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The in-house client: Common challenges and how to face them

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Many PR pros who don’t work in agencies are part of in-house integrated communications teams that take on agency-like structures. Research has shown that this type of structure is one of the essential characteristics of the marketing organization of the future. 

If you are part of one of these teams, it usually means you are providing advice and production services to internal client groups. 

This type of work can be a lot of fun, as it involves cross-functional collaboration in the effort to reach common organizational goals. There are however, some challenges faced by the internal account executive in managing these important stakeholder groups—especially if the internal agency configuration is new to your organization.

Here are just a few common challenges:

1. Perception that you are a service provider, not a consultant. Often, internal clients see the communications department as the place that produces brochures, writes news releases, or posts social media updates. Some internal client groups will approach you with a specific request rather than seeking advice on an all-encompassing strategy.

How to face it: Close the gap between PR strategy and tactics. Educating your internal clients about the difference between strategy and tactics is essential. Show them successful examples of objectives and research-based communications and highlight the results. This will help them understand that campaigns work better than one-offs and that your department’s expertise goes beyond writing copy and designing email headers.

2. Perception that you don’t understand their needs. You may be a skilled PR pro, but this sometimes gets overlooked if you don’t have a great deal of knowledge regarding your internal clients’ field, product, or service. Your client might not trust your advice or approach if he or she feels that you don’t grasp their needs.

How to face it: Research and constant communication. If you don’t have experience with your clients’ portfolio, do your homework. Read up on their offerings, history, competitors, previous communication strategies, and market research—the works. Also, offer to have them give you a crash course to better understand their business. It will make things easier when the roles are reversed and you are providing them with advice. Plus, it will contribute to enhanced cross-functional collaboration and help you and your team do a better job. 

3. Endless back-and-forth on decisions. The absence of billable hours in an internal shop can mean your clients will repeatedly come back to you with changes in scope, suggestions, and modifications. This hinders the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your strategy and can hamper your ability to deliver a project on time. 

How to face it: Implement a proper workflow process. A structured workflow that takes your client from the research and strategy phase to building ideas, tactical plan development, implementation, and measurement will help guide your projects and create a sense of discipline and shared ownership. Putting a workflow in place requires you to identify the steps required to bring a given project to life, as well as the requisite timelines, accountabilities, approvers, and processes. Create a master milestone charter of all the steps, and get your client to sign off on it so that he/she knows that an extra round of corrections or a last-minute add-in will compromise your deadline or incur additional costs.

Internal communications shops are forever attached to their clients, which makes establishing a healthy relationship and process essential. Continuous internal education and workshops will help cross-functional teams to better understand each other’s work. 

As PR pros we should share examples of how agencies and other organizations do things to help our internal clients understand how we can help them achieve our shared organizational goals. 

Source:prdaily.com

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6 ways to prevent PR burnout

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Whether you’re a PR veteran or novice, there are times when the industry has a way of chewing you up and spitting you out. 

Long hours, 24/7 availability, crisis management, shifting deadlines, and ever-changing event scenarios are just some issues contributing to the persistent pressure. 

Lots of people suffer from professional burnout, but PR is notorious for disasters that come out of nowhere—usually at 4 p.m. on a Friday. 

Yet those who stick with it love what they do. 

Everyone has coping mechanisms; here is how five PR pros get through the daily grind with their sanity intact: 

Exercise. “Exercise is huge for me, especially during a crisis,” says Barbara Laidlaw, senior vice president and partner at FleishmanHillard in New York. “The adrenaline runs pretty high, and it’s easy to think that fatigue and burnout are not happening because you’re existing on Red Bull, coffee, and diet Pepsi. Running with music always works for me; the exacting movement and the level of concentration required allow me to turn off my brain from work.” 

No Saturdays. “From a shorter-term perspective, I do my very best not to work on Saturdays,” says Leslie Wood, the director of Canada communications for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “It doesn’t always work, of course, but knowing Saturday is coming is truly a light at the end of the tunnel.” 

Unplug. “Unplugging is hard and takes some serious discipline, but once you can do it, it gives your brain a break to actually be more creative,” says Diana Conconi of Toronto’s Agency Next Door. “It doesn’t need to be a full-on vacation, as wonderful as those are, but truthfully, as an entrepreneur, the longer vacations are scarier to completely unplug on, so lots of short getaways are perfect on so many levels.” 

Family time. “Children help, although I would not recommend someone journeying down that road primarily as a way to avoid burnout,” says Wood. “It sounds crazy, but having multiple, competing interests avoids overloading on any one thing and provides perspective.” 

