Facebook’s new algorithm: what’s next for PR

Another Facebook update is here. And the PR game is changing…yet again.

With frustrations high, let’s hash this out and see how to still come out on top with strong PR game.

What’s going on
Mark Zuckerberg announced in January a new algorithm where Facebook users will start seeing more posts from friends and family and fewer posts from companies and brands.

According to Facebook, the update is supposed to encourage more engagement on Facebook because we’ll be seeing more posts and content from the ones you love.

“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post on Thursday. It’s true.

My Facebook feed is full of video after video. It’s to the point I don’t even want to get on Facebook anymore. However, Facebook is a primary outlet for businesses trying to reach their consumers and clients.

“I want to be clear; by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” Zuckerberg said. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.”

Businesses depend on Facebook as a social media outlet to share their brand, motives and goals. With the algorithm changing, PR professionals working in social media will need to find alternatives to the algorithm change.

What’s next
Adam Durfee is an SEO and public relations guru and said, “Facebook has made it very clear that what matters most for businesses is brands and pages starting conversations. Facebook will be giving edge-rank boost to those starting conversation among followers.”

“Your job as a PR professional running business pages now is to start conversations among followers. If you can’t, your reach will disappear. If you can, you’ll have better reach than ever before. Don’t just tell stories, get people to engage in them,” Durfee concluded.

There is a way to rise on top. We just have to know what we’re dealing with and then act. We have the chance to have a larger reach than ever before if we adapt to the new system.

Advice moving forward 
If you’re sitting at your desk thinking, “great, time to make an entire new strategy,” I’m happy because it means you get it.

But, think of it like this: Instead of writing stories and experiences to tell to your audience, you can start writing posts to talk with your audience. Start your new strategy now. Find creative ways to engage.

I think one of the most engaging tactics in social media right now is Instagram Story polls. How can we incorporate these on Facebook?

How can we start conversations that people actually want to respond to? As PR professionals, these are the kinds of questions we need to start asking. When you and your team begin crafting your new strategy and launch your first posts with conversations, your reach will be like Durfee said, greater than ever before.

We came into the PR industry knowing that it is ever changing. We have to be flexible. Creative. Adaptable. Innovative.

If we embody these traits, there is no social media update that will get us down.

Don’t try to fight Facebook, beat ‘em.

Written by Genny Hickman

Newsjacking: The what, why, and how

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I think we can all agree that we get asked about the news more often than not. Current events are one of the most talked about topics in our day to day lives because people naturally want to know what’s going on in the world around them.

As communicators, our job is to help our company be noticed and heard. We want to write stories that make our company seem appealing and exciting. But how do we do that when there is not constant breaking news every day at work? The answer is newsjacking.

Newsjacking (v): The process of inserting your brand into current events to create media attention.

The news is even more instant with the constant movement of technology. The news can be accessed in many different ways and that is why newsjacking can be so beneficial. Whether that be opinions of industry leaders, a funny meme, or lending public support to a crisis happening around, there is always a way to place your brand’s name in a place where it can be seen.

How can it help my company?
Newsjacking can help any company at any time. It doesn’t matter how big or small a company is, there is always an opportunity for it because of the technological world we live in. Technology allows instant communication at the touch of a button. Newsjacking will allow content to be produced, websites and social media to drive more traffic, and can give people something to talk about. There doesn’t need to be a large budget, just a team of individuals who can be quick on their feet and more creative and strategic than competitors.

The most exciting part about this is that you can write about something that is unrelated to your company but because it is relevant to the news it will benefit you. It shows consumers that your company is up to date and has an idea of what’s happening in the world.

Remember the Super Bowl of 2013? Yes, the one where Beyoncé performed at halftime and the Ravens and the 49ers had to wait over half of an hour before the power turned back on. Well, turns out that the majority of people didn’t remember those things too much but they did remember Oreo. During the power outage, Oreo’s team thought fast. They produced some of the most influential newsjacking examples we have today.

Oreo’s tweet in the 2013 Super Bowl during the blackout. Photo courtesy of Oreo’s twitter.

For that Super Bowl most advertisers paid about $4 million dollars for a 30-second commercial spot.  During the blackout, Oreo tweeted one tweet (which obviously wasn’t planned) but they got more attention from that tweet than many other companies that spent $4 million dollars! 

“The only reason I remember the Super Bowl in 2013 was because of the power outage. It was unfortunate but I do remember seeing Oreo’s tweet and thinking how that was good,” says university student, Bailey Bunch.

