Tips for Picking the Right Influencer for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

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It is no secret that influencer marketing has become one of the most popular go-to buzzwords in the industry, in the last few years. Mediakix has noted that “Marketers are discovering that one of the best ways to target audience groups, drive awareness and elicit engagement across social channels is by creating innovative advertising partnerships with select social media influencers.” Hubspot also noted that 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding – i.e. influencer marketing is big business and it works.

A few months ago, I wrote about the benefits of businesses and brands investing in influencer marketing. However, one of the most important factors in achieving a successful influencer marketing strategy is to have the right influencer. So with that said, here are a few tips for picking the right influencer for your influencer marketing strategy.

  1. Relevance – This is quite possibly the most obvious and most important factor in picking the right influencer for your business and/or brand’s influencer marketing strategy. And yet, many companies fail at it. Finding an influencer who is relevant to your business/brand means knowing and understanding what your goals and objectives are for your influencer marketing strategy in the first place, knowing and understanding your audience and knowing and understanding that it is not a one size fits all with influencers. There are many different types of influencers that all come with their own unique voice and influence.

 

  1. It’s Not Always about the Big Numbers – As noted in my previous blog post about the benefits of influencer marketing, while the number of followers a potential influencer has is important, it is not always the most important thing and sometimes is not an accurate indicator of their influence. An influencer’s follower count indicates the extent of the influencer’s reach. However, it doesn’t always indicate the level of engagement and that is key because engagement is a true indicator of an influencer’s power. It is of little use for a brand and business to have an influencer who has a million followers but they are inactive followers. That is, they do not comment, retweet the tweets, repost the images, engage with the influencer at all, versus someone who has 200,000 followers who actively engage with everything they post, i.e. sharing it, reposting it, commenting, etc.

 

  1. Credibility – Another one of the most important factors in picking the right influencer for your business and brand is the credibility of the influencer and/or influencers you pick. Just like the case of using spokespeople for your brand, it is important to vet any potential influencer to ensure that there has not been any questionable social media behavior by them in the past, e.g. attempts to mislead or defraud followers, etc.

 

  1. Past Relationships of Influencer – Piggybacking off the previous point, in researching any potential influencer for your business and/or brand, it is important to consider any past partnerships, relationships, etc. they have in the past that may conflict with your brand and your message. For example, have they been advocates for brands or businesses that do not align with the kind of message that your business stands for and represents? Were they loud advocates for one of your biggest competitors? Because if so, your audience will likely not trust their sudden change of heart in advocating for you. Not to mention that the influencer themselves may lose credibility with their audience and by that token, no longer be as effective.

 

  1. Know What Type of Content You Want to Create – Finally, tying back to your influencer marketing goals and strategies, it is important to know exactly what type of relationship you want with your potential influencer and/or influencers, before deciding on someone. For example, do you plan to hand over complete creative control to an influencer in advocating for your brand, or are you looking for someone to share content that you create or will it be a collaborative partnership where you and the influencer jointly decide on the content that will be shared? Knowing where you stand on these issues is key to picking the right influencer and avoiding a potentially negative experience and partnership.
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How Effectively Did The Academy Handle Oscars Mix-Up?

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It was the Oscar moment seen and heard around the world – La La Land was incorrectly announced as the winner of Best Picture, after presenters, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were inexplicably handed the wrong envelope.  Social media immediately went crazy and the press was all over it in the days that followed.

More importantly, it was an extremely embarrassing moment for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and possibly one of the most embarrassing in the show’s 80 plus year history. And while host Jimmy Kimmel was right that at the end of the day, it’s just an award, for the filmmakers who work in the industry, the Oscars is one of the highest achievements they can receive.

And the mix-up not only robbed the winners of their winning moment but falsely made the producers of La La Land believe they’d achieved something that they hadn’t. In those moments they went from joy and pride to disappointment. The moment was the definition of a P.R. nightmare for The Academy.

The reality is no organization, no matter how profitable and effectively managed, is immune to experiencing a crisis situation at some point. The key is in how the organization manages and responds to said crisis. There are a few important steps any organization should practice, in order to weather any crisis as best as possible, including one, don’t hide, two, have a timely response, three, avoid being defensive and four, ensure and explain how it won’t happen again.

