The Do’s of Corporate Blogging

CB imageIf your company has decided to cut corporate blogging out of its content marketing strategy, you might want to reconsider. Allowing companies to reveal a bit more about the brains and personalities behind the brand, blogging offers businesses the advantage to initiate unique conversations with customers, unlike traditional marketing channels.

“A company blog is a venue for clients and lovers of the brand to feel personally connected to the company. It’s an opportunity for consumers to be heard by a company or brand and to be kept in the loop on their own terms – ultimately forming a two-way, insider relationship that benefits both parties,” said Digital Strategy and Marketing Director, Clara Swanson of GillespieHall.

The “2014 Hubspot State of Inbound” report mentions, “companies that blog are 13x more likely to generate a positive marketing ROI.” So what are you waiting for? Follow these corporate blogging do’s and start reaping all of the benefits that blogging has to offer to your business.

The Do’s

Establish your brand’s voice and personality
Before a company moves forward with posting on any social media outlet, they must first establish their brand voice. Choosing your brand’s voice is a very critical step because it goes hand-in-hand with your brand’s personality, and how you will execute the content you plan to share. First, think about the type of business and industry you are in and the most commonly used lingo within this market. Ask yourself, how does your audience interact with one another and how do they like to be approached and spoken to?

Perform keyword research
Just as bees seek quality pollen, your readers seek superior content. Tagging your blog posts with the most effective keywords helps to guide readers to useful and relevant information. “Corporate blogging is an opportunity to connect with your target market on a personal level and establish a place in the market. Blogs are also critical for search – keeping your company fresh in search results, and appearing in a wider range of search results relevant to your product or service,” said Swanson. A definite way to ensure that your content is reaching your desired target audience is to create effective search engine optimized content. Try using Keyword Tool, it helps you generate over 750 keywords from Google autocomplete. Also, embed links into your blog posts that steers readers to previously published content. If you’re looking to maximize your PR efforts through search engine optimized content, check out this previously published post on PPRA’s blog, “How Search Engine Optimization Benefits the Field of Public Relations.”

Update regularly.
It has happened to us all. We surf the web and come across blogs that are completely outdated or are not regularly updated. What kind of impression does this blog leave you with? Think of your content as a store’s inventory. Don’t just offer your readers last season’s trends, fill them in on what’s hip now and keep them in-the-know with consistent blog content. “Not investing in regular blogging is a major lost opportunity in any industry. Blogging, approached strategically, can bring amazing benefits to any company willing to invest in the process. The key, though, is the quality of the blog content and the commitment to producing valuable content on a regular basis,” said Swanson. The first step to corporate blogging strategically is to create an editorial calendar that includes your blogging and posting schedule, as well as brainstormed topics and special events you can incorporate your content around.

Feature guest posts from all staff members
Allowing staff of all levels to regularly contribute to the company’s blog acquaints your customers with the thought leaders that are the force that drives the brand they love. It provides diversity to the reader because they can now receive insights from employees of different departments. Each employee has something valuable to offer to the blog. Make sure to answer consumer questions or leave them with thought-provoking conclusions.

This post was written by PPRA member Renee’ Velez. Renee’ currently serves on PPRA’s Communications Committee as the Blog Chair. She loves all things social media and is currently seeking opportunities in the PR industry. Follow Renee’ on Twitter @rvelez88. Special thanks to the GillespieHall team for the insightful feedback on corporate blogging.

To work in PR, I have to do what?!

Have you ever heard the saying, “You can pay for school, but you can’t buy class”? This thought comes to mind when I think about what it’s like working in public relations (PR), but with a slight twist. I’d say that when it comes to PR, “You can pay for school, but you can’t buy finesse.”

By finesse I’m referring to maneuvering and navigating all the quirks of working in PR that they don’t teach you in school (no love lost for my awesome PR professors). So I thought it’d be fun to pull together a list of things they don’t tell you about being a PR professional. Hopefully it can help aspiring PR pros or entry-level up-and-comers ready to take the PR industry by storm.

Practice being a know-it-all
Let’s be honest; being a know-it-all has a negative connotation. Yet in PR, it’s a must. In this profession it’s about being up-to-date on current events. This means staying in-the-know about everything from selfies and sports to Beyonce’s secret album and “The Walking Dead.” Pretty much any hot topic or trend, you ought to know about it. Why? Because as a PR person, it’s your job to know people. Specifically, what gets people talking, what makes them tick and what ways to tap into their emotions. Putting this into practice means you should read. ALOT. Books, magazines, blogs, Twitter, Flipboard…whatever you have to do to be in a constant state of learning. And when you think you’ve read enough, read some more!

Watch out for glory hogs
It never fails. No matter what PR job you have, you’ll have that one person (sometimes two) who seeks to hog all your PR efforts just to make their own limelight shine a little brighter. They’re the colleague always at your desk to tell you about the new initiative they’re involved in or the client who calls you multiple times a week looking for yet another opportunity to get their name out there. I’m not suggesting it’s a bad thing when others share their PR ideas. But when it’s for personal gain instead of the benefit of the organization or brand, that’s when you need to put on the breaks. You’ll be able to spot the glory hog rather easily as their PR ideas tend to have one consistent theme: it’s all about them!

And definitely watch out for PR wannabes
To non-PR people, your profession is a sexy one. Think about it. You’re the gatekeeper between an organization or client and the masses. You coordinate rockstar events that create buzz to help enhance brand awareness. Often, others see this and think PR is all about parties and paparazzi. The next thing you know they’re reaching out to journalists and planning events without your knowledge, hoping to get a piece of the action. Sounds extreme, but I’ve seen it happen. Keep a close eye on these types because as the PR expert, it’s your job to protect and to serve the brand, its key messages and the public’s perceptions. Watch out for PR wannabes who go rogue and could possibly end up tarnishing all your hard work.

