5 things that could pose a threat to your public relations

5 things that could pose a threat to your public relations

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”—Ben Franklin

Turn on the news tonight and you may briefly think that the sky is falling. It isn't. While some media stories love to attract our attention with grief and sorrow, the opposite can be true too. When it comes to public relations, all of the pros I know are developing positive stories about how their clients are solving problems, not making them. Is it possible for public relations experts to change today's media narrative?

Sure, one could sail through this period complaining about what's being covered by the media and what isn't. However, then what's on matters and nothing else does. This line perfectly summarizes how planning and pitching press today is more important than ever to change the current narrative landscape.

As a veteran public relations professional, I challenge you to review your public relations strategies. Based upon 20 years of experience in the public relations field, here are the top five threats to your public relations programs and corresponding solutions:

1.    Not focusing on the solution

I once heard a fellow practitioner say that he couldn’t get press for a client because other stories were taking all of the air out of the room. We’ve also read for years that the pressrooms nationwide were declining in staff and stories. Despite common belief, clients who are trustworthy sources and have credible news stories or pitches maintain to secure trade and mainstream press coverage. The most effective strategy is to focus on how a message can help solve a problem and be part of a larger solution.

2.    Not being of service to others

During this ego driven time, it’s a wonder when someone exclaims, “See there’s still good in the world!” Most Americans help one another when in a time of crisis. The most successful public relations pros whom I’ve met focus on how they can serve the press they pitch. It’s not about what’s in it for me, but what can I do for you. The latter, the outcome of an article is out of our hands. Sure, we have influence, but so does the surfer on the surfboard.

3.    Not asking for help

There will always be public relations experts who are as skilled and experienced at doing what you’re doing. Whether they work at competing firms or are within your agency. Asking them for help will help you both. You won’t be giving your story away nor creating a conflict of interest – unless they work on a direct competitor – and may gleam insight from an outside point of view.

4.    Not meeting a reasonable goal

Just because some topics are covered more than others, doesn’t mean that your topic will fare better or worse. If you don’t overpromise on coverage or underdeliver on your goals, you will set the stage for a period of growth in your press coverage. Keep in mind that the role of public relations is to help companies evolve to the public, not revolt. PR is an evolution, not a revolution.

5.    Not thinking about tomorrow

The media landscape continues to change, and social media is front and center more than ever. This added exposure can be planned for utilizing strategies which allows clients to focus on the long-tail. Simple PR plans are not as effective as “what-if” strategies which taken competitor messaging and press coverage into consideration. This issue is so variable it could be a post in itself, but requires attention.

In closing, before you give your public relations the stamp of approval, be sure to address these items on an on-going basis.

Cision Study Says Public Relations Professionals Can Do These Two Things to Get Press Coverage

Cision Study Says Public Relations Professionals Can Do These Two Things to Get Press Coverage

Getting press for clients is complicated for public relations professionals. Believe it or not, just having a good story isn’t good enough. But according to Cision, one of the longest standing public relations and earned media software and services providers, there are two things that you can do to get press coverage: provide accurate and newsworthy information.

Fake News is Faking Us Out

Consumers of content are having difficulty discerning what is real and what is fake news. Trust among journalists has also fallen. Press would rather have accurate (and newsworthy) stories than be first on a story or get the promise of exclusivity.

In Press Releases They Trust

“Journalists continue to love the press release,” the study also reported. “For three years in a row, media professionals have ranked press releases and news announcements as the most valuable type content they receive from their PR contacts. They’ve also once again chosen the press release as their most trusted brand source. This is nearly universal, with journalists from around the world citing press releases as their most trusted source of company information.”   

Cision’s 2018 global State of the Media survey, collected data from 1,355 journalists from across six countries on their “perception of the media and communications industries.”

Read the full report here.

