Archive for the 'Public Relations' Category

28
Mar
13

Public Relations Working Well: Evolving The Press Release Into The Information Release

canstockphoto9493898Discussions continue regarding validity of traditional press releases. Press releases were the traditional go-to channel used by public relations practitioners to share information with the media. Some consider press releases irrelevant in today’s society, where social media citizen journalists are breaking news first. This begs the question, with the evolution of the Internet and social media platforms, are press releases being phased out? Spoiler alert: No.

The popularity and use of social media sites has forced PR professionals to change how we communicate. Emails, cold calls and tweets have become more of the norm when sharing information with the press versus a conventional format-specific press release. Because social media has changed the way we do public relations, it’s becoming more common for journalists to overlook press releases, as they often search for news stories directly avoiding any possible bias.

Yet at the same time, good practitioners know how to tie effective public relations with good SEO. Using the distributed press release to increased links and keyword searches back to the corporate site increases organic search ratings. Additionally, press releases are used as a great form of “back-up” information when the original pitch piques a reporter’s interest.

While the terms are often interchanged, I consider a “news release” to include critical information of wide ranging impacts. When the release represents an official statement from an organization, speaks on behalf of a company when critical announcements need to be made, specific issues need to be addressed or stock prices may be impacted, “news releases” are still important.

Maybe the traditional press release isn’t really an alert to media outlets anymore. Maybe it’s better if we consider it an “information release”. We don’t use them much in pitching, but there is still a role for press releases in the practice of public relations.

Another morphing of the role of press releases is from a recent study stating that 66 percent of public relations consultants say the press release plays a very vital role in branding efforts on behalf of a company. In your opinion, will the typical press release continue to be effective or how much longer until its usefulness is eliminated in our social media-driven society? Share your thoughts with us!

04
Mar
13

Top 10 Things We Learned at the IFA Conference (Part 2)

In Part 1 of our Top 10 list, we shared franchise industry insights Tracy and I learned at the International Franchise Association (IFA) 2013 conference in Las Vegas. Today, we are rounding out our list with the marketing takeaways.

Kate Upton says that Carl's Jr. sandwich is spicyOne of the strategic marketing concepts that we thought was astute came from Andrew Pudzer, CEO of CKE Restaurants, describing the Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s ‘Young Hungry Guys’ target market. Andrew discussed at great length the Aspirational target market vs. Direct target market. This has manifested itself into a regular SuperBowl ad with some of the ‘it’ girls of the day. Last year’s ad was one of the most talked about after the big game and featured Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Kate Upton. You might think we mentioned this to give us a reason to feature Kate Upton in our blog, you might be right.

Here are the five marketing takeaways from IFA 2013:

1. 25 – 29% of ALL Internet traffic comes from a mobile device. The percentage is continually increasing. Businesses that choose to ignore creating a mobile optimized site or developing a mobile app are going to be in trouble. Consider this: if you gave a bad experience to 1 out of 4 prospects, would you fix the problem?

2.  SEO Killer: less than 1% of franchise business listings are accurate in the top three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo). It may be as simple as inconsistencies across business locations. I searched “UPS Store” and found these four results on the first page:

        • theupsstore.com                       –>  Thornton, CO
        • theupsstorelocal.com/2579      –>   Denver, CO (7th & Broadway)
        • shipgeorgetown.com                –>  Georgetown, TX
        • fsups.net                                  –>  Tallahassee, FL

3.  The overwhelming majority of franchisors we’ve met do not have the patience for social media. They keep talking about wanting some old school reactions instead of engagement, sharing or interactions. This attitude must change or Millennials will focus on brands that understand.A lack of consistency with the URLs means a more generic search like “package shipping” won’t include UPS Store locations. In fact, the search returned a US Post Office, 2 FedEX office locations and 1 DHL location.

Equally important point, do not hire interns or entry level newbies to “do” your social media. Being a digital native does not make someone a social media expert or marketer.

4. Google is working with the IFA to make Google more franchise-friendly. This is a important development for concepts that are not brick and mortar.

5. We’ve heard of success across different franchise systems using a retargeting program. Retargeting keeps track of people who visit your site and displays your retargeting ads to them as they visit other sites online. Every time your prospect sees your ad as it follow them, your brand gains traction and more recognition. This Kate Upton Carl's Jr.has resulted in higher click-through rates and increased conversions.

All interesting stuff you say, but we know you want more Kate Upton. OK, we get it.

Let us know if you think we missed something. Share your thoughts about IFA with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

18
Jan
12

Six Ways to Jazz up a Pitch

Journalists are very busy and get thousands of emails a day. So, even very well targeted news pitches can be overlooked. However, how can you break through the clutter and get your pitch read?