Looking back, we can see that Oreo definitely made its mark.

How can I do it?
The idea sounds great right? But how do you go about Newsjacking? Below is a simple formula from Search Engine Watch that will change everything for you.

  1. Data: It is important to keep up to date with the news around you. It will allow you to be a step ahead of your competitors. Timeliness is the key to newsjacking. This diagram shows the phases that a news story goes through. It is essential to newsjack within the first 2-3 phases in order to capture the attention that is needed.

Newsjacking is more beneficial in the first 2-3 phases. Photo courtesy of newsjacking.com.

  1. Creative: Being creative and clever in this industry is always a must! But when a company can take everyday news and turn it into something special, now that’s what will be remembered. Just think, everyone will see this news story, but how will you make this one different?
  1. An Opinion: Putting in a short and simple quote that voices an opinion can always be enough to for someone to pay more attention to you. An opinion allows consumers to see where your company stands on certain issues as well.

By being aware of the news, creating content to stand out, and adding opinions, companies will be able to use newsjacking as a strong tool. Along with that, technology will continue to grow which will allow more opportunities for newsjacking in the day to day workplace.

Keep your eyes open!

Written by Oliva Oldroyd

Zoom in on the syrup: Memes as online marketing strategies

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he average person spends over 100 minutes on social media every day—which means a lot of articles, posts, and pictures are flashing in front of millions of eyes each day as well. BYU PR students are expected to know how to tap into that traffic when they graduate, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Memes could be the back door that allows companies to jump right into the popularity frenzy. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins originally coined the term “meme” to describe a cultural idea or trend that circulates and grows in popularity much like a successful genetic trait.

What’s So Great About Memes?

According to Scott Church, a BYU communications professor, the term “meme” refers to anything that is meant to go viral, whether it’s a phrase, a video, or a picture. Some examples of such include the Grumpy Cat macro (image with bolded text) and the Keyboard Cat video.

According to a study done by Piia Varis and Jan Blommaert from Tilburg University, people find it important to be part of a group that ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ items posted by others. Memes perfectly fit the bill because they are easy to consume, have mass appeal, are relatable to the audience, shareable, familiar, and funny.

What Elements Do Viral Memes Have?

  1. Designed for the masses.

Memes should relate to large groups of people that include the target audience. The more people a meme relates to, the more readily it will be shared. This is a balancing act between getting the meme seen by the target audience, but having enough people in the audience for it to go viral.

An example of this element was posted on a funny dog Facebook page. It appeals to dog lovers, but also appeals to anyone who dreads getting up for work on Monday mornings.

 

This meme appeals to dog lovers, but also appeals to anyone who dreads getting up for work on Monday mornings.

 

  1. Easy to consume.

Memes should have clear pictures (or video) and simple text. They should be easy to read, easy to understand, and to the point. Any meme with difficult font or confusing content will be passed over and left unshared.

 

Since the point of memes is to be shared, memes should be created in the proper format and the proper size for the platforms it will be posted to. The more places it gets posted, the more likely it is to get shared. However, keep in mind that memes may not be appropriate on every platform. If a company has a large, older audience on Facebook, memes might not be the best way to engage with them, and might actually have the opposite effect.

  1. Familiar or current.

Viral memes are often based off of recent happenings. Using current events as a base will make the meme familiar (and relatable) to those viewing it. An example of this was when the power went out during the super bowl in 2013 and Oreo posted this photo:

 

Using current events as a base will make the meme familiar (and relatable) to those viewing it.

 

  1. Funny, witty, clever, and smart.

Memes need to be funny, witty, clever and smart so they can catch enough attention to be shared. Businesses are always posting social content, and audiences are constantly being bombarded with it, so creating attention-grabbing content can help a specific brand or company get noticed, even if it’s just for a moment.

 

Another reason why memes need to be light-hearted is because overly stiff and formal online messaging can alienate the very fans marketers wish to court. It may be necessary to toss the corporate handbook to be able to create an offbeat meme that’s hard to fit into a business plan. That said, don’t get so crazy that the content isn’t somewhat in line with your brand’s identity.

Things To Watch Out For

Everything a brand says or does, even if a little silly, needs to fit with the brand’s identity. If a company has a solemn reputation, memes may not be the most effective marketing tactic.

Even if a brand can afford to be offbeat or a little silly at times, it’s wise to avoid posting viral content continuously just to be funny. Remember—it’s all in the delivery. Fail at this, and audiences will assume the company is trying too hard. Never sacrifice quality or originality for quantity.

