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

Need something new to write about? Take a look around

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

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


What the end of net neutrality means for communicators

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][mk_dropcaps style=”fancy-style”]w[/mk_dropcaps][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]hether it is Charlie biting a finger or the President making a late-night tweet, the internet gives anybody a chance to make their voice heard. From mom-and-pop shops to multi-national corporations, the internet makes it easy and free to communicate with consumers.

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


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


Reach the 100K-Instagram-Follower Milestone

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o you ever feel like your Instagram account is stagnant -every few followers you gain you lose another? There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you are never going to keep growing. We have all been there, we can all relate. Growing a social media following can be an exhausting process. And with so many “quick and easy” methods out there that never seem to work, how can you possibly find real advice.

Theming your Instagram feed will be a valuable asset in growing your followers. Be consistent and follow your theme with every post.
Photo of @Cremedelacrumb1 feed.

Here are some sure ways to get your Instagram growing like wildfire.

  • Post on your Instagram every single day. While this may sound time consuming and exhausting, it is vital for success. Your followers want to see new content and if you are consistent in providing it, you will continue to grow in followers.
  • Like at least 100 photos a day. Even better, it really only takes about 5 minutes to do that. But by interacting with other accounts, you will become a more prominent account and get your name out there. Be sure to do this in your niche first and then begin expanding to new areas once you see consistent growth. Forbes interviewed Instagrammer Elliot Tebele and he said he would like thousands of photos a day when starting out.
  • Follow people! When beginning (an Instagram account), supporting other accounts will help your cause. Most people will follow you back once you give them a follow. Once you feel secure in your growth, you can slow this process down. But never stop following people, it humanizes your account.
  • Interact with other accounts. Whether it is a comment, a like or a share onto your Instagram story, do it. It helps people get to know you and your brand.
  • Brand your account. Find your niche and stick to it. If you have a consistent look and feel to your account, it makes it more appealing to the eye and you will see people gravitate towards your content. For more tips on branding, check out this article.
  • Pick a feed theme. Once you decide, stick with it unless you are going to completely change it.
  • Set yourself apart from others in your niche. Maybe you only use circle photos, maybe you have a color theme; try and find something to make your Instagram unique.

Tips can only go so far, but learning from someone who has experience can help you further. Raven, @TheDisneyDorm, has worked hard to gain a large following within the Disney Community. With currently 21K followers and 511 posts, she has some great advice to provide. She had her own personal reasons to begin down this path; her inspiration came from a 17-year-old girl who came into the bank she was working at to purchase her very own house. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing! The girl had a successful makeup channel on YouTube and was making a living already. That is when Raven decided she wanted to take a leap of faith and try doing this for herself.

Raven (@thedisneydorm) has grown an impressive 21K followers since beginning her Disney themed Instagram.

“I had zero clue what I was doing, I just knew I loved positivity and Disney and believed really hard in myself,” she said. “The biggest advice I can give is to not look at other accounts and think, oh I wish my account looked like theirs, I want my photos like that, or I want followers like that. I learned really quickly that it’s not about being as successful or savvy as others, it’s about finding your own niche and what makes you YOU! People will love you no matter what.”

Now with thousands and thousands of followers, Raven is very aware of the influence she has. She tries to be a positive influence within the community because that is what is important to her.

So whether you are brand new to Instagram or have been trying to grow a following for several years, have patience. You can easily get a large following with a little bit of work. Be consistent, be authentic, and show people who you are. Take these tools and start your journey to 100K followers today!

Written by Jaycee Brown


How to conquer the writing process, as told by Taylor Swift

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he phrase “writing process” often fosters many eye rolls and the feeling of dread among writers. The journey from pre-writing to publishing can seem like an uphill battle with no end in sight. Thus, it goes without saying that the writing process has a rough #reputation.

Taylor Swift will release her sixth album, Reputation, on November 10 of this year. The first single from the album, “Look What You Made Me Do,” broke chart and streaming records within days of release.

Pop icon Taylor swift can also sympathize with a bad reputation, or at least that’s what her new music says. On November 10 of this year, T-Swifts highly anticipated album will drop, exciting millions of fans around the world.

In the spirit of Taylor’s new album, here’s six tips to conquer the writing process, complete with some throwback lyrics from the artist herself.

  1. Overcoming writers block: “I’ve got a blank space, baby”

There it is. The dreaded blank page. The cursor blinks, and the anxiety of starting from scratch begins to set in. Ideas encompass your every thought, but the quest to create the perfect formation of words is debilitating.

The best way to overcome the paralyzing effect of writer’s block, is to free your mind from lockdown. An article titled, “How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tips that Work,” author Jeff Goins advises going for a walk, baking some cookies, or calling an old friend to get the juices flowing. Do whatever you must do to relax, and the words will come.

  1. Prewriting: “Jump, then fall”

Even after overcoming writers block, starting from nothing can still seem overwhelming. However, Swift says it best when she advises, “jump then fall.”

In order to tackle the writing task at hand, Stephanie Wong Ken, author of the article, “How to Free write,” offers wisdom about how to tackle a fresh piece of writing. The best piece of advice she includes, is to take a deep breath, then jump into prewriting. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be organized, just write, and begin to fall into your story.

To help gather your thoughts, use bullet points, make lists, or even write out sentences that come to mind.

Just like diving into a cold pool of water, the best way to start the writing process is to go in headfirst. It may seem scary to begin with, however once you emerge to the surface, the direction of your paper will become clearer and clearer.

  1. Drafting: “The story of us”

The first draft is always a diamond in the rough, however it is up to the writer to figure out how to make it shine. The best way to do this is to tell a story that sticks.

