All posts by Lauren Dreisbach

PR Trends to Look Out for in 2016

As 2015 comes to a close, we’re taking a look at recent trends and new technologies that we can incorporate into our clients’ public relations plans for 2016. The industry has certainly gone through quite a transformation in recent years due to the growth of social media, and that plays a strong role in the strategies being used in the PR world as well. What developments should be most prominent in the coming year? Here are a few that we believe will support PR efforts throughout 2016.

Mobile Content

  • Where do most people receive information these days? Whether checking email or social media sites, our digital devices – cell phones, tablets, etc. – are the center of our lives for communication and they’ve become instrumental in spreading news. This past spring, Google began using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal that ultimately means that those sites not optimized for mobile would be ranked lower and lower. The push from Google will force companies to develop mobile-friendly content, so responsive design and embedded videos will become standard and expected. Use this technology as a way to connect with your audience and the billions of mobile-device users anywhere and at any time.

Visual Content

  • Visual elements tell a story and add emotion, prompting your audience to drive the visibility of your message. Educational and instructional videos are great tools to provide to a customer, perhaps based on a new product or service being offered. In fact, the videos that are gaining popularity are actually user-generated videos, not necessarily those that are finely produced and staged. We all have access to quality cameras through our phones now, which create more meaningful videos and photos.

 

If sending a press release, make sure that a photo, logo, infographic, or video is included as well. Those types of visuals engage reporters and increase the likelihood of landing placements in print, but especially online. Since PR and social media efforts typically tend to support one another, visuals are also great tools to carry over onto social sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Take the time to evaluate what tools worked for you in 2015, and don’t be afraid to take some risks in 2016! Whether your business is B2B or B2C, working in fresh, new strategies will help make your business relevant.

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Summer 2015 Events

Memorial Day weekend is almost here! Can you believe it? While you may have picnics and family gatherings in the plans for the weekend—which many consider as a kickoff to summer—we’ve gathered a list of local outdoor activities to keep you busy all season.

Festivals:

  • The Three Rivers Arts Festival remains a great celebration of the arts throughout the city, featuring performing and visual arts exhibits from June 5-14.
  • The Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta is back again this year, July 3-5, with the addition of Formula One Power Boat races and the Wheel of Lights, a nine-story tall Ferris Wheel that is sure to give a fantastic view of the city. The event will of course include a fireworks display for the Fourth of July.
  • New to the city in 2015 is Picklesburgh – a free festival surrounding all foods pickled taking place July 17-18 on the Rachel Carson Bridge. The giant flying Heinz pickle balloon is sure to be an extra highlight, though.

Concerts:

  • Heinz Field plays hosts to some major concerts this summer, including Kenny Chesney (May 30), Taylor Swift (June 6), The Rolling Stones (June 20), Luke Bryan (July 31), and One Direction (August 2).
  • Other outdoor venues like Stage AE and First Niagara Pavilion continue to host a variety of old and new acts.
  • Don’t forget the free concerts taking place throughout the Three Rivers Arts Festival, too.

Movies in the Park:

  • Free movies are offered in the city’s parks throughout June, July and August.

Summer Food:

  • Farmers’ Markets are already in full swing and typically last throughout the fall months. Check out the local neighborhood markets for anything from produce to flowers, all at great prices.
  • During Oakland Restaurant Week, June 22-27, participating restaurants feature $6 lunches.
  • Pittsburgh Restaurant Week comes up on August 10-16, highlighting deals on summer menus of local city and suburban restaurants.

What are some of your favorite summer activities and traditions throughout the city? We hope you have a summer full of fun in the sun!

Understanding the Difference: B2B vs. B2C

As we begin a new year, we’re incorporating many new yearly public relations plans for our clients. Those plans vary from client to client, especially depending upon whether the client is considered business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). Today we focus on the differences between the two and how that impacts marketing and public relations efforts.

