Why an Email Signature Matters

Image result for email signature is important

By Rose Strong, Furia Rubel Communications

First there was the pony express, homing pigeons, the telegram and the U.S. Postal Service. From there evolved the fax machine. In the 40-plus years since the first email was sent, we’ve come a long way with these quick, instant-style versions of mail messages. There’s Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail and a plethora of others out there transmitting electronic mail.

As it has evolved over the decades, email has practically replaced the postal service and fax machines in getting messages from one person to another in a near immediate fashion, making it an ideal form of communication.

For a public relations and marketing agency such as Furia Rubel, it is practically impossible to effectively do our jobs and work with our clients without email. I think most businesses today are in the same position of using email to be competitive, responsive and efficient.

Making the best use of the resources we have, Furia Rubel takes email just a step further and not only uses it for communication, but to display our contact info, our brand and give a call to action when needed. This blog from Hubspot, 12 Clever Ways to Use Your Email Signature to Support Your Marketing Campaigns , gives some great ideas for using this nearly overlooked means of communication.

An example of a professional email signature below displays my full name, my job title, our key services, the company address, phone number, my email and the company website. I am on LinkedIn and there’s a link to my profile on that social media platform.

In addition to all the relatively basic info, my signature states that Furia Rubel has been voted number one in several industry publication reader surveys. This email signature also includes a link to a survey and asks the reader to vote for Furia Rubel Communications. We’ve also cut down on text here to make it look tighter and more readable, by including a link to our confidentiality notice.

 

Using an email signature not only helps convey your brand, but it’s like sending out your business card every time you email someone. It’s also a sign that you’re a professional and conveys legitimacy of your position and brand. If everyone in your establishment uses the same style, you’re presenting a sense of unity for your law firm.

As the office manager, when I’m forwarded an email from a new contact, I make up a virtual business card in our database if it’s someone we’ll keep in contact with such as a potential client, a vendor, a member of the media or a referral source. If the person has an email signature at the bottom of their email, I simply copy and paste the information provided. It works like a charm. It also allows me to check out their website, social media presence and if they have a call-to-action they are anxious for folks to view.

Making the best use of all the resources available to you will help spread your brand message. An inconsequential seeming email is one small way to refer to your brand and make a big impact at the same time.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

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Your Content Marketing Should Advertise For You

content marketing

Content marketing featuring informational and emotional posts, like these from Holy Redeemer Health System, can help turn consumers into patients, and even brand loyalists.

By SPRYTE Communications

Emotional Appeals, Useful Information Will Help Build Loyalty

There are many avenues to turning consumers into patients, but one of the best is to connect with them through your digital content marketing program. Reaching them on the platforms they frequent, and providing both useful information and content that resonates emotionally can support your organization’s business strategy while building loyalty. Simply put, creating content that does your advertising for you is smart brand strategy.

A recent NESHCO (New England Society for Healthcare Communications) webinar, presented by digital strategists with S/P/M Marketing & Communications, peeled back the layers of a successful content marketing campaign. Like everything else when it comes to crafting a marketing campaign, research, planning and honing your strategy are vital first steps.

Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing

Before launching your content marketing activities, devise your strategy. It was noted that content strategy is based on your research-driven internal communications foundation, and represents your vision and mission. Content marketing, on the other hand, is focused on external communications, should drive consumer engagement, and puts a premium on measurement and analytics. Out of your strategy will come a long-term plan that aligns with your business goals, and  better understanding of what kinds of content will work best for the organization.

Important questions to answer include:

  • What are our goals?
  • Who makes up our target audience?
  • Where to they like to get their content?

Don’t worry about being on all or even most of the the big social media channels; identify those where your audiences are and which will work the best for achieving your goals, and focus on them.

Content “Buckets” and Mapping the Consumer Journey

It’s helpful during planning to create three or more “buckets” in which to put content. Typically, these would include:

  • Utility – Useful/actionable information that makes life better or easier, presented in an easily digestible way, including factoids and infographics.
  • Emotion – Content that triggers an emotional response.
  • Entertainment – Content that entertains in a clever, humorous or attention-grabbing way.

