The official blog of Nancy Marshall Communications
offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Public Relations: It’s a Mindset, Not a One-Time Activity

Nancy Marshall, CEO of Nancy Marshall Communications

Three Tips to Generate PR on an Ongoing Basis

I frequently talk with clients who say that they want to do “a little bit of PR.” When I hear that, I sometimes have to bite my tongue so as not to say “there’s no such thing as a little bit of PR.”

Public relations is a mindset. It’s something you need to be thinking about all the time. Well, maybe you don’t need to think about it as much as I do, because I really do think about it all the time (just ask my husband).  But  if you are always thinking about your relationship with the public, and your targeted publics in particular, then you are more likely to experience success with building your brand.

Here are three tips that will help you think like a PR professional:

1. Share helpful information with your targeted publics

Leverage social media—post on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter on how to accomplish something in your field of work.

Give a speech to the local Rotary explaining the latest trends in your industry.

Host an informational workshop for your clients and friends at a local community center in your area of business.

2. Watch the news of the day to see how you might be able to offer expertise.

Recently there was a train crash and oil explosion in Lac Megantic, Quebec, right over the border from Maine. Anyone with experience in how trains work, or the way oil is prone to burn uncontrollably, could speak with authority to the news about this tragedy. Or an expert in psychotherapy could talk about how you should talk to your children about tragic events.  Figuring out ways to adapt a national news story and leverage it for your own PR is called “newsjacking,” and it’s an amazingly effective public relations technique.

3. Look for opportunities to share the news of your business.

Have you hired a new employee?  Send out a press release with his or her head shot. Have you taken on a new client or customer? That’s a good reason for a press release, as well. How about an award or a published article? That’s newsworthy. A new invention, patent, or trademark? Yes, that’s also a reason to reach out to the news media. 

 

A little bit of PR will do just that:  get you a little bit of PR. But if you are always thinking about how to get your news out there to your targeted audiences and raise your profile with the public, then you are more likely to benefit from increased awareness in the marketplace.

United We Tweet

NMC Account Assistant, Erika Bush

“Maine Olympian Joan Benoit Samuelson is running in today’s Boston Marathon, marking the 30th anniversary of her record-breaking win in 1983…” plays on the local radio station on my drive into work.

Marathon Monday!

I joked with my Mom on the ride in about Maine and Massachusetts having their own holiday, and later in the office explained why Patriot’s Day is a big deal—reminiscing on the reenactments of the Battles of Lexington and Concord that I attended as a kid each April vacation.

Being the huge fan of social media that I am, I kept dibs on the marathon via Twitter most of the day and I was happy to hear that Samuelson had finished the marathon within 30 minutes of her original pace—newsworthy, I thought. However, we all know how the day ended.

The marathon bombings in Boston on Monday marked the first incident of their kind in the new age of social media and exemplified the crucial role social media plays in a time of crisis.

Breaking news and support were expressed using the #BostonMarathon and #PrayForBoston hash-tags.

Twitter stole the show, breaking the news to me when a single Tweet, “Explosion at the finish line rocks the Boston Marathon,” appeared in my stream. Then on Facebook, our local news affiliate posted a similar status update as a developing story.

Within minutes a hashtag had been created, #bostonmarathon, for people to track the latest updates, and reporters began using it as a way to rebuke false stories and to give the public news as it happened. Within 30 minutes, support began pouring in from around the country and world using #prayforboston.

In the midst of the chaos PR professionals and various CEOs suggested that any prescheduled Tweets be canceled, and that the focus should be on the victims and their families. No more business for the remainder of the day.

Former Bostonians and other influencers reached out with messages of support.

Meanwhile, Google simultaneously launched Google Person Finder for the Boston Marathon while the Red Cross promoted their Safe and Well site to help reunite and connect family members to marathon participants.

Newscasters everywhere began to ask people to not call each other, but rather to text, update a Facebook status or even Tweet their loved ones to let them know they were OK. Law enforcement also embraced social media, asking for people to send any and all images they had from the finish line via text, Facebook and Tweet as a way to gather evidence.

Within a few hours Twitter began to fill with nods to random acts of kindness. Bostonians were offering meals to runners and opening their homes to strangers, and humanity was shown through posts using the #bostonhelp hashtag. Restaurants offered free meals and hotels offered free stays—Brooklyn Academy of Music displayed their love for Boston, projecting a Martin Luther King quote, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that,” on the side of a campus building.

Looking for a place to crash? Hungry? #bostonhelp is a great resource.

This support continued well into Tuesday when the Chicago Tribune posted an advertisement bringing the two cities together; various states also showed their support by creating banners and images to convey a united front of love and support for the Boston community.

Even the longstanding rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees ceased to exist when the Yankees announced via Twitter that they had put up a sign on their stadium stating, “United We Stand,” with the Yankees and Red Sox emblem on either side. They continued to honor Boston on Tuesday night with a moment of silence, and by playing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at the end of the third, a treasured tradition at Fenway Park.

While the whole story is still unknown, and many of the details are still developing, the message is clear—social media connects us all. Twitter was a shining star in light of Monday’s horrific events, and three hashtags were able to provide information and support to a city and country in need.

Contributed by Erika Bush

 

 

All of us at Nancy Marshall Communications are profoundly saddened by tragedy that took place on Monday. Our hearts go out to the families of those whose lives were lost, as well as those whose bodies were maimed and injured. We are in awe of the way city officials, residents and visitors came together to support one another, especially emergency and medical personnel. As much as an event like this is unimaginably horrible, it also brings out the best of our collective humanity in its aftermath. May this kind of senseless violence and tragedy never happen again.