So how well did The Academy handle this recent crisis, based on these four key steps? In my opinion, they handled it fairly well and definitely get a passing grade. Regarding the four steps:

  1. Don’t Hide – The Academy did not ignore the moment and hope that in a few days everyone would forget about it and move on. They issued an immediate apology to the producers of both films, as well as the presenters and later issued a more detailed apology from the president of The Academy.

 

  1. Timely Response – Piggy-backing off the first point, not hiding also means being timely in the organization’s response to said crisis. In this case, The Academy issued a first statement hours after the incident, early Monday morning. The second statement from Academy president Cheryl Boone-Isaacs came four days later and the president addressed the time taken for her statement by acknowledging that they wanted all the facts to be properly gathered and assessed.

 

  1. Avoid Being Defensive – While those identified as being responsible for the mix-up were quite publicly reprimanded by The Academy president in her statement, the tone of both statements were for the most part contrite and chastened. There was no attempt to make light of the situation or dismiss its importance and seriousness.

 

  1. Explain Why It Won’t Happen Again – As wonderful as it is for an organization to admit their error and apologize, it is little comfort if they can’t explain how they will ensure that it won’t happen again. In this case, The Academy explained that not only would the accountants responsible for the error not be allowed to ever work the show again but that they were implementing new guidelines and reviewing the protocols of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the accounting firm that has handled the Oscars ballots for years. The statement also made clear that a future working relationship with the accounting firm was still under review. Rather than a vague promise that the incident would never happen again, the president, in her statement, made sure to explain how they would try to ensure it didn’t.

Benefits of Implementing an Effective Influencer Marketing Strategy

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Influencer Marketing has become one of the most buzzed about terms in the industry, in recent years. So what exactly is influencer marketing? In a nutshell, it’s focusing some of your marketing and promotional activities around key individuals who have significant influence over potential buyers. In other words, it is more or less “word of mouth” marketing and it’s really not that different from what public relations practitioners have been doing for years in cultivating relationships with key industry opinion leaders for earned media purposes.

However, the concept has become more ubiquitous in recent years in large part due to the internet and specifically, social media. The popularity of social media and by extension specific individual social media accounts has created a renewed interest and importance on the power of influencers. And the reality is there are really no downsides to implementing an effective influencer marketing strategy into your business plans as the benefits are numerous. Here are just a few of these benefits.

Benefits

  • High ROI – According to a study conducted by Nielsen Catalina Solutions in conjunction with TapInfluence, Influencer Marketing can, in some cases, yield 16x higher ROI than an average digital marketing campaign.
  • Increased Trust & Credibility – Much like the use of thought leaders, the use of the right influencers can increase your credibility to your target audience, as well as increase their trust in your brand.
  • Increased Brand Awareness – This is obvious of course but still needs to be stressed that the successful implementation of influencer marketing increases your brand awareness, which of course can lead to an increase in leads, sales and ultimately your business bottom line.
  • Expand Brand Reach – Influencer Marketing also affords the opportunity to expand your brand reach, sometimes to an audience you may not have even previously been aware of.
  • Improve SEO – It’s very simple really. A sound influencer marketing strategy means greater opportunities and avenues for your brand to be mentioned and referenced on various platforms and online locations, which also means greater opportunities for showing up in organic search results.
  • Save Money – The return on investment, in some cases, from an effective influencer marketing strategy is far greater than the use of paid advertising and of course, a lot cheaper. According to a study from MDG Advertising, 70 percent of consumers want to learn about products through content as opposed to traditional advertising methods.

Of course, an effective influencer marketing strategy requires taking smart and specific steps. Here are a few tips for developing an effective influencer marketing strategy.

Tips 

  • Define Goals & Objectives – It can never be stated enough. You should always have a road map for whatever type of campaign or project your business is implementing, which means there should also be clearly defined goals and objectives.
  • Define Your Audience – Along with defined goals and objectives, there must also be a clear identification of your audience and their needs.
  • Categorize Different Influencers – As with most things, there are different types and categories of influencers. SmartInsights have identified ten and they all came with their unique voice and influence. To develop an effective influencer marketing strategy it is imperative to identify which type of influencer or influencers would be most appropriate and valuable for your brand.
  • Build Influencer Relationships Organically – Most people do not take too kindly to feeling like they are being used – more importantly that someone only interacts with them because of what they can get out of them. And influencers are no different. Of course, there are some influencers who don’t really care, especially if they are being paid but typically, most influencers are put off by a request to promote a brand when they have had no previous interaction at all with the company. It’s best to start by building relationships with influencers, not unlike relationship building with your target audience. This will significantly increase the credibility and genuineness of said influencer promoting your brand.
  • Consider More Than Just Follower Count – Yes, of course, an influencer’s follower count is important. It does suggest the power of their reach and more importantly, their voice.  That being said, we know that follower counts don’t always accurately tell the tale. After all, followers can be bought and manipulated in other ways. Therefore, it is important to consider other factors such as an influencer’s engagement rate. How many comments are they getting for their posts, how many re-tweets, likes, etc? That is a far more accurate measure of just influential they are.

