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:

Research
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.

Evaluation
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.

Customization
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. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Showcasing a New Standard of Clean with Sanitaire at ISSA


The 2018 ISSA Show – the professional cleaning industry’s premier trade show – was a priority event for client Sanitaire Commercial to connect with decision-makers and media to highlight brand news and demonstrate its continued industry expertise. To help Sanitaire, an innovator in commercial vacuums, stand out in this crowded trade show environment,
LCWA implemented a strategic mix of media relations and social media activities.

In preparation for ISSA, a blend of planned and opportunistic tactics ensured Sanitaire was able to capitalize on the timeframe. Focusing media outreach and LinkedIn content efficiently and effectively engaged Sanitaire’s target audiences – decision makers in the healthcare, education, office and hospitality commercial facility industries, and editors at the top trade outlets.

To increase media traction and exceed coverage goals, LCWA leveraged new product news and thought-leadership partnerships with a press release distribution and media outreach. For social, posts on Sanitaire’s LinkedIn page – including graphics, links, on-site videos and opportunistic content – engaged target audiences and partners.

This concentrated media and social media strategy, combined with months of relationship building with key trade editors and building Sanitaire’s LinkedIn presence, paid off. LCWA was able to help cut through the clutter and exceed benchmarks, with numerous media booth meetings, media coverage, and more than 30,100 impressions, nearly 7,800 video views and hundreds of clicks on LinkedIn.

Before, during and after the show, LCWA helped Sanitaire reach its target audiences and capitalize on the increased attention on the commercial cleaning industry to amplify its messages and new products. We look forward to working with Sanitaire on strategic programs to make a big splashes on social and in the trades with big announcements in 2019!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Four Questions to Ask when Choosing an Influencer Partner

Influencers are an important part of many public relations campaigns. They help grow brand and product awareness and can increase traction on social media. However, not all
influencers fit every campaign. Part of the allure of influencers is the individual, personal perspectives they provide. Here are four questions to consider when choosing influencer partners:

1) What are your goals from this influencer partnership?

Before beginning the search for an influencer partner, it is important to set up clear goals for your program. First, understand what you are hoping this partnership will do for your brand. This may include generating brand awareness or growing product sales.

Once you have your overall program goals, it also is important to determine how you will measure success by establishing key performance indicators (KPIs). Website clicks, social media engagements and overall impressions are valuable metrics to consider. Depending on the program, it may be best to include multiple types of analytics.

When crafting your program, it is important to be aware of the reach of each influencer. Large impressions are helpful toward your KPIs, however it is also important to consider the number of social media followers and typical engagements on blog posts and social content. When analyzing the influencer’s content as a whole, it may be best to choose those with smaller, however more active and engaged following, to reach your program goals.

2) Does the influencer fit for your audience?

Now that program goals are finalized, understanding your target audience is important when choosing an influencer. Start with your target audience – perhaps millennial females who cook – and work backward. If you are entering a new geographic market, then promoting your brand with influencers in the area will be important.

To help your program succeed, influencers should represent a similar look and feel as your brand to best fit your target audience. Many influencers consider themselves in the lifestyle category, however when reading their content, does it match the personality your brand wants to portray? Finding a blogger who meshes with your brand, such as a outdoor photography blogger for a camera company, is a natural fit – and will make great content for the brand and the influencer.

3) Is the topic ultimately a good fit for the influencer?

You may find some influencers who provide high-quality content, however understanding the typical content they cover is central for a successful campaign. Your campaign should be something the influencer might actually write about – not just content published and quickly forgotten. For instance, a food blogger may be health conscious and talk about making healthy choices. But as a meal-oriented site, it may not be a good fit for a disease awareness post unless it has a clear tie to food such as diabetes or celiac disease.

Competitor coverage is also important to consider. A quick search can determine if the influencer has covered one in the past, but it is also worth asking about. For example, Ford would not want a blogger who recently posted about Dodge to then share why they love Ford vehicles a month later.

The ultimate goal in a partnership is to make the content feel as authentic as possible to the reader – and for the influencer. Finding an individual who is an avid supporter for your brand or product, and wants to share that with their network, is priceless.

4) Are the expectations from the partnership clear for both you and the influencer?

After confirming the influencer is a fit and you begin negotiation, it is crucial to be as clear as possible about what you expect from the partnership. Outlining expectations down to the number of blog and social posts, specific messaging and hashtags or links to use ensures that what they create will be in line with your campaign. Providing a deadline will keep the influencer on a schedule, and have you both on a timeframe to be accountable for providing materials.

By securing these details through a contract, both parties will be happy with the results. A positive experience with you and the brand can lead to the ultimate goal of creating an ongoing brand advocate. Managing minute details in the beginning can help build lasting relationships for you and your client.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Leveraging Twitter to Drive Conversations about North American Forests

We helped our client Boise Paper and its partner, the organization #forestproud, share messages about the importance of forests. The organizations joined together for a very successful Twitter chat using the hashtag #beforestproud.

To help take the message far and wide, we partnered with a lifestyle blogger, Family Focus Blog, to host the chat. The blogger asked questions, while Boise Paper and #forestproud provided expertise touching on many forestry subjects, including the importance of using wood-based products and managing the sustainability of forests.

Through engaging content, appealing graphics and an interesting topic, the chat garnered more than 2,300 unique tweets and over 9.4 million impressions. To learn more about the #forestproud mission and goals, visit its website, https://forestproud.org/, or social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Celebrating the Decision to #ChooseSleep with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Recently, LCWA’s healthcare PR team a completed a campaign to help our client the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) promote the sleep medicine profession and emphasize sleep medicine fellowship training programs. The #ChooseSleep campaign ran during the time when doctors who have completed a medical residency were going through the fellowship matching process, with an emphasis on choosing a sleep fellowship training program.

First, LCWA created social media content using #ChooseSleep, starting with the opening of sleep fellowship rankings, when future fellows ranked which medical schools they preferred, through Match Day. These future sleep fellows going through the Match process were given access to resources, reminders of notable dates and key messages about the benefits of a sleep fellowship and a career in the field.

Next, LCWA partnered with current sleep fellow and AASM member Dr. Brandon Seay as he hosted a “Facebook Live” on the AASM page. Future sleep fellows learned what to expect during the remaining steps of the Match process and what they can look forward to in the next stage of their careers

To further encouraging the use of and engagement with #ChooseSleep, LCWA then conducted a #ChooseSleep hashtag sweepstakes on Twitter, which incorporated the trending #FellowMatch and #MatchDay hashtags. Participants, with help from Dr. Seay, celebrated the hard work of future sleep fellows, the benefits of a sleep medicine career and the importance of sleep medicine.

Finally, to reach medical and pre-med students directly at the resources they use to help make career decisions, LCWA secured an upcoming byline from AASM member Dr. Khurshid on the site Prospective Doctor, and placed an eye-catching digital banner ad on Life of a Med Student.

Overall, the two-month program achieved more than 103,500 impressions and nearly 1,600 engagements Facebook and Twitter, and 140,000 online impressions on medical student resources.

The above initiatives maximized conversations and built buzz around the Match process and Match
Day – recognizing the upcoming group of sleep fellows, and engaging with the sleep medicine community and the public. We look forward to continuing helping AASM push the sleep medicine profession forward in 2019!