How to Create a Viral Meme

According to businessnewsdaily.com, a basic rule of thumb is that companies who want to go viral should probably memejack to get and some immediate attention. Companies that already have lots of loyal followers are better off trying to outshine the competition with their own creative juices (as long as self-created memes have great concepts behind them).

Memejacking

Once a meme has been decided on, there are two options for actually creating it. The first is called memejacking, which is the method that a lot of companies use. It’s taking a viral meme that has already been created and tweaking it to fit the brand. If this method is decided on, there are a couple things to look out for:

  1. Understand the meme, first. If a meme’s origin and meaning isn’t clear, don’t just try it anyway! Use com to read up on it before deciding it’s the right meme to use. Using a meme incorrectly can backfire.
  2. Don’t waste time. Memes have an incredibly short lifespan, so don’t dawdle in putting a good idea into practice. Waiting too long could allow the meme’s popularity to fizzle out before it can be used.
  3. Make sure it’s appropriate. Using memes inappropriately will put a company’s reputation on the line, referring to the content and context of the meme itself, or the situation in which it’s shared. A serious audience would probably not appreciate a humorous meme.

Even if a meme doesn’t go viral, using a well-known macro will greatly increase the chances of it grabbing the attention of the target audience, followers, and customers. A successful example of this is below, posted by the company Barkbox.

 

Memejacking is taking a viral meme that has already been created and tweaking it to fit the brand.

 

Creating Memes From Scratch

Remember that memes should be designed for the masses, easy to consume, shareable, familiar (or current), and funny, witty, clever, or smart. Websites like MemeGenerator.net are a great place to start. Sites like this will often put their watermark on a finished meme. Brandwatch.com gives some examples of popular things to use:

  • Animals saying human things.
  • Babies saying or doing adult things.
  • Sayings from popular television shows or movies.
  • Popular images of characters from television shows or movies.
  • Popular or classic quotes.
  • Puns or joke punch lines.
  • That moment when. . .
  • Grumpy Cat.
  • Most Interesting Man in the World.

    Companies that already have lots of loyal followers are better off trying to outshine the competition with their own creative juices.

An image posted by Denny’s is a great example of a larger company creating its own meme based off of current trends.

Written by Kyra Sutherland

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What is PR, actually?

Public relations, advertising and marketingwhats the difference?  Here are a few pointers to help you differentiate.

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he public relations profession is one big mystery to most of the world.  Easily confused with marketing or advertising, it’s a field that can be difficult to explain.  If you practice public relations, most of your friends and family have probably been confused when you have tried to explain what you do.  Here are a few resources to help you answer another round of awkward questions at family gatherings this Christmas season.

Q: What do PR practitioners do, in a nutshell?

A:  According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), public relations is “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”  Plainly put, public relations is about using tools like writing, social media and strategy to build trust and reputation for an organization.

 

Q: Are PR professionals just professional partiers?

A:  Many people believe that practicing PR equates to being a publicist, representing a celebrity, or meeting people at swanky parties for a living—far be it from the truth.  Public relations work can often include special events productions, but every event is created with a strategy in mind.  Public relations work is not all glamorous, and though most professionals do enjoy their work, long hours spent strategizing and planning go unseen.

 

BYU public relations students met with local PR professionals at a recruiting event to learn from and network industry leaders. Though networking isn’t all that PR professionals do, it, it does play a large role in any PR job.

 

Q: Is public relations like advertising?

A:  PR is not advertising.  While the two professions have things in common, like elements of design and strategy, the main difference between public relations and advertising is that advertising is paid media, while PR is earned media.  This means that advertisers will pay to push their content forward, while PR professionals will earn their coverage in ways like writing news story pitches to journalists, creating social media posts or putting together brand videos for a client.  In fact, when you read a piece of public relations content, you may not even realize it’s been carefully crafted to persuade you to think about an idea or a brand in a certain way.  PR is discreet, while advertising is more obvious to the viewer.

 

BYU advertising students prepare a set for a Comic Con video shoot. While advertisers promote clients via paid media, PR practitioners promote clients through earned media.

 

Q:  What’s the difference between PR and marketing?

A:  While marketers aim to sell products, PR professionals sell ideas.  At the core, PR professionals are storytellers.  Public relations professionals are primarily responsible for managing brand reputation and press relations, while marketers might focus more on market research and sales goals.

 

Q:  What can you do with a career in PR?