5 New Year Resolutions For P.R. Pros

New Year means new goals, fresh, new perspectives and of course resolutions for the year. While we’re all making numerous promises to lose five pounds, spend more time volunteering and to eat healthier, it’s important to remember that resolutions do not only apply to our personal lives. It is just as important to make resolutions aimed at improving our professional life. So with that said, here are five resolutions P.R. pros should consider making this year.

  • Make Measurement the Focus of Your Campaigns – As P.R. practitioners, we’ve all been there – that brilliant idea for a campaign comes to us and we’re gung ho and super excited to jump right in. However, when the details and specifics start taking shape, we realize there are limitations in how we can measure the success or failure of said campaign. The reality is, if you cannot accurately and effectively measure the success or failure of a campaign, then it’s not a good one. This year, resolve to place measurement at the forefront of all your campaign developments.

 

  • Challenge Yourself & Learn Something New – A little personal background. Almost a year ago, I started my new job as a Content Marketing Specialist. While it had its normal challenges that always comes with starting a new job, the biggest challenge for me was the high expectations regarding my photography skills. Full confession, I am not a great photographer (yet…). The extent of my skills was taking pictures with my cute, tiny digital camera and of course my smartphone. But suddenly I was handed a very expensive, very professional camera and expected to deliver high-quality images and videos. To say it was daunting and scary would be an understatement. However, I accepted the challenge and saw it for what it was, a great learning opportunity and a chance to acquire a new and highly desirable skill. Learning and developing new skills is always important, especially in an industry like ours that is constantly growing and evolving. So this year, resolve to learn or further develop a skill or two or three. Sites like ALISON LearningSkillshare and LinkedIn Learning offer a number of free courses in a number of different fields including Marketing, Art, Psychology, Photography, etc.

 

  • Establish/Solidify Influencer Relationships – While the term influencer marketing has become one of the most buzzed about terms in the last few years, the P.R. industry has always understood the power and importance of influencers and more importantly, influencer relationships. Of course, the internet and more importantly social media have created a much larger community of influencers with much greater reach. This year, resolve to build new influencer relationships and solidify existing ones.

 

  • Establish Meaningful Journalist Relationships – One of the biggest stories of the past year, in the midst of one of the craziest U.S. Presidential elections ever, was the emergence of fake news. Some even held Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook culpable for being a source of a lot of it. The fact is, the internet makes it very easy for just about anyone to call themselves a “news source”. So this year, resolve to be more vigilant in recognizing credible and accurate news sources and respective journalists and work at establishing meaningful professional relationships with them.

 

  • Feng-Shui Your Professional Life – Feng Shui is not just for your home and personal life. It can also be applied to one’s professional life as well. And much like your home and personal life, it simply means taking small but significant steps to create a sense of harmony and calm in your professional life. This can include simple steps such as organizing your workspace better, learning how to better manage your time, learning how to say no to avoid taking on more than you can handle, etc. If you are constantly stressed and agitated at work, it’s time to feng shui your professional life.

The Year In P.R.

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As 2015 comes to a close, it seems more than fitting to take a quick look back at the year and what may come in 2016. After all, as the classic saying goes, “we can’t know where we’re going unless we know where we’ve been.”  So with that mind, here is my summation of the 2015 year in public relations.

Most Notable Crises

Crisis management continued to be a cornerstone of the industry, as 2015 saw its fair share of major crises. There are way too many to list, so I have chosen to focus on the ones I felt dominated much of the year or had a very significant impact on an organization and/or individual.