Big Audiences Don’t Often Yield Big Results on Social Media, But This Did…

Big Audiences Don’t Often Yield Big Results on Social Media, But This Did…

Last year I was asked to take over the social media marketing for a client. The B2B client had a standard engagement running on social.

Post regularly on Twitter and LinkedIn, and once in a while on Facebook.

The marketing head was pumped to share that her social media profiles had tens of thousands of Followers, per profile. I was excited too, assuming that all of those followers were relevant, current, and somewhat engaged with the brand.

Think again...

Read the full post on Medium.

How to Socialize a Webinar

How to Socialize a Webinar

Paid Social campaigns can post a lot about an upcoming webinar because they are not static on a brand’s social timeline. They can also repeat content and images. It won’t look like duplicate content on social. But, when posting “organic” posts, there are limitations to what and how much you can post. Here are some best practices to avoid looking like you're posting the same thing over and over. 


  • Best to post once 2 weeks before the webinar date - on all social media platforms
  • Also good to post once on the day of the webinar - on all social platforms)
  • Grab quotes during the webinar for posting on social (Twitter)


  • Good to add hashtags related to the content
  • Maybe even have your own hashtag for campaign tracking purposes


  • Smart to tag other speakers or brands on social content so that they can retweet/share with their audiences


  • Strategic to pay attention to anyone who mentions your brand during the webinar so that you can “favorite” a post or reshare, if appropriate - we use Oktopost

Supporting Materials

  • Ideal to also blog about the webinar, which you can post on social too, and/or write a follow-up blog post which we can post on social too

You might even suggest to the Paid Social team that after the webinar they advertise the on-demand version of the webinar on social for those who couldn’t make it live.

Of course, you can post more on Twitter than the other platforms because tweets have a short “shelf life." Be open to posting more tweets as long as you can make the content look original and use a different image than the original post(s).

Maybe even consider drafting a content calendar for each of these campaigns so that you and your team can have a first look at what will be posted.

Is PR Managing Social?

Is PR Managing Social?

Matthew Royse wrote an intriguing post for RAGAN's PR Daily touting the 10 most effective social media tools for PR pros. But, if you look at most job reqs for social media pros, they ask for a lot more than PR tactics. So then why are PR pros managing social, or are they? 

In Royse's post, he goes onto to explain how a PR pro has to basically act like a content marketer / graphic designer to create content for social, in total including:

  • post content
  • find hashtags
  • resize images and engage with your audience
  • use social media management tools to schedule your social media posts days, weeks or even months ahead of time

I get it, PR can manage social for what social means to PR

Often PR uses social to track media and influencers and engage with them. PR also uses social to promote media coverage, track trends, news, and information. PR can also help keep social on message. Social sometimes needs to know/learn that it doesn't exist in a silo. When announcing a new product or service, social needs to follow PR which needs to follow marketing. So, in essence, social does report to PR.

But, social can do more

Social can also report to the CMO and be managed by multiple departments such as:

  • Demand Generation
  • HR
  • Sales
  • Customer Success
  • Product Marketing

PR keeps changing

Public relations has morphed so much within the last decade that many PR pros now have to delineate between "traditional PR" from other types of outbound communication. Because "communication" has changed dramatically so has PR.

But I think sometimes we trap PR in a box

Journalists still get value from their sources. Readers still get value from well-written articles and broadcasts. There are plenty of PR pros who either still have relationships with key journalists and can help build out a story or who can forge relationships with journalists to pitch stories which those journalists may not have thought of otherwise or had no way of finding sources. Social, of course, can help augment and improve the practice of "traditional public relations." We need to take PR out of the box.


Depending on the structure of an organization, PR can manage social. But, since I believe that social can do more than support PR, I would recommend that social report up to PR and other marketing disciplines, mentioned above. Social can benefit more than one part of the organization. And, PR can do a lot more when being approached from an open approach to how new tools can help PR professionals do their jobs better. Maybe PR can manage social. Maybe not. Both need to be unleashed.

