Three Psychological Concepts That Drive Ecommerce Sales

Simon Davis

Psychology is one of the founding principles of marketing. Whether the decision to buy is an impulsive one or meticulously thought through, psychology plays an integral role in our determination of value.

Most people are surprised to learn an alarming number of factors come into play when we are shopping and how they impact our perceptions. These can include color, the time of day, what we were doing before we saw the item, words used to describe the product, other people’s opinions and much more.

Let’s take a deeper look at three psychological concepts that drive ecommerce sales.

Three Psychological Concepts That Drive Ecommerce SalesChunking

Offering a shopper too many choices will often result in that person choosing nothing. This is known as “analysis paralysis.” However, if you have a regular selection of 30 items, you can’t just remove 27 of them to narrow your customer’s choices. This would be a fatal blow to your business.

Which is where a psychological process called “chunking” comes into play. Instead of uploading 30 pictures of all of your products on your home page, place them into distinct categories, with navigational guidance to help your customer find them.

When you go into a grocery store, you’ll see a bakery, a deli, a produce section, a meat department and aisles upon aisles of strategically placed dry goods. Instead of placing items randomly throughout the store, grocers make finding what you need easier by chunking product into complementary categories.

This concept can translate directly to ecommerce. When you are creating your website, rather than simply sharing pictures of all the products you sell—place them into strategically developed categories.

Reciprocity

When someone gives us something, we are often compelled to give them something in return—this is the foundation of the principle known as “reciprocity.” Have you ever gone to the store and received a free sample of product and ended up grabbing a box of the item because of the twinge of guilt you felt for trying the sample?

Obviously, this particular scenario doesn’t translate directly to ecommerce, as you can’t personally pay a visit to every single person who visits your storefront and hand deliver a sample. However, this psychological concept applies to ecommerce nonetheless.

Rather than providing the customer with a free gift before they make a purchase, pair an additional item alongside the original product. For example, if you sell your furniture online, you can offer a percentage off the total cost if the user buys lamps to go along with the end tables they purchase. Providing deals and discounts on complementing items is a great way to recreate the feeling of having received a gift.

Social Proof

A great marketer knows social proof is an essential part of any marketing plan. The method behind the madness is pretty simple: we are social creatures who tend to like things when we see other people liking them. It’s the psychological concept behind “keeping up with the Joneses.”

To capitalize on this, keep in mind anything showcasing the popularity of your website can trigger positive responses among shoppers. Do you get rave reviews on Yelp or other peer review websites? Feature them. Have you received long, loving emails from satisfied customers? Quote them. You can never have too much praise when it comes to touting your brand.

Since the very beginnings of commerce, marketers have been using psychological concepts to promote their products and position their brands. Take a lesson from them and apply these three psychological concepts to drive your ecommerce sales.

 

About the Author: Simon Davis has been a full-time business writer since the last 4 years and has had the privilege of attending some of the most renowned business conclaves held across the world. When not on business he loves spending time with his girlfriend and a bit of adventure sports. 

 




Why PR Should Be Dominating the Era of Communications Influence (but Mostly Isn’t)

Tom Becktold, Founder, NewsDriver

Risk and reward in our brave world of social media has never been greater. The immediacy of impact is striking, with smartphones creating instant influencers and audiences, crisis and opportunity, anywhere and everywhere.

An overbooking confrontation caught on video sends United Airlines into a tailspin — impacting brand reputation and the bottom line.

A light-hearted fan request turns into brand opportunity for Wendy’s and #NuggsForCarter — generating massive amounts of earned, shared and owned media engagement.

The social media impact on brands is undeniable — reputations and revenue are at stake every moment of every day.

Social Growth

Social media is a driving force in convergence conversations because it crosses paid-earned-shared-owned (PESO) lanes that were traditionally helmed by different segments of the communications ecosystem.

Follow the money and you see how important social is to organizations. With social media ad spending growing 65% from 2015 to 2016, public relations professionals should be considering whether they are getting their fair share of that budget growth, and if not, why are they losing out to advertising, marketing, and dedicated social teams?

Public Relations Alignment

Public relations skills are well aligned with social media needs — I’d argue more so than any other communications discipline.

Look at just some of what PR regularly does: manage brand reputation, cultivate influencer relationships, develop crisis communications plans, mitigate the impact of negative news, identify and amplify positive news, generate earned coverage, build authority to spur secondary actions like purchase decisions.

Pretty much all are critical skills for effective social engagement. But public relations mostly isn’t winning the internal battle for social influence in the era of convergence.

The Convergence of Public Relations and Marketing – Partnership or BattleServing the Varied Needs of PR Influencers

As a long-time PR services veteran, my natural inclination is to look to the available tools for issues and opportunities. For more than 26 years, I lived convergence, using third-party marketing tools along with the PR tools of my then-employer, Business Wire, to influence a pretty sophisticated public relations audience.

Often maligned, commercial newswires actually do amazing work at broadcasting out press releases, the cornerstone of public relations content. They help seed content for search discovery, provide the unfiltered company voice to serve the detailed needs of reporters and analysts, and offer a trusted source for editors and investors that must make split-second decisions in an era of fake news.

But with social media and mobile audiences, the needs are different. The long-form press release often overwhelms with too much detail, lacks visual punch, and offers weak calls-to-action to effectively be used in paid and organic social programs.

And, since social networks are, at heart, ad networks, you’re not going to get much organic interaction without a paid boost. That’s where marketing, advertising, and social teams are filling a gap that I believe is better served by public relations.

Collaborative Opportunities to Boost PR

PR should be partnering with marketing for resources and insight. Marketing often has relevant visuals, videos, multimedia, and sets the broader key performance indicator (KPI) benchmarks, while PR sets the critical organic narrative. The PR narrative coupled with marketing visuals can be quickly adapted to appeal to mobile-social audiences.

New tools even incorporate marketing calls-to-action into messaging, to draw in, measure, and provide insights back on KPIs that resonate across the organization.

Just as PR uses paid distribution (newswires) to reach media and syndicate online, they should turn to paid social to target, reach and measure new mobile-social audiences.

Reimagining PR Content For A Mobile Social World

That’s where my new venture, NewsDriver, comes into the picture. Together with co-founder Peter Brand, we adapt and reimagine existing press releases and other content for mobile and social audiences, and then use algorithmic insights and paid social to distribute directly to the audiences of brand influencers. And we measure it all, tracking impressions by influencer, click-through-rates, and other calls-to-action that align with public relations and marketing KPIs.

Look, we know audience convergence is here — we can’t segment behavior and the impact it has on a company’s reputation or bottom line. And because success and failure have such monumental consequences, PR is well positioned to expand internal influence and thrive.

View a Driver version of this post

It’s early days for us at NewsDriver, but we’re helping PR teams do just that: reimagining content, driving new traffic, and providing relevant insights.

We invite you to take NewsDriver for a complimentary test drive.

Share your thoughts and opinions below, hit me up on twitter @becktold, or drop me an email.

 

 About the Author: Tom Becktold founded NewsDriver with partner Peter Brand. NewsDriver is the first purpose-built public relations platform designed to optimize content and influence in the mobile-social era. He’s been immersed in the world of content development and distribution from TBI ~ the Time-Before-the-Internet. As chief marketer for Business Wire, was a force in transforming the company from a regional teletype wire service to an international web-based communications platform, with more than 30,000 clients; later acquired by Berkshire Hathaway. Follow him on Twitter @becktold 

 




Tips for New Grads

Carlotta Zimmerman, Career Coach

Carlota Zimmerman is a career coach, or as she is often called, “a success strategist” who has helped thousands of people navigate the world of employment to find that perfect job to start their careers off right. 

She has several tips she suggests new graduates follow to find out about and land that dream job:

Prep on-line:

  • Follow the companies you’re interested in working for on their social media sites, including trendsetters within those companies. These days, smart companies are using their social media to have a dialogue with the public, and this dialogue is a great way for people to figure out a company’s core values, their mission, the language they use, in order to connect with, and present yourself as an ideal candidate. Also, on Facebook, when you like a company, Facebook will show you who within your network also likes the company. As a coach, I’ve helped clients get hired by companies, simply by having the client like the page, the client then realizes that a friend from band camp who also likes the page, works for the company, client reaches out to old friend, and next day, “Carlota, you were right, I’ve got an interview!”
  • Search your community: who’s working, or worked for, companies you’re interested in? Write out a list of names, but before you approach anyone, do a serious search of your own social media: Is it professional? If right now, this minute, your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter profile was on the Jumbotron in Times Square, would you be proud…or appalled? Go notch up your security settings on social media, delete any “racy” posts and then, once you’re confident that you’re posting as a professional adult, contact the people on your list privately, with a concise, intelligent, focused email explaining what kind of help you’re looking for, why you’re interested in the company, what you believe you bring to the table, and asking if you could take the recipient out for lunch or coffee and get their valuable advice. If you’re feeling brave, you can share this post publicly to your friends (friends only on Facebook! Do NOT tag the company.), asking people if they wouldn’t mind contacting you, if they have any leads.
  • Does your college/grad school alumni association(s) have Facebook pages? Like and join them! Many people there will have info or leads on these companies. In fact, you could see if there is a Facebook page/group devoted to your particular industry. Can’t hurt.

Off-line, aka IRL:

  • Join your college/grad alumni associations. The lasting value of your alma mater is your alumni network. That network, when used correctly, puts you at six degrees of separation for any job anywhere in the world. Join today, and ask what resources/tools they have for young alumni. Do they help with introductions, or your resume? Take advantage of all of it.
  • Speak to your college professors.  Your professors know people. That’s how they become professors. They know of people and opportunities that might seem a fantasy to you. If you’ve made any human connections with professors, and you’re wondering how to break into a certain job or industry, I urge you to today schedule a meeting with your advisor and/or professor, and make an intelligent case.

