the Onelink Safe & Sound before it hit the market. LCWA secured deskside meetings with eight high-profile outlets, including Good Housekeeping and Gizmodo. The editorial meetings generated immediate online coverage and laid the groundwork for future product reviews in print.

As a result of our CES support, NYC deskside meetings and ongoing pitching efforts, our team secured more than 1,400 total placements. A few additional media highlights include Fox & Friends, Dwell magazine and PC Mag. In total, our efforts generated more than 1.9 billion impressions and an advertising equivalency of almost $30 million.

Beyond traditional media, we coordinated blogger and influencer campaigns to further raise awareness about the benefits of the Onelink Safe & Sound, build credibility for the new product and maximize the social media presence of the Onelink by First Alert brand.

Using the hashtag #OnelinkStory to highlight the multiple product features, we coordinated with 10 bloggers who write about tech, home and family to publish product reviews. Beyond blog posts, the #OnelinkStory blogger campaign generated 76 social media posts – boosting engagement through millions of impressions, shares, “likes” and comments. 

In order to emphasize the Onelink Safe & Sound’s premium speakers, we partnered with two music-focused celebrities, Stephen “DJ tWitch” Boss and Clare Bowen, and hosted a table at the 2018 Teen Choice Awards gifting lounge – generating shareable content and gathering photos from 50+ celebs like Adina Porter on-site at the awards. The social media frenzy that ensued amplified key product messaging and engaged thousands of the influencers’ fans about the high-quality audio that the Safe & Sound can bring to your home.

From garnering social media buzz to populating the pages of the most popular home and design magazines and tech websites, the Onelink Safe &  Sound product launch certainly made a big bang in 2018! The LCWA team looks forward to continuing to bring First Alert great results as the company expands even further into the smart home market.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rejuvenate TV Tour Takes the Click n Clean Message to the Masses

Recently, LCWA’s home PR team participated in a back-to-school co-op media tour for the Rejuvenate Click n Clean Multi-Surface Spray Mop System. Hosted by TV host and lifestyle expert Ereka Vetrini, the tour featured top products that help moms survive the hectic school year. Leveraging the company’s existing commercial video, Vetrini spoke about the mop’s maneuverability, touting its ability to speed clean any flooring surface for a whole-home clean. What’s more, Vetrini spoke with TV anchors about ways the Click n Clean saves moms money and is environmentally friendly with its microfiber cleaning pads that can be rewashed up to 400 times.

The media tour reached more than 102.1 million people with 376 airings in key markets. “The Daily Flash” and “Newswatch” shows syndicated interviews just in time to support a product promotion and end cap display with partner The Home Depot.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Four Questions to Ask When Vetting a Media Opportunity

Most PR campaigns are focused on generating strong media coverage to ensure key messages are delivered to target audiences. But not all media coverage is created equal, and it is important to focus on securing high-quality coverage that meets specific criteria depending on the campaign. Here are four questions to consider when vetting a media opportunity.

Is the Outlet a Good Fit?
Every PR campaign typically includes key messages designed for target audiences. When vetting media opportunities, review the outlet’s main audience to ensure it matches the selected audience for the campaign. Research the size of the audience as
well, and how the outlet or reporter drives engagement with its readership. The tone of the coverage and the type of reporting can greatly impact how key messages are received by the audience.

Tip: Research the outlet and the media contact to identify the tone and type of coverage offered. Ask specific questions to get an idea of what the intended final product may look like.

Is the Topic a Good Fit?
The context surrounding key messages is just as important as the inclusion of the key messages in any media coverage. Understanding how campaign language will fit into a story is vital to ensure the media opportunity engages the audience in way that aligns with campaign goals.

Tip: Craft key messaging and statistics for clients that continually drive back to the main points or goals to prevent interviews or written statements from going off topic. Focus on concise language to eliminate opportunities for messaging or quotes to be taken out of context.

Is the Type of Opportunity a Good Fit?
Another aspect of a media opportunity to consider is the type of medium used to reach audiences – print, online, TV, social media, etc. Some campaigns have very specific key messages and target audiences that are best reached through certain channels. In addition, the requirements of the channel, such as urgent deadlines or in-person interviews, may be hard to accommodate.

Tip: Discuss potential media opportunities with the client at the start to gauge resources and ensure priorities are aligned. Assign key spokespeople to different topics, and determine the availability of each spokesperson as well as the organization as a whole to meet different types of media opportunity requirements.

