Tuesday, March 26, 2019

LCWA Explains Pulmonary Fibrosis through Dynamic Video

Multi-media storytelling is a compelling method for delivering brand messages, especially for lesser-known, complex topics like pulmonary fibrosis (PF). LCWA recently launched a short, engaging video for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation as part of an awareness-driving campaign to educate more patients and caregivers about the symptoms, risks and prevalence of PF, a progressive lung disease.

LCWA designed the video to deliver core key messages in a vibrant, visual method, using dynamic text and animation. Even more, this video was budget-friendly to make—no video shoot necessary.
Video tips to keep in mind:
  • Short form keeps attention. Overall length of 30-seconds or less and concise copy ensures messages are memorable.
  • Visual cues support or even repeat the messages and make them relatable. 
  • Music selection sets the tone and keeps the pace of the video flowing, BUT make sure the visuals can stand-alone without music for those who have devices muted
Ensuring the content is viewed is another important piece of the campaign strategy, which includes a distribution plan on social channels, as well as paid digital platforms. Creative content paired with a thoughtful distribution can help tell your story and better reach your audiences.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Meaningful Data is Catnip to Healthcare Reporters

You find them in articles, case studies, research reports, blog posts and social content: statistics. Whether writing for consumers or industry professionals, healthcare reporters value strong, meaningful statistics from credible sources. When working with our healthcare clients, we encourage sharing primary data whenever appropriate to support key messages and increase share of voice in the media.

The Urgent Care Association (UCA) is a prime example of how we work with a client to use proprietary data to drive thought leadership in a crowded industry. Each year, UCA collects benchmarking data from its growing membership of on-demand healthcare providers, resulting in useful metrics to illustrate industry growth and operational or clinical trends. We then review and write up press materials showcasing top benchmarking results to share with media, along with expert insight from UCA leadership to put the numbers into context, and an infographic to visually illustrate the data and enable social sharing.

Media typically cover the initial benchmarking results as an update on the industry, as well as cite the data year-round to support other articles covering news in on-demand care. Because UCA gathers its data annually, many media outlets have come to rely on the metrics for their ongoing coverage – making UCA a thought leader and go-to source for industry information.

This year was no exception! Shortly after sharing the latest benchmarking results, we coordinated a flurry of media requests from a wide array of outlets including TIME Magazine, NOLA.com, Managed Care Magazine, Healthcare Dive and Forbes.com, to name a few. Many more outlets will cite the UCA benchmarking results throughout the year as they write about urgent care growth, new trends in on-demand care, expanding services at urgent care centers and other similar topics. This will keep UCA top-of-mind with key outlets while reinforcing our key messaging to target audiences.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Lessons Learned from a 5-Year Public Awareness Campaign

Over the last five years, I have been honored to be a part of the National Healthy Sleep Awareness project. The project was a collaboration between our client, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Sleep Research Foundation (SRS). This project has included multiple public awareness campaigns to help elevate the awareness and priority placed on healthy sleep.

Our campaigns have included “Stop the Snore,” which pushed more patients at-risk for obstructive sleep apnea to seek treatment; “Awake at the Wheel,” which focused on preventing the dangerous but overlooked habit of driving while drowsy, and “Sleep Recharges You,” which aimed to increase the number of high school students getting the recommended sleep each night.