After the Interview:

  • You can do a lot of the same things on social media that you did before getting the interview: monitoring the social media of the company, signing up for their email list, seeing what they’re sharing online.
  • If people in your community helped you get the interview, this is a great time to send personalized thank you cards, expressing your gratitude, and sharing your renewed interest in the company.  They will remember this and come back to you with future opportunities.
  • Be realistic, you aren’t going to land the Senior VP of Marketing, but you may be given the opportunity to prove yourself, work hard, show gumption and eventually get the big title.
  • You want to present, on and offline, as a professional, passionate, committed adult.

About the Author: Since launching her coaching practice in 2008, Carlota Zimmerman, J.D., has worked with ambitious men and women around the world, including members of the Obama Administration. A popular public speaker, she’s appeared at BlogHer15, Social Media Week NYC, the NYC Bar; in 2016, she gave the Keynote Address at Wellesley College’s Latina Month Events. Carlota is a regular contributor to Huffington Post. Her career advice has appeared in NY Post, Fast Company, The Ladders, CNBC.com, More, Bustle, and NBC News. 




Judges and Advisory Board Announced for The SPOKEies™ Awards

Judges and Advisory Board Announced for The SPOKEies™ Awards

NEW YORK – The founding judges and members of the advisory board for The SPOKEies™ have been announced. The awards are the first to honor the best spokespeople representing brands, non-profits and corporations and are open for nominations. The judges represent the best in corporate and non-profit communications, agency leaders, industry associations and trade media. Voting criteria is based on trust and authenticity, plus the ability of spokespeople to engage an audience and cogently communicate their organization’s message.

The judges and advisory board are:

Corporate & Non-Profit:
• Alex Josephsn, Head of Global Brand Strategy, Twitter
• Suzanne Blackburn, Communications & Public Affairs, Google
• Katherine Hutt, Director of Communications, Council of Better Business Bureaus
• Bob DeFillippo, Former Chief Communications Officer, Prudential
• Anna Lingeris, Strategic Communications Leader, The Hershey Company
• Keith Trivitt, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Axis Capital
• Marisa Long, PR & Communications Director at U.S. Green Building Council
• Julie Estrada, Head of Media Relations, LEGOLAND California
• Silvia Davi, CCO, Equities.com
• Kristy Wallace, President, Ellevate Network
• Anna Marie Johnson Teague, Chief Marketing Officer, A Call To Men
• Andrew Buher, Executive Director, Dialog
• Chris Hook, Senior Director Global Marketing and Public Relations, Radeon Technologies Group AMD

Industry Associations
• Tina McCorkindale, President & CEO of the Institute for Public Relations
• Neil Foote, President, National Black Public Relations Society
• Peter Himler, President Publicity Club of New York, founder Flatiron Communications
• Renee Wilson, President PR Council, Previously Global Chief Client Officer and President, North America for MSLGROUP (Publicis)
• Olga Gonzalez, President, PRSA New York, CEO Pietra PR

Media/Education
• Jack O’Dwyer, Owner, O’Dwyer Company
• Tiffany Guarnaccia, Founder Communications Week, CEO Kite Hill PR
• Fay Shapiro, Publisher, CommPRO.biz
• Paul Duning, Co-Founder & Publisher, Capitol Communicator
• Don Bates, NYU Professor

Agency Leaders
• Scott Monty, CEO Brain+Trust Partners (previously Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager at Ford)
• Judith Harrison, SVP Weber Shandwick
• Patrice Tanaka, Former CEO Patrice Tanaka and Company (later merged to become Padilla/CRT)
• Shonali Burke, Founder Shonali Burke Consulting
• Michael Smart, Founder Michael Smart PR
• Jamey Wilson, President Pipevyne, Inc.
• Grace Leong, CEO + Partner, Hunter Public Relations
• Jack Monson, Director of Digital Strategy, Qiigo
• Kim Hunter, President & CEO, LAGRANT Communications
• Kenneth Meyer, Vice President, Edelman
• Dana Holmes, CEO, Dana Holmes Media
• Jeremy Pepper, Founder, Communimatic
• Lewis Goldberg, Managing Partner, KCSA Worldwide
• Art Stevens, Managing Partner, The Stevens Group
• Jennefer Witter, CEO & Founder, The Boreland Group Inc
• Mike Schwager, President, Worldlink Media Consultants
• Aaron Blank, CEO, The Fearey Group
• Liz Hart, Principal, Liz Hart Events & Design LLC

In addition to judging the awards, judges will also be giving advice on best practices for experts and organizations to become influencers and spokespeople and will be available at The SPOKEies™ University online at https://www.spokeies.com

About D S Simon Media
Influencer marketing is the story in 2017. D S Simon Media has been doing this for 30 years turning our client’s experts and leaders into influencers. We get spokespeople from leading brands and non-profits on television through Influencer Media Tours, Video Series, Media Packages and Junkets and partner with influencers to extend their reach through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and online media using the power of video.

CommPRO.biz
www.commpro.biz
An acronym for “Communications Professional Resources Online,” CommPRO.biz is the destination for the answers marketing communications professionals need to be successful, whether they’re in public relations, investor relations, corporate communications, marketing, advertising or social media.

© 2017 D S Simon Media. All rights reserved

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800.377.4666
Email: SPOKEies@DSSimonMedia.com



The Future of Communications Means Leaving the Past Behind

Robyn Hannah - Stop Being a Vendor and Start Being a PartnerRobyn Hannah, Senior Director of Global Communications, Dynamic Signal

There are many things about HR communication that we’ve accepted as “the way it is” for far too long. As practitioners of HR-oriented communications, and as employees ourselves, we should expect more. But giving up on how we’ve done things for decades isn’t always so easy. We get stuck in habits and patterns and analog methods of communication that should have been retired with acid-wash jeans and hammer pants.

Signs of the Past

Exhibit A- our continuing use of print as a means of disseminating important messages to employees. Print!

In 2017, breakrooms around the world are covered with the byproduct of technology invented in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg to inform employees about everything from company policies to company picnics. The printing press is great for art work and inspiration, but not for ensuring employees know about open enrollment or the new COO. When it comes to time-sensitive information… we can do better.

I’ve toured some of the world’s most advanced factories and coolest agency offices and I’ve seen how various companies pin up posters or set out those table tents in hopes that their messages will be seen and absorbed. But we only read table tents for Happy Hour specials, and most employees aren’t even hanging out in the break room to survey what’s new on the bulletin board. When employees are in the lunch room, they’re glued to their smartphones snacking on content of the digital variety.

Exhibit B- SUBJECT LINES IN ALL CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAIMATION POINTS AND THE WORDS “PLEASE READ”!!!!!!!!

Despite good manners and the extra exclamation points, open rates on those bad boys are dismal. And many organizations still aren’t tracking internal open rates and click-throughs to understand for sure the extent of message penetration.

Beyond that, our inboxes are crowed and noisy. We prioritize internal content last, focused instead on project and customers and deadlines that impact revenue and job security.

Internal Communicators and HR professionals aren’t marketers, of course. Theirs is a completely unique discipline and we celebrate the differences in goals and objectives. But it doesn’t hurt to borrow some of their tactics- with our own touch of communication magic, of course.

Take the Path a Marketer Might

CMO’s are predicted to outspend their CIO counterparts this year because  the innovation applied to today’s MarTech has proven to have major impact on our top and bottom lines.

So let’s take a page from their playbook and get a little dirty digging into the date. That means looking at email open rates and interactions on social media. It means considering which media employees spend most of their time consuming. It means assessing the frequency of our messaging and determining when the law of diminishing returns sets in. If we are to make the case that what we do does matter, we need to come to the table with the data to prove it.

Run surveys and an employee NPS. Take the pulse of your company’s most important asset and figure out how to drive satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. And most importantly- do it in a way that is mobile-first.

Drive with Data

HR professionals are no stranger to metrics. Standard measurements include hiring ratios, retention and resignation rates. While those are, of course, crucial to assessing the relative health of an organization, communication often gets the short end of the stick.

That’s a shame because the current state of HR-based communication is woeful. Some 75% of employees only use the company intranet exclusively for payroll information or to see their vacation time. Such narrow use of communication channels is a missed opportunity. Ideally, HR departments can use intranets and email to humanize the company, share the vision and company ethos, and remind employees that they’re a critical component of the company’s lifeblood.

The truth, however, is that most HR executives and internal communication teams don’t really know how effective their communication is because they don’t use software to gauge their success. If they did, they could start tinkering with the forms of media they use, like marketers do. Track, measure, and optimize. A little A/B testing applied to internal communications could go a long way in better understanding what makes your workforce tick.

Smartphone or Bust  

According to research firm Dscout, the typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every single day. (And the average consumer now spends about three hours a day with her mobile device, which is an hour more than she spends on desktop.)

Ask a group of your millennial employees how many of them use their phone as an alarm. Hands will fly up. Most of today’s workforce will look at their phones before their feet hit the bedroom floor. If you’re not using mobile to communicate your message—you don’t exist.

But proceed with caution. SMS is a fantastic option for urgent or important messages but like any other messaging platform it will become less effective if overused. If you’re using SMS to offer tips about how to start a 401(k) and to advertise open positions, then people will begin to disregard those messages as well. Creating balance and platform hierarchy is key to successful communications.

