Digital Media, Hughes PR, Media, Social media

I Wrote This Blog Post To Communicate A Message. But What Happened Next Will Blow Your Mind.

If you’re active on social media, the headline of this article will no doubt sound familiar to you. Sites like Upworthy and Distractify have turned “click bait” into an art form with their overly dramatic and enticing headlines.

There are actually two articles on Distractify’s front page today, above the fold, that promise my “mind will be blown” by their contents.

As editor of http://UsVsTh3m.com, Rob Manuel, put it on Twitter: “Despite so many promises I can’t think of one instance an article on the internet has blown my mind.”

These sites use their headlines to demand an emotional response from their readers – be it inspirational, educational, funny or shocking.

(As an aside, it annoys me no end that these sites write their headlines with a capital letter at the start of each word. Drives. Me. Crazy.)

However, while some see these styles of headlines annoying, there’s no denying that they work. Their impact is seen all over Twitter and Facebook as people are attracted by the headline and then share the content on their newsfeeds.

I read a Facebook comment this morning from a user who received 10 times the traffic on their blog post when they changed their headline to be in the new provocative style (here’s the original post, and then the re-post).

Australian-based Mamamia has perfected the art of click bait – with headlines ensuring never to give away the story. You HAVE to click to find out what the headline is leading to. I must admit I enjoy the Twitter account Mamamia Spoilers (inspired by HuffPoSpoilers), who claim they are “Giving in to the Mamamia click bait so you don’t have to”.

What does this mean for traditional news sites? They too are moving to change the way they present their content to ensure the headline is as alluring as possible. While not quite going all the way to the “blow your mind” type headline, AdelaideNow’s “Thirty ways you know you’re a South Australian” is heading in that direction. Not only that, but they have search engine optimisation to consider too: saying “[Celebrity] dies: found dead” covers off people searching Google for both “[Celebrity] dies” and “[Celebrity] dead”.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the evolution of the headline – I think it’s a fascinating example of the way media is changing for the online environment. And meanwhile, it looks like I’ll continue to be sucked in. When looking at Upworthy and Distractify to write this blog post, I struggled to not click on multiple headlines as I scrolled down the page. See you after I’ve been tempted by “The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken That Perfectly Capture The Human Experience”…

What about you? Do you get enticed by these types of headlines? Do you think they work? Or do you resist them?

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Hughes PR

Email tales: being so ‘popular’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Alli Evans writes…

Being new to the work force, there have been many aspects that have changed in my daily routine and in the way I approach things. Coming straight from university where I had half a year of holidays, to four weeks annual leave was certainly a shock to the system!

However, probably the biggest shift has been the amount of emails I have been receiving. My naive uni friends are under the impression that I am extremely popular and very professional. If only they knew that most of my emails are internal conversations or email newsletters – not particularly exciting!

This spike in popularity followed by the reality of having to open, read and delete all of these emails, caused me to research internal social media networking platforms that enable quick and easy communication – that don’t leave me with 600 conversation trails in my inbox.

Here at Hughes PR, we all work similar hours in the same office, which makes it relatively easy for us to communicate with each other. However for businesses where workers work on a shift roster around the clock, or who are working in different locations to one another, I can imagine the email “problem” is even more extreme.

There are many internal social media platforms available – such as Yammer, Chatter and Ning, all platforms that offer businesses an area where they can post ideas, start discussions and even host files without clogging up the inbox.

Keeping track of discussions in one place, posting questions or polls, and generally ensuring communication is seen by all staff are obvious benefits. However other features include creating groups for the different divisions of your organisations, tagging people to bring items to their specific attention, and accessing the network remotely or via an iPhone app.

In this day and age, customers expect timely responses to problems or queries. If your customer has an issue but you need to discuss it with multiple people, or discuss it with someone in a different location than you, then this is where these online platforms really shine. Instead of email – where you need to remember who you need to CC in every time, outline the issue and wait for a response – you can post a link on your internal social media network and receive push notifications on your phone when you get a response. Love it!

