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Guest post

Brands Must Expose Themselves to Gain Market Credibility

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Today we bring you a guest post from BJ Kito, VP of business strategy and general counsel at Digital Surgeons, a full-service agency driven by the relentless urge to move brands forward.

There is a movement out there: a movement of passionate consumers who search for and evaluate every available piece of data before making a purchasing decision. This “infolust” has sparked the emergence of a new and expanding persona: the Infosumer. The movement has created an inflection point in our society: consumers appreciate the abundance of data at their fingertips and use it for more than settling arguments at a bar.

Consumers have extended their love affair with research, comparison shopping and product reviews. They are interested in where things are being produced and what type of impact (both positive and negative) the brand they are supporting has on the community.

They want to make their own decisions.

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Storytelling for Media Professionals

Storytelling for Media ProfessionalsStarting April 22, this in-person workshop will teach you the specific ways to incorporate storytelling into your personal and professional life. Students will examine the role of storytelling in business and put their newfound skills into practice with a series of improvisation, writing, and presentation exercises designed to help them uncover personal stories. Register now! 

Do We Rely Too Much on Stunts and Hoaxes?

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Today we bring you a guest post on the value of the stunt by Todd Graff, VP of PR at Boston-based digital agency CTP.

When I was a kid, I loved Sports Illustrated. Waited every week for its Thursday arrival and had it devoured by the weekend. Few stories were as riveting as “The Curious Case of Sidd Finch,” George Plimpton’s brilliant 14-page tale of the part-yogi, part-recluse who could reach 168 mph with his fastball. It was, of course, a hoax, baseball’s version of “War of the Worlds”. So wonderfully executed, in an April 1 issue, there was entertainment in getting taken for a ride.

I’m reminded of the story in looking through more and more campaigns that revolve around, or involve, deception.

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Openings: Make Them Big, Just Don’t Focus on Making Them ‘Grand’

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Today we bring you a guest post on campaign launches and media strategies by Todd Graff, VP of PR at Boston-based digital agency CTP.

Nothing says Grand Opening quite like a “ribbon cutting” ceremony. A few VIPs, a big pair of scissors and, voila, your operation is off and running. There was a time when that type of ceremony, including the stock photo and a couple of nice media placements, was a good way to hit the ground running.

These days, however, if you’ve waited for the Grand Opening to make a big splash then it might just be too late. What you do beforehand in the weeks, if not months, prior to the big day is just as important to what you do when the doors open.

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Keeping Content Alive: 8 Ways to Get More from a Byline

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Today we bring you a guest post from Kara Lundbergan account supervisor at RH Strategic – the PR firm for a hyper-connected world, delivering integrated media, social & digital strategies for technology, healthcare, and public sector markets. Follow her on Twitter!

Bylined articles play an important role in the content strategies we prepare for our clients in the healthcare, enterprise and public sector technology spaces. In our world of niche audiences served by trade publications, bylined articles are a great way to provide a client’s point of view on a particular topic of interest to their target audiences. These pieces, typically penned by the CEO, a subject matter expert, or industry visionary, are also often requested by editors as a result of our media pitching efforts.

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Break Down the Silos: Communications as the Great Unifier

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Today we bring you a guest post from Barbara Bates, CEO and founder of Bay Area firm Eastwick.

Everywhere we look or listen, there’s noise. Content proliferating. New and proven media outlets claiming their turf. Everything, it seems, is a potential platform where marketers promote their message and get their stories heard.

The noise is getting louder – and more confusing, especially as companies communicate across ever-growing touchpoints and disciplines. We see the results: social media gains followers, but with unaligned audiences. PR drives site traffic but visitors bounce because of confusing messages or weak calls to action. Salespeople follow up on leads only to report that prospects misunderstood the product. AR insights delight the C-suite but never reach digital marketing teams. Employees describe the company in their own words, adding to the confusion.

We all know we can do better. The question haunting most marketers is: HOW?

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Marketers Must Give Consumers What They Really Want: Return on Time Invested

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Today we bring you a guest post from BJ Kito. Kito is VP of business strategy and general counsel at Digital Surgeons, a full-service agency driven by the relentless urge to move brands forward.

When planning marketing strategies, we often overlook the importance of delivering ROI to consumers (yes, consumers). Brands always want to know what their expected return on investment is, but consumers expect a return on their own investment as well—and we’re not just talking discounts or promotions. In their case, it’s a return on the time they’ve invested to interact, engage, share or converse within their social communities.