The Future is Flexible

The best way to disseminate messages that people will actually read is to consider your customer-  In this case, your employees. Learning how employees want to hear from you, and which channels are best for different types of content, is as important as a marketer’s understanding of a consumer’s path to purchase.

A single, mobile-first platform that will integrate with the channels and systems your workforce already uses daily is usually the best bet. Say that Sales loves Chatter, but maybe younger, retail employees prefer Facebook Messenger, and your global product teams live and die by Slack or Yammer. It’s important to meet those teams where they want to hear from you. Time sensitive messages like a power outage at your factory may require an SMS and your exciting media coverage begs for a mobile push notification.  Delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time, on the right platform is as important for HR and Internal Communications as it is for marketing.

Let’s leave the idea of a single medium of communication in the rearview mirror and take a modern approach to connecting with our workforce of today.

Moving Forward

Marketers make a clear case for why their outreach matters — it impacts the bottom line. The same is true for HR communication. If an organization can’t make employees feel informed, important, and connected, they’re going to lose time, talent, and money since it takes as much as six- to nine months’ salary to replace an existing employee.

With the right tools and testing, measurement and messaging, our HR communication can be as sophisticated as our customer marketing. And we’re more than up for the task.




Examining Where Institutional Investors Read News and Earnings Releases (Infographic)

With last week’s Question 3 of the 2017 Shareholder Communications 365 Study, we learned that 95% of institutional investors visit your investor relations website as part of their initial due diligence prior taking (or not taking) a position.

This clearly indicates, as stated in the IR magazine article – Investors visit IR websites for content, not data, finds survey – that the IR website is “…a de rigueur tool that investors expect to find.”

But what is the exact content institutional investors looking for? More to the point, where do they want to consume it?

Question 4:

Examining Where Institutional Investors Read News and Earnings Releases

 

Institutional investors live within their Bloomberg terminals et al. It’s where they receive their data and breaking news. Furthermore, it’s a taught and practiced Wall Street workflow that continually accelerates as more datasets and algorithms are introduced. To that point, like any corporate messaging (products, PR, IR) you need to target your earned media (earnings and news release) where your audience (investors) will easily receive it. Don’t make them hunt and click.

As a closing pro-IR website comment, one key function of an IR website is its role as your transparency library. An archive of your news releases (with search) is essential. Wall Street portals are real-time tools. Also, an IR website is a terrific owned media asset that double as a publisher of your earned media via email alerts. Nice lead generation, too!    tools for

PR Newswire hosts over 780 IR and PR websites for clients.

Read question 4. Question 5 coming soon.


About the Shareholder Communications 365 Study

Now in its fifth year, this exclusive study asks investors 30 tactical questions regarding how they consume your shareholder communications content. Beyond the IR website, we asked about earnings calls, annual reports, news releases and overall transparency. From these tactical answers, IR teams can sculpt their shareholder communications efforts and budget.

Since 2012, the study has evolved. Initially, it was predominantly retail investor-based. In 2016 we added a Wall Street v Main Street comparison (CLICK HERE). This year, per client discussions, we cut to the chase: 3,780 responses from 100% institutional investors.

 

About the Author: Bradley H. Smith, a self-confessed connoisseur of IR websites, is Director of Marketing and Shareholder Communications at PR Newswire / Cision. 




B2B Blog Metrics: 4 Effective Categories to Measure Success

Frank StrongFrank Strong, Founder & President, Sword and the Script Media

Businesses that engage corporate blogging with professionalism and process can boost visibility, grow a community, and ultimately, have a meaningful influence on sales.

For example, I once worked for a company that found visitors that engaged the blog were 50% more likely to make a purchase. At another company, the blog was a touch point on a sales cycle for roughly one-third of enterprise deals with an average selling price in excess of seven digits.

The first measure came from a business with a marketing automation system implemented. The second measure was largely a manual effort: going back through the deals closed at the end of the year and identifying which ones had downloaded gated content featured on the blog.

When comparing these two examples, it’s easy to think a significant amount of attribution went unmeasured in the latter. I’m convinced marketing automation would have been enlightening.

Directional Indications of Success

Neither one of those companies saw sales solely because of a blog. Instead, the revenue was the result of a combination of efforts across sales, marketing and other departmental functions that included a blog.

More importantly, the sales were not immediate. There are few tactics in B2B marketing that lead to such direct effects. No prospect whips out a credit card to make an enterprise software purchase because of an indivdual blog post, or a webinar, or a phone call, or any other effort. Instead, both companies first experienced an indication of success: traffic.

Traffic is a directional indication of performance. For all the flaws we can find with traffic, when used in conjunction with additional measures, it can guide our thinking as to whether or not a program or initiative is headed in the right direction.

Components to Effectively Measure a B2B Blog

There are a lot of different metrics that can indicate performance, but that’s also one of the pitfalls. This is because trying to track too many metrics creates a bloated spreadsheet or dashboard with a lot of data nobody really looks at.

To keep things simple, I tend to categorize metrics into broad buckets: visibility, community strength, quality and marketing or business impact. All of these can be measured with freely available tools, as opposed to the army of developers (and budget) it often takes to implement marketing automation.

While there are some measures I like better than others, I will customize, swap or recategorize metrics based on the needs or capabilities of a client.

1) Measures of Visibility

Can people find your content? How well does your content move? Measures of visibility I’ve come to rely on include:

  • Visitors. The total number of people that visit a blog, including repeat visitors. Google Analytics (GA) today refers to this as “sessions.”
  • Unique visitors. A subset of “visitors” measure that filters out repeat visitors. Do you need both? I like to monitor both because I have a theory about a growing number of people are “read-you-later” visitors that scan during the day and read carefully at night. This is especially true with long form content. GA refers to “unique visitors” as “users.”
  • Backlinks. A backlink is created when one site links to another. A backlink can send referral traffic and improve organic search traffic. It is this measure that SEO and PR pros should collaborate for the greatest impact. The search experts at Moz say it takes about 10 weeks for backlinks to impact organic search; I like the Open Site Explorer by Moz as means to track this metric.

Social shares are sometimes a metric I’ll include in the visibility category, depending on the client. Sure, the volume of shares is interesting, but it’s also who is sharing that counts. Weaving relevant shares is an effective way to illustrate the value of a corporate blog and weave qualitative measures into quantitative reporting.

Professional tip: Want to capitalize on visibly sooner? Cookie the blog and then use it for retargeting (those ads that follow you around the web after visiting a site). This is a good example of integrated marketing.

2) Community Strength

Building a strong online community ought to be a core objective for a corporate blog. A business that spends any amount of advertising money should be able to see the value. Advertising is in effect paying to reach someone else’s community, so why not invest and build your own in the long run?

Three measures of community strength I gravitate towards include:

  • Returning visitors. Most websites will find the vast majority of visitors to a website are new. While it’s always good to meet new people, the foundation of a community is returning visitors. I prefer numerical measure for this metric rather than a percentage of overall visitors. This is because as a blog grows in traffic, the percentage may cloak the growth in repeat visitors.
  • RSS subscriptions. Social media has tempered RSS but it is still an important way to make content available. It provides people with a chance to join a community through a subscription without having to give up an email address. Yet it’s still a strong indication of community strength because someone is actively telling you they want your content. Services to provide an RSS feed include Feedblitz and Feedburner (by Google). I use Feedburner for this site you can see an example at the top right of this page.

Email subscriptions. A willingness to provide an email address is a solid measure of community. Some of the RSS tools like Feedburner enable you to provide an email-based subscription but don’t overlook capturing emails for the traditional newsletter either. Email is the original owned media platform and still the first and only killer app.

Too many corporate blogs skip the subscription mechanisms, which a little bit like forgoing the benefits of compound interest in a bank savings account. More importantly, if your blog is built on WordPress – and three-quarters of all blogs are – this very easy to remedy in under an hour.

3) Quality

Quality is enormously challenging to quantify. As the saying goes, one person’s trash is another’s treasure. However, it’s still important to put some metrics around quality and monitor it over time. Two metrics I like to this end include:

  • Time-on-page. This measures how long visitors spend with on your blog. You will find – much like interest rates and the yield on a bond – an inverse correlation between visitors and time on page. Track this metric monthly, but monitor results over the long run. Look for trends in the topics and types of content that keep people engaged. The more time people spend with your content, the better the chances they’ll turn into a customer. GA refers to this as “average session duration.”
  • Organic search. Chances organic search is the leading source of traffic to your website. With trillions of searches a year, it also represents the biggest opportunity for growth. However, search engines want to return the best results in response to search queries, which is why I find this a useful measure of quality.
    Sometimes I’ll include backlinks in this category – as a measure of quality. Quality is in effect why links have a profound influence on search. If a business seems especially search savvy – usually the more metric driven organizations – I’ll sometimes break out another category called “search value” for measuring performance indicators.

4) Marketing impact

Naturally, we want to have measures that show a more direct impact on marketing and the business. Yet sometimes the ability to measure requires access to talent or systems in your sphere of influence. Here’s how to make the case, while demonstrating the contribution in the process:

  • Conversions. If your organization gates content – white papers, webinars and or demos – track the source of registrations. A spreadsheet makes this possible; a system makes it easier.
  • Referrals out. When using web analytics, be sure to look for data the blog sends elsewhere. In other words, look to identify where the blog sends traffic. If you are able to demonstrate how a blog has become a top source of referral traffic for product page – this opens minds to the virtues of B2B blogging.
  • Anecdotes. Document any anecdotes you hear in the course of doing business – a customer that compliments a blog at a trade show, a comment noted in an NPS survey, or an enablement story from sales. If you’re disciplined about recording these, a few seemingly disparate anecdotes will over time, turn into a spreadsheet of evidence.