Here are a few tips of how to break through by jazzing up your pitch:

  1. Have a great subject line for your email or introductory sentence for your phone pitch. A subject line with six words or less is key.
  2. Pitch your story as a process story. If your content is not particularly interesting, how did you get to that point and is that more interesting? This might be particularly useful for research-based stories. Did you use any unique processes to achieve your results?
  3. Pitch your story to an unorthodox beat. Are you pitching a biking story, how about tying into fashion, food or business related to biking instead of the typical sport beat?
  4. Tie into a tread, and I am not talking about fringe boots here. What IS the media covering and how can you be a part of it? Today, if you have a way to tie into SOPA or PIPA, your chances of getting coverage are greatly increased. Or, how about a story about the ubiquitous Tim Tebow?
  5. Leverage your existing assets. As any good communicator could tell you, half of our jobs are to repurpose and reconfigure old content, coverage and concepts. Do you have a company mascot and a yearly contest? Can you tie the two together in an interesting way?
  6. Make it a multimedia pitch. Use video and photos. Pitch on Twitter and Facebook.

Make your pitch interesting to read, view or listen to, and you just might break through.

Got other ways to jazz up your pitch and break through? We would love to hear your comments – here on The Side Note, @Weise_Ideas on Facebook.

 

20
Sep
11

Top Ten Things We Learned at SHSMD2011

Attendees of SHSMD2011 are all dealing with re-entry work, attempting to sync their Poken and evaluating to-do lists based on the SHSMD conference. While everyone will have their personal take-aways, Jay Weise and I developed a top ten list of things we heard and learned in Phoenix.

1. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes provisions about IRS oversight of requirements that nonprofit healthcare providers must meet in order to maintain their tax-exempt status. Nonprofit organizations are seeking assistance to track community benefit programs and keep it in a format approved by the IRS. This is an opportunity for the right company.

2. HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) is a national survey that asks patients about their experiences during a recent hospital stay.  When will the general public adopt HCAHPS as criteria they use to select a hospital? Unfortunately, there is a lot of focus by hospital administration on these scores, but no evidence that a patient is using it in the hospital selection process.

3. The new buzzword, ‘Patient Experience’ Not patient-centered, not patient-centric, not patient-focused…Patient Experience.  This is intended to represent the totality of the interactions and perceptions of interactions between the patient and the health care facility. Patients with a more favorable experience are more likely to adhere to treatment protocol, have a positive outcome and provide favorable recommendations to others.

4. A big question from the conference: is government mandated health care constitutional? When will a ruling that provides certainty occur? How much legislative change will occur to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act prior to the large provisions taking effect in 2014?

5. From Michael Sachs’ keynote presentation on Friday, Constitutionality ruling on healthcare reform will not affect the macro trends in the healthcare industry.

6. Hospitals are waiting for someone to figure out a strategy for Accredited Care Organizations (ACO’s) before they adopt it. Right now there is too much uncertainty and confusion. ACO’s are too far away from current Key Performance Indicators.

7. From Jeff Bauer’s keynote presentation on Saturday, “By 2020, there will be more people living in the United States under 18 that were born outside the U.S. than were born inside the U.S.” The impact on medical treatments will be far-reaching. For example, men of Korean descent do not have the genetic enzyme to process the anti-depression drug, serotonin. How will this effect care, drug protocols, pharmaceutical company focus and online information?

8. Marketing strategist in healthcare organizations are the only people in the organization that can bring the customers point of view to strategy. Hospital Administrators are counting on the marketing strategist voice. Marketers need to speak up.

9. Healthcare marketers must consider the system of care is not inside the hospital walls, it is outside of it. Healthcare marketing strategists must take the leadership position and consider all entry points including: the website, community events, referral lines, physician offices, etc.

10. Integration across multiple platforms of data and across functional areas within a medical facility must occur to provide value to patients. The cost-efficiencies will be mandated in health care reform and are essential in a competitive environment.

Maybe we should have called this a top fourteen list because we have to include some of our favorite quotes:

“Patients fear rude doctors and nurses more than death.” – Colleen Sweeney, Director of Innovation, Ambassador, and Customer Services,
Memorial Health System, South Bend, IN

“HIPAA is the mullet of patient safety, your data is not as protected as you think.” – David McDonald, CEO, True North Custom Media, Chattanooga, TN

“Be realistic when setting Facebook goals for any hospital. Who really wants to LIKE a hospital?” – Dean Browell, Executive Vice President, Feedback, Richmond, VA

“The FDA has rejected many new cancer drugs because they were tested on the wrong kinds of cancer.” – Jeffrey C. (Jeff) Bauer, Ph.D. Health Futurist and Medical Economist, Chicago, IL

Want to find out more about what we learned at SHSMD 2011? Give us a call. Want to add to this list, share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

21
Jun
11

5 Ways to Get the Media to Pick Up Your Story – Part 1 of 3

Please welcome guest blogger, healthcare communications professional Rachel Brand who will bring The Side Note a series of three blogs for the next three weeks on health care public relations.