Content Still King; Context Anointed Queen

In the near term, we’ll continue to look at consumers as belonging to different micro-communities and position brands within those communities for sharing and discussion. But as tech makes our lives more and more interconnected, these communities will be flooded with marketing messages.

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14 Dos and Don’ts for Guest Blogs

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In the midst of all this talk of Google’s “crackdown” on blog spammers, it’s the perfect time for us to feature a guest post from Serena Ehrlichdirector social and evolving media with Business Wire, on how to make the most of your blog entries.

For years, Google’s webmaster, Matt Cutts, has been dropping hints that the days of guest blogging as a link strategy were ending. Once a safe, approved way to increase awareness and drive relevant inbound traffic, guest blogging became a top practice for link-building spammers who stuffed guest blogs so full of keywords and links that the blogs themselves were almost unreadable.

So what about legitimate guest blogs? What about those valuable op-ed pieces placed on leading industry sites? How does Google’s latest warning affect legitimate guest blogs and their authors?

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3 Ways to Keep Your 2014 PR Resolutions

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We’ll close out the first full week of 2014 with a guest post by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases

Remember December of 2012? You had tons of ideas you wanted to implement for your business in 2013, and you probably turned these plans into public relations resolutions for the coming year. Looking back, how many of those resolutions did you actually keep?

While it’s natural for business owners and comms pros to slip once in a while, failing to succeed at any of your resolutions is a real problem. Instead of looking back in shame, however, it’s time to learn how to keep your resolutions by making them more realistic for you company.

Find a Better Middle Ground

There are two totally different problems business owners run into when making new goals or resolutions. They either go way too big or way too small. Both can be detrimental to actually accomplishing everything you want to in the New Year.

As far as going too big, you want to keep your resolutions in the realm of reality. It may be a great lofty goal to take over your entire state in 2014, but is it actually feasible? Could your business even sustain that level of growth?

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Happy National Word Nerd Day! Are YOU a Word Nerd?

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Given our recent focus on bad buzzwords and e-mail linguistics, we almost forgot that today is National Word Nerd Day! (Some may tell you it was yesterday. Don’t listen to them.)

And here’s a related guest post from Karen Martwick. Martwick is editor/content strategist at Travel Portland, the destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for Portland, Ore. She’s also a member of the executive committee of the American Copy Editors Society.

WORD NERDS AND UNDERCOVER EDITORS, UNITE!

Happy National Word Nerd Day! (That’s Jan. 9, if you’re wondering, but you probably already knew that if you happen to be a word nerd).

Some clues: You love to read. You have at least one “Word a Day” calendar, app or e-mail subscription. You can’t look past spelling and punctuation errors on signs and restaurant menus. You may or may not carry a red pen on your person to correct egregious errors on the fly. If you don’t already own these grammar correction stickers, you just added them to your wish list. Last but not least, no one will play Word With Friends with you.

If you recognized yourself in any of the descriptions above, congratulations, you’re a word nerd!

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6 Journalists Talk About What ‘Good PR’ Means to Them

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This guest post comes to you courtesy of Caitlin Epstein, senior associate at Eastwick.

Stalkers. Hagglers. Pests. As a public relations professional who is paid to understand public perception, I’m well aware of the reputation of our profession.

The age-old rivalry between journalists and PR is one we hear about often, whether it’s through a dreaded “PR pet peeve” article, tweets from reporters or even inquiries from clients. I, however, find the rivalry a bit petty and feel that the public misses out on part of the story—a big part of the story. Regardless of arguments to the contrary, reporters rely on PR people and most are not afraid to admit it. Our profession was created to facilitate the rapport between companies and media, and the majority of the time, we do just that.

There are times when we screw up, of course: you may have seen the recent New York Times article criticizing a PR agency for its poor handling of a client’s announcement, and DigiDay also recently published a list of PR habits that drive reporters nuts. Every time one of these articles goes viral, the Eastwick office is abuzz with conversation on the nuances of PR. At this point, we have a pretty good idea of what to avoid in order to keep the peace. However, I’m always left wondering what the other side of the equation is—how and when does PR help reporters?

That question in mind, we decided to reach out to some of the journalists we’ve worked with over the years to hear their tips, tricks and examples of how PR can serve as a resource instead of a pain.

Here are some of our favorites:

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