Is the Timing a Good Fit?
PR campaigns are often designed strategically throughout a calendar year to align with seasons, events, awareness celebrations or other key markers. However, it is wise to keep campaigns adaptive and flexible, as the current climate in any industry can greatly impact the success of a campaign, and media opportunities should be reviewed with these considerations in mind. For example, it may be wise to delay a campaign if a major controversy just occurred in the client industry, or a campaign may be bumped up a few months if new research supporting the messaging was released by a third party.

Tip: Stay current on all the latest news in the client’s industry to ensure your team is able to predict how media will cover a topic relative to recent news. Discuss these trends and industry news with the client to determine their comfortability with different types of media coverage.

While PR teams want to produce as much media buzz as possible for each client campaign, quality is more valuable than quantity. The right media opportunities will deliver key messages to target audiences in a tone and medium that best suits the goals of the campaign, providing support for client initiatives without straining resources. A few simple questions may separate the best media opportunities, ensuring campaign success!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Keep Home Happening with CleanandCookSupply.com

Clean & Cook Supply online makes it easy to find, buy and stock up on cleaning accessories, such as vacuum bags, belts and filters that help keep appliances and the home running smoothly. And now it’s even easier, thanks to a newly designed website that is more user-friendly so that consumers can quickly find and order the right accessories to keep home happening.

To help Clean & Cook Supply grow its customer base and establish a larger online presence, LCWA helped launch a new Facebook page as way to engage with customers. Facebook ads and an interactive social sweepstakes were designed to gain followers quickly and establish Clean & Cook Supply as a go-to resource for cleaning tips and products. Running concurrently, Facebook ads both encouraged users to enter the sweepstakes – a chance to win a $500 Visa gift card – as well as ‘like’ the new Facebook page and visit the website. The sweepstakes engaged fans with questions supporting key brand messages about changing vacuum bags, filters and belts, and generated more than 8,000 entries and nearly 2,200 page likes in less than one month. Additionally, the Facebook ads earned more than 600 clicks to the Clean & Cook Supply website, 88,000 impressions and more than 2,800 engagements. 

Native and display ads were designed to deliver quick, educational content to targeted audiences, directing viewers to useful content on the Clean & Cook Supply website. Creative featuring taglines like “we have a belt for that,” “we have a bag for that” and “we have a filter for that” helped increase awareness about what exactly can offer. The ads delivered almost 2 million impressions and 1,500 clicks.

This strategic use of social and digital activations helped establish Clean & Cook Supply’s new online presence, enhance their visibility online and drive consumers to the new website. Here’s to Keeping Home Happening!

Monday, November 5, 2018

LCWA Wins Four PRGN Awards

During the annual Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) Awards Gala held in Bucharest in October, we celebrated the great work done by all members. Consisting of 50 independent agencies from around the world, the PRGN is a group of top thinking and performing agencies, and these awards highlight “best of the best” programs from Singapore to Warsaw, and Budapest to Melbourne. 

LCWA was honored to win four awards this year, including the gold in the Agency Collaboration category for our partnership with the UK-firm, Spider PR, on social media influencer outreach conducted on behalf of Trex. We also won the gold in Blogger/Vlogger Outreach for Trex, and the First Alert team was honored with the Integrated Marketing gold for its Super Prepared Family campaign. In addition, our Ecore account team won the bronze award in the B2B category for its stellar trade and vertical media relations work.

Congratulations to our teams, clients and fellow award winners on their accolades!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

LCWA Delves into the Past to Tell Brand Stories

Earlier this year, when long-time client Beam Suntory (JimBeam® Bourbon) tasked us with helping to bring its 223-year history to life for its large internal audience and loyal consumers, the Heritage PR Team at LCWA met the challenge with a number of creative and effective tactics.

We started with an aggressive identification and collection of historical materials such as photos, documents and artifacts. These materials, many of which were unearthed in libraries, university archives and museums, as well as family members’ basements and attics, were digitized and uploaded online for employees to utilize to help communicate and market the brand story.

The Beam story came to life in another fashion last month when I had the privilege and pleasure of hosting a two-hour storytelling session for top sales representatives at the company’s annual sales meeting in Las Vegas. In addition to trying my best to entertain my audience with tales of the Beams, I had the opportunity to present the only film footage of Jim Beam ever taken (1938). Our team discovered the footage after months of searching, ultimately finding it in the possession of a distant family member in a small town in Tennessee. The highlight of the session, however, was the appearance of Jim Beam himself, an actor selected and scripted by LCWA. Old Jim regaled the audience with stories about his youth as well as the family’s struggles through Prohibition.