Subway/Jared Fogle – In probably one of the most shocking and upsetting crisis no one saw coming at the start of the year, Subway’s once very popular spokesman Jared Fogle was indicted and subsequently prosecuted on child pornography charges. Subway quickly distanced itself from Fogle and cut all professional ties. Some have debated the fast food chain’s response to the crisis, including me, in this post. However, Subway’s response aside, perhaps the greatest lesson drawn from this crisis was the reminder of the inherent risk involved in tying a company brand so closely to an individual spokesperson.

Bill Cosby – Celebrity scandals, sadly, are rarely ever unexpected. Still, it was shocking for many to witness the dramatic downfall of a once beloved television icon. Much of the first half of the year saw woman after woman come forward with accusations of sexual assault against Bill Cosby. Cosby has and continues to deny the allegations and as the year comes to a close, he has filed a defamation suit against seven of his accusers. Whatever side of the issue you stand on – whether you believe Cosby is guilty or innocent, the damage is done. It seems highly unlikely that Cosby, who built his career and success on the image of being the warm, lovable pseudo-dad, loving uncle type, can recover from this. The lingering questions and doubts and suspicions will always remain.

Volkswagen Recall – Car manufacturer crises are nothing new. Recalls, accusations and allegations of companies circumventing responsibility to cut corners and save money are constant. And this year was more of the same, when U.S. regulators accused Volkswagen of cheating on emission tests. While the German manufacturer company responded quickly with a public statement admitting wrongdoing and later followed that by then-CEO Martin Winterkorn publicly apologizing to the public at a press conference, things still fell apart for the company. Their stocks and sales tumbled, Winterkorn later resigned and at year’s end, the company’s stocks and sales, as well as its public image are all still on a downswing.

Brian Williams – Despite all the talk in recent years of traditional news media dying and being replaced by online news sources and social media, there is still an appreciation and respect for the traditional news source. And by that token, there is still a certain standard of quality and credibility expected of journalists; a fact NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams learned this year, after reports surfaced that he had fabricated and exaggerated parts of his experience in a military helicopter during the Iraq War. What followed were awkward, fumbling apologies from Williams and a six-month suspension without pay, after NBC officials did their own investigation of the allegations. Williams has since been transferred to MSNBC and was officially replaced by Lester Holt as NBC News Nightly anchor.

Chipotle – It has been a rough year for fast-casual restaurant giant, Chipotle. First, there was a salmonella outbreak in Minnesota, found to be tied to the tomatoes being used at the locations. Then there was a foodborne virus called Norovirus, which affected a total of 100 customers and employees combined, at a Ventura County restaurant. But the restaurant chain’s biggest crisis came when more than 30 cases of E. Coli in Washington and Oregon caused them to temporarily shut down 43 restaurants across the two states. While many have praised Chipotle’s handling of the crisis – including, timely and consistent updates to the public, taking full responsibility, cooperating fully with government officials and agencies – these incidents still remain a significant blow to the popular restaurant chain. As I began writing this, news of five new cases of E. Coli from other locations of the restaurant, broke. You do have to start wondering how many more crises of this nature Chipotle can survive, before customers begin walking away for good.

Ashley Madison – How does a company that is largely built on the privacy of its customers survive a major hack that threatened that very privacy? In the case of Ashley Madison, the website for married individuals looking to cheat on their spouse, I’m not sure it can. I commented on the scandal back in August when it happened and questioned then whether or not the company could recover. As of October, some members of the site were still reporting getting emails from hackers trying to extort money from them in exchange for silence about their being a member of the site and very recently, some members claimed to have blackmail letters sent directly to their homes. The company also still faces numerous lawsuits from its members.

Race – It’s been over fifty years since Martin Luther King Jr.’s seminal “I Have A Dream” speech and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Supposedly we now live in a post-racial world and yet, as 2015 comes to a close, that notion seems highly unlikely. Race, discrimination and treatment of minorities took center stage for much of this year.  From the University of Alabama’s fraternity scandal back in March that saw members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) chapter chanting a racially offensive song to the University of Missouri, which saw walkouts and protests from faculty, students and the football team in response to the university’s poor handling of a series of racial incidents. The situation culminated in the resignation of the university’s president and later chancellor. However, the most notable issue of racial tension throughout the year included the multiple allegations of police misconduct in connection with the arrests and deaths of African Americans. The situation escalated to a series of protest and riots around the US and spawned the #blacklivesmatter movement. Many city and state officials opened investigations into the conduct of the police force but with a very tense presidential year coming up, it remains to be seen if things will get better or worse.