Bone up on time management
One of the things I love about PR is that no two days are ever the same. As exciting as this sounds, juggling multiple high-priority tasks and having the ability to shift focus at a moment’s notice takes some getting used to. Learn how to manage your workload so that you a) get stuff done b) have room for flexibility and c) can still relish in and enjoy working your craft.

Be prepared to defend
Ahh! This one’s my personal favorite. The main thing I wish I knew before getting into PR is the amount of public defending I’d have to do on behalf of my craft. Since PR isn’t like sales and other functions where a direct line to revenue can typically be made, clients and organizational leaders frequently need to be reminded of the value of PR. With the amount of data that’s available and tools to measure PR efforts, it’s up to us to deliver. For more on this topic, have a read at my previous post Communicating the Value of PR: Stop Dodging, Start Measuring.

What are some of the quirks about working in the PR industry you wish you’d known before starting your career? Tell me about them in the comments section and how you’re using finesse to navigate and maneuver.

Andrea Carter is a Public Relations Specialist at AWeber, a certified news junkie and an aspiring world traveler. Check out Andrea’s back story here then follow her on Twitter @SheLuvsPR and connect on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/carterandrea/.

The Key to Success: Loving What You Do

Love My Job Mutually

Valentine’s Day is a day of celebrating love…what better time to remind ourselves what we love about public relations?

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This popular adage, most often attributed to Confucius, was reiterated a few thousand years later by Steve Jobs, Apple CEO and perhaps one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time, during his Stanford University commencement speech. Jobs expanded upon the original sentiment, saying, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

Chances are you didn’t just fall into a job in public relations. You chose to enter this field for a reason – its diversity, the particular skill set required to excel, or the constant evolution of the industry, which has enabled PR pros to advance from the traditional role of storyteller into digital marketers, multimedia content developers, digitally savvy web managers and social media gurus.

With the changing industry comes an increased demand for professionals who can adapt easily to change, remain calm under pressure and problem-solve at a moment’s notice – no wonder online career site CareerCast named public relations as the sixth-most stressful career (event coordinator came in at number five). Sometimes, the draws that inspired us to enter the field can be clouded by the demanding projects and deadlines that often accompany it.

Passion breeds success, so if we want to continue excelling at what we do, we should continue to remind ourselves why we got into the profession in the first place, especially when things get stressful. In an effort to reignite the flame that once drew you into public relations, and in honor of Valentine’s Day, here are five perks of the public relations industry that will help remind us why we love our jobs.

Diversity. As one of the only fields that enables its practitioners to experience any industry in which they’re interested, the opportunities to pursue your passion are endless. If you like science, check out opportunities in health care PR at hospitals, pharmaceutical companies or non-profit health associations or organizations. Those interested in law and politics may want to look into opportunities at lobbying firms, state departments or government agencies. From Fortune 500 companies to mom-and-pop shops in your local town, you can put your PR skills to good use virtually anywhere.

Knowing what’s going on in the world. Knowing what’s in the news is an essential part of your job, and being tuned-into real-world issues can translate well into our personal lives. We’re also growing our knowledge base and exposing ourselves to new information every day. In order to effectively promote a client’s or organization’s message, you have to become well-versed in the subject matter at hand. As PR pros, we’re constantly learning something new – about a product, a procedure, a theory and more. All this knowledge makes us well-rounded conversationalists and enables us to breeze through networking functions, dinner parties and awkward encounters with acquaintances.

No two days are alike. While you may come into work with the best intentions and a to-do list, you’ll likely end up doing a hundred other things and having to reorganize and re-prioritize your day. While it can sometimes feel stressful to juggle so many responsibilities and conflicting priorities, coming up with a successful solution and finally being able to cross something off your list is so rewarding – and it keeps us on our toes.

Access to the public. Want endless access to interesting people? Become a public relations professional. Whether you’re interviewing an entry-level employee in your organization, chatting up the highest-level executive at a company your firm represents or pitching a reporter at a national publication, being a public relations pro means you have unlimited access to professionals up and down the corporate ladder and can build relationships with people from all walks of life.

The rush that comes with a big media placement. You probably remember the first major media placement you helped secure. If you’re lucky, the same rush you felt then is the one you still experience when you see your client or company in print or on television or hear them on the radio. Your non-PR friends and loved ones may not understand why you get so excited seeing client coverage (“Where’s your name? Are you going to be on TV?”), but you know a good media placement is a huge victory in our world.

Still not feeling the love? Stay passionate about the work you do by networking – meet other people involved in similar fields and share tips, ideas and best practices. Read up on the latest industry-related trends and issues. Find new ways to expand upon your skills and learn how to implement those things in your daily life. Whatever your means to get back in touch with your passion, it’s important to do so to be happy – and successful – in your work.

What do you love most about public relations? Do you think loving your job helps yield success? Let us know by commenting.

Jen Micklow is an account executive at Thomas/Boyd Communications, a leading woman-owned public relations firm specializing in strategic communications for clients of all sizes in a variety of industries. When she’s not communicating clients’ key messages to tailored audiences, securing media placements or writing carefully crafted content, Jen can be found hunting down a big sale or cozying up with a good book. Connect with Jen on LinkedIn, like Thomas/Boyd on Facebook or follow the company on Twitter @thomasboydpr.