Most recently, we brought the Beam heritage story to the small screen in Louisville, Ky., a vital and highly competitive market for Beam Suntory. Master Distiller Fred Noe, Jim Beam’s great- grandson, appeared on the local ABC affiliate, WHAS-TV, and presented a number of never-shared-before items with viewers, including rare bottlings dating back to the 1890s and the original letter written by Jim Beam requesting reinstatement of his liquor license after Repeal of Prohibition in 1933.  We hope to coordinate similar television appearances around the country over time.

As the company’s 225th anniversary approaches in 2020, we look forward to remaining immersed in the Beam Heritage Initiative through continued research and creative programming that highlights the remarkable story of the First Family of Bourbon. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Six Tips for Creating Engaging Facebook Content

Many of our clients depend on our PR and social media team to manage and create engaging content for their social media pages. Though each platform provides value in one form or another, there is little doubt that Facebook is one of the most powerful tools for brands to connect with certain consumer audiences.

Facebook possesses a larger audience than any other platform. It can be a tool to help our clients reach and engage with their target audiences organically. Additionally, Facebook allows for freedom and flexibility in the content d and offers a wide range of customizable options to “boost” posts at minimal costs to reach a wider, targeted audience.

Looking to create appealing, shareable content that gets results? Here are six tips for creating engaging Facebook content that will keep followers actively interested:
  • Know your audience – The key to developing a great feed is to post content that genuinely interests your target audience. So who are the people following your page – parents, teachers, hobbyists, employees, professionals? Take the time to figure out who the brand’s key audiences are on Facebook, and customize the content and info to their needs and interests.
  • Keep it short and simple – The shorter the post, the less likely your followers are to scroll right past it. Sometimes getting your point across in just a few words can be difficult, but when possible, remember shorter and direct is better.
  • Bring variety and personality – Post a mix of content to keep followers interested. In addition to important company, product and industry news, give your page life by incorporating blogs, tips, polls and call-to-action posts. Likewise, if there’s something unique or quirky about the brand or business, be sure to draw positive attention to it.
  • Make it personable – For a few of our clients, LCWA's PR and social media team has seen that posts with some of the highest engagement rates are ones that highlight a company’s local community involvement or individual employees. Giving followers something they can directly connect or relate to on a personal level is a sure fire way to win.
  • Use high-quality visuals – Every post should have a visual element to it! This can range from photos and visual tips and stats, to infographics and videos. Take advantage of appealing visuals on-hand or create your own. Everyone loves when an eye-catching image or video pops up on their feed.
  • Boost posts to reach the right audience – Whether it’s an announcement, promotion, link or event, any type of post can be “boosted” on Facebook. Boosted posts aren’t limited to people who already follow the page so this is a great option to reach a wider, target audience – Facebook allows users to set the parameters for who will see the boosted post including age, sex, location, and interests.
Creating engaging social media content doesn’t have to be a challenge, just keep these six tips in mind and you’ll be off to a good start to generating interesting content.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation Increases Awareness with “Not Everyone Breathes Easy” Campaign

This month, LCWA worked with our client, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF), to launch a new campaign aimed at increasing awareness about pulmonary fibrosis (PF). The “Not Everyone Breathes Easy” campaign will reach individuals who may be at risk for the disease or are undiagnosed, and encourage them to speak with a physician about PF.

More than 200,000 Americans are living with pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive and debilitating lung disease that leads to scarring of the lungs. The disease remains largely unknown, which can lead to later stage diagnoses.

To kick off the awareness campaign, LCWA and the PFF crafted a microsite, www.AboutPF.org, for visitors to learn about specific symptoms and risk factors. The site includes a Pulmonary Fibrosis Risk List worksheet individuals can download and bring with them to their next doctor’s visit, as well as patient stories of those living with the disease. The microsite also directs individuals to the PFF site for resources to direct them toward next steps.

As we look ahead, we are excited to get the word out about pulmonary fibrosis with many unique campaign aspects. This includes an upcoming #NotEveryoneBreathesEasy Twitter chat (mark your calendars for Nov. 2), banner ads and media outreach. Check out the Chicago Tribune on Nov. 7 to see our first print advertisement for the campaign, as well!

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

Monday, October 22, 2018

Creating a Feature Story Pitch

Writing a winning feature story pitch can be both one of the biggest challenges and most rewarding parts of the PR world. With the convenience of email, editors receive an endless number of pitches daily. So, how do you stand out from all the rest?

As PR professionals, we’re always asking ourselves – Is this story compelling enough? Will it relate to the journalist we’re pitching and the audience we’re targeting? It can take weeks to get a pitch finalized and even longer to garner interest from a reporter. But, if you do it right, you may see it through to a published piece.