A:  One of the best things about the field of PR is that you can do so many things with the degree.  Some graduates choose to work at PR agencies, which is probably what you think of as a traditional PR job.  However, the options are limitless.  Today, many PR graduates choose to specialize in digital marketing and social analytics and work in PR tech jobs.  Additionally, many PR graduates cross over to marketing or business, or go to law school.  A PR practitioner could be a press secretary, an event planner, or even an entrepreneur and start his or her own firm.

 

Q:  Should I major in PR?

A: If you’re passionate about writing, creativity and strategy—and you have a healthy tolerance for stress—this may be the perfect field for you.

Written by Lindsey Trendler

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Using social media to build your personal brand

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mployers are stalking you, and you may not like what they see. Many hiring managers will take a look at your social media profiles after they interview you to get a snapshot of who you are. “I always look at a few social channels when hiring,” said Brandon Jeppson, Vice President of marketing at EKR. “It helps me get a better sense of who that person really is.”

If the person represented on your social media channels does not reflect the person you want employers to see, you need to step up your game on social media. Get noticed and hired by the right people by taking control of your personal brand online.

1. Stand for something

A good personal brand starts with a solid foundation. Pick a cause, any cause. It doesn’t have to be organized one, or even well-known. You can stand up for happiness, class, art, religion, or science. Choose something you want to embody, and let the rest of your content follow suit. Your foundational principles will shine through to people looking at your social profiles and will be influential in shaping their perceptions of you.

2. Embrace the real you

A common misconception is that to be successful on social media, you should appear to be perfect. People want to see the real you. A hiring manager isn’t going to your Facebook feed to be wowed by your flawless selfies, they’re there to get a glimpse of your reality. Be authentic and relatable, and people will want you on their team.

“Credentials and skills are important, but in the end, you’re working with people,” said Jeppson. “Social media, including LinkedIn, can help me figure out if they’re going to be a good fit for my team”.

 3. Find your audience

Once you find the content that resonates with you, find out who cares to listen. Use platforms like Buzzsumo to monitor what’s trending with your audience, then use that content to fuel your posts. Remember, you’re not building a personal brand for yourself, but for others to be influenced and inspired by you.

 4. Stay consistent

Having a consistent look and feel to your personal brand will create a sense of trust and validity. “You can damage an otherwise impeccable reputation if one of your profiles shows up with content or images that don’t represent you well,” said Sujan Patel, Co-founder of Web Profits and a contributing author to Forbes. This advice is especially helpful on an Instagram account, where a consistent look and feel (including a color scheme) is pleasing to the eye.

 5. Mix up your content

Don’t settle for only one type of engagement with your audience, even if you know it works. Mixing up what you post keeps things interesting for your followers and helps employers see the many facets of your personality. “When hiring, I try to gather as much data as I can about a person,” said BYU student and E-WeddingBands operations manager David Baird. “I want to know what their personality is like and how they handle themselves in all types of situations.”

6. Embrace your work

Your social media pages shouldn’t be a place to consistently gloat about your achievements. They can, however, be a place to occasionally post content you create, like blog posts or videos. Sprinkling your personal brand with original work helps employers quickly assess your skill sets.

 7. Google yourself

Try putting your name into a search engine. How do you feel about the results? Are you ashamed and embarrassed, or happy and proud?  Monitoring your online presence is essential to maintaining a personal brand. If there’s something you don’t like on your social pages, it’s easy to delete. If you’re worried about how you’re portrayed on other pages, try reaching out to the person posting and explain you don’t want to be portrayed in that way.

Just like a business would, you should be aware of where you show up online, who is talking about you and what is being said.

Social media matters when interviewing for jobs. Skills and credentials aside, employers want to make sure you’re a good fit for their team.

“Elevating your personal brand might seem like it involves a huge time investment. But, small steps in the right direction can go a long way” said Kat Boogaard, writer for The Muse and contributing author for Inc.

Rest assured that employers are looking at your social media because you’re already interesting. Make sure you paint the right picture of who you are and who you want the world to see.

Written by Shannon Baird

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150 years of the best holiday campaigns

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he most wonderful time of the year is here. Lights twinkle at every street corner, fresh snow starts to blanket the ground, and the spirit of giving warms the hearts of all. But perhaps the most obvious sign that this joyous season is here, is the start of holiday marketing campaigns.

For over a century, companies have kept the public guessing what creative tricks they will pull out of their sleeves during the month of December. The advertisements, the jingles, the iconic characters, have all helped trademark the magic this time of the year brings.

Here is a list of the nine most iconic and beloved holiday marketing campaigns over the last 150 years.