 

B2B

B2B marketing involves the sale of a company’s product or service to another company. Typically, the marketing techniques of a B2B plan focus on relationship-building based on logic with the goal of developing prospects into customers.

Plans focus on the features of the product or service to educate the target audience. This can often include many different steps, involving in-depth marketing materials. For example, in an attempt to reach out to a target customer’s sales representatives, we may incorporate a photo gallery that showcases the product that our client is selling. Through that gallery, the target audience is able to view samples of a product and learn more about how that product can be implemented for their own use.

B2C

B2C marketing involves the sale of a product or service to the end customer. While the marketing techniques of a B2C plan focus on relationship-building, too, the plans are often based more on emotion with the goal of developing a shopper into a loyal buyer.

Consumers don’t necessarily have to always spend a lot of time to understand the benefits of a product or service, so they expect those benefits to be presented in a clear and direct manner. Rather than a photo gallery that showcases just the product that our client is selling, we might suggest implementing more techniques through social media, which is a great way to connect and continue to build a relationship with the target consumer. For example, a Pinterest board is a great resource to connect with a target audience while sharing valuable product information and driving traffic to the website and other social networks. A client can share a variety of visually-friendly information such as infographics, videos, articles, and possibly even coupons and contests, with its target audience.

As you can see, B2B and B2C marketing techniques are certainly based on the same principles, they are just executed in different ways.

Tools of the Trade: How the New Google Calendar App Can Simplify Schedule Management

Earlier this week, Google rolled out a new Calendar app for the Android 5.0 Lollipop mobile operating system. The app acts like your very own personal assistant, which is certainly helpful in the communications industry, given that our daily calendars are regularly filled with client meetings and conference calls.

Through the app’s “Assists” smart word suggestion, which is similar to Google Search, as you begin to enter one of your contacts into your calendar, the app will suggest those contacts listed in your phone that are similar to what you’ve started to enter. If you begin to enter a location, the app will also recognize places similar to what you type. Select a specific location, and the app will follow by adding the address and phone number for you based on what is currently listed in Google. It’s just that convenient! You won’t have to switch between apps to copy and paste information, and you’re saving time by manually entering less information into your phone.

In everyday life, we also spend a lot of time booking our events online these days – dinner and hotel reservations, concert tickets, flights, etc. – and we receive email confirmations for those bookings. The app connects to your Gmail account, and keeps tabs on the things that you purchase so that when you receive an email confirmation, the details of the event will automatically become events in your calendar. What’s even more helpful is that if you receive an email notification regarding something like a flight delay, your calendar app will notify you through a push notification on your phone and update the details that you had previously included in the app.

With the “Schedule View,” you’ll be able to scroll through your entire schedule, which includes photos and maps of the places you’re going. Whether you’re using this for work or for home, it should prove to simplify your schedule.

Check out the tutorial of the new app to see how it works. Google plans to release another version of the app for iOS users at a later date.

September is Ethics Awareness Month

The public relations industry can present a variety of challenges and dilemmas, especially when it comes to ethical issues. The Public Relations Society of America has declared that September is Ethics Awareness Month. The organization is spending the month to bring light to the importance of practicing ethical behavior in this profession.

PRSA has a Member Code of Ethics in place designed to anticipate ethical challenges that come up on a regular basis. The PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values – including  Advocacy,  Honesty, Expertise, Independence, Loyalty and Fairness – are the foundations that are meant to guide a PR professional’s behavior.

canstockphoto4253332

(c) Can Stock Photo

As PR professionals, we are hired to act as advocates for our companies and clients by providing credible and honest information to the public. Ethical practices really are at the forefront of every decision made – whether it’s the research and planning of strategic campaigns in an effort to avoid costly mistakes, developing relationships with the media, or determining solutions in the midst of a crisis. One of the biggest challenges faced is technology, as news travels faster than ever through websites and social media networks.

We realize that the public can perceive PR professionals as unethical at times, so we urge our colleagues to visit the PRSA code as a reminder of how to apply those particular values to daily communications strategies.