Under each bucket you’ll ultimately come up with content topics, and, under them, what the presenters called “content franchises.” A content franchise is a series of like-themed posts that prove successful, like patient stories, testimonials, or “expert tips.”

The strategic use of your content franchises will help you shepherd your audience from passive consumers to brand advocates. This consumer journey comprises Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Loyalty, and finally Advocacy.

Public relations, paid advertising, SEO, owned media (including your website), boosted content and word of mouth all play a role in this evolution, but valuable content is the throughline cutting across all of the phases. Compelling testimonials, for example, can move someone from consideration to decision. Powerful patient success stories can build loyalty, as people want content that validates their decision.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind for a successful content marketing campaign:

  • Repurposing a single piece of content for various digital assets can extend its shelf life, but planning for that upfront is key, so you don’t have to retrofit.
  • Use editorial calendars to plan content well in advance.
  • Determine your “voice” (conversational, authoritative, friendly, etc.) and stick with it. Consistency in voice, tone, and style across all your content is very important.
  • Make sure your website is optimized for mobile. Mobile users surpassed desktop users two years ago.
  • Incorporate SEO in your content strategy. Content will impact your SEO, and vice versa.
  • Authentic imagery works better for building connections than stock art.
  • When using video, keep it short (under 90 seconds), and showcase emotion or a service that differentiates your organization.

Creating a content marketing campaign requires legwork up front, and ongoing diligence to ensure your messages support your business goals and are being received. But the payoff both in patient converts and your organization’s reputation is well worth it.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

IS VIRTUAL REALITY SHAPING THE FUTURE OF BRAND ENGAGEMENT?

Virtual Reality

By Skai Blue Media

It’s Saturday morning and you’re front row at New York Fashion Week. Not only are you front row, but you’ve settled into the best seat in the house right between Anna Wintour and Alexa Chung. The clamoring crowd quiets as the lights dim and a mellow beat fills the cavernous hall. The opening model glides out and there is an audible murmur of intrigue. Critics begin scribbling furiously and bloggers snap pics of the highlight outfits.

Then your phone rings. LOUDLY. No one moves.

 Anna hasn’t budged; her eyes are glued on the sleek black ensemble striding down the catwalk. The rest of the audience hasn’t moved either. Your phone continues to ring. You sigh and wish the person would just leave a voicemail. You take off your virtual reality headset to see who’s calling.

Once thought of as a fantasy of the distant future, virtual reality soon might be as common as a smartphone.

In 2014, TopShop hosted an event where visitors to its flagship store in London got to experience the front row through virtual reality headsets. Many other brands such as Coca-Cola, Merrell, Marriott and others have used this technology to create immersive experiences for their consumers. But virtual reality had been limited to the big companies who could afford it, until now.

With consumer products like Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation VR and Samsung Gear VR gaining traction, virtual reality is heading in a promising direction for widespread accessibility and usage. The current models look like heavy-duty space goggles that wrap around your head; they range from $99-$3000. But if you don’t want to splurge, you can still get in on the action. Google released a low-tech version called Cardboard, which is literally a cardboard contraption that turns your smartphone into a virtual reality viewer; it sells for $30.

Virtual reality has suggested applications in many fields such as medicine, travel, education and more, but for brands, this is the next level of consumer interaction. It’s an opportunity for them to create tailored experiences that are reflective of the way they want the consumer to use their product or understand their brand. This tech could be the key to creating a more engaging and interactive brand, not to mention an easy ticket to a wild concert or tropical destination. With experiences available within reach to anyone, anywhere and at any time, the possibilities limited only by our imagination. What kind of virtual world would you like to see?

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

#PPRAMemberMonday

PPRA_membermonday_amybuckman 06_04_18Amy Buckman is the Director of School and Community Relations for the Lower Merion School District. She has been a PPRA member for two years.

