Category: Snack on This

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Digital PR Snack on This

Your Awesome Content Is Useless, Until…

One of the things I love most about the combination of content marketing with search engine optimization (SEO) is how beautifully they work in concert together. It amplifies the content and, if the keyword research phase is done correctly, puts that content squarely in front of exactly the right audience at exactly the right time.

Why invest in content if nobody sees it?

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Fill Your Slow-Moving PR Pipeline Pitching Vertical Markets

I have a local bank client that just started working with me in September. In Arizona, most business publications run their finance issues in November and December; therefore, I expected a frenzy of pitching immediately, followed by a lull.

That dreaded lull. That gap between editorial placements where your client starts questioning value of the PR retainer, even asking, “What have you done for me this month?” Or, in the case of more difficult clients, “… in the last five minutes?” 

Content Marketing Snack on This

Adding Playlists to a Blog Post? HOW FUN!

Let’s try an experiment… Click the > button on the playlist below, then pop back up and read this blog post while it plays.
Sure, reading keeps your eyes and brain busy…. but what about your ears?

Sensory branding is an emerging marketing tactic that helps create emotion using more than just one sense – it creates an emotional reaction that is linked to that brand. It doesn’t have to mean adding scent to a direct mail piece that people inhale when opening the envelope or handling out tchotchkes they can hold in their hands – it can also include audio.

And who doesn’t love music? Everyone does.

Like a jingle in a commercial that sticks in your mind, audio can be powerful.

Adding a playlist to a piece of content probably isn’t exactly what some have in mind when they think of sensory branding… but why not? It’s fun! And I think it’s a teeny tiny bit outside of the box, maybe?

Snack on This

Snack on This: Client Love Languages

I’m not taking the sudden onset of an empty nest very well. It’s heinous and I hate it.

I raised my children in a home with constant activity, constant flow of children in and out and, yes, a bit of chaos. I like it that way. We’re comfortable with it.

It’s a much quieter home these days and it’s been a particularly difficult transition for me.

I think I finally figured out why.

Have you ever read any of Gary Chapman’s books related to love languages? They are fascinating, incredible reads that help you understand there are five basic ways people feel loved. I purchased the teen version a few years ago called “The Five Love Languages of Teenagers: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively.”

It’s incredibly valuable and the results of the book’s survey told us that all three of us – my son, my daughter and myself – each have A DIFFERENT LOVE LANGUAGE that makes us each feel accepted and loved within our family.

My daughter is touch, my son is verbal affirmations and mine? Time spent together. OF COURSE. The very antithesis of teens leaving the nest and becoming independent. 

It explains a lot.

Anyway… clients have love languages, too. Not so much LOVE with a capital “L” love – but how they are comfortable in terms of communication styles. What makes them value you and feel you “get them.” It might be a specific kind of reporting, email updates, phone calls, text, regular happy hours… different clients need to communicate in different ways.

Not only that, but communicating to them in the WRONG way impacts retention. They aren’t happy.

Have you talked to them about their preferences? If not, maybe it’s time to figure it out and give ’em a little love.
What is the “snack on this” column? Short, fast reads that are a little more introspective, a little more personal and a little less educational.

Snack on This

Snack on This: Leveraging Audience

Yet another Cinderella movie is in the works for Disney – hopefully with a fresh, modern perspective wrapped in to make it different from the others. At least it’s not animated. But what makes this interesting from a PR perspective?

Wait for it………. it’s BRILLIANT.

Leveraging the millions of little girls who were captivated by the movie Frozen and still obsess over it over fifteen months later – buying millions of dollars in merchandise and making it the top selling 2014 Halloween costume – a ticket to see Cinderella ALSO gives you access to Frozen Part Deux, in the form of a short animated film called Frozen Fever.

The only way those kids can see Frozen Fever is to buy a ticket to Cinderella. Why do I love this so much? Disney is leveraging the existing audience devoted to Frozen to drive traffic, reach and awareness for another movie that targets the same audience and might have lukewarm reaction. LOVE it.

So – the thought I leave you with is this: how can YOU leverage an existing audience or an owned media asset to accomplish a new PR goal?

(Related – this @DailyDot post is an interesting read about how the movie Frozen changed Disney’s stance on copyright infringement.)

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Snack on This: Smartphone Addiction

This year, I tried more than ever before to truly be in the moment during the holiday season. I’m all too aware that my teenagers are about to fly the nest and I’ll be alone.
I’m not scared about the word “alone,” though, since it opens the door to Carrie 2.0. I have some interesting things planned now that I can focus on my own wants and needs!
Being in the moment can bring you to some interesting realizations…. Like how false of a necessity our smartphones are. At least when the work day is done.

Why do we bring it to the holiday dinner table? Why do we let texts interrupt our conversations with loved ones and ability to actually be in the moment? Why do we let it interrupt our driving, our flow, our moments to the tune of THOUSANDS of interruptions each day?