We have learned a lot from these campaigns, and had the opportunity to present our learnings to the attendees at the PRSA Health Academy Conference in Washington D.C. While it’s difficult to synthesize five years of work into five tips – here are some high-level lessons:
  • Narrow the Scope. Aiming messages at broad audiences makes it harder for anything to stick to anyone. Try to segment out audience groups into the smallest groups possible, so that you can develop messages that resonate with each of them specifically.  Instead of talking to “anyone who sleeps,” we were much more successful when we aimed at specific groups of people, such as:
    • Individuals with diabetes
    • Teen athletes
    • Shift workers
    • Parents of elementary school students aged 8-12
  • Measure Actions, Not Behavior.  Many health campaigns have far-reaching objectives that can only be measured in big chunks of time. While working toward these big goals – such as increasing the number of patients seeking care for obstructive sleep apnea, or decreasing traffic accidents caused by drowsy driving – we found other actions to measure to indicate we were on the right path during the short terms. Our most successful campaigns used measurements like online tools, pledges or calculators; event participation; downloads of information; referrals to physicians or health centers.
  • Create News. New research is a must when working with health care-focused media. If you don’t have a new study or newsworthy findings, create other reasons to focus on your story. The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Campaign included two consensus panels focused on healthy sleep duration recommendations – one for patients, one for those up to age 18. These panels allowed us to make specific duration recommendations by age, and secure the news coverage of those recommendations. We also issued position statements on controversial issues and jumped on news of the day to drive coverage in the absence of scientific research. 
  • Empower Others to Tell Your Story.  Every audience segment has individual influencers that matter to them. For teens it’s not just parents, coaches and teachers – but other teens themselves. Moms listen to other moms. Find the influencers that matter to your audience and give them the tools needed to spread your messages. Associations are a great way to reach professional audiences. Work with those who have a captive, engaged audience to get the word out. Collaboration with another group doubles your reach and is always better than going it alone!
  • Take Messages Directly to Audiences. Digital marketing has changed the game in terms of making it easy and accessible to reach the exact audience members who need to hear your healthcare messages. Use social and digital marketing to reach the exact people you want, with the exact message they need. Between sponsored and boosted posts on Facebook and Instagram, targeted posts by job title on LinkedIn, or search and data-driven ads reaching just the right people at just the right time, today’s digital tools help drill down to the individual and ensure your messages are seen – and calls-to-action are understood.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Tips for a Perfect Press Release

A press release is still an essential PR tool. From announcing a new product or service to expanding knowledge about a brand, press releases have remained a mainstay of journalism, even in the age of social media. When journalists’ inboxes are filled with press releases and news tips, make your press release standout by using the following tips:
  • Press Release vs. Pitch: Before beginning to write a release, ask yourself if the story is newsworthy. If it contains an actual news announcement or offers new information – write a press release. If the story doesn’t fall in either of these categories – like a feature story – it is a better fit for a pitch.      
  • Get to the point: Journalists don’t have time to read long and wordy press releases. Create straightforward headlines that will tell the reader why they should care right away. Then, use your first paragraph to fill in the details – don’t just repeat the headline. 
  • Always use AP style: Not only will this garner respect from a journalist, but using AP style also heightens your chance of having the story published. A release written in AP style is ready for media and in the correct format, making it ready to run at a moment’s notice.  
  • Utilize quotes: Personalize a story by including a quote that puts emphasis on the main message of the release. Always be sure to get permission from the quoted individual.
  • Include contact information: A press release should always include press contact information so anyone with questions or interview requests can easily reach out.  

Following these steps will help to ensure that you are writing the most effective press release. Now go out and get your clients the recognition they deserve!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Trex and LCWA “Make It Easy” to Succeed at the International Builders’ Show

Each year, the International Builders Show (IBS) marks the unofficial kick-off to our annual PR support for long-time client Trex Company – and 2019 was no different. From a completely re-engineered decking collection to the brand’s first all-aluminum pergola design, Trex had a lot of news to share during this year’s show and our team held nothing back in an effort to generate awareness, interest and impressions.

While Trex strives to “make it easy” for homeowners and contractors to build their dream decks, our LCWA team lends its extensive trade show experience and media know-how to make it easy for journalists and influencers to “deck out” their magazines, websites and broadcast segments with the latest products and expert insights from our client. This year, our team booked and hosted meetings at the Trex booth with more than 35 different consumer and trade outlets.

These meetings already have resulted in immediate coverage by publications such as Builder Magazine, LBM Journal and Plastics News. Additionally, we secured inclusion for Trex in a number of articles scheduled to appear throughout the critical spring deck building season.

Beyond generating valuable media coverage for Trex, the continuous flow of high-profile media representatives into the Trex booth helped drive added buzz and excitement. Show attendees – and surrounding competitors – took particular note of the many broadcast cameras that visited the Trex exhibit. Through strategic pre-show pitching, along with some quick on-the-spot wrangling, we coordinated multiple video shoots and in-booth interviews with production teams and talent from TV and YouTube programs, podcasts and online influencers.

