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Avoiding the Damage of Sunburns and Social Media

Unfortunately, most of us know too well the stinging burn that results from excessive sun exposure. If only we could go back in time to apply more sunscreen and avoid the pain. But all we can do is take care of the damage and be more prepared for our next beach visit.

Maybe there is more to be learned from a sunburn than just the need for sunscreen and shade. Like a trip to the beach, a social media campaign can start out enjoyable and end in discomfort if not properly managed.

Here are three social media lessons to be learned from a painful sunburn:

1. Think ahead.

Before going to the beach and to the pool, you should always stop and put on sunscreen. Taking the extra five minutes to put on that Hawaiian Tropic could save you from the damage the sun is trying to cause.

Before you jump right into a new social media campaign, create a calendar. Planning out what you want to post will help you stay organized and stop you from missing anything important.

2. Listen to others.

Did anyone ever tell you to put on sunscreen and soon after you regret not taking that advice? We often think we know it all, but discover that if we would have just listened, many of our problems could have been avoided.

There are several websites and blogs that offer advice on how to handle social media and marketing problems. When you find yourself in these situations, browse the Web for helpful solutions from industry experts.

3. Follow up.

Using aftercare skin treatment may be just as important as using sunscreen in the first place.

Like using Aloe Vera after a burn, following up on social media after posting content is just as important. You can respond to customer comments and complaints and see what content is getting the most interaction and reactions.

Much like avoiding or recovering from a sunburn, a successful social media campaign can be achieved by thinking ahead, listening to others and following up.

Winning the Gold Medal in PR

With the first full week of the Rio Olympic Games coming to a close, we have already witnessed some extraordinary feats. The “Final Five” women’s gymnastics team grabs gold by a margin of over 8 points, Michael Phelps earns his 21st gold medal (and counting) and the United States as a whole has come together to win a total of 32 medals thus far.  With all of these successes, how is it possible that there is still so much negative media coverage surrounding the Olympics?

Unfortunately, there are going to be positives and negatives behind every story. These athletes are defying the odds, but many are more captivated by the crime, politics and overall health concerns within the host city of Rio.

While the overall success of the media coverage of the 2016 Olympics is still in question, it has provided us PR Professionals with valuable lessons in how to establish the polished images we wish to convey to our audiences.

Here’s what the media coverage of the Olympics has taught us:

  • Provide factual answers and don’t try to spin anything
  • Become more proactive with social media to encourage and increase engagement
  • Own the camera and manage the image to highlight the positives
  • Acknowledge negative issues, but focus more on how to alleviate or fix them

 

By following these simple steps, no other team will stand a chance.

Working for A Small Firm Could Be the Best Thing for Your PR Career

Attention to all entering the PR world. If you are wondering where to begin your job search. you have come to the right place. So where to start?

There are probably several big agencies that are looking for candidates like you. Before you send in those applications though, you should consider working for a small, successful PR firm. Small firms offer incomparable experience that will grow you as a PR professional.

Why a Small PR Firm?

    • You get the opportunity to learn a lot
    • You don’t have to slowly climb the ladder to work with the “top dogs”
    • You have access to all the projects and clients
    • You get to collaborate with your team
    • You work closely with the leader of the company
    • You learn how to build relationships with clients and media

 

A small PR firm gives you so much more than a title on your business card. It gives you first-hand experience on leading the relationship with a client, dealing with several projects and tasks at a time, and fitting in with a team.

Benefits of Working at a Small PR Firm

Learning

That is not to say that you don’t have the opportunity to learn in a big agency, but a small PR firm provides hands-on experience and a fast-paced learning environment.

Teamwork

At a small firm, everyone works together and learns from one another. Collaboration is an advantage often overlooked in the corporate world, where everyone is only concerned with their own work.

Diverse work

Working with clients from different industries will set you apart and help you develop a range of skills to boost your career. Understanding each industry and your client’s work is a rare skill even among the best in the PR industry.

Learn from the big boss

The advantage of a small PR firm is that you get to work closely with your superiors much more often than in a big agency. From bringing in new business to dealing with crises and problems, you learn how an agency is run.

Having fun

In a small PR firm, your team becomes your second family. You learn together, grow together, and have fun working together.

Advertising vs. PR: Can You Spot the Difference?