Sticky stories are those that are relatable and that captivate an audience’s attention. Swift epitomizes this writing technique.

“You connect with an audience by showing them you’re just like them. That’s what brings them back,” said pop culture expert and BYU professor, Scott Church, “Taylor Swift connects with her audiences because she writes about basic emotions that are associated with everyday relationships. She is more authentic and less manufactured.”

[/vc_column_text][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][mk_blockquote style=”quote-style” text_size=”18″ align=”left” font_family=”none”]Taylor Swift connects with her audiences because she writes about basic emotions that are associated with everyday relationships. She is more authentic and less manufactured.[/mk_blockquote][mk_padding_divider size=”20″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

Swift has engaged millions of fans around the world and has kept them coming back for more through her relatable lyrics. She is singing about your love story, your heartbreak, and your best friends.

To keep your readers reading, find what makes your story stick to the audience you are trying to reach. Chances are if the story is meaningful to you, it will be meaningful to one of your readers as well.

  1. Revising: “Why you gotta be so mean?”

After completing what seems to be the perfect first draft, get ready for the twist of fate that comes next.

Cue the revision process, where the story you wrote “looks a lot like a tragedy now.”

Revision can be the hardest step in the writing process, as your beloved first draft is picked a part with red ink and an iron fist. However, the people editing your paper are not trying to be mean.

Yes, there are haters out there that are gonna hate on your writing, but peer revisers are not those people. Revisers are put in place to offer fresh insights and outside perspectives. With their help, your piece can reach its fullest potential.

The best thing to remember about this step in the writing process, is to not take anything personally. “Shake it off,” and take the criticism in stride.

  1. Editing: “Are we out of the woods yet?”

Finally, after many re-writes, a beautiful piece of writing has emerged. However, you are not out of the woods quite yet. Editing is the final step of the writing process.

Editing is like the final wardrobe and makeup check before your writing goes out to shine on stage. All the hard work has been done, except for the last bit of polishing. It is essential to go through any piece of writing with a fine-toothed comb to proofread, and to look for any errors in spelling, words usage, grammar, or punctuation.

One misspelled word or writing the wrong kind of “there” can instantly taint your credibility as a writer. No one wants a bad reputation for lazy editing, so be sure to be meticulous in this final stage of the writing process.

  1. Publishing: “You are the best thing that’s ever been mine”

In the words of Swift, “do you remember when you were sittin’ there” with writer’s block?

You put your palm to your forehead for the tenth time?

Well, you wrote a story out of cautious writers cumbered thoughts.

Now, the finished product is the best piece of writing that’s ever been yours.

After the writing process is complete, and your story is ready for publication, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. A publishable piece is a job well done.

Written by Brittain Steiner


Silicon Valley CEO unveils 4 tips to success at Y Digital’s grand opening

Carlos Garcia

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hen the CEO of a Silicon Valley company comes to speak at BYU, you listen. At the beginning of fall semester, the Y Digital lab was packed with public relations students eager to hear Carlos Garcia’s pro marketing tips.

Garcia is the founder and CEO of a digital marketing company called HYP3R. Y Digital students use revolutionary HYP3R technology to analyze data, engage consumers and amplify social media campaigns.

Carlos Garcia
Carlos Garcia, Silicon Valley CEO of HYP3R, speaks to BYU public relations students about best practices in digital marketing. Garcia believes BYU students have what it takes to change the marketing industry by keeping it “surprisingly human.”

Garcia’s technology is pivotal to the success of the Y Digital lab. He wanted to inspire the students who use it to take risks and land dream jobs in the marketing world. Here are four of the businessman’s essential tips for marketing:

  1. Make marketing delightful.

Garcia encouraged students to make marketing a delightful process focused on inspiring people, not just selling things. In his own words, “Marketing should be efficient for business and delightful for consumers.”

To be successful, students should create content that’s enjoyable to create and delightful for someone else to receive.

  1. Be surprisingly human.

No one likes to feel like they’re being sold something. The way to really reach people is to be authentic and relatable. Students should engage audiences by putting themselves in the consumer’s shoes. If the marketer doesn’t believe in their message, their audience won’t either.

  1. Choose your partners wisely.

Garcia explained that there are two kinds of partners who will make all the difference in a career: a business partner and a life partner. More than once while Garcia was speaking to students, he lovingly mentioned ways his wife had helped make some of the most important decisions in his career. The San Francisco businessman said, “I would not be here if it was not for her decision to say, ‘I’ll follow you.’” Students should choose a life partner who will support them in their endeavors and lend a trusted opinion when needed.

  1. Make shareable content.

Garcia explained that the most effective marketing is a friend’s recommendation. You should be producing content that people want to share. If someone doesn’t see your content and have the urge to say, “honey, come look at this!” then it probably needs rethinking. Simply put, “if it’s not being shared, it’s not good enough.”

As a self-proclaimed optimist, Garcia lives to take risks and encouraged students to do the same. “Don’t settle for what is quickly accessible to you, but live your dreams” he said. “Risk is measured by what you could regret, not what you can lose.”

Y Digital Lab
From left: Professor Joseph Ogden and students Stephanie Smith, Genny Hickman and Lauren Kutschke use HYP3R geofencing technology to analyze social media activity while working in BYU’s Y Digital lab. Y Digital is a student-run digital marketing agency specifically tailored to public relations students at BYU.

To learn more about HYP3R and the role it plays in the Y Digital lab, you can email director Adam Durfee, or enroll in the lab that is offered to all communications students every semester.

Written by Shannon Baird


Molliba Sedi Augik

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