Once again, Trex and LCWA effectively leveraged the industry’s biggest trade event to garner media coverage across all mediums, including print, online, radio and television. With outdoor living season fast approaching, Trex is well-poised for maximum exposure and continued success!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Setting Meaningful KPIs

Setting meaningful KPIs is a valuable driver and measurement of business success. At LCWA we work with our clients to set KPIs based on their goals and objectives, resulting in a clear understanding of how our PR and social efforts support the business. This moves PR from a “nice to have” to a “must have.”
Here are some proven KPIs to consider when tracking your campaign’s success: 
  • Media Impressions: Media coverage secured by the PR team. This number can be looked at as a whole for the brand or broken down into subsets such as tracking placements by product, industry vertical, priority media targets, etc. 
  • Sentiment: Measuring tone of articles or brand mentions allows you see if your brand is creating positive or negative associations. It may also be of value to compare your brand’s sentiment to that of the competition.
  • Key message penetration: Outline the priority messages for your brand or product and track how successfully those messages are communicated through secured media coverage. At LCWA, we like to track this metric (really all metrics) along the way and make any necessary campaign adjustments to ensure the right messages are reaching the target audience.  
  • Share of voice: This is the percentage of coverage for your brand compared to its competitors. Share of voice can be tracked by volume or reach. If budget does not permit to track both, work with your client or team to determine which is of most importance.  
  • Social engagement: A measurement of how many likes, shares and comments the content and coverage you generate receives. If you are finding a certain type of content is driving more engagement than others, incorporate more of this content into the mix.
  • Event promotion: Track your team’s success in driving event attendance, garnering media coverage of events, and building relationships with attendees and key constituents.
  • Web traffic: The number of visitors that are driven to a brand or company website as a result of your campaign. This can be easily tracked by creating a unique link to be used in your communications efforts.
  • Reach: Focuses on the sum of your efforts. How many potential consumers did you reach through broadcast, print and online coverage in traditional and social media outlets.

Now that you’ve set KPIs, how do you measure? There are a host of analytics dashboards available that enable you to see your public relations performance metrics and keep track of your KPIs. Burrelles, Meltwater, Hootsuite, Radian 6, Facebook Analytics…the options are endless. With a little research you will be able to employ the right mix of tools within your budget to track results.
Finally, don’t forget to merchandise and promote your campaign’s success.  This includes creating visual reports and presentations that can easily be shared by your direct client with internal stakeholders. It’s a sure fire way to keep PR as a “must have.”

Monday, March 4, 2019

LCWA and PFF Raise Awareness of Pulmonary Fibrosis on WGN

This month, LCWA worked with our client, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF), to educate the community about pulmonary fibrosis (PF) by securing a great feature on WGN’s “Living Healthy Chicago” program.

To bring the segment to life, we enlisted the help of PFF volunteer and patient, Mark Cochran, to tell his story about living with PF, as well as his doctor, Sangeeta M. Bhorade, MD of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, to speak on the disease and how it impacts patients. Watch the full segment at this link.

With more than 200,000 Americans living with PF and 50,000 new cases of PF diagnosed annually, the importance of raising awareness is now greater than ever. This segment was a part of our overall “Not Everyone Breathes Easy” campaign, launched late last year to reach individuals who may be at risk for the disease or are undiagnosed, and encourage them to speak with a physician about PF.

Just as Mark did, taking the next steps with your doctor and advocating for testing to determine if you have pulmonary fibrosis is crucial so treatment can begin as early as possible. Mark, who works closely with the PFF to advocate for patients living with this disease, hopes that others with a similar lung disease will find hope through hearing his story.

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

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Preparing for Media Interviews in Five Simple Steps

You have secured a media opportunity for your spokesperson, now it’s time to get them ready! Whether you are dealing with a seasoned public speaker or an industry novice, it is important to make sure your spokesperson is comfortable and prepared before an interview. Here are some simple steps to consider for each interview:

Step 1: Background Information
Leading up to the interview, pull together background information on the reporter and media outlet. These details should go beyond just audience size and geographic reach to include why the outlet is a good fit for your story. Background on the style, tone and types of stories typical of the reporter is equally important, as they will likely be the one interacting directly with your expert.

Tip: When the spokesperson understands how this interview opportunity will meet communication goals, they will feel more comfortable during the interview.

Step 2: Key Messages/Talking Points
Even the most veteran spokespeople can find themselves going off on a tangent during an interview, veering away from original point of the opportunity. PR teams must ensure key messaging is top-of-mind during any media opportunities and worked into interview responses naturally. Create general messages to keep in mind, as well as precise talking points for anticipated questions.

Tip: Do not overwhelm the spokesperson with a script, but rather provide main messaging and a few key stats that they can pop in the story organically.

