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.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Back-To-School with Boise Paper and Box Tops for Education

Our client, Boise Paper, has been a long-standing partner of the General Mills Box Tops for Education™ program, helping schools across the country earn money to purchase essential items, such as books, art supplies, sports equipment, instruments and more. As part of the company’s commitment to providing Paper with Purpose, Boise Paper is proud to support local schools in the communities its customers call home by offering Box Tops clips on select reams of multipurpose paper

During the back-to-school season, LCWA's PR and social media team conducted a multi-faceted campaign to encourage consumers to select products with Box Tops clips while back-to-school shopping and drive awareness of great promotional deals on Boise Paper products.  

LCWA enlisted influencers The Simple Parent and A Mom’s Impression to co-host our #BoisePaperB2S Twitter Chat. Talking about the Box Tops program and back-to-school shopping, the chat was a huge success with great engagement from over two hundred unique contributors throughout the entire hour! 

A Facebook Sweepstakes took place over a four-week period and utilized the “Stock the Classroom and Backpack” theme. Contestants entered for the chance to win two $250 Visa e-gift cards, one for themself and one for their favorite teacher. Entrants were asked to answer two questions: what is the most essential item in your child’s backpack, and what is the strangest item found in your child’s backpack? Some of the strangest things include a spider, dried Play-Doh, a bird and teeth.

Additionally, two Facebook ads ran throughout the summer to promote the use of Box Tops clips and their availability on Boise Paper products. Overall these ads were a huge success in directing consumers to Boise Paper’s special back-to-school reams of paper.

Our influencer program featured six bloggers sharing their thoughts on the importance of stocking up on essentials, like Boise Paper products, for homes and classrooms during back-to-school shopping, as well as their thoughts on how Box Tops for Education impacts their schools. Each influencer created great original content! Check out a few of the posts from Pragmatic Mom, Mommy Katie and B-Inspired Mama.

We also distributed an e-blast to consumers to generate awareness of the Box Tops for Education clips available on Boise Paper products during the 2018 back-to-school season. With the click-through rate at more than double the industry average, this was one of our most successful e-blasts of the year.

Finally, we helped raise awareness and provided support for two back-to-school shopping events in Vancouver, Wash., through social media ads, promoted posts and event pages. Families in the local community were invited to join Boise Paper at two Vancouver stores where kids enjoyed fun crafts and projects while their parents shopped for supplies – a win-win for everyone!

Throughout the summer, this campaign successfully spread the word about Boise Paper’s enduring partnership with the Box Tops program and its special back-to-school promotions. Since 2011, Boise Paper has contributed nearly $11 million to U.S. schools across the country. We’re always happy to help our clients celebrate their community involvement! 

Monday, October 1, 2018

IABC Chicago Introduces the Lou Williams Research Pioneer Award

Last week, the International Association of BusinessCommunicators (IABC) Chicago instituted the Lou Williams Research Pioneer Award and awarded the inaugural award to
LCWA. In announcing the creation of the award, the organization lauded our founder, Lou Williams, ABC, APR, IABC Fellow, as a “rogue pioneer who had the audacity to advocate that the role of communication in organizations should play out at the highest strategic level as a business leader.”

Naming this IABC Chicago award after Lou is fitting given his passionate support of IABC throughout his life and career. It was an honor to accept the Lou Williams Research Pioneer Award on behalf of LCWA. 

Lou started the firm because he wanted to make a difference in the public relations industry – and he did. He was a veteran of big, national agencies.  His goal was to create a firm that had all of the large agency strategic thinking and capabilities, including research, but he wanted to offer the personal approach and dedication of a smaller firm. LCWA has been operating under that same philosophy for more than 30 years.

All of us at LCWA continue to pursue his vision. This award is a wonderful way to honor his legacy.