January 19, 2016

Take Your Public Relations And Marketing To The Next Level In 2016 With These Tools

By Lucy Smith, Consociate Media Winter 2016 Intern

Want to take your PR, Communications, and Marketing to the Next Level in 2016? Put these tools in your toolbox.

  1. A Plan

If you don’t know where you are going, you might end up somewhere else. While it is nearly impossible to plan for December in January, it is important to have a goal of where you would like to be by the end of the year. Set broad, goal based marketing plans and strategies to implement each month through specific events, blog posts, and campaigns.

  1. Responsive Web Site with Blog

You want your customers to have a good website experience, no matter what size screen they are using. This type of website allows shifting in size and resolution to fit itself to any size screen- laptop, iPhone, android device, kindle, and more- allowing easy website access anywhere. Having a blog as a part of this website adds to the value. Blogs provide a platform to provide useful information or tips that will drive traffic to your website and establish you as a prominent source of information.

  1. Instagram Account

Instagram is a social media powerhouse. Any business, large as Capital One or as small as your neighbor’s bakery on Main Street is able to tell its unique story through images to a wide audience. Examples of Instagram success stories can be found on their website: https://business.instagram.com/. Click the link to learn more.

  1. Twitter Handle

Like Instagram, Twitter provides a method to link with a large and diverse community. Follow groups, pages, and people that connect to your business and your goal: this includes your customers, competitors, businesses whose practices you admire, and your personal connections in the business world. What sets Twitter apart from Instagram is you can add a link to every single tweet, enticing visitors to the company’s website.

  1. Personal Profile AND Company page on LinkedIn

The company page provides a platform to broadcast messages, while your personal page allows you to develop relationships with people you know and work with.

  1. Press Release Template

Creating a press release template for your business dramatically shortens the time between when the story happens and when the people learn about it. With a uniform template, reporters will know what to expect when you send them a press release, allowing them to absorbs information more efficiently and correctly, and you ensure the same kind of information will be presented in each release.

  1. List of Target Media, Outlets, and Reporters

Where are you going to find your customers, and through what media will they most easily find you? This will have to start with research. Look at your most loyal clients to see what they are reading and where. Which newspapers and magazines have a following that most closely resembles the type of client you want to attract? Once you have nailed down the reporters and outlets that will tell your story to the audience most interested in hearing it, you can mark this tool off your checklist.

  1. Professional Portrait/Headshot

This tool is one of the easiest to add to your box with the most impact. A professional headshot looks polished, prepared, and, well, professional! It lets your customers know that you care about the work you do. With the internet, it is very likely that the first time your customers meet you will not be in person, but through your website. If you don’t currently have a headshot there, you need one, and if you do, does it say everything you want it to about yourself? Does that photograph help to brand you as the type of professional you want others to perceive you as? If not, hiring a professional can make that photo a reality.

  1. MailChimp Account

MailChimp is an email marketing software through which you can design, save, and send email templates to all your customers while also measuring the success of each email through its analytics page. By seeing which emails were opened the most and which emails inspired people to visit your website, you can tailor your next emails to fit the wants of your clientele.

  1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics’ slogan is “turning data insights into action.” Analytics tracks movement on your website, giving you detailed information about that activity: how long each person remains on your site on average, whether or not they had visited your website before, and the search engine or site that led them to your website- all in real time!

  1. Periscope

Up for some live video blogging? With Periscope, you can let your customers be in on the action, even when they aren’t there. This app allows you to live broadcast everything that is going on around you at the current moment.

BONUS TOOL…

Have a smartphone to take photos supporting your communications online and on social media.

All set? Grab your tools, it’s time to get to work.

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Meet Consociate Media Winter 2016 Intern, Lucy Smith

By Kelly Marderosian, Social Media Manager and Writer, Consociate Media

Nous sommes heureux d’accueillir Lucy Smith à consociatif médias que notre stagiaire de l’hiver!

Ne parlez pas français?

Us, either. But now we have Lucy Smith to help us!

We are pleased to welcome Lucy Smith to Consociate Media as our winter intern!

Currently a student at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, Lucy is expected to graduate in the spring of 2017.

Born in Alexandria, VA and raised in Williamsburg with her older brother, Trent and a younger sister Ramsay, Lucy graduated from Hampton Roads Academy in 2013 before enrolling at Hollins.

“I’ve been lucky to be involved in a lot of things throughout my college experience.”

Her freshman year, Lucy traveled to St. John in the Virgin Islands for a biodiversity field trip. Her sophomore year, she interned in Washington D.C. at the Supreme Court in the Office of Public Information. Most recently, she studied abroad in Paris during the fall of 2015 of her junior year (which explains the French!).

“I loved Paris because I was able to travel all the time, every weekend,” Lucy said. She recalls walking around the streets of Paris with her friend and a map saying, “the adventure was my favorite part!”

To date, during her time at Hollins, Lucy has served as a member of the Hollins Activity Board both as a Publicity and Promotions Chair and as a Formal Events Chair. She also served on ADA, the school’s spirit organization. Additionally, she is a member of the school’s riding team. Lucy has also been involved with admissions at Hollins, serving as an ambassador.

Lucy made the connection to Consociate Media when her mom worked as the Executive Director of Advancement at Hampton Roads Academy, where Consociate Media’s littlest intern – 5-year-old Will Heinatz attends school.