 1874: Macy’s holiday window display

The grand Macy’s department store in New York City was the first brand to create a major holiday window display. The boom of the industrial revolution made glass in rich supply, allowing R.H Macy to bring to life his vision of creating an elaborate storefront to fascinate his customers.

In 1874, Macy’s debuted its first window display, featuring collections of hand-painted, porcelain dolls from around the world, as well as scenes from the novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

To this day, people from all over the world visit the department store in New York, to witness the beautiful artistry captured behind the glass of Macy’s windows.

 1924: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade

in 1924, Macy’s expanded to cover an entire city block in New York City. The newly acquired 1 million square feet of retail space was enough reason to celebrate, and thus the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was born. Macy’s employees scattered the streets in bright costumes, as floats and animals borrowed from central park zoo entertained an audience of over 250,000 people.

For many, the annual parade marks the start of the holiday season. Still to this day, the elaborate production draws extensive national attention, making Macy’s a brand name that is strongly connected with the holidays.

 1931: Coca-Cola’s father of Christmas

Years ago, the image of Santa Clause as a jolly, grandfather-like figure, did not exist. Every artist had a different interpretation of the holiday icon, until Coke created an image that would stick for years to come.

In 1931, Coca-Cola hired artist Haddon Sundblom, to create an image of Santa the company could use in its Christmas advertisements. Sundblom developed the character America knows and loves today, conveniently wearing the same classic red that is associated with Coca-Cola.

1939: Montgomery Ward’s Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

Each year, the department store Montgomery Ward created Christmas coloring books for children as promotional items. In 1939, the company hired copywriter Robert L. May, with the task of creating its annual book.

Montgomery Ward’s Christmas coloring book in 1939, introducing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the first time. 2.4 million copies of the book were sold that season.

In his youth, May was bullied for being small in size and extremely shy. These past experiences inspired the writer to create Rudolph, a misfit reindeer that was mocked for his shiny red nose.

During the 1939 Christmas season, May’s coloring book sold over 2.4 million copies. To this day, the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is one of the most popular holiday children’s stories.

1955: Norad’s tracking Santa’s journey

In 1955, a local newspaper ran a Sears advertisement that invited kids to call Santa Clause. However, a problem arose when the newspaper accidentally changed a single digit in Santa’s phone number, leading all the children to call the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) center.

Each year, members of NORAD and dozens of volunteers, take phone calls from children about Santa’s location on Christmas Eve.

To avoid acting like scrooges on Christmas, the military leaders at NORAD gave a few men the special assignment to answer all Santa related calls.

From that night on, NORAD became an integral part of Christmas Eve, as the command center started to “track” Santa’s journey across the globe. Children continue to use NORAD’s tracking website each year to see how close Santa is to their house.

 1989: Hershey’s holiday bells

The iconic advertisement personifying Hershey kisses as bells has run every December since 1989. However, what most people don’t know is that the beloved commercial was not supposed to exist.

Hershey’s creative team had already decided to go in a different direction when an employee came up with a simpler idea he thought would be better. Without financial support, the employee ran with his own advertising concept.

After showing his boss the finished product, Hershey scrapped its more elaborate animation and released the now famous Hershey Holiday Bells commercial.

1993: Coca-Cola’s sledding polar bears

Coca-Cola’s signature polar bears made their sledding debt during the 1993 holiday season with a commercial titled, “Northern Lights.”

Coca-Cola debuted its iconic polar bears for the first time with a holiday advertisement titled, “Northern Lights.” The creator of the commercial was Ken Stewart.

The creator of the commercial, Ken Stewart, chose to feature polar bears because they reminded him of his late Labrador retriever. Coca-Cola used the most advanced computer graphics at the time to bring Stewarts vision onto the screen for the holidays.

 1997: Starbuck’s red holiday cups

In 1977, Starbucks released its first holiday cup. A festive red cup adorned with seasonal designs made for a beverage holder every customer wanted to drink out of.

Starbuck’s holiday cup campaign is still going strong today, as the cup serves as a perfect complement to the company’s seasonal drinks, such as peppermint mocha and gingerbread latte.

 2007: Macy’s Believe campaign

In 2007, Macy’s launched its first “Believe” campaign, calling all believers in Santa Clause to put their faith to good use. For every letter written to Santa and sent through a Macy’s department store, the company would donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Over the course of nine years, the campaign has raised $15 million for the charity.