Key Industry Trends

Use of Video – Being visual is always an excellent tool to grab and maintain your audience’s attention and to increase the chances of their remembering your message well after it’s over. Visual elements, such as infographics, charts and videos and more, have always been a big appeal to individuals. And this year saw more of this, especially with the emergence of live video streaming. Video streaming became a big part of the industry’s conversation with the introduction of the apps Meerkat and Periscope, the latter which has quickly amassed a significant number of followers. I broke down the pros and cons of live video streaming in this post and it remains to be seen how truly dominant it will become in the industry. However, the use of video is definitely not only going to stay but also continue to expand and evolve.

Rise of Instagram – Social media continued to be a focal point of the industry, as is likely to be the case for years to come. What was particularly interesting this year with regard to social media, was the growing influence and importance of Instagram. According to statista.com, as of November 2015, the photo and video sharing network had a total of 400 million active users, ranking it seventh on the global chart of most popular social networks and just above Twitter. According to the social network itself, there were 14 million active UK users, while research conducted by Ipsos in August 2015, showed that 19% of internet users in Ireland used Instagram. eMarketer.com reported 11% of internet users in Japan and 55% in Canada were using Instagram and Adweek reported 22% of the population in the Middle East/Africa region are on Instagram. Organizations and brands started paying attention, and if your organization’s audience is teens and young adults, then you really needed to be paying attention as the platform has surged far ahead in popularity within that demographic.

Mobile Marketing – As the pervasiveness of smartphones continued this year and by that token, mobile usage, mobile marketing continued to be a key trend in the industry. Research showed young and adult alike used their smartphones and other mobile devices for everything from shopping, surfing the internet, paying bills, etc. Naturally, brands and organizations paid attention and made continuous efforts to reach their current and new audiences through the medium.

Integrated Campaigns – With the worlds of public relations, advertising and marketing continuing to intertwine and overlap, integrated campaigns employing elements of each continued to be prevalent throughout the year and is likely to continue into the next year.

Emergence of African Markets – On the global level, 2015 saw the continued emergence of African markets in the public relations industry, which began a few years earlier. Global strategic communications firm Hill + Knowlton announced its launch of new operation in Nigeria back in March, making it the eighth African location in the firm’s operations, which already has locations in Tanzania, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Ghana.

Looking Ahead – Trends To Expect In 2016

Mobile – As noted, the use of mobile devices continued to dominate this year and it is unlikely that this will be changing any time soon. Thus, the industry is tasked with keeping up with this change and aligning its strategies accordingly. I noted the focus on mobile marketing above and while that is sure to continue in 2016, firms and brands are going to have to evolve and adapt even more to take full advantage of the medium. That includes having specific strategic plans focused solely on mobile, understanding the firm’s specific needs and goals with regard to the mobile world, establishing expertise in that specific area, etc. Mobile essentially needs to be treated in the manner that social media eventually has. It’s not enough to throw it in as a small part of a larger plan – it needs to be regarded at its own specific focus and medium.

Good Content Matters – You’ve probably all heard about the traditional press release being dead and with mobile and social media, everyone is always rushing off to the next thing and essentially has little time to read or care about anything longer than a paragraph or two. That may be (not sure I entirely agree), but even in the digital world, good content still matters which yes, means good writing still matters. In fact, in a way it matters even more. Because if you have a very little window of time to grab and hold a person’s attention, delivering poorly worded and badly written content is not going to accomplish that. New or traditional media, public relations is still a storytelling function and the best way to tell that story is still through well crafted, well written, clear and concise content.

PR & Marketing – The worlds of public relations and marketing will continue to merge and blur into each other in 2016. While the two industries are different in many key ways, they do share many similar elements, which often makes the intertwining so seamless and natural. Firms and brands now understand the importance of incorporating elements of public relations, marketing, advertising and new media into creating a successful large scale campaign and how all these industries essentially need each other.

Real Time Feedback – With the world going mobile and essentially having so much of their lives at their fingertips, firms are now able to get more immediate and timely feedback from consumers and the public. While in-depth research and measurement reports are still important, immediate reactions to a new product, an announcement, etc. can be very valuable and more firms are recognizing and embracing this.