* * *

While these metrics have proven effective for me, the list is suggestive rather than prescriptive. For some, this list of metrics will seem overwhelming, while for others, it’ll feel incomplete. You’ve to find what works for you and your organization – and then continuously improve it over time. If you can do that, you’ll wind up with sales as the measure of success.

About the Author: Frank Strong is the founder and president of Sword and the Script Media, LLC, a veteran-owned PR, content marketing and social media agency in greater Atlanta.

This piece originally appeared on the Sword and the Script blog.




Judges

headshotsexperts

MEET THE JUDGES

 

doug

Doug Simon

Founder & CEO,

D S Simon Media,

Founder, The SPOKEies®

1

Alex Josephson

Head of Global Brand Strategy,

Twitter

Andew Buher Heashot

Andrew Buher

Executive Director,

Dialog 

2

Anna Lingeris

Strategic Communications Leader,

The Hershey Company

3

Anna Marie Johnson Teague

Chief Communications Officer,

A Call to Men

4

Art Stevens

Managing Partner

The Stevens Group

5

Bob DeFillippo

Former Chief Communications Officer, Prudential Financial 

Senior Counselor, Zito Partners & Ketchum Zito Financial

Chris Hook Headshot (1)

Chris Hook

Senior Director Global Marketing and Public Relations,

Radeon Technologies Group at AMD

7

Dana Holmes

CEO

Dana Holmes Media

8

Don Bates

Senior Counselor,
Gould & Partners Professor,

New York University

9

Fay Shapiro

Publisher/CEO,

CommPRO Global, Inc.

10

Gini Dietrich

Founder & CEO,  Arment Dietrich

Author of “Marketing in the Round” Founder,  Spin Sucks Pro

11

Grace Leong

Managing Partner,

Hunter Public Relations

Jack Monson Headshot

Jack Monson

Director of Digital Strategy,

Qiigo

jackodwyer headshot

Jack O’Dwyer

Publisher & Editor-In-Chief,

O’Dwyer’s

12

Jamey Wilson

Owner,

Pipevyne Inc.

jennifer

Jennefer Witter

CEO & Founder,

The Boreland Group Inc

13

Jeremy Pepper

Founder, Communimatic

14

Judith Harrison

Senior Vice President of

Diversity & Inclusion,
Weber Shandwick

15

Julie Estrada

Head of Media Relations,

LEGOLAND California Resort

Katherine Hutt Headshot

Katherine Hutt

Director of Communications,

Council of Better Business Bureaus 

16

Keith Trivitt

Vice President of

Corporate Communications,
AXIS Capital

17

Kenneth Meyer

Vice President of

Healthcare Media,
Edelman

Kristy Wallace

Kristy Wallace

CEO,

Ellevate Network

20

Lauren Rublin

Deputy Managing Editor,

Barron’s

21

Lewis Goldberg

Managing Partner,

KCSA Worldwide

Liz Hart

Liz Hart

Principal,

Liz Hart Events & Design LLC

22

Marisa Long

Vice President,

U.S. Green Building Council

23

Michael Smart

Principal at

MichaelSMARTPR, LLC

Mike Schwager Headshot

Mike Schwager

President,

Worldlink Media Consultants Inc.

neil

Neil Foote

Principal, Foote Communications LLC

President, National Black Public Relations Society

Olga Headshot

Olga Gonzalez

CEO & Founder, Pietra PR

President, PRSA New York

24

Patrice Tanaka

Former Co-Founder,

Chief Counselor & Creative Strategist for PadillaCRT

Chief Joy Officer, Joyful Planet LLC

25

Paul Duning

Publisher & Co-Founder,
Capitol Communicator

peter

Peter Himler

Founder, Flatiron Communications LLC

President, Publicity Club of New York

26

Renee Wilson

President, PR Council

27

Scott Monty

Former Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager, Ford Motor Company,

CEO & Co-Managing Partner, Brain + Trust Partners

28

Silvia Davi

Chief Marketing Officer,

Equities.com

29

Suzanne Blackburn

Global PR Lead,

Google

30

Tiffany Guarnacci

Founder & CEO,

Kite Hill Public Relations Founder, 

Founder, Communications Week

31

Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D.

President & CEO,

Institute for Public Relations

JUDGING MANAGEMENT TEAM

 

elizabeth

Elizabeth Rosenberger

Account Executive,

D S Simon Media

eric

Eric Wright

Senior VP of Marketing & Business Development,

D S Simon Media

mike

Mike Bako

Director of Media & Content Strategy,

D S Simon Media

Sarah

Sarah Katz

Senior Vice President of Client Services,

D S Simon Media

tameeka

Tameeka Henry

Executive Marketing Manager, Reporting & Analytics,

D S Simon Media

© 2017 D S Simon Media. All rights reserved

SUPPORT
PRIVACY POLICY
The SPOKEies® Story

CONTACT US

800.377.4666
Email: spokeies@spokeies.com



SPOKEies®


How To Enter

  • Select from one of the 41 awards categories. Self-nominations are welcome and encouraged!
  • Fill out the online entry form with information about the initiative, the spokesperson’s work, and how they helped the organization achieve their communications goals.
  • For help filling out the form, download the SPOKEies® Entry Guide to the right.
  • Results to be announced at an award gala luncheon in New York.

download-entry-guide

Categories

Corporate

  • Financial Services
  • Health/Pharma
  • Technology
  • Travel
  • Food & Beverage
  • Emerging Growth Companies/Start-Ups
  • Sports
  • Media
  • Home Improvement
  • Fashion& Beauty
  • Entertainment
  • Professional Services
  • Crisis Management
  • Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
  • Fintech

Non-Profit/Association

  • Health
  • Art
  • Education
  • Youth
  • Advocacy/Cause Marketing
  • Industry/Trade Association
  • Membership Association
  • Environment

Multicultural

  • Financial Services
  • Travel
  • Health
  • Technology
  • Food & Beverage
  • Fashion & Beauty

Global Campaign

  • Financial Services
  • Fintech
  • Heath/Pharma
  • Technology
  • Consumer Products & Services
  • Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Most Authentic

  • Corporate
  • Non-Profit/Association

C-Suite Leader

  • Corporate
  • Non-Profit/Association

Under 40

  • Corporate
  • Non-Profit/Association

ABOUT THE SPOKEies®

The SPOKEies® is the first program to honor the best spokespeople representing brands, non-profits and corporations. The awards have acknowledged leaders who communicate honestly and effectively on behalf of their organizations, with winners representing the best in the business. 27 business and non-profit leaders hav ealready been honored with a SPOKEies® Award in categories including Most Authentic, Under 40 and C-Suite Leader. This year’s winners will be honored at a gala luncheon in New York City and feautred in a live television program broadcast nationwide, sharing their expertise. The SPOKEies® was founded by D S Simon Media. You can submit a nomination here.

Enter

Enter the 2019 SPOKEies®

There are more than 40 awards including 18 for corporate and brand spokespeople, 12 for non-profits, 5 for multicultural campaigns and 6 for global campaigns. Select your entry category and sub-category at the link below.

  • Save with Early Bird Pricing: $150 per submission ($195 regular price)
  • The Early Entry Period will end May 17, 2019

Enter Now

Categories

Corporate

  • Financial Services
  • Health/Pharma
  • Technology
  • Travel
  • Food & Beverage
  • Emerging Growth Companies/Start-Ups
  • Sports
  • Media
  • Home Improvement
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Entertainment
  • Professional Services
  • Crisis Management
  • Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
  • Fintech

Nonprofit

  • Health
  • Art
  • Education
  • Youth
  • Advocacy/Cause Marketing
  • Industry/Trade Association
  • Membership Association
  • Environment

Multicultural Campaign

  • Financial Services
  • Travel
  • Health
  • Technology
  • Food & beverage
  • Fashion & Beauty

Global Campaign

  • Financial Services
  • Fintech
  • Health/Pharma
  • Technology
  • Consumer Products & Services
  • Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

C-Suite Leader

  • Corporate
  • Non-Profit/Association

Under 40

  • Corporate
  • Non-Profit/Association

Most Authentic

  • Corporate

Our Goal

The SPOKEies® Awards are the perfect way to showcase the great work of your agency or in-house team. Often times, individuals and teams go above and beyond in their jobs and still fly under the radar. These awards aim to give deserved recognition, which can help recipients attract new business, become influencers and form partnerships. Spokespeople will be honored from brands, corporations and non-profits based on their ability to achieve organizational goals, creativity, trust and authenticity. Most importantly, they will be honored in front of a crowd at a Gala Luncheon, as well as in a live video broadcast. They will also have the chance to be featured in an online video series to help provide tips and best practices to viewers.

Who’s Eligible

Anyone from CEO to digital media strategist can participate as long as they represent their organization in a spokesperson role. Winners will be recognized for their achievements. They will be interviewed and featured on The SPOKEies® website. To be eligible, the campaigns or PR initiatives involving the spokesperson you are highlighting must have taken place (either in part or in full) through the first quarter of 2018. Both US based and international entries are accepted. Winners will be celebrated at the gala luncheon, as well as in an online live broadcast.


Know your audience. Helping highly educated and skilled audiences tell stories rather than providing too many details, facts and data points is of the utmost importance in our field of health and science communications.

Donna LaVoie, President and CEO of LaVoie Health Science,
Winner of SPOKEies

Be someone people can count on. If you say you’re going to forward additional information, then follow through and do it. If it’s something you can’t do, own it and provide an alternative option whenever possible.

