Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Shifting Expertise from Office to Home During the Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic took its grip on the world in March, office workers suddenly changed to a new “work from home” structure. Our client Boise Paper, which has carved out a social media niche as an expert on “Office Life,” needed to adjust its content and pivot messaging to better appeal to a drastically different workforce.  To achieve this, we worked with them to adjust to timely topics and provide needed advice to workers via its blog and social channels. 
  • Working remotely won’t disappear post-pandemic, so the Boise Paper blog provides a perfect opportunity to provide valuable insight on how to be both productive and happy while working from home. Post topics included getting acquainted with Zoom meetings, how to maintain professional development remotely and ideas for how to build teammate rapport at a distance.
  • On Boise Paper’s social channels, we also shared remote working tips that followers could relate to. Additionally, we bridged the content to highlight community topics of interest during the pandemic. In particular, we drove awareness of Boise Paper’s partner the American Red Cross’s blood donation shortage. We also highlighted employee efforts band together to make masks for employees. The shift in content direction not only highlighted things of interest to followers, but also allowed Boise Paper to support its partners and communities from afar.
Check out Boise Paper’s social pages – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – and blog for more career advice – whether you are working from an office or your home!

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Global Partners Set the Tone for PR in ‘Era of Responsibility’

There’s no doubt that the public relations industry has faced new challenges during the global pandemic. Whether it be reduced marketing budgets, saturated media landscapes or decreased consumer engagement, PR pros have seized the opportunity to find creative communication solutions while strengthening brand authenticity. To stay up to date while navigating COVID-19 and heightened social activism, we’ve turned to the expertise of our Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) partners for global trends and insights:
  • As consumers spend more time online, managing clients’ web reputation has never been more important. According to our PRGN partner Toomas Kull of Cabinet PrivĂ© de Conseils, S.A. in Geneva, Switzerland, The Five Pillars of Online Reputation Management point to building cohesive messaging and transparency. Consumers crave authenticity, but it has to be backed up with integrity, and more importantly, with brand action. Adapt content to be timely and reflect a concern for what your audience cares about by listening, staying informed and staying engaged.
  • As states reopen, agencies will begin to revisit in-person event planning. According to Keri McIntosh of The Castle Group in Maui, Hawaii, event planning must place a substantial emphasis on public health and safety. Reinventing the Live Event Experience – Key Considerations for Meeting Planners includes taking significant, transparent precautions to ensure that vendors are vetted and credible, venues are compatible with social distancing and participants are informed. Most importantly, planners must integrate and document COVID-19 protocols into official emergency response planning.
  • In an exploration of Female leadership and PR: What have they in common?, PRGN partners’ Alessandra Malvermi of Sound Public Relations in Milan, Italy, discusses the value of having women in leadership roles within the industry. At a time when empathetic, complex communications are essential, the value of skills that are often owned by women must become central to communications strategy.
  • Going back to the basics might be exactly what your clients’ social feed needs. Canadian PRGN partner’s Ashleigh Cartier of Media Profile in Toronto claims that now It’s Time for a Social Media Marketing Reset. For starters, foster two-way conversations on social media platforms rather than one-way content pipelines. Focus on quality of content rather than quantity. Lastly, think of your social audience as a huge focus group. Listen to what they have to say!
  • Dawn Burke of Cullen Communications in Dublin, Ireland, provides relevant insight on How to communicate in our new era of responsibility. Now is not the time for brands to go silent, but rather to reflect on communication strategy, core values, community engagement and how to build or rebuild public trust. If done right, brands will come out of the pandemic stronger than when they entered it.
Balancing public safety, marketing and credibility to meet the emerging needs of consumers during COVID-19 has placed a larger responsibility on companies to steer conversations and set authentic, progressive standards. We’re proud to have a strong partners in our global network of independent agencies to collaborate with as we navigate newfound public relations challenges and opportunities.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Five Tips to Prepare for a Successful Zoom Interview

The media landscape has shifted significantly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Instead of in-studio or in-person interviews, virtual interviews using videoconferencing tools like Zoom have become the norm.

To prepare for success, below are five useful tips to make the most out of a virtual video interview:
  • Secure your setting – Pick a quiet, well-lit spot to do the interview without an elaborate backdrop so that you can be the focal point on the screen. Remove anything distracting behind you and keep it neutral.
  • Prepare your technology – Use a computer if possible, and put your camera at eye-height, using a computer stand or stack of books if needed. Ahead of time, test the lighting to ensure it is not too bright and test the sound. Don’t forget to clean your camera lens, too!
  • Think about appearance and body language – When it comes to what you wear, treat the video interview like an in-person interview and dress professionally. Also, be sure to have good posture but don’t be stiff – hold yourself up and be relaxed! Double check your Zoom username and picture as well to ensure that they are both interview appropriate.
  • Eliminate possible interruptions – If you are interviewing in a space with multiple people or pets, be sure to let everyone in the area know ahead of time that you will be in an interview while securing any distractions away from your interview space. Also, make sure all other windows on your computer are closed and turn off any notifications to prevent sounds during your interview.
  • Practice, practice, practice! – Consider doing a practice interview to test the technology beforehand so that when it’s interview time, you are prepared. Try to look directly at the video camera to maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer. One trick here is to center the face of the other person on your screen to be right below your camera.

Keeping these best practices in mind will help you make the most out of any video interview. Check out these recent Zoom interviews we secured on behalf of our clients the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) and Monte Nido & Affiliates:
  • HCPLive – Featuring Dr. Gregory Cosgrove, chief medical officer of the PFF
  • WFLD-TV (FOX, Chicago) – Featuring Melissa Spann, chief clinical officer at Monte Nido & Affiliates (pictured)

Thursday, July 9, 2020

It Might Be Time to Think Small(er)

The current challenges presented by the pandemic have resulted in enormous changes in the way we do business. Companies are reevaluating how they work, reconsidering processes, systems, office spaces, vendors and budgets. This transitional period might be an excellent time to take a closer look at your public relations agency to ensure you are maximizing your budgets and getting the level of services you need and deserve. In other words, it might be time to go small(er)!
A mid-sized, independent agency offers a number of advantages over large, international conglomerates. Some of these pluses include:
  • Senior involvement: At a firm the size of LCWA, you’re guaranteed involvement from senior staff. At larger firms, senior members tend to “preside” over an account, while at smaller, mid-sized firms, senior folks jump right in and help with the actual planning and implementation of programs. The experience, skill set and insights of senior managers could prove invaluable during these unprecedented times. 
  • Flexibility: A smaller, independent firm is also a nimble firm, quick to respond to changing market conditions. Without a cumbersome bureaucracy to slow it down, good things can be accomplished in a shorter period of time.
  • Focused attention: Regardless of your budget, chances are you will be a big fish at a smaller pond (shop). With a shorter client roster, your business will get the attention it deserves. What’s more, your team will have the time to know your business – and industry – inside and out.
  • Global reach: A smaller firm doesn’t necessarily mean a local firm. Many mid-sized agencies offer national services, and also are affiliated with other like-sized firms around the world. This network of agencies will provide your business with diverse resources if needed. LCWA, for example belongs to the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), and works closely with partner agencies throughout the country and around the world on an as-needed-basis.
As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, this might be a good time to consider an independent public relations agency. The advantages listed above might just make it the right decision at the right time.