Step 3: Interview Logistics
One easy way to make a spokesperson nervous is to not have all the details of the interview ready ahead of time. Ensure your client and team have accurate information on the date, time, location and other logistics prior to the interview so necessary arrangements can be made. The small details can quickly turn a simple interview into a stressful disaster without careful planning and coordination.

Tip: Always double check the information your team has is the same as the reporter, and provide regular updates to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Step 4: Media Training Tips
Whether it is talking too fast, not standing still or sharing too much information, even professional spokespeople may have bad habits to break. Based on the type of interview (phone or TV), develop a list of basic interview best practices to help prep the spokesperson so he or she feels ready and is not self-conscious when answering questions.

Here are a few to keep in mind: 
  • Keep answers short and concise
  • Speak slowly and take breaths when you need to think about an answer
  • Smile when appropriate
  • Avoid clothing with large words or brands, as well as “jingly” jewelry
  • Find a comfortable stance to avoid swaying
Tip: Remind your spokesperson of basic rules, like not fidgeting or avoiding busy patterns. They may seem obvious to you, but are likely not as well known to your expert.

Step 5: Practice, Practice, Practice
Reading and understanding talking points is one thing, but using them correctly in a response to a reporter requires a different skill set. Set aside time before the interview to talk through tough questions and allow the spokesperson to run through potential answers. These practice interviews can range from a simple over-the-phone discussion to a more thorough, role-playing rehearsal. The goal is make sure the spokesperson is comfortable with the topic, key messages and interview format before the actual interview.

Tip: Develop a variety of question types to help train the spokesperson on how to adapt to difficult questions and steer the conversation back to key messages.

Monday, February 25, 2019

LCWA Takes First Alert CES Media Coverage to the Next Level

We can finally feel our feet after CES…aka The World’s Largest Consumer Electronics Show (show…show…show, is there an echo in here?). But joking aside, LCWA pulled out all stops to ensure that First Alert was recognized on this global stage of innovation for taking safety and security in connected home technology to the next level. This year, First Alert launched a new Wi-Fi Mesh solution that will actually be built into the Onelink Safe & Sound, as well as a smart doorbell—aptly named the Onelink Bell—that integrates with the Onelink system enabling users to answer the door from the smoke alarm. The future, my friends, the future.  

Even with thought-leading products, a multi-faceted pitching approach, from pre-show pitching to post-show follow-ups, was essential to delivering top results. The LCWA team delivered over one billion impressions in key tech and consumer media outlets as a result of strategic and persistent media relations efforts.

A few tips to make the most of media at the show: 
  • Invite them: Leverage any lists of pre-registered media you can get your hands on to reach out before the show to set-up meeting times and let media contacts know where to find your booth. And don’t be shy about asking your priority targets if they’ll be attending, even if they aren’t on the list.
  • Greet them: Keep an eye out for media tags at your booth and make sure the whole team knows who the media contact is.
  • Go to them: Attend at least one of the media showcase events. These are dedicated to media and help focus the attention on a few brands instead of the daunting group spread out throughout the show. Plus there are food and drinks!

CES is the trade show of all trade shows and showcasing your tech products there is important, but making sure to capitalize on every opportunity is also key to maximizing the investment.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Five Tips for Successful Facebook Live Broadcasts

More and more, consumers are looking ways to connect with brands in a personal way. They want to see and interact with the actual people who make organizations tick. Enter Facebook Live.

Facebook Live broadcasts can be a great way to tap spokespersons, industry experts or influencers to reach target audiences with real-time interaction and direct connection. This can be especially effective when looking for call-to-action results. Being asked to do something by a credible person who is sharing their time and speaking to you directly be a motivating.