Here are some helpful tips to create a successful feature story pitch:

  • Have an attention-grabbing subject line: This will be the first step to getting a reporter to open your email. Keep it short and unique. Keep in mind, many journalists will file story ideas and go back to them. It’s important to have something in the subject line that will make it easy for editors to find later on.
  • Keep it short and simple: Journalists do not have the time to read every bit of detail in each email they receive. Your pitch should state key facts and get to the news hook quickly.
  • Make it timely and relevant: See what’s buzzing in the news and on social media and find a way to jump into those conversations. This will help your pitch resonate with a reporter. For instance, if you’re pitching a cleaning product, tie in spring cleaning. 
  • Illustrate a trend: If your client has valuable data, use it. Interesting statistics can illustrate a trend that you can connect to your pitch. You can pull analyst or research data from third-parties, as well.
  • Do your homework: Know the media and your audience. Editors are more likely to respond if they know you put in the time to research their beat – whether that means reading their articles or following their social channels. Tailor your pitch to the specific person you’re pitching. Maybe reference an article they recently published that’s relevant to your news.
  • Have a compelling call-to-action: After offering your story idea, set a clear action step. Offer an interview opportunity, product review and/or sample, bylined article, etc. Give the media an incentive to actually do something with the information you just gave them.
Following these simple steps will help you create a persuasive media pitch and become a PR pro in no time.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Legislation by the Numbers: Spreading Awareness for Carbon Monoxide Alarm Replacement

Twelve states. Twelve laws. Twelve anniversaries. What do these numbers mean for our client, First Alert? Twelve unique opportunities to spread awareness of the importance of
replacing carbon monoxide (CO) alarms upon their expiration.

As part of our work with home safety client First Alert, we monitor and report daily on any pending smoke and CO legislation that may impact First Alert’s customers – from congressional bills to local municipal ordinances. With this information, we can help ensure that customers in the affected areas have access to the level of protection required, and conduct local media outreach to generate awareness and news coverage.

However, once the laws are on the books and the initial headlines fade, it’s important to remember that the impetus behind them remains as important as ever – and it’s up to us to keep these important safety requirements top-of-mind.

Milestone Management

One media relations “tool” that has proven particularly successful is leveraging the anniversaries of these laws to reinforce key safety messages. While many companies and industries mark significant anniversaries by the decade, the important number for us is none other than lucky number seven.

That’s because when many CO safety laws were implemented, many CO alarms had an expected, useful life of approximately seven years before expiration. When it comes to marking seven year CO legislation anniversaries, there’s no bigger year than 2018. That’s because in 2011 a wave of legislation initiatives brought CO protection to the forefront of home safety. A dozen states enacted the 2009 International Residential Code, which required CO alarms in newly constructed homes, or enacted CO legislation of their own. For people that complied when their state’s law went in effect, it is very likely that their CO alarms are in need of replacement.

Customized Communications

For First Alert’s CO Legislation Anniversary campaign, the LCWA home PR team researched the laws of each affected state (California, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin). As no two laws are exactly the same, it was critical to uncover any nuances and specifics in order to draft customized, accurate press materials that we could use in each state.

While this approach takes significantly more time and effort that a one-size-fits-all press release, these extra steps provided our team with relevancy, credibility and trustworthy expertise when approaching local media. Our team was able to go beyond simply providing general information – and instead explain the specific impact for citizens in each jurisdiction.
Preparation – and persistence – leads to success, and as of today, the program has yielded more than 88 million media impressions. However, what impresses me the most is that these numbers were achieved through good, old-fashioned pitching. It’s “safe” to say (no pun intended) that few media would have even been aware of their state’s anniversary without our efforts – let alone cover it. 

As the lines between advertising and public relations continue to blur, it’s a good reminder that PR is uniquely positioned to make the most of these types of opportunities for our clients.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Satellite Media Tour – A Tried-and-True Method to Delivering Meaningful Results

When it comes to generating high-quality results that matter to your clients, a satellite media tour (SMT) remains an effective public relations tactic. However, the approach to a SMT is different than it was just a few years ago. Today, it is important to employ a paid-earned-shared-owned model to maximize results and drive reach across television, radio and the Internet.