While at Consociate, Lucy hopes to gain experience working for a fast paced public relations firm

“I’ve never had an internship like this before so I’m looking forward to experiencing going to official meetings, being prepared for that, looking at presentations and seeing how a small businesses is run,” Lucy said. “You can read about it all day but until you see how people make those difficult decisions and where they go with them, I think that’s where I’ll really learn and everything will click.”

Lucy is majoring in Business with a Marketing concentration. She’s also minoring in French.

“I hope to do something that I find interesting that improves the community that I’m living in,” said Lucy. “Something that helps to spread the word about something cool or interesting. I’d really like to be involved with something I believe in.”

While she hasn’t fully decided on a field yet, Lucy says she loved working in admissions at Hollins and talking to people. She says perhaps working in the marketing department for a school may be her calling.

In her free time, Lucy is an active equestrian. She also spends a lot of her free time with family.

“We are huge William and Mary Tribe fans and we have court-side seats, so we go to every single game.”

She also loves to read just about anything but is admittedly a huge Harry Potter fan, often quoting that “happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Lucy is passionate about changing the world, one story at a time. And we’re glad to have her here to hone her skills to do just that.

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How To Perfect The Art Of The Interview

By Lucy Smith, Consociate Media Winter 2016 Intern

Google “how to give a good interview.” The majority of suggested searches feature advice on how to respond to “The 15 Most Common Questions Asked During A Job Interview” or “10 Tips to Make a Lasting First Impression.”

But what do you read if you aren’t the one being interviewed, but the interviewer?

The advice for persons on that side of the table is much harder to find.

Interviewing is an art, a craft, a muscle to be trained and practiced and honed just like any other skill.

If you aren’t yet ready to be the one behind the questions, or simply need some advice to improve the skills you already possess, I have adapted some advice from Consociate Media’s own CEO and founder Stephanie Heinatz to help get you from start to finish.

How do you take an interview from a reserved time slot on your schedule to the next trending blog post, magazine article or front-page story?

Before the interview starts…

Preparation, preparation, preparation. One of the worst mistakes an interviewer can make is coming equipped only with questions that are public knowledge. Think of it this way: the person you are interviewing is the one who knows the real story- that’s why you are having the interview!

So why waste precious time asking questions whose answers you can find on their website?

You want to enter an interview with those thoughts already in mind so that you can move past the yes or no questions, the factual questions, into the kinds of questions that ask why and how- the questions that drive the conversation forward. The better your questions are, the better your story will be, and the more preparation that you do on the front end, the easier the writing will be on the back end of an interview.

What kind of interview will be the most rewarding in your situation? There are three main types:

The in person interview

With his or her permission, bring a recording device to both review statements and questions but also to review your own approach to interviewing. How do you sound? It will be uncomfortable to hear yourself at first, but it is a great way to learn about your strengths and weaknesses firsthand. Along with the recorder, bring a writing utensil and paper to take a full set of notes as if you weren’t recording.

Technology can be touch and go; so don’t depend solely on the audio file for all of your data.

The Phone/Video Call

This type of interview allows the flexibility of location with the personal feeling of an in person interview. If possible, try to record your conversation on another device. For an on the phone interview, use headphones with a microphone piece for hands free conversation. Have a Microsoft Word document open or a pen and paper in front of you for speedy notes.

The Email Interview

By email you can often lose the spontaneity of an interview, the body language, personal stories, so make sure your questions are leading questions and avoid yes/no questions.

During the interview…

Start with easy, conversation based questions. Relate to something they are interested in- if he or she is a marathon runner; mention you just began to train for your first 5k. Make that person comfortable by asking easy questions, like how they spell their name, confirming where they attended school, or even just how they are doing today. It will break the ice and set the tone for the rest of the conversation.

Be open to the possibility of your conversation to delve into uncharted territory! If your interviewee is inspired by a question of yours, he or she may grace you with a small back-story that further explains his or her answer to the question. You never know where these side bits will lead: in fact the ultimate main point of your piece might be found in a bit of information you would not have know to ask about!

Don’t feel embarrassed to ask people to repeat themselves or to clarify the statement they just made. It is far easier to ask in the moment than it is to send an email a day or so later, when the thought has already left their minds. Furthermore, it is a sign of confidence: this tells your interviewee that you are committed to accurately recording their statements and views, and really are focused on reiterating what they want to say in this article or blog post. Thirdly, asking someone to repeat themselves on a point offers an opportunity for them to refine their message, or to reflect on a relating point for which they might not have had time to if the interview had moved on to another question or topic. Asking someone to repeat him or herself during an interview ensures you receive their intent exactly.

At the end…

To finish, add one largely open ended question at the end to tune of “Is there anything else you want to add, anything that you want to address that I haven’t asked you about?” Most of the time, people will search for something to answer your question with. Many times, this tidbit will lead on to a few more questions, extending your interview.

After the interview…as you start writing.

All the hard legwork is done! The work is to read through all of your notes and find the story.

What should you focus on? Before submitting the final version, be sure to fact-check, even when interviewing an expert.

Stephanie Heinatz often quotes from her old newspaper days the age-old journalism tip of “if your momma tells you she loves you, check it out.”

A misquote or an incorrect statistic can ruin your credibility for future publications.

She adds “anyone that has a website or a blog or a news page, they are a publisher just in the same sense that a newspaper or magazine is a publisher.”

With great power to publish, comes great responsibility.

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