Sheri Sword, Vice President of Communications at Better Business Bureau at Dayton & Miami Valley,
Winner of SPOKEies

You have to find a voice that embodies the best of what you are speaking on behalf of, and that stands up to the criticisms and attacks that come from those standing in opposition.

Patrick Riccards, Chief Communications Officer at the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation,
Winner of the Non-Profit Education SPOKEies category

… know your audience and tailor your remarks to what they care about most.

Daniel Durazo, Director of Communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA,
Winner of SPOKEies

It’s important to be genuine and passionate. Always listen and respond accordingly in order to make a meaningful connection with your audience – whether it’s a with a media outlet or directly to a key stakeholder.

Todd Kaplan, Vice President of Marketing at PepsiCo,
Winner of SPOKEies

Start with the audience in mind. Being authentic and effective as a spokesperson begins by hearing your audience before you speak so that the message received is prioritized over the message delivered. To do this, you must become the subject matter expert, possessing a depth of understanding that affords the confidence to be creative, expressive and complete.

Marc Goldman,Marketing/Sponsorship Manager of the Marine Corps Marathon,
Winner of SPOKEies

Meet the Past SPOKEies® Award Winners

 

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Under 40

Todd Kaplan

Vice President, Water Portfolio – PepsiCo
North America Beverages

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Non-Profit Trade Association

Mike McCormick

Executive Director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: C-Suite Leader Non-Profit Association

Danielle Holly

CEO at Common Impact 

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Non-Profit Education

Patrick Riccards

Chief Communications Officer at the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Nonprofit Advocacy/Cause Marketing

Steve Kerber

Director of UL Firefigher Safety Research Institute

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Corporate Financial Services

Greg Rosica

Contributing Author and Spokesperson to the EY Tax Guide

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Non-Profit Health

Luke Margolis

Corporate Communications Manager at Atlantic Health System

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Non-Profit Membership Association

Sheri Sword  

Vice President of Communications at Better Business Bureau at Dayton & Miami Valley

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Non-Profit Youth

Meridith Maskara  

CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater New York

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Corporate Health/ Pharma

Michael A. Smith, M.D.

Senior Health Scientist for Life Extension

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Corporate Emerging Growth / Startups

Donna LaVoie  

President and CEO of LaVoie Health Science

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Corporate Travel

Daniel Durazo

Director of Communications at Allianz Global Assistance 

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category:  Most Authentic Corporate

Sam Fay

Senior Vice President of Global Brand Strategy at Guinness World Records

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: C-Suite Leader Corporate

Donna LaVoie  

President and CEO of LaVoie Health Science

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Corporate Food + Beverage

Kristin Bradley

PR Manager at B&G Foods

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Media

Gabe Saglie

Senior Editor for Travelzoo

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Corporate Sports

Marc Goldman

Marketing/Sponsorship Manager of the Marine Corps Marathon

SPOKEies® Award Winner

Category: Corporate Technology

Roy Taylor

Founder Chief Revenue Officer MR.Studio

Previous Corporate Vice President and Worldwide Head of AMD Studios

SPOKEies® Award Honorable Mention

Category: Non-Profit Trade Association

Mark Hill

President & Chief Executive Officer at Association For Creative Industries

SPOKEies® Award Honorable Mention

Category: Non-Profit Advocacy/ Cause Marketing

Neil Vineberg

Program Director at 2-Minute Mind Check

SPOKEies® Award Honorable Mention

Category: Non-Profit Health

Justin DeJong

Vice President of Editorial and Channel Strategy at the American Medical Association

SPOKEies® Award Honorable Mention

Category: Under 40

Kristy Wallace

CEO of Ellevate Network

SPOKEies® Award Honorable Mention

Category: Non-Profit Education

Susann Miller

Director of Communication and Consumer Affairs of Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona

SPOKEies® Award Honorable Mention

Category: Non-Profit Health

AARP’s Health Spokesperson Team

SPOKEies® Award Honorable Mention

Category: Corporate Financial Services

Don Bush

Vice President of Marketing at Kount

SPOKEies® Award Finalist

Category: Non-profit Health

Suzanne Robotti

President and Lead Spokesperson for Medshadow Foundation

SPOKEies® Award Finalist

Category: Under 40

Andrew Tropeano

VP, Host, and Executive Producer at NewsWatch

© 2019 D S Simon Media. All rights reserved

SUPPORT
PRIVACY POLICY
The SPOKEies® Story

CONTACT US

800.377.4666
Email: spokeies@spokeies.com



Cision Leads Shift to Data-Driven Communications with Latest Cloud Release

Cision Leads Shift to Data-Driven Communications with Latest Cloud ReleaseChris Lynch, Chief Marketing Officer, Cision

The shift in the media landscape over the last two decades has flipped the traditional communications model. The role of marketing and communications professionals and their ability to not only reach the end consumer but also to provide quantitative success metrics that the CMO and CEO demand has more than just changed, it’s completely evolved. And, while most technology providers have been focused on the owned and paid media space, Cision has been building the Cision Communications CloudTM. Cision’s integrated communications stack delivers the tools to better target influencers, craft multichannel campaigns and attribute the value of earned media — enabling marketing and comms professionals to effectively manage their earned media programs in coordination with paid and owned channels to drive business impact.

Through recent updates, Cision is bringing together PRNewswire’s largest distribution network alongside its industry-leading media database and monitoring solutions. For the first time in the communications technology space, comms professionals can orchestrate all aspects of their earned media campaign and track its success in one comprehensive application. This gives communicators a holistic look into their earned media efforts and provides them with the data they need to share with decision makers — a big step forward in our post-silo paid, earned and owned media landscape.

Multi-Channel Marketing with Sophisticated Comms Calendar

For communicators and marketers, multi-channel marketing has historically been defined by an orchestrated marketing effort across all channels in order to reach the end consumer and drive business value. But, in a number of organizations, this typically leaves the communicator as the one coming to the table with excel spreadsheets and minimal data points. Cision is poised to change that through the new Campaign Calendar which enables real-time coordination across channels. Communicators can simultaneously schedule a press release, social posts, influencer outreach and launch email campaigns all from one central location. Additionally, Help a Reporter Out (HARO) capabilities are now available in the platform, giving communicators the ability to search for journalists’ requests that match areas of expertise.

Influencer Recommendations Helps Communicators Identify Targets

Over 70% of PR professionals say that uncovering influencers is their biggest challenge.

Cision’s media database enables communicators to quickly search and find influencers by their beat, audience, and coverage area. But, with the ever-growing list of potential influencers, it’s hard to keep pace. To assist with this undertaking, Cision introduced Influencer Recommendations to proactively send an alert when a new ideal contact has been added to the database which fits a targeted set of criteria — giving communicators a head start on building new relationships with important influencers.

New Social Profiles, Search Criteria Ensure Communicators Deliver a Relevant Pitch

Reporters from major news outlets receive on average nearly 38,000 emails per year and 80% of journalists say they don’t feel PR and communications professionals do enough to research their outlet and deliver a relevant pitch. With our latest release, we’ve added thousands of new social profiles to our media database full of information on each influencer, allowing communicators to craft a better message. Social Profiles give communicators access to influencer’s Twitter stream, Facebook page, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and more. New search criteria and filters give communicators even more granular capabilities to drill in and find the right contact to reach their end consumer.

Data-Driven Approach to Earned Media

As the earned media space follows in the footsteps of digital paid media and owned media, the expectation is that the quantitative metrics will follow. Communicators and PR professionals must move beyond the implicit value of a placement in their targeted media outlet to a state where they can attribute buying behavior to that coverage. The Cision Communications Cloud’s latest analytics capabilities include updated dynamic and personalized dashboards, which not only provide deep and insightful information to the communicator, but can also be easily shared across the organization. Email templates allow the communicator to personalize the success of their campaigns specifically for their CFO, CEO, CMO, and other decision makers, ensuring that the metrics these leaders are looking for are communicated clearly.

The Cision Communications Cloud is bringing together powerful capabilities into one unified platform, giving marketers and communicators the tools they need to effectively and efficiently manage earned media campaigns across the communications lifecycle.

 

About the AuthorChris Lynch oversees Cision’s global marketing teams. Serving as Chief Marketing Officer, Lynch is responsible for Cision’s global marketing strategy—spanning communications, product, and digital marketing. Previously, he ran product marketing and go-to-market strategy for Oracle’s Marketing Cloud business and also held leadership positions at companies like Badgeville and TIBCO. Based in San Francisco, Lynch attended Northeastern University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Follow Chris on Twitter @cglynch. 




Remembering Al Golin (1929 – 2017)

Fay Shapiro, Publisher, CommPRO.biz

Remembering Al GolinKid, you need to go for it.” Words of wisdom from Al Golin, a man I was fortunate to have as a mentor. He was inspirational in the launch of CommPRO.biz back in 2010.  We “went for it.” While we are all sad to learn of Al’s passing, CommPRO wants to celebrate the life and accomplishments of this public relations pioneer.

I first met Al some 30 years ago while I was with Bacon’s (now Cision) in Chicago.  Al and the late Robert H. Bacon, Jr., were industry pioneers.  Dan Edelman, Al Golin and Harold Burson would often be invited to visit Bacon’s to review the new PR products we’d be developing.  One of my early product “pitch” meetings was with Al Golin.

