Veteran news anchor Brenda Wood of 11Alive recently announced plans to retire from 11Alive in February of next year. Wood stated on 11Alive’s blog that she has, “. . .decided to finally follow my passion, to pursue my longtime dream to develop, produce and give creative voice to new and meaningful artistic projects outside of news.”
She has been with the station for the last 20 years of her 40-year career and has interviewed an array of public figures from President Jimmy Carter to civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew J. Young to Cher.
She has won more than 20 Emmys and was named the 2014 Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame recipient, among other awards. Prime time specials hosted and produced by Wood include: “Remembering the 1996 Olympics,” “A Conversation Across America,” “50 Years of Change,” “Mission of Hope,” and multiple editions of the Emmy winning magazine show “Journeys with Brenda Wood.”
What do Harambe, Yahoo, and EpiPen have in common?
They all made The Wilbert Group’s Top 10 PR Blunders of 2016, along with the Delta, The Wounded Warrior Project, a smug pharmaceutical exec, and more.
We’re all about keeping up with the digital world at The Wilbert Group and leveraging the newest technologies to help our clients tell their stories. Here’s the latest:
#1 Instagram finally unveils analytics.
Since Facebook bought Instagram four years ago, social media pros have been wondering when The Social Network would introduce its sophisticated analytics dashboard to the photo-sharing app. This month, they finally delivered with Instagram for Business. The new tool allows businesses to promote posts with ease, view valuable information about their followers and measure engagement and impressions. These changes are particularly beneficial for small businesses with great photos trying to reach the millennial audience that calls Instagram home.
#2 Instagram takes a page from Snapchat with stories.
Instagram Stories, an identical sharing platform to Snapchat where photos disappear after 24 hours and can be enhanced with filters, debuted a few weeks ago. The social media community was in uproar, and questions emerged. Would this be the nail in Snapchat’s ad-heavy coffin? Would people actually use the feature? How will it differentiate itself from Snapchat? For clients, Instagram Stories is a great opportunity to test the waters of real-time sharing before making the plunge to launch a Snapchat account. Additionally, it provides a way for brands to push out a constant stream of content without bombarding fans’ timelines. While this feature is in its infancy and the jury is still out, it looks like Stories might just overtake Snapchat in the future.
#3 Facebook’s narrow targeting a problem for large companies.
Facebook advertising is, for the moment, king. We often suggest to our clients – mostly small or mid-sized companies – that in order to work with Facebook’s ever-changing algorithm and get all-important eyes on their posts, they need to spend money on targeted ads. However, some large corporations are shifting their paid Facebook strategy. Proctor & Gamble recently announced that they are moving away from Facebook’s highly-targeted ad suite, stating that the program’s narrow targeting based on both demographics and psychographics doesn’t work for most of their needs. In response, Facebook is offering better tools for large advertisers to target their wide audience while still generating qualified leads. For the time being, P&G won’t cut back on Facebook spending, but will re-evaluate their strategy to increase their reach.
What do the lead story on CNN, Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” have in common? They are all forms of storytelling.
A good story compels people. It moves them emotionally or intellectually. Stories come in many shapes and sizes – paintings, fairytales, news articles, tweets and more.
At The Wilbert Group, it is our job to find stories, package them and find homes for them – whether it be a SlideShare, LinkedIn blog, article in the local paper or feature in The New York Times.
Good PR pros are good storytellers (cue the eye rolls). No, we’re not “spinning” stories; we’re bringing factual information to light. And, we do so in a smart, interesting way that will appeal to our audiences.
For example, when the Pokemon Go craze took most of us by surprise, we turned to our clients and asked: how has it affected business? One client, Atlantic Station, told us about plans to meet with a local Pokemon Go group to learn how to best work with them moving forward. We uncovered this story opportunity and took it to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We even welcomed a reporter to observe the initial meeting at Atlantic Station. The story landed in the AJC’s Sunday paper and online here.
This example happens all the time at The Wilbert Group. We are constantly poking and prodding for the next great story. We do it so often that we’ve highlighted five ways to become better storytellers.
- Become a subject matter expert. Learn your client’s business. Ask questions, do your research and attend industry events. Just last week, The Wilbert Group attended the CREW Atlanta luncheon and learned about the latest trends in retail.
- Keep your ear to the ground. Consume the media! Read the paper (or visit the website), follow the right outlets on social media and turn on the news. Listen for stories that may relate to your client. Plus, journalists are the storytelling pros. Pay attention to what they deem newsworthy.
- Think like your reader. Before you pitch that flat story idea, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Why would you find it interesting? Can you tie it to a national trend or event? How does it affect your life? These are questions the journalist will ask, so beat him/her to it and start thinking like the reader.
- Find the right home. Not every story should be told with a press release. Technology has opened so many new doors. Maybe your story is best told through a social media campaign. Or, check out SlideShare. We often use this tool to illustrate our client’s bold idea or point of view.
- Bring on the visuals. Most of us are visual creatures. At the alarmingly fast rate people consume media (and increasingly shorter attention spans), it’s important to capture your audience with a strong visual be it a photo, video, or infographic.
Hi, my name is Savannah, and I’m addicted to Shark Tank. I watch old episodes, new episodes and Beyond the Tank. At least one TV in our house is turned to CNBC to catch reruns at all times. I buy products and eat at restaurants (and food trucks) solely based on their involvement with Shark Tank. In short, I am an addict.
While Shark Tank helps force me to think creatively — and always makes me wonder what my million-dollar idea will be — I started to realize over time that many of the show’s lessons are actually applicable to public relations. Below are my top four takeaways.
- A good, solid pitch is a must. Having a pitch that’s dynamic and gets to the point quickly is key in capturing the Sharks’ attention, the same way a pitch must quickly garner the interest of a journalist. It has to be just the right length while effectively conveying your message. If it’s too long or not getting to the point, you’ll lose interest.
- Know your clients – their audience, competition and industry. The entrepreneurs on Shark Tank must know their business from top to bottom. Similarly, PR pros must know the ins and outs of their client’s business as if it were their own. If you don’t know your client’s target audiences, how can you create a plan to reach them effectively? If you don’t know their competition, how will you be able to differentiate them? If you don’t know their industry, how will you effectively tell their story? All of this is paramount to PR success.
- Confidence is key. Anyone who watches regularly knows that the entrepreneurs who enter the tank with confidence are already more likely to get a deal. Like Shark Tank, confidence can make or break you. Clients are looking to you for your expertise in PR, and if you’re unsure of yourself it shows. A PR pro that’s always second-guessing themselves and their decisions can make a client nervous, and ultimately cause them to seek other PR help.
- Hire people smarter than you. It’s completely OK to admit that something isn’t your area of expertise and hire someone who knows more about something than you do. Entrepreneurs are always seeking out partnerships with Sharks who can help them with a part of business they are struggling with, whether it’s manufacturing or marketing. As the PR landscape continues to evolve, companies are going to rely on and hire experts, like social media managers, for example, who can help a company continue to expand its offerings and grow.