To read more on the ethics focus throughout the month, follow the Twitter hashtag #PRethics or check out the list of activities provided by PRSA. Participate in these conversations and help to raise the bar of ethics in public relations!

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Pittsburgh Summer Restaurant Week

Pittsburgh is always referred to as a melting pot of cultures, which is certainly reflected by the different types of restaurants participating in Pittsburgh Restaurant Week. Through Sunday, August 17, participating local restaurants are offering special menus to diners, including multi-course meals and specialty items priced from $20.14 to $35.14.

The purpose of Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is to celebrate Pittsburgh food and restaurants throughout the city. This summer’s Restaurant Week highlights fine dining, fresh harvest and outdoor seating. A list of participating restaurants and their specific deals can be found online at pittsburghrestaurantweek.com, and we encourage you to check out the options!

As you browse the menus of participating restaurants, you’ll discover that there is a variety of diverse cuisine selections from nationally recognized chefs – and from restaurants old and new to the city.

A few of the restaurants that have been serving Pittsburgh for years include the Grand Concourse and Morton’s, but restaurants such as Grit & Grace and Altius have been gaining positive reviews over recent months. NOLA on the Square in Market and Meat & Potatoes — both in downtown — are a couple of our lunch time favorites.

So take this opportunity to spend some time downtown. Make a reservation and enjoy! Let us know if you’ve found any new favorites.

Credit: Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

Credit: Pittsburgh Restaurant Week

LinkedIn Tips for Professionals

LinkedIn can be one of the greatest assets for a professional in any industry. It’s a place to gather insights, establish expertise and develop new business opportunities. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to make a great first impression for anyone just discovering you – perhaps a future colleague or a potential client, so make the most out of your LinkedIn profile by following a few suggestions:

  • Start with a profile photo and professional headline: Choose a photo that is recent and professional, and create a specific description or job title that will grab the attention of your viewers. Both of these items help establish your social media credibility. Not having a photograph or headline could cause viewers to be suspicious of your profile, so include something that matches the sense of your industry.
  • Include a summary: The summary section of your LinkedIn profile can bring together your headline and experiences. Think of it as a brief overview of yourself, including keywords that can help you to be found in industry searches. This area allows you to tell a story in more ways than a traditional resume.
  • Add visual content: LinkedIn allows you to add videos, images, documents and presentations to each experience that you list on your profile. Showcase items from your portfolio to demonstrate skills.
  • Solicit professional recommendations: Request recommendations from current and former colleagues. This can be a valuable area of your profile to potential employers and business partners/clients.
  • Leverage LinkedIn messaging: LinkedIn allows you to tag an individual or company now by using the “@” symbol followed by your connection’s name. Doing so ensures that your connection will see your post and also engages members of your network. Use this strategically – only for things that are important. The rest of your connections can see posts like this in their news feeds, so ultimately, this creates a more valued relationship amongst those in your network.
  • Join local groups, follow industry resources and create conversation: Provide more significance to your network by also participating in these areas as a way to establish thought leadership. The more content that you share, the better chance you have of others viewing your profile. Be careful not to use this as a way to promote yourself or your company, but as a way to share thoughts and gain feedback.
  • Claim your URL: LinkedIn allows you to customize the URL. Most claimed URLs include the last name (e.g., linkedin.com/lastnamehere). You can also adjust how you appear when people search for you through online platforms such as Google or Yahoo!.

 

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things – Market Square

Market Square has undergone quite the transformation in recent years. Because of its proximity to the Yearick-Millea office, it’s one of our favorite places to visit, especially during the warm summer months.

A mix of old and new, the historic downtown Pittsburgh district offers restaurants, shopping and plenty of summer activities. During the weekdays, you’ll find office workers taking a break to enjoy the weather at the many open tables. The “Summer in the Square” programming sponsored by Market Square Merchants Association and supported by the Pittsburgh Downtown partnership provides free live performances and events all summer. Be sure to check out:

Mellow Mondays: Live acoustic entertainment from noon to 1 p.m.