Talk it out. Edmonton-based Holly Roy of Pumpkin PR cites “walking the talk”—literally. “Believe it or not, talking with friends is a great stress relief. I am so fortunate to have hilarious, savvy friends/colleagues in the business, and once we have a good chat with a few laughs, I’m good to go again.” 

Be passionate.
 Continuing to feel the passion for the job is what keeps Christine Crosbie going. Hitting 40 initiated a switch from journalism to PR, where she regained her motivation for her career. “I’ve been very fortunate to be part of organizations whose mandates I feel passionate about, or I couldn’t do it otherwise,” says Crosbie, who is media relations and strategic communications officer for OCAD University.

Source:prdaily.com

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The social networks that deliver the most-engaged users

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YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn drive the most-engaged social referrals to websites, according to a recent report from Shareaholic.

In its analysis, the company examined the average visit duration, pages per visit, and bounce rate for visitors referred to its network of 200,000+ websites from eight social media platforms: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and YouTube.

On average, YouTube was the top performer across all three metrics, Shareaholic found. The video platform’s referrals to websites have the lowest average bounce rate (43.19 percent), the highest pages per visit (2.99), and the longest visit duration (227.82 seconds).

Although Google+ and LinkedIn drive the fewest social referrals to Shareaholic’s network, they also bring in some of the most engaged visitors, according to the research:

  • Google+ users, on average, spend more than three minutes diving into content on websites shared by connections in their circles; they also visit 2.45 pages during each visit and bounce only 50.63 percent of the time.
  • LinkedIn users spend 2:13 minutes on average on each link they click, viewing 2.23 pages with each visit, and bouncing 51.28 percent of the time.

Additional key findings from the report include the following:

  • Visitors referred from Twitter and Facebook to websites are roughly equally engaged. Both types of visitors bounce at the same rate (56.35 percent), though Twitter users visit more pages on average (2.15 vs 2.03) and Facebook users tend to spend slightly more time on a site post-click (127.44 seconds vs. 123.10).
  • Pinterest users view fewer pages per visit than Facebook and Twitter visitors (1.71) and spend considerably less time on site (64.67 seconds) than visitors from all other networks except for StumbleUpon.
  • Reddit users are the most likely to abandon sites (70.16 percent bounce rate).
  • Visitors arriving from StumbleUpon to sites are the least engaged, viewing only 1.5 pages per visit on average and spending just 54.09 seconds on site.
  • Source:prdaily.com

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Promote your blog with these 11 tools

Effectively promoting content is often the most challenging part of content marketing. Some estimates suggest people upload as many as 2 million blog posts every 24 hours.

The good news—and underlying opportunity—is there are several websites that can help you promote your articles and cut through the increasing noise.

1. Examiner

Examiner only allows people who create high quality content to publish on the site. The topics are endless, ranging from social media and paintball to auto repair to tax advice. It reads like an online magazine, and community members update it constantly. 

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If you are good enough to make it through the application process, you get your own dashboard and an assigned topic for your city. You are allowed to create as many articles as you desire. The creators who have the most luck generally create eight or more entries per month; however, you could get by with only three or four. After you complete an article, your post is formatted and published with a link to your profile, Examiner title, and social media sharing icons.

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But wait. There’s more!

Examiner will actually split advertising revenue with article creators. Not only are you able to gain access to an amazing publishing platform with autonomy, build your social media following and market your content, you can directly monetize your efforts. Send traffic to your Examiner articles and you can essentially take it to the bank.

To make the deal even sweeter, Examiner is now offering to pay content creators $25 just for making it through the application process and being active for a few months. Click here to start the application process.

  1.  Scoop.It

Scoop.It is a website that combines social media with a news reader/aggregator. Users are able to create topics on anything they are interested in and “scoop articles to a news feed. From there, followers can browse all the articles you’ve scooped. You can even “star” certain scoops to make an article stay on the top of your displayed feed as opposed to the newest content submission being listed first.

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Building followers on Scoop.It is a great idea. If you connect your current social media accounts, you will automatically see your friends’ scoops while you build a bigger community. Scoop.It’s big feature is that you can find other authorities sharing content similar to yours, and suggest that they scoop your content.

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If someone rescoops one of your articles, there is a definite possibility you will get a flood of qualified traffic to your website. In fact, Watson + Nowlin found Scoop.It because someone listed one of our articles there some time ago, and we noticed the traffic influx in our analytics.

  1.  Sulia

Sulia is a website that prioritizes topics, and then aggregates stories into your news feed. There are two reasons why Sulia is different from your average news reader website.