Advertising and Public Relations are commonly confused as being one in the same. However, these two industries are actually very different.

To understand how they vary, here are some distinctions that scratch the surface:

  • What you pay for
    • Advertising: The company pays for ad space and has creative control over what goes into the ad.
    • PR: Your job is getting free media exposure for the company, which means you do not have control over how the media presents your information.
  • Shelf life
    • Advertising: Ads have a longer shelf life because they can be run over and over again.  You’re paying for the space, so you can choose how many times your ad is shown.
    • PR: One and done.  Press releases and other PR exposure is not typically replicated.
  • Contacts
    • Advertising: Main contacts at an ad agency consist of your co-workers and the clients of the agency.
    • PR: In Public Relations, your contacts are not limited to in-house. You are also in constant contact with multiple media outlets.
  • Target audience vs. hooked editor
    • Advertising: You have to advertise accordingly to who your target audience is or else your ad will be useless.
    • PR: Before the audience even sees your work, you must first capture the attention of the editor.  The fate of your press release or the coverage of your event lies in their hands.
  • Visuals
    • Advertising: Advertisements revolve around images with a few buzz words.
    • PR: Public Relations focuses on language.  Whereas ads give off the notion to simply “buy this product”, PR expresses the importance of what is being presented.
  • Believability
    • Advertising: Through ads, you are essentially paying to tell people how great you/your products are.
    • PR: With publicity, others are praising you.  This carries much more credibility due to the fact it is being told through a third-party endorsement.

Meet H&A’s Newest Intern, Kate

Kate Kelly, a recent graduate from California State University, Chico, has joined Heying & Associates as an intern account coordinator.

Kate graduated in May with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and a minor in Recreation Administration. At H&A, she will serve as an account assistant for several of the firm’s public relations and marketing clients including various regional law firms and educational clients.

5 Game-Changing Writing Tips

We have all heard the typical do’s and don’ts of writing:

  • DO: Include graphics.
  • DON’T: Use clichés.
  • DO: Have a consistent voice.
  • DON’T: Write in the passive voice.

While these are all valuable pieces of advice, we have five of the more fundamental, yet overlooked tip to improve your writing. Whether you are a novice or a professional writer, following these tips will benefit your writing.

  1. Start in the middle.

Ernest Hemingway, when asked what was the most frightening thing he ever encountered, answered: “A blank sheet of paper.” There are times when words come easily and times when we it feels like our brain is empty. Don’t let that discourage you.

Get some words on the page—it doesn’t matter if you start in the beginning, middle, or end of your piece. Don’t worry about perfecting your writing at this stage. Once you begin, your main points will reveal themselves buried a few paragraphs down.

  1. Stop being wishy-washy.

When you’re done writing, go back through your copy looking for weak words and phrases. Delete any attempts you made to justify what you are saying. You are allowed to have an opinion. These are some other common offenders:

  • In my opinion
  • Personally
  • Honestly
  • I believe
  • I think

These act as unnecessary fluff, and they weaken your voice. Be confident and use decisive language.

  1. Read it out loud.

Make sure your writing sounds natural. The goal is to write the way people talk in everyday conversation. Don’t try to get fancy with your vocabulary. For example, don’t write:

  • Accordingly if you mean so
  • Commence if you mean start
  • Utilize if you mean use
  • In close proximity to if you mean near
  • Facilitate if you mean help

Good writing is simple, clear and concise. As Mark Twain said, “Don’t use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do.”

  1. Walk away.

There is a difference between struggling to make your point and fixating on minor details to the point of actually making your writing worse

When you’re stuck down this rabbit hole — you have written way more than you need, your sentences aren’t making sense, and your words are jumbled — there’s only one thing you can do: Take a break. Focus on something else. Do anything except write. Step away from your computer, and return after some time has passed.

  1. For the love of God, get an editor.

Yes, you need an editor. Why? It is so much more difficult to edit a piece of writing that you are familiar with. You need a new set of eyes, a fresh perspective on your work.

An editor is worth your while. Don’t just believe me, take it from these professional writers:

“Pay for an editor. Not just to fix the typos, but to actually make your ramblings into something that people will choose to read.” —Seth Godin

“Editing turns something great into something even greater.” —Neil Patel

“Use an editor. Editors are not optional. Period.” —Ann Handley