LCWA has coordinated an increased number of Facebook Live broadcasts into client programs, helping to increase program results, engage and grow social followings, highlight milestones and more. Here are five tips from the LCWA social media team for successful Facebook Live broadcasts:
  1. Choose your spokesperson(s): Depending on your client’s industry, audience, social voice and program goals, it’s important to select the right person to be the “face” of the brand. For example, an in-house expert or influencer could discuss a fun new product launch, or a doctor can talk about a new health care initiative. Sometimes, programs may have multiple aspects or be part of a longer campaign, so a series of broadcasts with multiple spokespersons from different angles can help keep momentum and interest flowing.
  2. Prepare your spokesperson(s): Consider preparing the spokesperson in a similar way you would for a broadcast interview. Create talking points and discuss best practices. Based on how tech savvy a spokesperson is, a detailed overview for setting up Facebook Live on his or her device may be needed. Overall, a walk-through session is recommended prior to the broadcast.
  3. Promote the broadcast: Post engaging social content on all channels in the week leading up to the broadcast. Make it as simple as possible to understand what Facebook Live is, why you’re doing it, who the spokesperson is and where/how to access the broadcast. Graphics with a photo of the spokesperson can add apersonal touch. If there will be a series of broadcasts, tease the whole program. For some clients, it may be good to draft an internal email for board members or other stakeholders announcing the broadcast and how they can get involved.
  4. Provide remote support: If the call-to-action revolves around visiting a landing page, or you want to share supporting resources, link can be posted during the broadcast in the comments sections from your computer while logged-in to your client’s Facebook account. This makes it easy for viewers to get to where you want them to go and makes the broadcast more interactive.
  5. Find new ways to use the video: The broadcast will stay on the Facebook wall just like any other post, and can be downloaded, and incorporated in future social content, used as an example when pitching interviews to broadcast outlets, shared internally or uploaded to client webpages and more. If there were a series of broadcasts, you can make a video playlist on Facebook for easy access to the whole program.

Whether clients are seeking to promote events, campaign awareness, thought leadership, seasonal/timely topics, products and more, incorporating Facebook Live into overall social media strategies can be an effective way to break through the fourth wall and increase call-to-action results and brand loyalty.

Monday, February 18, 2019

First Alert Partners with Departments and Universities Nationwide in Town/Gown Program

To raise awareness about campus and community fire and carbon monoxide (CO) safety, LCWA worked with First Alert to host the second annual Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project in partnership with Campus Firewatch and the Michael H. Minger Foundation.

The Town/Gown project aims to raise awareness by engaging local fire departments, universities and students. Learning fire safety by doing fire safety is one of the best ways for students, many of whom may be living on their own for the first time, to understand the importance of working smoke and CO alarms.

Dozens of fire departments applied to positively impact their community by educating students and community members about the importance of working smoke alarms and help to improve fire safety in homes.

First Alert donated 100 smoke or CO alarms to the 25 selected departments, along with 100 fire safety magnets as easy-to-place reminders. The 25 fire departments were empowered to develop an activation plan for their community, with the support of group emails and conference calls to help the departments share ideas and key learnings about their respective outreach. Each department’s initiative was structured to fit the unique needs of their community. Student participation varied from the social work programs, Greek life organizations, firefighters-in-training and those more focused on volunteering.

LCWA also supported media relations efforts in the communities, drafting materials, social content and conducting media outreach in order to further spread fire safety awareness and the impact of the alarm installations.

To date, the program has secured great grassroots coverage with the departments. This includes The Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Ind.), The Oxford Eagle (Oxford, Miss.), Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, Neb.) and KXLY-TV (Spokane, Wash.).

To learn more about fire safety, visit the First Alert website at www.firstalert.com. You also can follow the Town/Gown Fire Safety Community Service Project on Twitter and Facebook via #TownGownFire.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Lessons Learned as an Intern

We have been lucky to have Derek Baker as our LCWA intern this winter. Here, Derek outlines some of the things he has learned from the experience. 

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to work as an intern at LCWA.  I learned valuable lessons regarding public relations and what it means to be part of a working environment. As a member of the LCWA team, I’ve worked with people who have different personalities, approaches, and skill sets that all contribute to the success of the firm. Over time, I have come to recognize how I fit into the culture and how to use this experience to best benefit my professional development as well as the success of the firm. 

Here are some tips:

Ask questions and know your clients. Questions are essential in developing your understanding of the business as well as demonstrating to your team that you can think critically. Ask supervisors for background on assignments. Knowing the context of a project can give you valuable insight and make you more efficient at your job. Additionally, understanding the client, their industry and the media landscape will give a better perspective of your team’s plan, which can improve the way you approach tasks in the future.

Being an enthusiastic employee is key to being a team player. This is easy when you receive fun projects that complement your natural skill set, but is more difficult when you enter unfamiliar territory that may not come as easily. Nonetheless, it is important to persevere and earnestly approach projects with an open mind. Understanding that you are part of a bigger picture is crucial, and demonstrating an eagerness to learn and lend a helping hand will label you as an asset to any team.