Written by Brittain Steiner

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What the end of net neutrality means for communicators

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But with a new proposal by the Federal Communications Commission to rollback net neutrality regulations, those personal blogs and small businesses might have a harder time getting their voices heard on the internet. The new FCC proposal cuts out Obama-era net neutrality rules that made internet service providers give equal access of all internet content to consumers.

A lack of net neutrality regulations would allow internet service providers—like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T—to block or slow-down web content. For example, for streaming services that use heavy bandwidth like Netflix and YouTube, ISPs could charge a premium to those companies and to consumers in order to access those sites.

Some communications professionals fear that this change could negatively impact internet advertisers and marketers. For instance, if advertisers don’t pay ISPs, web ads could be slowed down to the point where a consumer won’t even see the ad by the time they leave the page.

“It’s going to fundamentally change the way (marketers) can approach digital media,” said Josh Lowcock, EVP Chief Digital Officer at UMWorldwide. “It could affect everything from advertising prices and viewability standards to innovation and competition.”

Others are less concerned about the immediate impact of the net neutrality changes. The FCC proposal won’t be voted on until Dec. 14 and, though likely to pass, the changes won’t go into effect for a few months and potential lawsuits against the FCC might slow the effects even more.

“This won’t kill journalism, advertising or public relations,” said professor Ed Carter, director of Brigham Young University’s School of Communications. “Content will continue to flow for the most part and we won’t see wholesale changes immediately.”

Still, while large content providers like Amazon or Hulu will be able to pay the increased costs, the same might not be the case for small businesses. Though the internet previously provided free access to content, marketers might have to accept the reality this free access might now come with a price tag from ISPs.

An AT&T store at sunrise located in Orem, Utah. Like Verizon, the internet service provider AT&T is a key player in the FCC’s latest proposal against net neutrality.

However, because consumers already have to wade through so much online content, some argue that cutting through the clutter is a bigger problem for small business than net neutrality. Carter suggests that the saturation of voices will likely be the biggest problem small business marketers face, with or without net neutrality.

“So many people are wading through content with varying levels of quality, trying to find the truth,” said Carter. “If content creators can make things that are truthful and useful for consumers, then their messages will make it to consumers.”

Whatever the consequences of the FCC’s proposal, consumers and content creators are making their voices heard before the final vote. Protests have been set up on Dec. 7 in Salt Lake City at various Verizon stores. The website Battle for the Net also gives users access to emails of U.S. Congress members, who could stop the FCC vote.

So, while the internet’s future might be less certain with the potential end of net neutrality, what is certain is that people probably won’t be seeing Charlies bitten finger or the President’s tweets go away anytime soon.

Written by Trevor Hawkins

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The secret to finding a job in marketing (it’s more obvious than you think)

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inding a job in marketing can be a tiring and perplexing pursuit. A job candidate may spend years racking up an impressive resume and ultimately slip through the cracks. While there is no sure-fire cure for this dilemma, job-hunting marketers may want to rethink their reliance on traditional approaches and consider viewing the chase from a marketing standpoint. Specifically, they should focus on marketing themselves to employers as proven professionals who are prepared to bring real value to a department or team. Consider the experiences of several individuals who witnessed the power of this approach firsthand.

Nina’s Story

In 2010, Nina Mufleh wrapped up a successful 10-year marketing communications career in the Middle East to seek her fortune in the mecca of tech: San Francisco. After working with Fortune 500 companies and even the Queen of Jordan herself, Mufleh was ready for a change in scenery. She chronicled this transition in an editorial for the Harvard Business Review.

“I knew it would be a challenge to restart my career in a new market … [but] as a few months turned into a year and I saw no signs of progress, I reached a point of panic.”

Mufleh had spent countless hours researching potential employers, drafting tailor-made resumes and building her network on and offline. After all of that, she hadn’t had a single interview. “How could a career that ranged from working with royalty to Fortune 500 brands and startups not pique the curiosity of any hiring managers?” Mufleh wrote.

After a year of toiling in the hiring machine, Mufleh finally adjusted her strategy. “Instead of thinking as a job applicant, I had to think of myself as a product and identify ways to create demand around hiring me.” Mufleh decided to refocus her efforts to demonstrate that she could provide real value to an organization. She set her sights on Airbnb, conducted extensive market research and compiled a report on the potential for the company’s expansion into the Middle East.

Marketing professional Nina Mufleh seized the attention of Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and demonstrated the value of her marketing prowess all with one tweet. The stunt led to numerous interviews and offers as Mufleh wrapped up a fruitless year of job-hunting.