I never forgot our first meeting.  There’s a certain quality that most visionaries possess that leaves an indelible impression and Al had it and more.  He founded his firm in 1956 and, like so many founders, had a unique vision for how things should be done.  His impact on our industry is still being felt to this day given his agency’s many creative and highly memorable campaigns for, among others, McDonald’s, Walmart, Unilever, Texas Instruments, Johnson & Johnson and others.  As a result of his unique vision, his firm became a powerhouse within the industry.

Al Golin was part of a group of practitioners that made up the “Greatest Generation in PR” (see accompanying story), which includes such luminaries as Harold Burson, Dan Edelman and David Finn.  Pioneers, rather than settlers, they blazed the trail for others to follow.  Al will be missed; however, he leaves behind a rich legacy and a great example for those yet to come.

NOTE:  When I was Jack O’Dwyer’s publisher, I was fortunate to be part of the ‘Greatest Generation in PR’ event.  It is a treasured memory.  Much appreciation to my friends at ODwyerpr.com for sharing this feature with the CommPRO community.  We welcome your comments and memories about Al Golin

 

 




Digital Transformation & Disruption

WHAT IS IT AND WHY DOES YOUR BUSINESS NEED IT?

Digital Transformation and Experience

The Digital World is all around us.  It’s created by the convergence of the virtual and the physical and digital transformation is happening at a dizzying pace. Digital has become so intertwined with our everyday existence it touches almost every aspect of our lives.

Many of these digital touch points are so much a part of our lives now that we hardly give them a second thought anymore: sending an email instead of writing a letter, texting instead of writing a memo, getting cash at the ATMs instead of going in to the bank and being served by a teller, talking to friends and family on Skype and social media, using the Uber app on your phone instead of calling a cab by telephone..

Your customers are living in this brave new Digital World too and the opportunities for them to engage with this converged world are accelerating every day: picking up a Zip car when you need one for a few hours and ordering a dinner party table setting online and having it delivered to your home are just a couple of recent innovations that are disrupting established business models. Not to mention SMART home products like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and the Vivint home security system.

So what does this digital experience mean for your business, your career, your employees or your customers? Endless opportunities, if you can take advantage of these changes and rethink your customer experience in terms of the Digital World.

If you want to be a game changer, or even stay in the game, you have to be able to know where your business is in the intersection of virtual and physical right now and then postulate or imagine how you want it to perform or operate in the converging Digital World of the future.

Without this, any business will struggle to define what their business model looks like in the converged Digital World.  Many businesses are learning that if you don’t confront this, you don’t stay relevant.

Digital disruption is already affecting businesses in every sector: Uber/Taxi industry, Hulu & Netflix/Cable, cell phones/telephone service to name just a few. And it is going to affect every sector of business in the future.

You, your customer and your business are in the middle of this digital disruption every moment of every day, making choices.

For a business, the optimum scenario is that your customer is engaged with your brand, company and product at the digital intersection point.  Your customers are beyond just rationally (product meets his needs) and emotionally (the product out performed itself just when he needed it) pleased.  They are fully engaged and creating content (PR and marketing) for your brand, which expands your product/services use in an integrated market place.  Your product/service becomes a digital experience in your customers’ lives.

And, of course, the same holds true for your employees.  Your business needs to become a Digital Experience ecosystem – where everything and everyone connects.

“By defining your digital business model, one that achieves that immersive experience, you identify your company’s position in the Digital World,” explains Anne Bruce, A Digital Experience Strategist based in Tampa FL. “It allows you to imagine how your company will operate in the future as the digital convergence accelerates. Once you imagine/define this you can begin to transform each of the individual disciplines on a realistic gradient (R&D, PR, Marketing, Finance, Operations etc.) and turn the disruption into an orderly business transformation that yields results.”

DIGITAL TRANSOFRMATION (4)




Entry Form

How Winners Benefit

Not only will you be giving worthy contenders a chance to become the first SPOKEies® winners ever, their thought leadership will be shared with hundreds of thousands of communications people who follow news on CommPRO through video content that will be available for them to distribute on their own site, as well as the opportunity to participate in a live webcast. This will be made available to more than 100,000 people in the communications community for sharing their ideas and tips for why having authentic communications can build a better brand.

Of course, you will receive a winner’s certificate and logo that can be featured on your website. Your selection as a winner will also be integral to the marketing campaign for the SPOKEies® for year two. We anticipate winners will be named in mid-January with the webcasts and other supporting events in late January and early February. We hope you have a winner…or two.

 

The deadline has passed to enter the 2017 SPOKEies®.

    © 2017 D S Simon Media. All rights reserved

    SUPPORT
    PRIVACY POLICY
    The SPOKEies® Story

    CONTACT US

    800.377.4666
    Email: spokeies@spokeies.com



    How to Access Potential Customers In the Digital Age

    Brian ReesBrian Rees, Media Relations Representative, Newnex

    The digital age has been a terrific thing for business success. Businesses in the past didn’t have the diverse marketing options that are readily available to them nowadays. The introduction of the Internet in the past few decades has made business marketing easier and more convenient in many ways. If you want to use technology to get access to your target audience members, the Internet can be a big asset for you. Spreading the word about your business online can indeed be convenient, realistic and effective.

    Recruit the Assistance of Your Customers

    Your existing customers can help you get access to more customers, interestingly enough. If you want to reach more and more people, you need a solid social media presence. Interact with your customers using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Request that they share information about your business with others. It can be wise to ask customers to retweet your news items on Twitter. It’s also critical to make sure you post information that’s compelling and interesting. If your posts are boring and seemingly pointless to customers, they won’t feel the desire to share them with other people. That’s exactly why your goal should be to post content that catches peoples’ attention. Visuals can be excellent tricks for businesses that want to post engaging content. If you want people to take notice of your postings, adding a picture or short video clip may help significantly.

    Set Up a Blog

    Blogging is a critical component of online marketing in this day and age. If you want to attract people to business and to all of its available services and products, a blog can be extremely helpful. A solid blog can put your business’ finest qualities on display for the entire world to see. It can also give customers another way to find your business website using search engines. Don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to writing detailed blog posts, either. An interactive blog can be just as effective as any other. If you lack the time to pen a blog for your business, consider asking your existing customers to lend a helping hand. Send a message to a customer who posted a positive review on your business’ Facebook page. Ask the customer if he wants to post a blog that discusses what he likes the best about your company. If you do this on a regular basis, you should be able to build up a blog that’s informative and useful.

    Regularly Ask People to Post Reviews

    Strong online reviews are essential for businesses that want to reach potential new customers. If you want positive reviews for your business, it can be a good idea to ask your customers to post them. Social media “calls to action” can be excellent for this exact purpose. Use a Facebook call to action to ask your customers to head to your Yelp page to post reviews. If you have an email list with subscribers, you can also request reviews this way. Make sure your most loyal customers know exactly what they have to do to assist you. Legitimate positive reviews can often do wonders for businesses that want to access new customers on the Internet.

    Team Up With Similar Businesses

    “Power in numbers” is a concept that means a lot in the online marketing world. If you want to reach more people on the Internet, it can be smart to team up with similar businesses. Doing so can give you access to their customers. It can give them access to your customer base, too. It’s a win-win situation. An informative guest blog from another company may help broaden your business’ horizons.

    About the Author: Brian Rees is a media relations representative for Newnex. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, music, and playing with technology.




    Media Predictions in an Era of Fake News

    Chris Lynch Discusses Media Predictions in an Era of Fake NewsChris Lynch, Chief Marketing Officer, Cision

    In 2016, the media found itself in an unusual position: The media wasn’t simply reporting the news; it was the news. While research indicates that people still trust earned media more than paid or owned media, a series of key events — particularly the US presidential election — eroded public trust in the media. From the use of Twitter by political candidates to reports of fake news to the rise of platforms like Snapchat and Facebook Live, media wasn’t just something people consumed in 2016 – it was part of their daily dialogue and experience.

    The findings of Cision’s State of the Media Report 2017 are clear: journalists, publishers and brand communicators must continue to provide relevant, authoritative, accurate content to the public in order to preserve and rebuild consumer trust. The way the public consumes and relates to the media is evolving, as are the ways industry professionals are pivoting and adapting to this shift.

    Below are eight predictions, based on our State of Media survey respondent feedback, for what you can expect to see trending for media in the year ahead:

    Trust and credibility are on everyone’s mind. 

    Ninety-one percent of journalists believe that the media is somewhat or much less trusted than they were three years ago – and they’re not wrong. A recent report found that public trust in the media has dropped to a level matching distrust in government officials. More than ever, journalists and influencers value accuracy over speed. Ninety-two percent of respondents said that being right is more important than being first, up four percent from 2016.

    Facts and accuracy come first.

    Journalists want news outlets and publications to focus more on fact-based reporting rather than opinion-based coverage. Although influencers were more divided on the matter, 60 percent of reporters say the public values facts over opinions or feelings. Within the industry, being right is viewed as more important than being first.

    Mode matters.

    Journalists continue to prefer email as the primary means of contact, with more than 90 percent of respondents indicating it is their preferred way to receive a direct story pitch. Telephone pitching has fallen out of favor, with an eight percent uptick in respondents who say that pitching by phone is strictly off limits.

    Personal pitches pack a punch.

    Journalists continue to rely on public relations professionals for story sources. While the majority say their reliance on PR professionals has not changed, twelve percent say they rely on PR professionals more today than they used to. Newsworthiness and relevance to a journalist’s audience are critical to piquing a reporter’s interest, with the topics that communicators pitch to a journalist or influencer proving to be more important than how the story is pitched. More than half of respondents said that displaying knowledge of past work, interests and beats is what drove them to pursue a story. It has never been more important to know about the person you’re pitching to.

    Influencer marketing continues to mature and is constantly evolving.  