Thought Leadership – One of the more recent growing focus in the industry, has been the role and importance of thought leaders and thought leadership, which I wrote about a few months ago. This focus continued to increase this year and is likely to continue in 2016, as many more firms and organizations continue to recognize its significance.

Tips For Writing And Delivering An Excellent Speech

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As public relations practitioners and communicators in general, speeches are a common part of our professional lives. Whether it is simply writing and preparing one for a higher level executive to deliver or writing and delivering it yourself, a strong, well prepared and well delivered speech can have a significant professional and sometimes personal impact.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s seminal “I Have A Dream” speech is still quoted and referenced all the time, more than fifty years later. And many consider it one of the most defining and impactful moments of the entire Civil Rights Movement. However, writing and delivering an effective speech isn’t always the easiest task, particularly the delivery part for many.

Full disclosure, I have major stage fright and public speaking is quite honestly one of my least favorite parts of public relations. However, it was something I knew I could not avoid and have worked very hard at overcoming. Don’t get me wrong, I still get nervous, my voice still shakes slightly but I have come a long way from the person who literally trembled standing in front of a classroom of my peers to deliver a presentation. The following are some simple tips for writing and delivering an excellent speech.

Writing a Good Speech

  1. Have a Plan – As with every project, you need a well-structured, well-designed plan before writing your speech. What is it about, what are the key points, what are the relevant quotes/references you will use, how are you going to transition from one point to another, etc. Without a solid plan outlining the details of your speech, you are likely to struggle a lot more and end up with a disorganized mess.
  1. Keep It Short – As William Shakespeare said, “brevity is the soul of wit.” The easiest way to not only lose your audience’s attention but go off course with your point is to be long winded. Always keep things as clear and concise as possible. Establish no more than 3 to 5 key points to expand on briefly. One of the most important skills in public relations is learning to say a lot as briefly as possible.
  1. Know Your Audience – As is the case with any form of communication, it is very important to know and understand your audience. Doing so will help you strike the right tone and perfect balance for your speech. For example, will you be speaking to an audience of college students or industry thought leaders or a minority group, etc.
  1. Humanize Yourself – It is always wise when communicating anything to anyone to try to speak to them on a personal level. One of the easiest ways to do that is to personalize or humanize your comments as much as possible. That is why using cute anecdotes or stories from your own life, career, etc. is often a very effective way to grab the listener’s attention.
  1. Be Visual – Many people tend to be very visual and are better able to retain information when they can see it, when it’s bold or colorful. Therefore, attaching visual aids to your speech is another very effective way to grab and maintain the listener’s attention. This can include anything from story boards, power point presentations, banners, etc. Being visual can also include your prose. Sometimes the use of imagery and poetic language can paint a clearer picture in the listener’s mind, which can get your point across more effectively.
  1. Be Memorable – Whether it is a funny story or cute anecdote or a really clever line, it helps greatly to have something in your speech that will truly stand out and be memorable. Consider John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech for example. There are probably very few who remember that speech from beginning to end but millions know the line “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That one line solidified that speech as one of the greatest of all time.
  1. Reference Other Great Lines, Quotes, etc. – Sometimes the best way to get a point across is to reference the words of another. Letitia Elizabeth Landon said, “an apt quotation is like a lamp which flings its light over the whole sentence.” Referencing words and phrases and quotes that are not only relevant to your point but recognizable to the listener is a great way to not only grab their attention but resonate with them.
  1. Open Strong and Finish Strong – There is a reason that the introduction and conclusion are often two of the most powerful parts of any writing. The introduction is your chance to grab the listener’s attention immediately and the conclusion is where you summarize everything you’ve said in one powerful paragraph. Your conclusion is the last thing the listener will hear and likely one of the things they will most remember from the speech so make it count.
  1. Why Should The Audience Care – One of your main goals in presenting a speech is getting the audience to care so they want to listen and will remember what you talked about. Well to do that, you have to give them a reason to care and that is where it is essential to write your speech always with the thought in mind of “will the audience care about this, will they understand it, will they relate to it, etc.”
  1. Revise, Revise, Revise – One of the most, if not the most important step in writing anything is editing and making revisions. It is never a good idea to go with a first draft. No matter how talented and skilled you are, as human beings we are always prone to error and there will always be something that was missed or accidentally misspelled or misused, which will only be caught in the editing and revisions.