I know that signing up and learning about a new social media platform can be seen as an inconvenience and it can be hard to convince everyone to get on board, but didn’t everyone think that about Facebook until they signed up? Give it a go, I think you will be surprised at your company’s ability to reply to customer wants and your business’s own efficiency. 

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Hughes PR

Corporate social responsibility – Does it matter?

Jamie Hershman writes…

Yes – it matters.

How an organisation treats its employees, how it engages with local communities, and how ethical it is can make a big difference in how prospects and clients view that organisation.  It can often play a determining role in conducting business with that organisation or recommending the organisation to others in your network.

The CSR RepTrak® study released by the Reputation Institute suggests that there is a strong business case when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Seventy-three per cent of consumers across the 15 largest markets in the world were willing to recommend companies that are perceived to be delivering on Corporate Social Responsibility. The problem is that only five per cent of companies are seen as delivering on these promises.

CSR initiatives globally are limited due to poor internal communication processes and external communication practices.

Professor CB Bhattacharya, from the European School of Management and Technology said “unfortunately, corporate responsibility is still equated to philanthropy in many organisations and hence, given short shrift when it comes to strategic formulation and implementation”.

Bruce Rogers from Forbes provided further context – “The problem lies in the lack of strategic integration. The biggest challenge is to integrate CSR practices into the strategy of the company and not treat it as an add-on.  To accomplish this, CSR officers need to have their voice heard, particularly in the C-suite and at the Board level”.

Many companies don’t have a solid communications management and implementation framework to tie their CSR actions to their strategy.  Without this internal communications framework, it can become very difficult to maintain a strong investment in CSR activities.

One company that has its CSR internal practices and external communications tied firmly to its strategy is Google. Google has been successful in building a perception of caring around the world.

“They are seen as a company that treats their people well. It ranks number one in the world in this dimension. The logic is that if you treat your own people well, you are an open, honest, and caring company,” Kasper Ulf Nielsen, executive partner at Reputation Institute said.

Director of Google Giving, Jacquelline Fuller, said Google believed in the power of technology.

“Giving back is a huge part of what motivates us as a company, and as individuals,” she said.

“We invest in social entrepreneurs who are using technology to crack the code on the world’s toughest problems. Last year we invested in tech-based efforts to expand access to clean water, stop wildlife poaching, prevent the horrible practice of human trafficking and reduce poverty worldwide.”

Between 2010 and 2013, Google donated more than $353 million in grants worldwide, and approximately $3 billion in free ads, apps and products.

There is a strong business case for CSR for any organisation, regardless of the size of their budget. It can have a direct impact on business performance. According to the CSR RepTrak® research, for every five points you improve your CSR perception on a 100 point scale, buyer recommendations will increase by nine per cent. This data should make even the biggest CSR sceptic take notice.

In a world where word-of-mouth is fast becoming the number one marketing tool, CSR is a key business driver that organisations should embrace. More effective internal communications practices aligning CSR to overarching corporate strategies, combined with a renewed focus in leveraging these activities, will see a major increase in the positive business outcomes being achieved.

View the 10 companies with the best CSR ranking.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Hughes PR, Media, Media training

Do I need media training? Yes, you do!

Jamie Hershman writes…

Media and social media training has proved its value for many organisations across the globe, in refining and delivering key messages to journalists or live audiences and also protecting reputations in the face of corporate issues or crises.

I can recall a PR disaster last year which saw Chip Wilson, Founder and Chairman of yoga wear brand Lululemon Athletica,make international headlines following an interview on the Street Smart program on Bloomberg TV. See the interview here.  Wilson appeared with wife Shannon, who was being interviewed about a 60 second meditation program she was promoting.

Instead of meditation being the story, the trending headlines following his interview were “If your thighs rub together, Lululemon’s pants may not be for you.”