Do you want to write more compelling press releases and earn more coverage?

You should. Health care is ripe with dramatic medical rescues, fascinating technology, unsung heroes and stirring ethical debates. But these stories often don’t get told. That’s because pr pros are writing leads like this:

IMPORTANT RESOURCES FOR INSURANCE AGENTS, BROKERS, HEALTH-RELATED ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS

The new health insurance plan, authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is designed to provide coverage to uninsured individuals who have been denied health insurance or been offered only unaffordable options.

Sure, it’s important. But is it interesting? And – will it drive coverage?

1. Lead with the impact

For your next lede, ask yourself out loud, “what does it mean to the man in the green pick-up truck?” You can see him, across the park under the tree, sitting in his rusty forest green truck.

In other words, how does your news benefit, effect or change the lives of real people?

How about:

Thousands of uninsured Americans, desperate for healthcare coverage because they are chronically ill, can now see a doctor thanks to a new federally funded health insurance plan.

But what if your program doesn’t have any direct impact on people, at least not yet? Then…

2. Lead with people

Whether you are promoting a walk to fight cancer, a rally for homelessness, or the appointment of new CEO of your hospital, find a person and tell his or her story. Better, yet, tell the story of an important person in an unusual way.

Typical CEO appointment releases have headlines/first paragraphs like this:

LARRY LEADER APPOINTED CEO OF ST. ELIZABETH’S REGIONAL HOSPITAL

(Anytown, USA) Lawrence Leader, currently the COO of St. Elizabeth’s Regional Hospital, has been appointed CEO of the hospital. He takes over as current CEO Marcy Mercy retires after a long and distinguished career.

But what if you took a half hour to find out Larry’s story?

The results might be:

MEDIC, HOSPITAL PORTER, NOW CEO – ST. ELIZABETH’S NEW CEO HAS SEEN HEALTHCARE FROM THE BOTTOM UP

(Anytown, USA) Larry Leader’s mother, a first-grade schoolteacher in Moline, IL, used to count out coins from her wallet each Saturday morning before grocery shopping. Rarely was there extra to buy candy.

Poor but strong-willed Florence Leader pushed her children to go to college. Larry, the youngest of five, enrolled as an Army medic to pay for it. …

The moral of the story? Writing a compelling press release that leads with the impact or leads with people is a better way to get the media to notice your press release.

(Continued next week)

Rachel Brand is a healthcare communications professional who can teach writing over brown bag lunches at your company. Contact her at rachel (at) brandcommunicationsllc.com.


16
Jun
11

Health Care Marketing: Taking the Social Media Hippocratic Oath

Three key tips for physician-based social media

All physicians have a stake in their public perception; overlooking or minimizing the impact of social media in maintaining that presence is a recipe for disaster. With HIPAA regulations to consider, physicians are in a unique situation regarding their online persona. Here are a few tips designed to help physicians maintain a professional online presence and preserve the integrity of their relationship with patients. These tips are consistent with the American Medical Association social media policy released in November that highlight some of the things physicians should consider when focusing on their online presence.

Regularly monitor privacy settingsFacebook recently came under extreme scrutiny for unleashing face recognition software that provides identity suggestions for tagging people in photographs. A Los Angeles Times story describes the concerns which are part privacy and part the decision of Facebook to release the facial-recognition feature as an ‘opt-out’ feature. Massachusetts Rep. Edward J. Markey, co-chairman of the Congressional Privacy Caucus expressed his frustration, “Requiring users to disable this feature after they’ve already been included by Facebook is no substitute for an opt-in process.”  The only way to disable the feature is to update privacy settings.

Positioning information from a qualified source – The public needs information from the health care community. Providing information from a trusted, qualified health care professional will balance the misinformation gathered from outside sources including the Internet. The best way to do that is to be informative about medical conditions, research, and treatment options in general terms. It is much better to say ‘Adults with the ____ syndrome typically display ____ symptoms, ’ than it is to say, ‘I saw a patient today with _____ syndrome and he/she displayed ____symptoms.’ Even inadvertent disclosure of patient’s health information can be a violation of HIPAA.

Maintain separate personal and professional social media accounts – This tactic has the benefit of allowing for more candor in a personal account and information sharing that is more relevant to that specific account. The professional account will have more work-related messages, inquiries and information. One of the challenges is managing multiple accounts. The solution is to use a social media tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite. Just be sure you know which account you are using to send information at all times.