Mufleh published her report in a tweet and tagged Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and other executives. According to her, “Within hours of releasing the report, a recruiter from Airbnb reached out to me to schedule an interview. Within a few days, I had interviews with many of the area’s top tech companies.”

 Oscar and Kristina’s Story

Months away from graduating Miami Ad School, aspiring art directors Oscar Gierup and Kristina Samsonova were looking to line up jobs with big-name advertising agencies. Since neither were interested in becoming part of a giant stack of identical-looking applications, they decided to use what they had learned about advertising to take matters into their own hands.

“Reaching the right people using the agency emails feels nearly impossible,” said Gierup. “But with the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity coming up, we saw our chance to get seen.”

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is the largest advertising conference in the world, with tens of thousands of registrants—most of them advertising professionals and many of them from prestigious agencies. The conference takes place every June in Cannes, France.

Since the two couldn’t afford the trip to France, they found another way to get the attention of top-tier advertisers, while also demonstrating the value they could bring to an agency. “… We created a series of sponsored Facebook ads to get our portfolios in front of some of the industry’s biggest names. The ads were geo-targeted to run in Cannes, so only people in the area were able to see them. We also filtered it to specifically target people working in advertising or related fields,” Gierup said in a joint report about the campaign.

Advertising students Oscar Gierup and Kristina Samsonova sidestepped the narrow road to a top-agency job through a series of Facebook ads geo-targeted to advertising professionals attending a major conference in France. The campaign led to 2,000 unique portfolio views and cost a total of $120.

As a result, Gierup and Samsonova only spent $120 and received more than 2,000 unique portfolio views—all of them presumably by potential employers. Additionally, their advertising escapade received coverage in major industry publications, including Adweek, complete with links to their portfolios. Shortly after the campaign, each student accepted an offer with an agency in Europe.

Stop applying. Start thinking.

It’s easy for a hiring manager to overlook a resume, cover letter or application that may blend in with numerous similar-looking submissions. It’s far more difficult to ignore an applicant who sidesteps protocol and provides bona fide proof of his or her value. It’s time marketers embraced this approach and started applying their industry skills to the job hunt.

Written by Cody Humphreys.

Turning Profits with Social Content: The Recipe for Success

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f you want to make money as a digital marketer, expert Joe Pulizzi says selling a product should be at the bottom of your to do list. Content is king, and quality social content for companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo has become a steady revenue stream.

During a discussion on a September 2017 edition of The Social Examiner podcast, “How to Generate Revenue with Your Content,” Pulizzi dove into the value of social content for businesses.

“More important than products are content and communication,” said Pulizzi. “I believe that the time is coming where content will no longer be a cost-center but a profit center, and we as strategic communicators can monetize it without being limited to just products.”

The Recipe for Successfully Monetizing Content

As competition grows across industries, Pulizzi reiterates the importance of targeting the right audience. Emphasizing that products can be copied, but an audience of loyal fans cannot. Building up an audience takes patience, hard work and consistent effort and will be impossible without quality content. That, Pulizzi says, is the key: nurturing your audience with a steady flow of quality content and you have the recipe for success.

As your social following grows naturally, digital marketers will start to gather more feedback. With this information, digital marketers will have a better pulse or understanding of the content the audience is looking for. Then, with a better perspective on your audience, you will have the resources to give them the content they want– the only difference is you’ll charge a premium for it.

“Once you have your audience, you can sell them anything!” says Pulizzi.

Now that you’ve become focused on selling to people and not selling a product, there will be several other opportunities for monetizing in addition to premium content. Pulizzi recommends starting out with one or two of the following methods:

  • Selling ad space on your blog site
  • Adding subscription-based services to your content
  • Manufacturing merchandise
  • Leveraging additional paid services
  • Asking for donations
  • Publishing an eBook

Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Evidence of the successful implementation of these monetization strategies is food blogger Chelsea Lords who made 40k in her first year of blogging. For Lords, building her following started with producing quality content.

“The internet does not need more content, it is extremely oversaturated. What it does need is better content,” said Lords. “I believe having a lot of content is meaningless and that superior, high-quality images are the first key to monetizing your content.”

Chelsea Lords stages a photo for her blog. Photo from Lords.

Lords knew quality started with her photography. Completely self-taught, Lords has blogged about her experiences outlining essentials for beginners when attempting to take their own high-quality photos. Her first tip is to start by studying and discovering different types of photography. Once you’ve gathered perspective, Lords says practice makes perfect as you genuinely strive to create your own style without mimicking the work of others.

