NOTICE: Epic PR’s blog as moved

Epic PR’s blog as moved to: http://www.epicpr.ca/blog. To find new posts after July 2013, please visit the aforementioned page.

Going forward, you may subscribe to my blog posts on my website at the above-mentioned URL.

Thanks for following me!!

Maria

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Storytelling: How to find and tell your company’s story

Experienced marketers know the best way to talk about a company is by telling stories.  I’m not talking about the Dr. Seuss kind; I’m talking about your one-of-kind corporate story that infuses a human element and establishes a true connection with your audiences.

The kind of story that persuades, inspires and influences others. The type that digs deep into your company’s ethos and reveals who you are, where you’re from, how you got started and what you stand for.

storytellingStorytelling connects us in an emotional way and brings us closer to the storyteller. It grabs peoples’ attention. Telling your story to a stakeholder – whether it be an employee, an investor or a customer – will help you to get them on your side.

Effective corporate storytelling is relevant, interesting and informative. It is authentic and encourages your audience to start conversations with each other and even with your brand directly.

So how do you find your story? Every business has dozens of stories to tell.  Here are some examples: Continue reading

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Annual reports don’t have to be boring

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This year, instead of creating a glossy, expensively printed annual report filled with dull content, the Calgary Zoo released the world’s first annual report entirely on Instagram.

The annual report copy was formatted to fit Instagram’s style sheet, and the result is a one-of-a-kind, shareable and environmentally-conscious insight into zoo life.

The on screen format allows for a much richer media experience with interactivity and eye-catching images. At the same time, the organization was able to demonstrate the Zoo’s message about conservation.

This is a great example of how an annual report can be an opportunity to express an organization’s achievements in a clear and engaging way to employees, shareholders and other stakeholders.

It also shows how forward thinking communicators can use annual reports as a PR opportunity to summarize a client’s yearly activity beyond the numbers, facts and figures and include more colourful information about corporate culture, community relations and social activities.

Another example: The folks at the Amazon Conservation Association decided to create an annual report as a comic strip masterpiece entitled: The Los Amigos Moore Project Final Report, NON-BORING VERSION

The comic was produced with an application that turns photos into illustrations. This annual report probably took a lot of time to produce but everyone involved likely enjoyed the process and it’s another inspiring example for the rest of us on how to be more creative with annual reports.

One final example: incorporating  a video message into an annual report where the information is boiled down to its essence in a more engaging way. Unlike most printed annual reports, video does not involve a lot of long text; it’s something you can spend five minutes listening to get a quick overview and sense of the key themes and highlights.  The example I have provided of this CEO introducing The Waterfront Development group’s annual report is ‘just okay’.  I applaud the organization for taking the time to record the footage (outside using the waterfront as a backdrop, which is very fitting for this group) but I think that they could have taken the 55-second clip one step further by incorporating more dynamic b-roll footage or images from their annual report.

Hopefully I’ve provided you with some inspiration and ideas for you to consider this year as you plan your 2013 annual report! – Maria LoScerbo

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Visual content = higher engagement

Visual content provides marketers and PR professionals with the opportunity to communicate ideas in a much richer way. It’s easier for our brains to process visual information, and it changes the way people talk about and share information about a brand online.

In an increasingly noisy digital and media landscape, we’re using visual content more to stand out across various marketing disciplines – from social media and public relations, to content strategy and even static collateral materials such as annual reports.

blog post imageWhen MTV posted a group of images on Facebook, for example, the result was 13x more engagement and sharing and reached 6x more fans.

According to Facebook, FB posts that include a photo album, picture or video generate about 180%, 120% and 100% more engagement, respectively. That’s a meaningful increase!

In addition, Matter Communications conducted a study and found that the best visual engagement content for social media is:  picture/image (44.5%), video (33.2%) and infographic (19%).  Below is the infographic Matter published to convey the study results.

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Good visuals increase engagement

So what does all of this mean?

  • Visual marketing is the current breakout trend.
  • 44% are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures. (Source: ROI Research)
  • Pictures have also become a short form way of communicating lots of information quickly and succinctly.
  • Brands are moving away from the written word to more visual content.

The next time you’re planning a campaign or outreach program, think about relevant and interesting visuals that you can incorporate to catapult your engagement levels. – Maria Loscerbo

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30 ways to promote your blog

The adage “build it and they will come” definitely doesn’t hold true when it comes to online content.   Just because you took the time to painstakingly create engaging content in a variety of online formats, doesn’t mean a loyal following of fans will magically appear.

You have to promote your content.  In today’s interconnected world, dozens of opportunities exist.  Are you seizing them?   LaunchGrowJoy.com has created an attractive infographic that outlines 30 ways to promote your blog posts and I’d like to share it with because I think it does a good job encapsulating a variety of tactics that you might want to think about using.

I recently promoted an infographic for a client that was posted in their corporate blog and found that, despite my best efforts to make it go viral, the number of views in the company’s blog wasn’t as high as I would have personally liked; however, the ‘sticky factor’ for those viewers that took the time to read the blog entry was about 4 minutes, which is quite impressive!  Our unique visitor count wasn’t sky-high, but it did attract quality visitors who were interested in the content.  It’s quality traffic, not quantity that matters.

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PR: Small agency vs. big agency

Sometimes people ask me about my thoughts on what is better: small agencies versus big agencies — not just public relations but also advertising, design and digital service firms.

Since I’ve worked for both large and small PR agencies as well as in-house (and currently own and operate my own boutique consultancy), I’m qualified to answer this question.  Here’s my biased, brief comparison of a traditional agency and Epic PR: Continue reading

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Crisis Communication Quick Reference

Last week,  Epic PR received an urgent call from a client regarding an explosion that took place in their company’s facility. Emergency personnel were en route (five fire trucks) and the entire building block had been safely evacuated with no reported injuries or fatalities.  The CEO and lead spokesperson was in Europe unreachable at the time, and the company’s staff were still absorbing what had just happened.  Who you gonna call?  Your public relations consultant, of course!

A company’s PR agency is oftecrisis communication vancouver bcn at the top of the list, particularly when there is a good chance that the media will show-up, bystanders are already taking photos and video footage with their iPhones (likely destined for social media channels), and key stakeholders are asking you questions that you’re unable to answer just yet.

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