Most importantly, recognize that online actions and posted content can negatively affect physicians’ reputations and may have career consequences.

Tell us if you’ve implemented policies to guide physicians in their online reputation. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.

18
May
11

Public Relations Vlog: The Best of the Best from PRSA Counselors Academy 2011

I just returned from the Lowes Lake Las Vegas Resort and another fantastic Public Relations Society of America Counselors Academy. This is by far the best conference to attend to get advice on how to better service clients through a mix of counseling, strategic planning and focused business management.

It is also a lot of fun.

I lieu of a traditional conference recap, I have a video blog with insights from some of the Academy members. A big shout out thanks to Ashton Gilliard, our account coordinator, for her unbiased review of the footage available and her fine editing skills of my less than stellar videography skills.

Counselor’s Academy Peeps: See you next year in New Orleans!

10
Jan
11

Ted Williams – You Know You Love His Story!

Ted Williams’ rise to greatness in our little advertising world bubble is one that I can only smile about.

The fact that one of his first new voice over gigs is for Kraft Mac & Cheese….even makes it better.

You know you love it.

07
Jan
11

starbucks changes logo: will people notice?

Starbucks recently revealed it’s logo change. The new logo completely drops the name Starbucks Coffee from logo and boils it down to the siren, from the center of the previous logo.

The evolution of the Starbucks logo. The latest drops the name.

My first thought: Starbucks is changing its to reflect its new product or services offerings. This seems to be a valid reason, right? Starbucks does offer more than coffee; pastries, some music cds, etc. so the logo shouldn’t be limiting in the product offerings… but don’t most coffee shops?

My second thought: Is this mark, the siren, as it is now, a strong enough graphic for the company going forward? We all know how Nike dropped the word Nike and only uses the mark, the swoosh, in it’s branding. In the case of Nike though, the swoosh is on the side of the shoe and is a prominent mark that everyone (and I mean everyone) on the Earth know without the name included.

Is the Starbucks mermaid as recognizable? Will people notice this logo with the same fervor as the Nike swoosh? AND, is the mermaid the part of the logo that should have been the new essence of the brand? Yes it’s more interesting than the words, but is it more instantly recognizable or the part of the logo people will be looking for when needing coffee?

Here’s my thought process: I’m not a fan of the siren…no loyalty to the mermaid, that’s all. So making it the primary mark doesn’t resonate with me.  My general rule for logos: the simpler the better. Yes, this logo is simpler, but reducing the logo down to what it is now, doesn’t seem to simplify it because it  is still too busy and has too many parts. This logo, as it stands without the words Starbucks Coffee isn’t as strong as before. Maybe it’s all the loose openings around the logo. It doesn’t seem as tight and solid as its predecessor.

What do you think about the new logo? Will you even know where Starbucks stores are located without the old logo? Will you even notice?

We’d love to hear your ideas, so post a comment on The Side Note Blog, send us a tweet @Weise_Ideas, or find us on Facebook: Weise Communications.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO talks about the new logo.

21
Dec
10

The Sunset is Delicious

A leaked image of a slide intended for internal use shows Yahoo!’s plans to sunset the social bookmarking service Delicious. Not only does this incident provide evidence of the lack of a social media plan for Yahoo!, but also illustrates the power of social media.

Delicious allows users to tag, save, manage and share web pages from a centralized source. It improves how people discover, remember and share information on the Internet. Delicious made tags a flexible alternative to folders, pioneered the idea of ‘following’ other users (pre-cursor to Twitter) and began sharing information with the world (sounds like Facebook).

In most circles, ‘to sunset’ a service means to let it expire or kill it off. Through the power of social media, Delicious users saw the leaked slide and presumed the worst.  With no announcement from Yahoo!, users started investigating alternatives like Pinboard, Zootool and StumbleUpon.

First Yahoo! simply blamed the press for reporting the information in the leaked slide. Now, Yahoo says that there is not a strategic fit with Delicious. From a December 17 blog post, Yahoo! says, “we believe there is a home outside the company that would make more sense for the service and our users.”

Delicious remains functional, however since Yahoo! purchased Delicious in 2005, it hasn’t generated any new innovations or improved its core service.  However, even with the management ignoring Delicious, it’s a fantastic resource for finding links, stories and the latest news. Also, you can easily follow friends to see what they’re reading on the web.

If Yahoo! sells Delicious, what will happen to the other popular Yahoo!-owned service, the photo sharing site Flickr?

Tell us if you use a social bookmarking service and which one you like best. Share your ideas with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.




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