    The ethics of influencer marketing were big news in 2016, with the Federal Trade Commission cracking down on disclosure rules and fining brands that failed to have influencers declare sponsorships. As the ethics for influencer marketing continue to evolve and mature, public relations professionals have a valuable opportunity to play a role in shaping the industry.

    Media will continue to be a multi-channel world.

    With real-time media channels and live video outlets growing in popularity, modern media professionals are wearing a new hat: diversified digital content generators. Facebook has become the leading audience engagement tool, while journalists identify Twitter as having the greatest opportunity for growth. With eroding trust in traditional media, the rise of independent media influencers such as bloggers, podcasters and social media personalities, as well as influencers, will become even more important within the communications ecosystem in the year ahead.

    Social reliability is a concern.

    Journalists continue to use social to share and broadcast their stories, but that doesn’t mean they automatically trust these sources for content. Faith in the credibility of social media has dropped, with seven percent fewer respondents agreeing that it is a reliable resource for information when compared to last year.

    Interactive content is key.

    To increase engagement and interaction with readers and viewers, media professionals are trying to make their content more interactive. Results show journalists are now more likely to use images, videos, infographics and user-generated multimedia than data assets. Photos and social media posts rank first and second as the most popular forms of media used.

    If 2016 was the disruptor year for media, 2017 is the year of opportunity. For PR professionals, success will not only depend on working within the context of new trends and tactics, but also understanding where things stand today to get ahead of where they are going tomorrow.

     

    About the Author: Chris Lynch oversees Cision’s global marketing teams. Serving as Chief Marketing Officer, Lynch is responsible for Cision’s global marketing strategy — spanning communications, product and digital marketing. Previously, he ran product marketing and go-to-market strategy for Oracle’s Marketing Cloud business and also held leadership positions at companies like Badgeville and TIBCO. Based in San Francisco, Lynch attended Northeastern University where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @cglynch

     




    Personal Branding: A Must for the College-Bound, CEO and Everyone in Between

    About Stacey Ross CohenStacey Cohen, President & CEO, Co-Communications

    Personal branding isn’t just for college students angling to enter the workforce. Rather, personal branding is a lifelong effort, one that’s constantly evolving and requires regular maintenance. Our individual brands define who we are in the workforce — they guide our career paths and have an indelible impact on our financial future. In short, they’re one of the most important aspects of professional life.

    Although it may seem that brands “just happen,” building brand equity is not an overnight process. Personal branding should start early, allowing the brand to grow and strengthen over time. The ideal time to start is high school. Teens should identify and hone their strengths and interests — a clear, powerful brand can land a student at a top college and entice prospective employers.

    Personal branding is also about standing out. More than 200,000 high school seniors graduated with a 4.0 GPA last year. Nearly 3,000 students scored 2200-plus on the SAT, and Harvard rejected 200 applicants who boasted a perfect 2400 score. When a Fortune 500 company posts an entry level job opening, thousands of applications pour in. While many applicants will be unqualified, there will be a substantial number that satisfy the job requirements. In a sea of sameness, the need to develop a strong point of difference to progress to the next round is non-negotiable.

    So, how are students standing out from the crowd? A growing number of high schools and colleges offer career management courses that embrace personal branding. Consider, for example, North Broward Prep in Florida, which requires one trimester of Personal Branding. Similarly, institutions of higher education, such as Pace University and Boston University, integrate personal branding into their curriculum. Now more than ever, this age group has to counteract fierce competition with a stand-out brand and ensure their digital footprint is positive and consistent.

    Now, let’s examine the other end of the professional timeline. Working beyond retirement has become the norm. In the U.S., about 10,000 people retire every day, which translates to nearly 4 million people annually. But instead of retiring to Florida or the golf course, many baby boomers opt to reinvent themselves and enjoy more productive years. In an article inked by Randall Hansen, Ph.D., author and founder of Quintessential Careers, he notes: “For many, retirement will indeed no longer signal the end of working, but more so a career and lifestyle transition where the retiree has multiple options — such as continuing to work, returning to school for additional training or education, changing careers, venturing into entrepreneurship, becoming more involved in volunteer work, or simply enjoying leisure and travel possibilities.”

    From high school students to retirees, each individual’s brand is unique — but the process of uncovering, cultivating and growing a brand is often universal. Below are eight tips for getting started:

    1. Strong brands are intentional. Start by defining yourself. Determine what you do well, what you love to do, and your identity and vision. Then own it. This all starts with a self-audit to pinpoint your purpose, strengths, values and passion. It’s essential to crystallize your uniqueness — or, competitive advantage — and why you’re a worthy investment. Equally important is understanding your audience: what they need, how they function and what drives them to take action.

    2. Have an answer to “what’s in it for me?” Why should your target audience employ you? What’s your value? What makes you stand out from the host of other applicants? You need to stress your value and strengths. But, avoid tailoring your brand too much to the audience. Make your brand about you first.

    3. Know how to work a room. Networking is face-to-face marketing. Don’t focus on how many people you meet networking — focus on meeting the right people. Building relationships is the core of effective networking.

    4. Stay on brand. Maintain a consistent voice across different channels. Ensure your LinkedIn, Twitter and other profiles are up-to-date and in harmony.

    5. Be self-aware. Always seek feedback. Ensure your brand is not only clearly articulated, but also that you know how to deliver on your brand and make it grow.

    6. Create a powerful online presence. Reputation management is key. The digital footprint one leaves across the Internet is the encapsulation of his/her personal brand.

    7. Have a multi-channel approach. Your toolkit should include, but not be limited, to: LinkedIn, blogging, volunteer work and speaking at industry conferences. Consider all touch points, like e-mail, cell phones and mailed greetings. To stand out, develop a resume with keywords and customized infographics, along with powerful business cards and head shots. And create and share content that will position you as a thought leader.

    8. Deliver on your promise. Remember: you are the product. Gauge your brand behavior and ensure you return phone calls and emails promptly. Not delivering on promises can wreak havoc on the integrity of your personal brand.

    Now you’re ready to develop your own compelling narrative and competitive advantage. And don’t forget to hone it relentlessly. No matter your age or career trajectory, your personal brand has to be fit for a king.

    Reprinted with permission from Huffington Post

     About the Author: Stacey Cohen founded Co-Communications, Inc. in 1997, an award-winning full service marketing and public relations firm with offices in Westchester County, NY, Farmington, CT and midtown Manhattan. Stacey began her career at Marsteller Inc. (a division of Young & Rubicam), where she was responsible for expanding the corporate communications program for advertising executives. She then held senior positions in both public relations and marketing over a six-year period at CBS/FOX Video, then the world’s largest home video company. Under Stacey’s leadership, Co-Communications has been awarded the  Advertising Club’s “Best of Show” (2002, 2010, 2012) sponsored by Gannett, Forbes Enterprise Award (2006), and was inducted into the Westchester County Business Hall of Fame (2008). She was recently named PRSA Practitioner of the Year (2013) in recognition of her professional achievements, experience, and reputation in the profession.  Stacey speaks often at industry conferences.  Stacey is a HuffPost blogger and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Crain’s, Sales & Marketing and other leading national publications.  She holds a B.S. from Syracuse University, MBA from Fordham University and recently completed a certificate program at NYU Leonard Stern School of Business. 




    Creating Connections Amidst Chaos

    Old-School Communications Strategies Help Associations Show Value   

    Creating Connections Amidst ChaosLeeann Berner, Vice President of Marketing, MemberSuite

    We’ve all heard the adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But what if new tricks aren’t what your association needs when it comes to communicating with your members? The impulse to always try new things can backfire if it means that your members are constantly having to adapt to new communication channels to get important updates and announcements from their association.

    Modernization of communications strategies centers on what drives results rather than changing tactics for change’s sake. With this as a backdrop, communications professionals at associations need not feel compelled to completely shift marketing priorities to reach current and potential members.

    Keep it Real

    When it comes to member engagement, associations must understand what strategies work best when it comes to reaching members, equally important, generating the desired behavior and action.

    Quick member surveys are one way to gather this information. In many cases, associations will find over-the-top campaigns that lack a traditional communications channel fall on deaf ears with their intended audience and, in many, fail to reach them at all. Glitz is only good when it is effective. So, when possible, stick to traditional tactics like phone outreach and email campaigns to save resources and generate the desired result of improved member engagement.

    Go Big Online

    In an increasingly buyer-centric market, associations also are facing increased competition from everything to the rise of more networking groups to social networks. Associations must deliver value – in whatever form – to members as a way to build loyalty and create a promoter network that serves as a word-of-mouth recruitment tool.

    Building online communities is an excellent vehicle through which associations can connect members in a highly participatory environment to brainstorm ideas, share best practices and create actionable solutions to the common challenges members face.

    Associations can recruit member advocates to lead conversations in the community and also bring in subject matter experts, when possible, to offer guidance and advice on topics of interest.

    Make Meetings Matter

    A few years ago, Google co-founder, Larry Page, sent a company-wide email on how to run better meetings, according to several news articles. While some of this thinking may not be applicable for associations, two of his key sentiments centered on meeting purpose and attendee participation. In essence, he wrote meetings should be focused on decision making, with all attendees having a role or providing input.

    When scheduling meetings, associations can seek and secure member input in advance to make sure attendees will be engaged. While all meetings may not require big decisions, determine if there are small decisions to be made and address them accordingly.

    When Less is More

    Associations often look to pack meetings with as many topics and speakers as possible to maximize attendees’ time. While this is a cost-effective and practical approach for annual meetings or ones involving travel expenses, associations should look to whittle down meeting times – hitting the relevant topics and providing information in creative ways to engage and energize members.