Here are a few additional tips to executing a successful media tour:
  • Maximize the assets available to you. TV and digital are both visual mediums. Good
    video helps tell your story and reduces the amount of time a producer is left with just a talking head. Good, compelling video – even if it is outtakes from a commercial or b-roll from an instructional video – will get your story aired and supplement a spokesperson’s script.
  • Identify opportunities with co-op satellite media tours. Stand-alone TV tours exclusive to just one brand may not fit within every campaign budget. However, that is no reason to shy away from television. A co-op satellite media tour typically features three to five brands that a spokesperson presents together under one umbrella theme. From syndicated interviews across key markets to in-depth segments that can be amplified across brand’s social channels with minimal paid support, a co-op media tour allows brands to share production costs while still elevating their presence during key seasonal time pegs such as back-to-school, holiday entertaining or even spring-cleaning.
  • Settle on three to four key messages. Producers are tight on time and interviews run the risk of being cut short. To maintain brand integrity, identify the top three to four key messages you want a spokesperson to focus on. Be sure to work with your spokesperson in advance to ensure their comfort level with the messages and outline a script to help deliver product attributes in a clear and concise manner.
Regardless of which SMT approach you take, the advantages are many. Media remain hungry for content. If you’re looking for a creative way to bring your product(s) to life and desire meaningful results, let the LCWA public relations help.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Target, Educate, Engage for ARM & HAMMER

Keeping up the little things in life, such as vacuuming, make sure consumers’ homes continue running smoothly and effectively. However, many people do not realize the importance of changing vacuum bags and filters to keep their vacuum running at optimal performance. In fact, a full vacuum bag or clogged filter can inhibit a vacuum’s power, reducing suction, and leaving allergens and dust behind.

Luckily, ARM & HAMMER makes Premium Allergen bags and HEPA filters for nearly all kinds of vacuums, making it easy to keep vacuums running at peak performance. In order to educate consumers about ARM & HAMMER vacuum bags and filters – along with the brand’s Pet Fresh Dry Carpet and Carpet and Upholstery Extractor Cleaners – to consumers passionate about homecare, the LCWA home PR team implemented a variety of strategies that provided ongoing engaging tips and content as part of the campaign to help the audience clean and maintain their homes.

  • Leveraged seasonal themes: LCWA delivered educational editorial content with a successful MAT release focused on spring cleaning tips to get rid of the lingering grime and grit of winter.
  • Used unique and relatable voices: Four on-target influencers, including Centsational Style, educated their followers about ARM & HAMMER vacuum bag and filter product benefits and maintenance, and the odor and stain neutralizing pet products, and where to purchase. Consumers gravitated toward these popular allergy and pet messages expressed by expert influencers they trust.
  • Amplified messages: Display ads delivered impactful results, while native ads scaled the influencers’ content. Additional messaging reached homemakers about how to Trap, Capture and Clean odors – so they can create a vibrant living space for day-to-day life, whether it’s playing with the kids or pets, tackling a to-do list or simply relaxing.
Overall, the ARM & HAMMER campaign delivered more than 270 million impressions and 3,000 engagements. It targeted, educated and engaged the home caregiver audience, with basic, but important, tips to keep their homes running smoothly and a reminder that it’s important to pay attention to vacuum bags and filters.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Six Client Service Practices to Live By

According to Gartner, 89 percent of businesses compete through the level of customer experience they’re able to deliver. Public relations is an industry in which a client’s positive experience is vital for an agency’s long-term growth and success.  At LCWA, we pride ourselves on the superior level of service we offer clients. It’s a strength and a competitive differentiator that helps us retain clients, gain referrals and grow new and existing business. 

These six client service best practices top the list of how LCWA maintains its long standing tradition of client service.

  • Become an Expert – At LCWA, we take interest in our clients. We learn their business, industry and competitors. We speak their language, understand their objectives and share their goals. We know how they like to work and tailor every communication, report and timeline to meet their needs. In short, we become an invaluable extension of their internal team. 
  • Develop Quality Control – LCWA controls work quality through our proprietary 1-2-3 approach. The rules are simple and ensure the highest level of work and communications is being conducted for and on behalf of our clients:
    • 1 Hour to Return Client and Media Communications
    • 2 Sets of Eyes on All Materials
    • 3 Times Through Every Email Before It’s Sent 
  • Deliver and then Over Deliver – Meeting deadlines and producing results are mandatories in our book. We like to go above and beyond. Whether surpassing impression goals or submitting a report a day early, our objective at LCWA is to exceed our clients’ expectations. 
  • Be Solution-oriented – We’ve never met a challenge for which we cannot offer a solution.  LCWA trains its staff to be resourceful, to find ways to make clients’ “asks” happen and to always bring creative solutions to the table for discussion. This is how our teams operate internally and when working with clients. 
  • Be Nimble – We understand that no program, budget, meeting, etc., is set in stone. We work to be flexible and ready to adjust at a moment’s notice to meet our clients’ needs.  
  • Take Pride in Your Work – Every piece of work that goes out the door at LCWA is a reflection of the entire team. Because of this, we take pride in producing top notch work from the smallest to the largest tasks. Our clients benefit from this pride.