Twitter   @AmyWBuckman

LinkedIn  linkedin.com/in/amybuckman/

Facebook  @AmyWBuckman

After 25 years as a reporter and producer at 6abc Action News, Amy became the manager of public relations and special events for Philadelphia Media Network, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com. In March 2108, she joined Lower Merion School District as the Director of School and Community Relations. She is an alumna, resident and parent in the District. Amy and her husband, Terry, have three sons.

PPRA: Who are your clients and what projects are you working on right now?

AB: As Director of School and Community Relations for the 8,600-student District, I manage a team that produces content for the district website and social media accounts, and facilitates district communication with parents and the wider community lauding student achievements and informing them about issues within the district, including the challenges of increasing enrollment, weather emergencies, budgets and policy and personnel changes. I’m also responsible for the Community Engagement Pathway of the district’s strategic plan.

PPRA: What is the favorite part about your job?

AB: Anything where I get to interact with our students. They are so bright and talented. It’s easy to advocate on their behalf.

PPRA: What was your latest and greatest accomplishment at your job?

AB: I’ve only been in my current position for a couple of months, but so far, I’m excited about spearheading the implementation of an app that will allow our student journalists to contribute to our social media presence. It’s important for our community at large to see and hear directly from our students and get their view of the multiple experiences and opportunities afforded them by the District.

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

AB: Never forget your organization’s mission — and if you don’t believe in that mission, you probably shouldn’t be doing that job. In every PR job, there are messages and situations that you have to handle that some people aren’t going to like. But if you’re messaging for the right reasons, you can let some of that roll off your back by staying mission-focused.

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

AB: The movie that makes me laugh out loud no matter how many times I watch it is “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly?

AB: When I worked at the Inquirer, I loved walking around Independence Hall. The fact that our nation was born in that building is something that I think Philadelphians take for granted — but really is almost miraculous.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

AB: Wiz Wit.

PPRA: Our PPRA 2017-18 PRoactive partnership is with Tree House Books. What was your favorite childhood book and why?

AB: I loved all the Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I didn’t think about it at the time, but they were books that featured strong women and showed what they could accomplish. I just knew I wanted to be those characters.

Say What You Wanna Say…Sort Of

By Jessica Sharp, Maven Communications

My daughter loves the Sara Bareilles song “Brave.” The chorus goes like this: “Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.”

As she was singing it at the top of her lungs this morning, it got me thinking that, as a communicator, it’s my job to work with clients to help them say what they wanna say…but in a way that their target audience will understand and react to.

“Say what you wanna say, but use terms your audience understands.” Doesn’t quite have that same empowering vibe as the Bareilles version.

So, how do you determine what your audience wants to hear?

The first step is understanding what their concerns and drivers are. What keeps them up at night? What motivates them to take action? It’s important to get into their head. Here are a few effective ways to do this:

Focus groups – pretty straight forward. Get together a group of folks who fall into your target audience category and have a conversation focused on them. It’s important not to focus on your company or services. You already know what you offer, what you’re looking to uncover is how you can best talk about what you offer in the context of how it fits into their lives.

Individual interviews – same concept as the above, but on an individual basis. Again, you want to ask direct questions about goals, apprehensions, and drivers and listen to the words and phrases that he or she is using. This is not the time to talk about your product or service or their experience with it.

Online group observations – almost as effective and less costly are “sitting in” on group chats that include members of your target audience. Here you’re specifically looking for questions they’re posing to the group that will reveal the challenges they face or concerns they have.

Social media influencer observations – figure out who your target audience identifies as an influencer and observe the terms and messages he or she uses. If members of your target audience are following this person, it’s likely they consider them a trusted resource. Using the same phrasing and terms that he or she uses will likely resonate.

Google search terms – research the most utilized search terms and phrases people use to come across your product or solution category. It’s easy to get caught up using industry lingo when you speak it every day, but it’s important to realize that your target audience may not be using those same terms to search for the solution you offer.

Once you’ve got a good list of frequently used terms and phrases, as well as a solid understanding of what the concerns and drivers are of your target audience, you can now craft your company’s messaging. You can still say what you wanna say, just make sure you’re staying it in a way that will catch the attention of your target audiences.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.