    The simple truth is communications for associations may be less about what’s new and shiny and more about what’s strategic and effective. From a marketing perspective, the hottest viral video or social media campaign is only as good as the customers and prospects it reaches and gets to act on the specific goals. For associations, delivering and communicating value will go a long way in achieving the goal of more engaged members.

     

    About the Author: About the Author: Leeann Berner is the Vice President of Marketing for MemberSuite, the leading provider of cloud-based management solutions for associations and nonprofits.  Berner has been in marketing leadership roles for B2B companies for 15 years, including serving as head of marketing for Cloud Sherpas’ multi-million dollar global Google business unit. 




    The Content Marketers Secret Weapon

    Scott Fedonchik Discusses the Content Marketers Secret WeaponScott FedonchikSenior Vice President of Marketing, Business Wire

    There is an easy, affordable, trusted and effective tool to promote your communications that you might not be thinking about…post it as Business Wire News Release. Why? Here are a few highlights.

    1) By reframing your content as a news release (and including supporting materials like a headshot, author bio, graphics, research data, a video, etc.) your piece can take on a life of its own as source material for journalists and influencers. Your content is searchable and archived, so you can become a recognized thought leader as reporters do research on your chosen topic. A recent study by Business Wire found that 53% of journalists refer to newswire content daily, so we know they are looking at our material for story ideas.

    media blueprint2) Using a newswire provides a halo of credibility to your content. Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, has been distributing industry news and information for over five decades, establishing a leadership position with journalists around the world. Placing your content within our feed, among other blue-chip organizations, industry thought leaders and brands, add to the relevance, authority, and visibility of your ideas. These factors are hard to measure but are incredibly important for content marketing success!

    3) A wire release for your communications content gains broad reach to leading media points, direct posting to major news sites, search benefits from the major portals, as well as social media distribution through Business Wire’s turn-key sharing tools. We distribute directly into the editorial systems of digital, print and broadcast newsrooms, individual reporters and editors, consumers, financial and news portals, websites, news syndicators, bloggers, social media networks and more, so your amazing content will be seen!

    4) You can select targeted distribution channels (by geography, industry type, trade category, demographics, language, etc.) to insure your content gets seen by the right people who can engage with it and share it with their audiences. Business Wire reaches over 160 countries in 20 languages and offers 193 industry trade verticals to reach the audiences you want to impact. From broad, global reach to micro-targeting, we have your content covered.

    5) Your published piece comes with measurement reports that show the number of views, link clicks, websites that published your articles, social media engagement and a list of influencers who amplified your post. Honestly, try getting that level of reporting from a social media site or programmatic media firm. It’s not going to happen…and certainly not at the costs of working with Business Wire.

    So, my guess is that these points were probably not what you were thinking when you clicked on this post. As a fellow content marketer, I hope I have opened your eyes to the “hidden gems” of the wire.

    Pound for pound there is no more effective (and surprisingly affordable) tactic to add to your content marketing strategy than newswire distribution.

    If you are interested in learning more, email me or click here to set up an information session. (www.services.businesswire.com/press-release-distribution)

     

     

     




    SEO Lessons Learned The Hard Way: Three Big Ones

    simon-lockeSimon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO, CommunicationsMatch

    We can’t be experts in everything. As Aristotle said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” When we do and we’re not an expert, inevitably we screw up. But by doing, we learn.

    In an ideal world, we’d be able to hire or consult with all the experts we need. But then, of course, we wouldn’t have the motivation to invest the time it takes to develop new skills.

    I recently interviewed Founder and CEO of GVATE, a New York-based SEO consultancy, Seun Ajanwachuku (he does CommunicationsMatch’s SEO). Seun told me that the #1 mistake companies make is to start thinking about SEO once a website has been built. This is a big no, no.

    SEO Lesson 1

    Lesson #1 learned the hard way. When we built CommunicationsMatch, I started to think about SEO far before the end of the first phase of the build, but I thought about it as an add on. That’s not the way to do it. Start with SEO from the beginning. It will save a lot of time and help you get higher in the search rankings much more quickly.

    SEO Lesson 2

    Lesson #2 relates to content. What’s important about content is quality. Overdo key word repetition or hurl anything up on a website and it could hurt your rankings. High quality content can be characterized as article or information that people come into the site to read. The more people who read what you write the better the boost to rankings. The lesson here is simple – write interesting things (ideally articles that are 1,000 words in length, because they will be favored by the algorithm), not what you think will be found by a search engine. That’s too simple. And, by the way, build in images and video from the start.

    SEO Lesson 3

    Here’s the last biggie. Making sure site page URLs are as simple and related to the pages they describe is critical. Having URLs with numbers or without the full title of an article, for example, will make that content far harder for Google’s bots to index. Meaning, simply, it will not be found. If you are writing content to drive traffic – this can be a killer.

    For SEO experts this will all be blindingly obvious, but for the rest of us, thinking about these three things as you work on your company’s or a clients’ website is critical. They will help you drive organic search, and save you time and money.

    There are a couple of sites that illustrate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices when it comes to content and images. Google’s WiFi and Amazon’s Echo Dot page layout (scroll down) sites are simple, image rich and designed for search. Of course, our websites don’t have the backing of the two largest players in the industry. But, taking a look at these sites is instructive.

    Why you need to speak to the SEO Experts

    Here’s my last takeaway. There are some communications sectors (arguably all) where no matter how quickly we think we can learn, it is very important to get the perspective of experts. SEO is a discipline that requires the insights and perspective of people who live in the land of wonk. I love the land of wonk.

    By the way, while many web designers may well have SEO expertise, don’t count on it. It’s important to ask, and engage dedicated SEO experts, or you may find you have a lovely website, but not so many visitors.

    On CommunicationsMatch we have a growing number of firms and professionals listed across communications disciplines. Please check out the site. If you are interested in reading about some of email lesson learned the hard way, here’s an article I wrote for Dotmailer.

    About the Author: Simon Erskine Locke is Founder & CEO of CommunicationsMatchTM a communications-industry focused search tool that makes the process of finding PR and communications-related agencies more efficient. Search is free as is listing for qualified agencies. Watch our introductory video. With more than 4,600 U.S. and International agencies and professionals listed, CommunicationsMatch is a powerful resource for businesses seeking communications services providers with expertise in areas including: public relations, internal communications, government affairs, investor relations, content marketing, social media, SEO, website development, photography and video. Prior to founding CommunicationsMatch, Locke held senior Corporate Communications roles at Prudential Financial, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank and founded communications consultancies.




    The 27-year old Trendsetter who Builds Entrepreneurship Through “Not Your Ordinary” Instagram Contest

    Stacey Cohen President & CEO, Co-Communications

    Individuals and businesses are racing to build audiences to establish legitimacy and develop and secure an online brand. But too often, they are trapped in the cycle of growing their audiences and forget that the nature of social media is social. That is, authenticity and engagement are key.

    According to eMarketer, the number of Instagram users are poised to nearly double this year. It makes sense that brands would want to tap into the 600 million Instagram users that share an average of 95 million photos and videos every day.

    Instagram contests have been used by brands and social media personalities, successfully enticing new followers with the promise of rewards. And it’s an effective strategy for audience building, but most marketers don’t see it as much more. In fact, when done poorly, the flagrant promotion of the Instagram contest can devalue audience relationships

    The 27-year old Trendsetter who Builds Entrepreneurship Through “Not Your Ordinary” Instagram Contest

    Fam Mirza pictured in front of NBC Studio

    Which is why Faraz “Fam” Mirza’s contest struck a chord.

    What if we take what we know about the Instagram contest, and use it as an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our current audience and reinforce our personal brands?

    That’s what Fam aims to do. The founder of Mirza Minds is best defined as an innovator. That’s his entire brand. Mirza Minds is a full-service digital marketing and brand development firm that specializes in taking an idea and making it a brand. He works with people to make them noteworthy for the right reasons.

    That’s how Fam Mirza’s contest is different. It’s a smarter kind of Instagram contest because it engages his audience in a way that is on-brand.

    The point of the contest isn’t just to gain visibility by awarding free stuff. The point is to help budding entrepreneurs, people with ideas but no capital, get off the ground. First prize gets $10,000 invested in their idea, access to Fam’s board members, WeWork space in which to work, and a MacBook on which to create.

    These prizes all mean something and the contest reinforces the public image that Fam touts.

    “Being a successful entrepreneur is about sparking the minds of the next generation to take tangible action on their ideas,” says Fam. “Ideas which can and will change the world! That’s really what this contest is about, finding the next aspirational entrepreneur and teaching them the methods behind a proper execution.”

    He asks his audience to share their entrepreneurial spirit, a stellar idea, and the desire to help their peers and colleagues. To enter the contest, aspiring entrepreneurs are required to submit an execution plan for how they’re going to bring an idea to fruition.

    Mirza has always been dedicated to changing lives and the unique Instagram contest has delivered a clear-cut benefit to winners – his prizes are designed to spark and incubate an idea, from a cash investment to access to seasoned entrepreneurs to help a budding project grow. From the moment his innovations with 1Face hit the public’s awareness, building philanthropy an inherent part of the business model, it was clear he wasn’t just out to make any company look good, or to make a ton of money. Priceless.

     

    Reprinted with permission from Huffington Post

     About the Author: Stacey Cohen is CEO/President of Co-Communications, Inc. and a Huffington Post blogger on Personal Branding.  She can be reached by email at Stacey@cocommunications.com or via Twitter @staceycohen.