Tuesday: Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Reading Room, where visitors can sample a few of the programs offered at the library from 11a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mid-Week Music Wednesdays: Live bands from noon to 1 p.m.

Farmers Market Thursdays: Shop a variety a vendors (produce, desserts, wine) each Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. now through Oct. 30.

Market Square Farmers Market

Market Square Farmers Market

If you’re in the area Monday through Friday, make sure to stop in to the Yearick-Millea office to say hi!

 

Tips for Recent Public Relations and Communications Grads

Congratulations to all recent college graduates! It’s quite an accomplishment. Getting that first job, especially in the PR and communications industry, can be quite a challenge though. It’s competitive. Working at an agency, such as Yearick-Millea, is one of the best ways to learn all aspects of the business because of the variety of clients and the different types of projects, from media relations and crisis communications to internal communications and social media. An agency is a great start to a career for any recent college graduate, and today we provide a few tips, both general and specific, on how to land your first full-time position:

Network: Attend local industry functions. The PR and communications industry is relationship-driven, so the more people you meet, the better your chances of meeting someone who can benefit you throughout your personal and professional career. In fact, search for a mentor. By having someone in your life who can give you honest feedback regarding your strengths and weaknesses, you will always be prepared for your next career challenge.
Develop Your Skills: Your writing skills are probably your most valuable asset. Every aspect of a career in the industry thrives on good writing skills for creating good content to support communications plans. Sharpen your writing skills through blog writing and frequent reading (through a variety of media: social networks, newspapers, magazines).
Show Professionalism: Now that you’re out of college, developing skills to interact with all types of people at all levels of management is essential to working at an agency. If you’ve landed an interview, make a good presentation of yourself by dressing appropriately and providing thank-you notes following your interviews.

Agencies like Yearick-Millea are always eager for passionate and motivated young professionals. If you’re ever interested in learning more about what goes on at Yearick-Millea on a day-to-day basis, please reach out to us at info@yearick-millea.com to learn about any upcoming internship opportunities.

Creating, Discovering and Sharing Quality Content– Even at the Last Minute!

Content. What is content marketing? It can be defined as marketing that involves creating and sharing of media in a variety of formats, including news releases, white papers, infographics, case studies, photography, email newsletters, guest blog posts, etc. – any type of educational material, basically.

The purpose of content marketing is to provide valuable information—or content—with the goal of building trust and brand awareness. What is it that makes content marketing campaigns successful? It’s a campaign’s consistency and the ability to establish you or your company as an expert in the industry.

We’re responsible for developing and creating content strategies for our clients – even for this agency blog. So much can be anticipated in advance, but sometimes we can be searching for new ideas to freshen up a campaign (and SEO results). If you’re struggling to find new and quality content for your latest campaign, consider a few of the following ideas:

Repurpose Owned Content: Check out publications or literature pieces already finalized within your company. There may be a feature story opportunity that includes an individual, which can be developed into a profile piece. You also might come across a graphic that wasn’t highlighted and now can serve as an educational piece to review with your target audience. Look for videos or photos that can relate to your company and/or brand and your current messaging.
Talk with Coworkers: Colleagues can be your best resource. Find out what is going on within other departments of the company. Focus on a team or an individual and the progress of an on-going project for internal audiences. Focus on awards or participation within the industry for external audiences.
Check Your Outside Sources: Public relations is earned content. Read through industry publications and local news sources to check for mentions of your company. Articles of interest to you and your company may be of interest to your readers. By writing an introduction to an article, you can ask readers for their thoughts as well, providing an opportunity to interact with a targeted audience. Include bloggers and social media channels, too.

It’s important to remember to always seek high-quality content. It will not only build trust, but it will establish credibility within the industry. Ultimately, your content strategy should play a major role in any overall marketing campaign.