This comment and subsequent futile apologies using social media caused a share price drop and were major contributing factors to Chip Wilson losing his job as Chairman.

Your company spokesperson can ensure this type of scenario doesn’t beset your organisation, by enrolling in a practical media training session.

High quality media training sessions should have a focus on providing context to the modern media environment, while equipping participants with the skills to manage issues and raise awareness of their business through the media. The sessions should provide participants with the ability to conduct tailored television, print and radio interviews to simulate likely scenarios that are faced outside the training room.

If you are still uncertain about the value of media training, don’t be – it may turn out to be the best investment your organisation makes.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Hughes PR

Hourly rate or monthly retainer?

Kieran Hall writes….

So you’re looking for a PR firm to help boost communication between your organisation and your target market.

You acknowledge the benefits that a well-planned communications program can bring to your organisation, however you’re not sure about the best way to pay for it. Essentially, there are two standard terms of payment: an hourly rate or a monthly retainer fee.

There are advantages to both, however at Hughes PR we prefer to charge the majority of our clients on the basis of an hourly rate as we believe this allows them to best judge the “results for effort” equation. And importantly, it keeps us accountable.

It also means clients are only charged for hours actually worked, so if a consultant spends 12 hours on your account, you’ll only get an invoice for 12 hours, which would be accompanied by an activity report detailing the work undertaken.

Alternatively, some of our larger clients prefer the monthly retainer option as it suits the long-term strategic consulting services we provide them. A monthly retainer has also proved advantageous for clients who are certain of the scope of work and length of time required, while others simply prefer a set fee for budgeting reasons.

Enlisting the services of a PR firm and drawing on the expertise of consultants is a great way to boost your organisation’s productivity and performance, particularly if your business is under-resourced and over-stretched when it comes to conveying your message to your target audience.

Whether you prefer to pay for these services by way of an hourly rate or a monthly retainer is ultimately your decision, so be sure to weigh up your options and go with the one that best suits your requirements.

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Hughes PR

Merry Christmas from Hughes PR!

Best wishes for the holiday season from the team at Hughes PR! We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

Watch more of our online videos on our YouTube Channel.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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Digital Media, Hughes PR, Marketing, Social media, Video

Content marketing – buzz word or required tactic?

Jamie Hershman writes…

With above the line marketing becoming less effective at reaching audiences that have “zoned out”, marketers are now increasingly utilising content marketing to re-engage with their target audiences.

Content marketing is a technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and maintain a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

It is the art of communicating with an intended audience – without selling.

The goal of content marketing is to consistently provide relevant information to the target audience that can change or enhance their behaviour in your favour. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into an overall marketing strategy.

According to Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision-makers prefer to receive company information in a series of articles versus advertisements. Buyers aren’t looking for you to sell to them—they prefer information that answers their questions or fills a void. Buyers are getting information from case studies, company blogs, infographics, industry news, and other content-driven sources.

An organisation that conducts clever content marketing is Lorna Jane (fitness wear for women). The standalone Move Nourish Believe website acts as the brand’s content centre – it presents articles of relevance to their target audience – covering topics like skincare, healthy eating and motivation, as well as videoshealthy recipes and forums. All of this serves to create a conversation and sense of community with its target audience, allowing both the company and the audience to benefit.

The ‘Content Marketing in Australia: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends’ report was released earlier this year by the Content Marketing Institute and ADMA. Some of the major findings included:

  • 96% of marketers use content marketing;
  • 25% of budgets are allocated to content marketing;
  • 61% of Australian marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months;
  • 57% of companies outsource content creation.

View the full report here.

How does your company’s content marketing program compare?

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Which stage is your business at in the above content marketing model developed by the ADMA?

Content marketing may be an often misunderstood buzz word, but as you can see it is becoming a more relevant tactic to marketers in both the digital and physical environment in order to attract, retain and grow their customers.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

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