—Nancy Marshall, Principal, Nancy Marshall Communications

Social Media and Kids

KVYMCA Program Coordinator and Camp Director, Johanna King

The never ending debate on how old is old enough to participate in social media can be tricky, especially since it is now readily available to people of all ages, children in particular. This week’s Monday Maine Maven, KVYMCA program coordinator and Camp KV director, Johanna King, is well aware of the pressure and bullying that can be found on social media sites, but she believes many concerns can be resolved with open communication, education on social media etiquette and programs that instill positive self-esteem.

King has been working with children for a very long time. She started coaching soccer camps in high school, volunteered at her church’s summer Bible school and did a lot of babysitting. Since graduating from the University of Maine at Orono, she has worked part-time at Indian Elementary School as a tutor and, after receiving her ACE certification as a group exercise instructor, she landed a job working for the KVYMCA as their program coordinator and camp director.

Johanna gives a high-five to a camper last summer.

This role has been a perfect fit. Johanna says, “I went to so many camps growing up and have wonderful memories of camp. It is great to be on the other side of the experience and be able to help create those same great memories for kids today.” A part of this experience is using social media to share these memories with the parents of summer campers.

Johanna King has a firm grasp on social media needs for organizations like the KVYMCA. King adds, “People don’t want to sit down and read a long brochure, they want their information to be more succinct using images and less text; they want information from sites they’re already using such as Facebook and Twitter.” Johanna says that is why social media awareness is so important for not only children, but for communities as well. The information received is the information that is given, and so much of that information is found through the daily use of social media.

That is why King says, “This year, my goal is to update the YMCA Facebook page with a picture and short description each day for the parents to check out while they are at work or at home to see what their children are up to throughout the day.” Facebook and other social media sites are increasing awareness of the KVYMCA and their programs, but one new program is particularly popular due the Olympian namesake that hosts the session.

Johanna with Learning Center Director, Ranae L’Italien and Olympian, Julia Clukey during a recent camp program planning session.

That Olympian would be Julia Clukey. Johanna says, “Social media definitely plays a part in the need for programs like Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls. It is incredibly important to teach kids that their self-worth isn’t correlated to how many Facebook friends they have or how many people have liked their status updates.”

During a recent planning meeting with Clukey and the KV Camp team, they were able to establish the curriculum of this summer’s program. The camp will feature themes such as “Be Healthy,” “Be Your Best,” and “Be Caring.” Kings says, “We received wonderful feedback from parents of Clukey campers and we know that we will be having a lot of repeat campers, so it is important that we present the information in a way that is new to the girls that attended last year.” Programs such as Julia Clukey’s Camp for Girls help promote positive reflections of oneself, resulting in confident young women.

To learn more about the summer programs offered by the KVYMCA and to connect with Johanna, you may email her at johanna@kvymca.org.

The Difference Between Subscribers, Fans and Followers

I receive daily emails from Brian Solis, who is an expert on defining the convergence of media and influence. His recent post on “The Difference Between Friends, Fans and Followers” was very interesting and I recommend you read it.  One thing I learned from reading this post is that Twitter has a new website totally geared toward businesses that are trying to use Twitter for marketing. 

Brian describes the various roles of the audiences or participants in social networks. His post reinforced for me how important it is for us (as marketers) to have goals in mind when we enter into a dialogue with our social networks. The technique of message mapping which we use at Nancy Marshall Communications provides an excellent foundation to guide our conversations in social networks and to keep us on message, and on strategy. Otherwise we may be wasting our time in social networks without having any idea of what we are trying to accomplish. Here is my template for Developing a Strategic Communications Plan for your organization which includes setting goals for all your communications as well as creating a message map.

Build Your Business in 140 Characters (or Fewer!)

Here’s an article by Sarah Fuller, who is an account executive at my agency, Nancy Marshall Communications. It was first published in “The NMC Report” which is our free bi-weekly enewsletter. Go to www.marshallpr.com to sign up to receive it by email every other week. It is loaded with articles and information on the intersection of social media and PR.

Twitter has become social media’s equivalent of the classic elevator pitch. It’s a well-known technique – if you had a prospective client, CEO or other prospect in an elevator for 30 seconds, how would you describe what your company does in an interesting and to-the-point manner? Twitter is the modern, online and mobile version of this. Continue reading “Build Your Business in 140 Characters (or Fewer!)” »

Combining Social Media with Blogs and E-newsletters

I’m fond of Constant Contact, the company we use for all our e-mail marketing. They have a great product and they stand behind it with great service. Now they are also in the game of social media as a way to complement e-mail marketing. I liked the case study they put out today because the woman they profiled has a blog, an e-newsletter, and a Twitter account, as do I. She cross-sells her e-newsletter using her blog and Twitter, as do I!

Continue reading “Combining Social Media with Blogs and E-newsletters” »

Talking About Social Media in a Room Filled with Great Energy in Skowhegan, Maine

This morning, Greg Glynn from my agency team and I presented a seminar on Social Media for Small Businesses at the Skowhegan Community Center. The workshop was sponsored by our client, Skowhegan Savings.  We talked about how small businesses need to define their goals, their identity, and their key messages before diving into the pool of social media. We recommended that people who are totally new to social media start by establishing an account on Linked In to start experimenting with the power of increasing your network of contacts. Continue reading “Talking About Social Media in a Room Filled with Great Energy in Skowhegan, Maine” »

To plurk or to twitter, that is the question?

I’ve signed up for quite a few social networking sites over the past several months. I feel that if I am going to recommend social media marketing to my clients, I need to have first-hand experience. One of the sites that is the most difficult for me to stay up on is Twitter.  It’s designed as a way for you to convey to your ‘social network’ what you are doing, or where you are, on an hour-by-hour basis throughout the day. Continue reading “To plurk or to twitter, that is the question?” »