 

Delivering a Speech

  1. Practice – Practice makes perfect and one of the most important steps for perfectly delivering a speech is to practice beforehand. This should include practicing your timing so you make sure that you stay within the allotted time, practicing to better memorize the speech and perfect your delivery and to get a sense of how it will sound. Practicing with at least one person listening is also very helpful as they are likely to give you helpful feedback.
  1. Use Relaxation Techniques – Even the most confident people get nervous before a big speech or presentation. Being nervous is a normal human condition and sometimes all it takes to calm your nerves is a few breathing and relaxation techniques. Take some deep breaths and try to get to a calm and centered place before walking to the podium or stage or wherever it may be.
  1. Maintain A Confident Stance – There is an old saying that you should fake it ‘til you make it. Even if you are nervous, it doesn’t mean others have to know it or see it. Maintaining a confident stance and/or appearance can help you be confident and deliver a confident speech. This includes things like standing up straight with your shoulders back, maintaining good eye contact, etc. If you look like you know and believe what you are saying, others will pay attention and believe you.
  1. Do Not Read Your Speech – The worst thing you can do is basically read your speech word for word off note-cards or a piece of paper. You will certainly lose the audience’s interest and more importantly, it will give the impression that you are not confident and truly knowledgeable in what you are speaking about. That is one reason why practicing is so important. You have to be able to deliver your speech as if it is something spontaneous that you have only just thought of and decided to share, even if you have worked for days or even weeks on it.
  1. Slow Down – I know that I have a tendency to talk really fast the more nervous I get, almost like I’m just trying to rush through this painful ordeal. And that is something I have had to work on through the years. That is, learning to slow down, take a breath and make sure my words and thoughts are coming across clearly and articulately. No matter how amazing your speech, no one is going to remember it or care if they barely understood a word you said.

 

P.R Lessons From Adele’s Success

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Admit it – like a million plus others, you are a fan of Adele and have likely downloaded and had her latest single on constant repeat. It’s okay, I understand – we’ve all fallen victim to her spell. And if by some small miracle you haven’t, it would be almost impossible to get away from her significant impact on the current pop culture landscape, which may actually be a good thing. Because even if you are in the minority of not being a fan, there is actually a lot the public relations industry can learn from Adele’s incredible success and influence.

Be Likable – One of Adele’s greatest attributes is her likability factor. While this seems like an obvious and simple enough quality for any organization to have, its importance cannot be understated. Individuals can like an organization’s product as much as possible but if they find the organization unlikable, eventually it will affect their willingness to purchase and consume from them. This is after all why a good public image is so significant to the success of any organization.

Be Relatable – One of the main appeals of Adele’s music, is that it is relatable. After all, she sings about one of the oldest and most basic of human emotions, love – something that many can relate to. Relatability is key for the success of organizations because it is one of the simplest ways to connect to individuals and the organization’s public. It allows the organization to speak a language their audience understands and is familiar with, which increases the likelihood of success.

Know Your Audience – There have been some criticism that Adele’s music is a bit predictable because it all deals with relationships. However, as the saying goes, “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That is the music her fans love and expect from her and she knows it. By that same token, it is essential that organizations know their audience or public. It is just one of the many reasons research of and understanding your organization’s public is so important. That is, knowing who they are, what interests and motivates them, etc.

Be Authentic – Along with her likability and relatability, another of Adele’s greatest attributes is her authenticity. As it’s been said, she comes across as a real person with an unreal talent. And authenticity is very important in public relations and for organizations. As I have stated repeatedly on this blog, public relations is a story telling function and as practitioners, we are tasked with telling an organization’s story. And that story should be told as honestly. On their part, organizations must also be as honest and authentic as possible because the hardest thing to come back from, is losing the public’s trust.

Do Not Overwhelm Your Audience – There is an old adage of “always leave them wanting more.” After the phenomenal success of her last album 21, Adele quietly retreated back to her life in England and took almost three years off. Many believe this time away helped increase the anticipation and excitement for her new album and played a part in the overwhelming response to her current single. The same can apply to the success of organizations. It is important to satisfy your audience but not inundate them with too many options, products, etc. Doing so may actually create the opposite of the desired effect. As public relations practitioners, it is also important that we understand this as well. That is why factors such as having just the right amount of social media posts, not sending out too many emails, not releasing too many press releases, etc. are all so important.