Following these steps, Lords blog, “Chelsea’s Messy Apron,” generates millions of site visitors each month. With her increasing following comes an increasing amount of opportunities to monetize content. Like Pulizzi, Lords has leveraged opportunities to charge a premium for specialized content. In addition, as she continues to deliver high-quality content her inbox is overflowing with work requests.

On her site there are not any products for sale, Lords does not drive sales for her sponsors. To Pulizzi’s original point, her content has become a profit center. By doing something as simple as selling ad space, charging for premium content and selling sponsorships, Lords successfully turns profits each month.

For a food blogger like Lords it doesn’t matter the recipe, whether she’s making Cincinnati Chili, Sweet Potato Corn Bowls, or Lemon Parmesan Chicken the key is always the right ingredients. For digital marketers the recipe for successfully monetizing social content is a simple combination: build the right audience and produce high-quality content.

Written by Cory Gill

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Google AdWords for Dummies

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oogle AdWords is an online platform where companies can utilize paid-search advertising to maximize profits. It is essential for all companies and brands to develop a digital strategic plan that optimizes both paid advertising and organic searches. Although there are many different routes and strategic methods related to Google AdWords, it’s important to first understand the basics so you don’t get lost in the complexity of Google’s real estate platform.

But first let’s talk about how Google AdWords works: Google AdWords lets you place search results for your website on a search engine results page (SERP) by paying for them. Essentially you pick keywords that you think will be searched on Google, and then create an advert for your website that will appear as a sponsored link in the search engine results page. Since multiple companies usually want the same keywords, rival companies can bid for certain keywords.

A sample search for housing in Provo, Utah shows the “sponsored ads” for the top 3 searches. The top companies were the highest bid for these specific keywords.

Online Strategy

A digital strategy is necessary for all businesses, and using Google AdWords can add a lot to your online presence. According to the blog Wishpond, for every dollar spent on Google AdWords, the average business generates one dollar in revenue. Additionally, 95% of Google’s total revenue comes from Advertising.

Jenna Lestarge, a beginner AdWords Specialist, has already seen enormous results in a short time.

“Google AdWords is essential for any type of business. It can be risky, but usually it is worth the risk” she said.

Google AdWords can give you a leg-up in your specific industry due to the online advertising benefit of reaching a larger audience.

Understanding the Lingo

Jumping into Google AdWords without preparation and research can be like jumping head-first into an ice-cold lake. It is scary, dark and you will probably struggle staying afloat.

Understanding the lingo and what all the terms mean can greatly help you and your business as you are starting out with Google AdWords. According to Google resources, understanding the lingo and terms can help improve and specialize your bidding strategy.

Some terms that are important to know are:

  • Impression: A measurement of how many times the ad has been shown.
  • CPC (cost-per-click): The most common type of bid on Google. You pay every time a person actually clicks on your ad.
  • CTA (call to action): The action you want the consumer to take away from the ad.
  • Quality Score: Google’s measurement based on the relevancy of the ad’s headline, description, keywords and URL.
  • Ad Rank: The value that is used to determine where your ad shows up on a page, based on the bid amount.

Focus on the Basics

Although Google AdWords tends to be complex due to the multiple various and strategies, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with the basics, and then gradually broaden your horizon.

“When I first started learning about Google AdWords it was easy to get confused with all of the topics. Once I decided to only focus on the basics, it became much easier to understand,” says Jenna Lestarge, who works with Google AdWords daily.

According to the blog Wishpond, over 1.2 million companies advertise with Google AdWords. Understanding the fundamentals and basics will greatly help in utilizing this dominating online platform.

Use the Online Resources

You need to pass two of the six exams with at least an 80 percent or better to become AdWords certified. You will need to take the Google AdWords fundamental exam and then you can choose between search advertising, display advertising, mobile advertising, video advertising and shopping advertising as your second exam.

Preparing for the Google AdWords exams can be stressful and time-consuming Make use of all the online resources to help you study.

There are countless resources available online that can help you understand the basics of Google AdWords and help you prepare for the exams. Even Google offers study guides and video tutorials that walk you through AdWords.

The online resources are quite helpful with introducing you to the different aspects of the platform including pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and strategic bidding.

Utilizing Google AdWords can be very beneficial to any online strategy. Not only does it help with online advertising and promotion, it helps reach your desired audience. Understanding the lingo and focusing on the basics is the best way to ease your way into Google’s real-estate platform. Although the online resources are extremely helpful, the best way to learn how to use the platform is to do just that — use it!

Written by McKell Staheli

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