Tag Archives: writing

The PR Story: Why controlling the narrative matters

image-93“It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.” Errol Flynn

For professionals in the public relations industry, a part of our job description is storytelling. We’re tasked with the goal of creating a story to go behind a brand, a product, or our client. It is a chance for us to think strategically about how we want our clients to be represented in their industry, as well as to their target audience.

The story that is created is a valuable asset. It is a unique representation of your client that helps differentiate themselves in the market, and to help establish ways for their audience to identify with their brand. Alongside any valuable asset come potential threats that could
compromise its worth.

Whether you’re facing a product recall, an offensive commercial, or a political candidate that has alienated a group of constituents, you lose control of the story. The story is now in the hands of the public, and how they view the narrative from the outside in is the only thing
framing their judgment.

As PR professionals, we are responsible for regaining control of the story. In other words, telling the narrative as it is within the organization. It’s about being transparent and honest to regain the respect of your most important stakeholders. Every hour in a crisis is crucial time. The longer you take to tell your side of the story, the more time the public and the media has to
create the story for you. It’s natural for humans to logically create reason, when reason isn’t given.

The point to drive home in this article is why controlling the narrative matters. For every minute you spend analyzing the crisis, your audience is losing faith in your ability to tell the truth. “Tell it all, tell it fast, and tell the truth” is the crisis management motto. As PR professionals, we have the skill-set to create the story. The story that is created for you isn’t always going to be the truth, making it difficult for you to reestablish trust with your stakeholders. The challenge is to tell the story before it’s created for you.

Why else does controlling the narrative matter? Sound off in the comments below or tweet me @Sam__Dickson.

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The Blogging Basics

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“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams

The online world is filled with blogs, each one distinctively unique to its author. The trouble is, you want to start one, but you’re not sure where to begin. You’ve already taken the first step by considering it. Now, what’s your next move? Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to help you get started.

Choose your topic.

This is your first step to creating a blog, and arguably the hardest. When choosing to start a blog, you have to pick a topic you are passionate about. Passion will drive the content. If you don’t pick a topic you can write about often, you’ll run out of ideas fast. Take some time to think this step through – don’t settle.

Pick a platform.

There are dozens of options for blogging platforms out there right now: WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, and the list goes on. It is a decision that will really come down to
preference, and which platform enables you to make the most out of your blog.

Strategize a brand identity.

This will be something you incorporate into your domain name and social media platforms. You want to create a blog name that is representative of you and what the blog stands for. Again, settle for something you love.

Selecting a design template.

This is where the fun begins! Start to play around with designs and formatting. It is great to have a week or two to familiarize yourself with the platform. This also allows you some time to create a header. Remember, patience is key!

Prepare some posts and a planning calendar.

It is great to get into the habit of having posts ready to be made public when the date comes. Brainstorming ideas beforehand will help keep posts consistent. This also helps you to maintain new content that doesn’t sound repetitive.

Keep it consistent.

Remember to keep up with the blog. Pick a day of the week where a post must go up. Stick with this day (or more than one!). The more time you leave between posts creates a loss in
readership. Readers want continuity and creativity.

Once you’ve jump-started your blog, be proud of it. Recognize how much work and effort you’ve put into it!

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Content Strategies: Creating Quality Material

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“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
- Maya Angelou

It goes without saying that everyone loves an easy and enjoyable read. Connecting with your
audience is a pivotal part of brand building and engagement. One area of struggle individuals, companies, and/or organizations run into is creating good content. More specifically, there is
always difficulty in conjuring up new and refreshing content that makes your audience want to act on. Whether it’s an article for your company blog, or a Facebook post promoting a new
product line, being strategic about your material can help boost interaction. But, how?

First, it’s important to research and understand your audience. Sometimes companies can make the mistake of assuming they know who their audience is without really taking the time to look into the demographic breakdown. A simple error made in promoting aspects of a company is reaching out to individuals who aren’t necessarily your largest audience. Take time to create
surveys, focus groups, and scan your platforms to see what ages are interacting with your
services. If you understand your audience, messages and content can be tailored towards them.

As well, it’s important to monitor and track what content is drawing in the most engagement. When you first begin producing content, take note of which articles and posts get the most
interaction. If topics that focus on social media monitoring get more attention than say, topics on employee management, perhaps your audiences want more messages tailored towards
social media usage. Also, be sure to use your analytic tools and metrics. These are a valuable
resource for determining which posts get the most interaction from users.

Another suggestion is to think outside the box. This means producing content that is creative and fun. In order to encourage your audience to participate with your content, you need to make sure that its worthy of engagement. If your company isn’t the type to usually make videos, perhaps it’s time to vary up the method of content production. To measure what your audience engages with, you need to vary up the methods for producing the content. Sometimes the least expected methods draw the most interaction. Creativity also means changing things up. Maybe have guest posts, interviews or Q&A sessions with industry professionals. The goal of your
content is to give your audience more reasons for interacting with your brand.

What are some of your suggestions for creating good content?

Sound off below, or tweet me @Sam__Dickson

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