Value your work. When you are a small part of a big picture it can be difficult to see the importance in the small tasks that you are contributing. It might be easy to rush work along or not give 100 percent because you don’t see how your work contributes to the bottom line. It is important to remember that everything you do counts. From the smallest of tasks to the biggest of projects, your co-workers are depending on you to get the job done so they can do their jobs, as well.

Confidence is the most valuable lesson an internship will teach you. Entering a new work environment will no doubt offer challenging experiences. From simply answering the phone, to client requests on deadline, every task at the beginning of a work experience may seem daunting. There is the potential for failure and more horrifying…embarrassment. However, by the end of an internship, daily tasks become like second nature. Suddenly, the things you feared doing in the beginning become part of a norm and you approach them with a new outlook. You have the skills and knowledge to complete what is being asked of you and you will have identified your strengths and weaknesses as well as ways to leverage both. The confidence created as a result is invaluable. As you enter the workforce, you will have the confidence knowing that you have an expertise that will benefit you and any team that you join.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Boise Paper Facebook Sweepstakes A Sweeping Success!

Whether it’s excellent time management, superior organizational skills or even specific office supplies, everyone has a special trick to stand out from the crowd at work. We recently worked with our client, Boise Paper, to hold a Facebook Sweepstakes to hear more about what people had learned to help them look brilliant at the office.

Utilizing the “Don’t Look Back, #LookBrilliant” theme, Facebook and Twitter posts were used to promote the Sweepstakes. Contestants entered with their tips for the chance to win a grand prize of $500. Some of the top ideas submitted include:

Stay Organized
  • Organization and time management make a huge difference. – Evelyn F.
  • Always keep your desk clean and clutter-free to present an organized work space. – Ronald O.
  • Arrive to work at least 10-15 minutes early in the morning. – Guadalupe V.

Act Professionally
  • Communication with coworkers is pivotal to successfully working as a team. – Chris M.
  • Dressing professionally brings a better presence and presentation to your work. – Mary C.
  • Eye contact really helps you look more professional! – Jennifer L.
Be Proactive
  • Stay ahead of problems and be proactive. – Pete B.
  • Volunteer to take on new tasks to increase your knowledge and bring value to your work. – Katreia B.
  • Use the best equipment - like Boise Paper - to really shine! – Linda F.
Once the entry form was complete, entrants were provided with information and tips on how Boise Paper can help them look brilliant with the full line of Boise POLARIS® papers.

The grand prize winner, along with two second place winners, was announced via a Facebook Live broadcast on the Boise Paper Facebook page.

This sweepstakes was a great way to engage with Boise Paper’s social followers, convey brand messages and earn new followers. Stay tuned to the Boise Paper social channels for future Sweepstakes and chances to win!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Creating a Video Ad Strategy that Reels Viewers In

Whether your client is more suited for readers of People or Professional Remodeler, there’s one place that virtually all audiences turn to for information and entertainment: YouTube. While video ad production was once reserved solely for big brands with big budgets, it is now a scalable, essential component of any integrated public relations and marketing program.

Need proof? During the past year alone, LCWA's social media team has helped launch video ad campaigns as diverse as our client roster, targeting medical professionals, general consumers, do-it-yourselfers, business executives and professional contractors – just to name a few! According to YouTube, people are spending 1 billion hours watching video each day. All you need is a few seconds of that time to make a significant impact for your clients. Here are a few lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Start off Strong – How long do you have to grab viewers’ attention? 10 seconds. For pre-roll ads with a skippable option, cut that number in half. With limited viewer time – and patience – it’s imperative to grab viewers’ attention as quickly as possible. Let your creative juices flow by creating a compelling story that pulls at viewers’ heartstrings, or set up a joke or prank that will leave the audience waiting for the punchline. Instead of an ad, think of your video as a movie trailer. As PR pros, we’re often focused on the words, but when it comes to video, sound and visuals are just as important elements – if not more so – for drawing viewers in.

Know Your Type – YouTube currently offers six different types of advertising formats. Become familiar with the pros and cons of each to determine the best mix for your campaign strategy. For example, if your goal is simply brand awareness, six-second non-skippable bumper ads, which automatically play before a viewer can watch a video, may be the best option. On the other hand, if your goal is to convey information or elicit a call-to-action, Native Instream and Discovery ads, which have longer playing options, may be more effective, as they can link to outside websites and sources.