I’m beginning to set it aside during important times. Family time, working on my book, conversations, dinner. I put my phone on silent and turn it face down.

What can you do to free yourself?

It’s a good thing to figure out when a phone is truly important and when it’s just an excuse to NOT be in the moment.

(What is the “Snack on This” column? Uber-quick reads more related to lifestyle, habits and inspiration than public relations. I hope you enjoy them.)

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Snack on This: Goals, Agendas & Secrets in Social Media

I have secrets. Big ones that dominate my life every single day. They aren’t juicy or scandalous, but they are something I can’t share outside of close friends for family privacy reasons.

I’m one of those kind of people that can’t lie worth a damn and doesn’t really keep secrets of my own. I blurt out everything.

I do keep the occasional stash of chocolate hidden from my kids – which comes out into the open if they are smart enough to ASK if I have one – and I do tend to not tell people that because I work so much, my housekeeping usually leaves something to be desired. I’d also rather write something than clean house or do yard work – but I wouldn’t say those are secrets.  When I think of secrets, I think of something bigger. Something the person holding the secret REALLY doesn’t want to come out into the open.

Agendas can be seen that way, too, but they shouldn’t be interpreted as a bad thing. (Well, unless their agenda IS something bad. Duh.) 

In a business setting, I prefer to think of them as unspoken goals.

I caught a tweet the other day that criticised influencers for being semi-transparent and having an agenda. But don’t we all have an agenda on social media? It might be brand visibility and engagement, or it might be growing an audience for a personal brand…. but we all have agendas.
Yesterday, a very smart woman in my Above The Noise Facebook group (email me if you want in) said…

“To me a goal is the “what” and the agenda is the “why”. That is to say, if your goal is to increase market share by 25%, your agenda could be to become the dominant market leader for your industry.”

Good stuff, right? Her name is Robyn Itule and you can connect with her here.
What’s your agenda? Does it fit into a defined strategy?

Snack on This

Snack on This: What Does Success Look Like?

I’ve changed my views on success over the last year – from money and influence to mindfulness and surrounding myself with what makes me happy. I’ve made a concerted effort to have a life instead of living for work.

Ironically enough, that’s when all the best things started happening.

I started to find myself again – rediscovering what I am passionate about, what fuels my energy, how I can help my teenagers grow into the amazing adults they are becoming, how to BE MORE POSITIVE and live in the moment.

I redecorated my living room to be beautiful and it makes me happy every time I’m in it. I picked up a few hobbies. I started hanging out with  friends instead of letting my introverted nature push me into my cave. I quit focusing on my children so hard and set them free. I’m still a helicopter parent, but I’m improving.

It’s been an interesting experiment.

Whenever you ask someone how they are doing, do you hear, “I’m really busy!” or “I’ve been working insanely hard lately!!”?

It seems like a universal answer that everyone gives. Are we measuring how successful we are in life by how BUSY we are?

It’s not the same thing. It’s not a badge of honor, either; it’s a gigantic red flag waving in our faces that everyone ignores.

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Snack on This: Be in the Moment

Yesterday, I watched my son enroll in college. The week before, I watched get out of my car to start his first day of high school, shaken by the tsunami of change in his life. The day before that – I swear it was just the day before – I watched his three-year-old self race across the floor at daycare screaming “MOMMY!!!!!!!!” at the top of his lungs, as if he hadn’t seen me in weeks, instead of just four hours before.

It’s ridiculous how fast you can blink and miss important moments. Why? Because your mind was on the next deadline, the next pitch, the next insane, pressure-filled thing you are juggling along with a dozen other things.
What are you missing?
I’ve been in the industry for over twenty years now, and a (mostly single) parent for eighteen of those years. Six of those years self-employed. In looking back, the one thing I would change would be to set a firmer line between work hours and non-work hours, putting work completely aside when the business day ends. Saving every precious minute at home with my children being IN THAT MOMENT, fully present and fully engaged.

I was better at that when employed than I’ve been as a business owner, but I work every day at improving.
Being in the moment opens unexpected doors
Even something as simple as providing parental taxi service to a rollerskating rink takes on new meaning when you are present, listening to the back-seat chatter of teenagers and learning more about your teenager’s life then you do in a direct conversation. Quietly snickering in the front seat is a private pleasure when you enjoy the moment.

I’ve also learned a surprising thing lately. When you are focused on the moment, your life changes. You become more joyful, more grateful, just… MORE.

Are you living in the moment?

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Snack on This

Snack on This: Work/Life Balance

One of my favorite books this year was “The One” by Gary Keller. It puts forward the idea that work/life balance is a myth and that focus is the surprisingly simple truth behind achieving extraordinary results.

I agree.

It doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy and appreciate both, but that it doesn’t take a 50/50 balance to be happy. If you are working on something you are passionate about, you are much happier even when that balance is heavily skewed in favor of work, instead of life – but it’s also critical to channel that passion into a single-minded focus that allows amazing things to happen.