First, you can post your own topics and be rewarded for creating quality content. Content creators must assign a “channel” to their content, which is essentially a broad topic such as politics, small business, etc. A headline, any images and the actual post make up the remainder of Sulia’s posting functionality.

Second, Sulia’s greatest feature is the way it weeds out spam. If a user finds an article to be authoritative, the user can click that he trusts the author. Sulia then imports future posts from that author to the user’s news feed.

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If you are an author with numerous trust votes, Sulia may feature you on its homepage. Additionally, Sulia will also feature highly engaging, active creators on your news feed to help you build a community.

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  1.  RebelMouse

Rebel Mouse is an interesting website with a lot of opportunity to become even better. Currently, the site allows you a lot of autonomy when posting articles, but the downside to that freedom is that the site’s functionality can be finicky. There also seems to be no way to connect with other users on the site.

However, the main reason you should start driving traffic to your RebelMouse news feed is summed up in this picture:

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Another great tool RebelMouse offers—and a reason to give this website a shot—is the free embedded analytics tool for your newsfeed. RebelMouse also gives you the option of uploading third-party analytics.

Once you have imported content via social media accounts or posted your own, the homepage is very visual, and resembles a pin board.

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  1.  Bundlr

Bundlr is another aggregation site. What sets this website apart is its simple, clean design. Its instructions for posting “clips” to “bundles” (articles to your news feed) are very clear. There are no bugs, the site loads quickly and the explore function is a great way to find other users who share content similar to yours. Connecting to these other users is also incredibly simple.

Creating a bundle is easy. A bundle is a topic, like content marketing, social media management, etc.

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Here’s what your bundle will look like after you add some relevant content. Notice that Bundlr has built-in analytics, but you need to purchase the pro plan to access them. The pro plan rings in at $19.99 for 12 months.

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  1.  Prismatic

Prismatic is a content curation website with two basic functionalities: it is both an article aggregator and a content-sharing platform. Upon setting up your account, you are prompted to select topics you are interested in. The topics are broad, and sometimes even niche.

Prismatic will then import trending articles according to your connected social media accounts. Additionally, there is an explore function that can help you search for great content you might not otherwise see.

  1.  Kippt

Kippt is a great content curation tool that is simple in design and allows your connections to clearly see articles you’ve listed. Each user can create his or her lists, such as “social media” or “website design.” Users also have control over how their content appears-either in a list or on a pin board.

Another great aspect of Kippt is that it is very easy to find other users and connect with them. There is an automated featured-members list, or you can search for members via a keyword and follow them with one click. There are no extra pages to open, extra loading time, etc.

  1.  Spundge

Spundge has a clean look, but can be a bit complicated to use at first. After creating a notebook, you can write stories and save them to that notebook, or simply leave them as stories.

  1.  Allvoices

Allvoices is another publishing and curation platform that rewards trusted contributors for quality content. There is a list of top contributors and a stern moderation policy that makes this website stand out-there is no spam.

  1.  BagTheWeb

BagTheWeb is a website that you can use to organize content. Users organize content into bags, and can make these bags public or private. The private option is nice for sharing resources with team members.

  1.  Paper. li

Paper.li is a content aggregation and curation platform. You can add articles and stories to your feed via two methods: You can import your social media news feeds directly to your paper, or you can place a bookmarklet on your browser’s tool bar to add interesting articles to your paper when you come across them on the Internet.

Source:prdaily.com

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The essential guide to social intranets

cafeteria_intranet

Having trouble getting employees to read crucial stories on your intranet? 

In a new training module, “Social intranets: The key to better morale, higher productivity, and practical ideas in your organization,” Shel Holtz shows how to fire up workers with social channels that made the Internet the most powerful educational and social tool ever. 

With video, wikis, podcasts, blogs, Twitter-like microblogging, and employee “likes,” you’ll upgrade powerfully all communication behind the firewall. 

It’s all about “technology populism”—giving employees on-the-job access to the digital tools they use every day outside of their workplace, Holtz says. 

Holtz’s “Social Intranets” teach how to turn your intranet from a snooze into a thriving center of innovation and collaboration. And you’ll create business value that wows the bigwigs. 

Learn how: 

· Organizations ranging from bakeries to computing giants transform communications behind the firewall—and measure the business results.
· Dell uses its Employee Storm to gauge internal opinion without wasting time and money on formal surveys.
· Intel wikis explain acronyms that newcomers are too shy to ask about.
· Allowing comments on all pages—even on set-in-concrete topics like your travel policy—can create a better-informed workforce. 

Find out why a social intranet brings down marketing costs and the time required to get a product from concept to market. 

Source:prdaily.com

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