Test, Compare, Test Again – Remember, it’s all about the numbers. As a Google company, YouTube offers a host of analytics to help determine the effectiveness of your ads. While you or your client may have a “magic number” of view counts in mind, other metrics, such as engagement rate and time spent watching, are often better indicators of ad performance. For this reason, we recommend launching at least two ads at the same time and conducting A/B testing to see which version audiences react to most. Comparing the results side-by-side, you may find that one ad is better at capturing viewers for longer periods of time, while another may drive more clicks or channel subscribers. From there, you can adjust your budget and strategy to optimize results. Another tactic we’ve used to guide video strategy is to survey focus groups prior to launch. The feedback may be harsh, but it can be extremely helpful in determining which ads to move forward with or tweak with further production.

Keep Creating – Even for experienced marketers, each new video ad campaign is a learning experience. With each campaign you launch, you’ll gain greater insight into audience trends and what it takes to win them over. Keep creating, and have fun!

Monday, February 4, 2019

LCWA and AASM Help Americans Tackle Sleep

Chronic sleep loss and sleep illness are big problems in America with nearly 30 million adults afflicted with sleep apnea. To help further educate the community about this growing epidemic, the LCWA healthcare PR team helped long-time client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) create and launch two new national public service announcements (PSAs).

To start, we enlisted AASM advocate and former NFL offensive lineman Aaron Taylor to urge television viewers to defend their sleep by talking to a doctor about obstructive sleep apnea – a potentially life-threatening disease involving episodes of complete or partial airway obstruction during sleep. An avid snorer since high school, Taylor shared his personal experiences with moderate obstructive sleep apnea and helped AASM reach new audiences with his sports and broadcast affiliations. 

LCWA worked hand-in-hand with Taylor and AASM to develop a script that addressed the warning signs of sleep apnea and demonstrated that many of the damaging effects of the disease can be stopped, and even reversed, through diagnosis and treatment by the sleep team at an accredited sleep center. The script came to life naturally, as Taylor brought television host Adam Zucker and fellow football analysts Randy Cross and Brian Jones together in studio. The result was a 30- and 15-second PSA fit for both television and radio.

To date, the PSAs have aired more than 1,175 times reaching an audience of 10.9 million.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Proofing to Perfection

Part of earning the trust of our clients and media contacts is providing error-free work. We pride ourselves on mastering the details, and even have a rule that any external materials
must be proofed by “two sets of eyes” before they go out the door. We recently gathered our Chicago PR team together to discuss top tips for proofing to perfection. These are the ten rules we strive to live by when it comes to proofing:
  1. Do the job – proofing is different from reviewing. If a proofer gets too caught up in making big-picture content or organization suggestions, it’s easy to overlook the small stuff like typos or missing punctuation. That’s why it’s important to know which task you are assigned and stick to it.
  2. Proof the complete document, from headline to boilerplate. It’s natural to take your eye directly to the body of content, but this can mean accidentally missing mistakes in a header or title page. Similarly, if you’ve seen a boilerplate many times, it’s tempting to just skim it. But putting focus on the entire document, start to finish, is a must.
  3. Print it out. A good old-fashioned hard copy is the best way to spot formatting inconsistencies or small errors like an extra space.
  4. Adhere to AP style. There are multiple ways to say or write the same things in the English language. (Oxford comma, anyone?)  For grammar, words, numbers, phrases, titles, states and more, we follow AP Style to determine the final guidelines. This results in consistent work across the agency, and materials that are “media ready.”
  5. Know copy editing symbols. You can’t make the needed changes if you have no idea what that symbol means! We use consistent editing symbols to make it easy on both the proofer and the author.
  6. Make proofing marks easy to spot. Ever missed a tiny edit made in black ink? I sure have! We ask proofers to use a different color and ensure edits are visible by flagging with a check mark, or even Post-its if the document is very large.
  7. Be respectful of others' time. Proofing takes time, so we need to make sure to allow plenty of it. While there are always tight deadlines that require an immediate look, we try to let proofers take their time with documents to avoid mistakes.
  8. Rely on new eyes. It’s very hard to see the details in something you have already reviewed multiple times. Whenever possible, we want the proofer to have a “fresh” look at the document, so they are more likely to find those hidden issues.
  9. Don’t let anything slide. With moments to go to deadline, it can be tempting to let a small error slide. But when perfection is the goal, you must make note of even the smallest mistake. On many occasions we have reprinted or rebound stacks of materials because of a “tiny” typo. A little extra effort is worth the fix when our reputation – and the reputations of our clients – depend on it.
  10. Take responsibility for the document. Proofing is a real job at LCWA – so real that we require proofers to sign off on their work and take accountability for it. Our team members know they are playing a role in delivering high-quality work, and they take that seriously.

Monday, January 28, 2019

LCWA Client DAP Wins Pro Tool Innovation Awards

Is there better news to pass onto a client than that they’ve won an award? Congratulations to LCWA client, DAP, for picking up two Pro Tool Innovation Awards for new Platinum Patch exterior filler and Dynaflex Ultra exterior sealant. These two products were chosen from among 300 entries as best-in-class products in their respective categories.

Crafting award submissions is a great way of generating buzz for clients, so it’s no surprise that they are an integral part of several LCWA home PR campaigns. No matter the client or industry, the path to gold always involves the same steps:

There are awards programs for every industry – some more well-known than others. It’s critical to do a “deep dive” to uncover new or previously overlooked opportunities and keep from missing out.

Not every opportunity is worth considering, depending on the client and its priorities. Some may come with pricey submission fees, require time-consuming entries, or ask for details that a client isn’t comfortable sharing. Put yourself in your client’s shoes to determine if the effort involved is worth the potential reward.

Awards programs often ask for similar types of information, but taking a copy-and-paste approach to multiple entries can significantly reduce your prospects of winning. Above all else, make sure that each entry clearly addresses the information and questions asked.  In addition, pay attention to details such as word counts and file size requirements to avoid penalization or disqualification.

With this successful formula in place, we look forward to a year filled with more honors for DAP, as well as other LCWA clients!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Multitasking in the Workplace: Tips for Success

Someone once told me you need to slow down in order to speed up. But how could that be in a workplace where multitasking is almost expected? Let me explain.

Multitasking is not about piling on the work to the point of exhaustion. Rather, it is about channeling your energy in an efficient and effective manner so that you can accomplish more in less time. To understand multitasking and increase your workplace performance, success and satisfaction, you must first learn to make quick decisions about the sequence and importance of tasks and then proceed to complete those tasks.

Here are a few other tips to consider:
  • Eliminate distractions – By limiting interruptions and keeping your work area free of distractions (social media included), productivity increases, errors decrease and stress levels are reduced. Your focus remains centered on the task and you’re likely to deliver higher quality work against deadlines.
  • Combine similar tasks to work on at the same time – You can lose focus by diving right into tasks without a plan or structure. Grouping compatible tasks allows you to divide projects by urgency and priority.
  • Cut the clutter – Deal with paper only once by putting documents in their place. Decide to either place documents in an “action needed” or client file. If they don’t fit into either, toss it.
  •  Adjust your expectations If you are overwhelmed by having too much to do within the time committed, determine the most important priorities to complete and reset the deadlines with others.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Maximizing Trade Show Time with Trex RainEscape

Meeting with media is certainly an integral component of the trade show work we do on behalf of clients – and while these face-to-face meetings are key for fostering media relationships and generating coverage, they’re not the only way to make valuable use of time on the show floor.

Case in point: At the latest Remodeling Show and DeckExpo, an annual trade show for builders, decking contractors and manufacturers, the LCWA home PR team used the time in between appointments to help produce a series of video testimonials for our client Trex RainEscape.

Knowing that DeckExpo tends to attract a smaller pool of media, we planned ahead for the downtime by arranging to have a camera crew on site to capture footage of contractors speaking about their experiences with the RainEscape system and the company’s complementary Trex Protect joist beam and tape. In just one afternoon, we secured interviews with five of the country’s leading deck builders and had enough footage for two separate testimonial videos.

By virtue of having everyone in the same place at the same time, producing video testimonials on site is a great way to overcome typical production challenges related to travel and availability – while also being a responsible steward of client time and resources. Check out the finished videos below.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

PRGN Adds Two New Locations

The Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) announced that it has added two new locations to its global network, raising the number of its offices serving PR clients throughout the world to 56. The two new offices – in Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.) and New Delhi, India – are available to offer localized insight and support to LCWA clients.

The Atlanta location is an office of The Castle Group, headquartered in Boston. The office in New Delhi is run by Mileage Communications. Headquartered in Singapore, Mileage is a communications agency with more than 25 years of experience throughout Asia.

LCWA has been a proud PRGN member since 2002. We are excited that the global network keeps growing and adding new markets where it can serve clients.