13 Video Marketing Pros Reveal Their Best Tips for Success

13 Video Marketing Pros Reveal Their Best Tips for Success

"It should come as no surprise when we say, video marketing is where it’s at in 2018. Did you know that by next year, 80% of the world’s internet traffic will be video? 80%," writes Holly Thomson, Digital Marketing Strategies, Red Rocket Creative Strategies.

Thanks for including David Libby in your blog post, Holly! Enjoy the many tips, readers...


[SOCIAL MEDIA QUICK TIP] How to Make Your Content Stand Out

[SOCIAL MEDIA QUICK TIP] How to Make Your Content Stand Out

Make your content stand out on social by using the following:

  1. Unique words that your brand uses consistently
  2. Brackets around lead keyword phrases such as [LIVE WEBINAR]
  3. Images that match your other online properties
  4. Fun ways of presenting content including #WednesdayWisdom, #ThrowbackThursday, etc.
  5. Sweepstakes, contests or games that you can leverage offline at events and conferences
  6. Tie your brand into a current event or trending entertainment show or topic

To learn more about how we can help your brand stand out on social, contact us today by writing in the box on the right!

How to Maximize Your Brand’s Social Media Presence

How to Maximize Your Brand’s Social Media Presence

I can take a quick look at any brand and tell you whether or not they’re maximizing their social presence. It’s a pet peeve of mine if they’re not. There’s too much to lose.

Here’s what I think is happening.

Best Practices are on the Back Burner

You can read a bunch of studies (and articles) on how to do social media marketing, but the best practice is to see where your competitors and aspirational accounts are having the most success.

Your Social Media Marketer Doesn't Get Your Audiences

If you really want to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to hiring the right person to manage your social media, find someone who has had experience working with or buying from your audiences.

Organic and Paid Social are not Working in Concert

Paid Social can really help drive growth and engagement. If Paid Social isn't Boosting or Promoting posts, then Organic may not work as well or as fast as needed. Those two teams should work together.

There's no Consistency to Your Brand Images and Messages

Whether you're employing two people or two hundred, every business should have campaign images and messages which are consistently brand relevant. Developing a Style Guide is a small price to pay to help build your brand awareness over a long period of time.

It's All About the Brand When it's not

Your brand is your people too. As well as publishing posts about what the brand does and has done, highlighting an individual or group's success can also help drive prospective employees and partners to join your culture.

Put the breaks on your social media program if any one of these points is not covered or out of alignment. It's not too late to redirect your brand to maximize its presence on social media. To learn more about how we can help lift your brand's social media marketing, contact us today.

How to Assess the Social Value of Relationships

How to Assess the Social Value of Relationships

Forgive me while I rant. Your total number of social media influencers do not equal your total influence. You are not Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Nor will you ever be. You do not want to be.

You are a B2B technology vendor. Your circle of influence is small. Well, niched. You don’t have to appeal to everyone and anyone. Board members and executives should not weigh your success on social only with the number of followers you’ve added to social within the year.

What matters is learning how to assess who really matters in your social network. Which of your followers / Page Likers are engaging with your brand and influencing others to do so? Notice that I’m not specifically saying who is only positively engaging with your brand. But, who is?

Click here to read my latest post on LinkedIn to get ideas about how to assess the social value of your relationships.

How to Craft an Effective Social Media Strategy

How to Craft an Effective Social Media Strategy

"As social platforms have grown in popularity, so too has the importance of building an effective social media strategy," writes our friends over at TenFold.

Most interesting is their take on the frequency of posting content directly related to your brand, "The Rule of Thirds." Read their latest blog post to learn more.


How to Boost Community Strategy Using Content Marketing

How to Boost Community Strategy Using Content Marketing

If you're engaging in a content marketing strategy, it's important to tailor content to your different audiences. Weighing too heavily on one vs. another may alienate a set. Instead, focus on the customer journey. Provide enough content for any prospect (or customer) at any stage to continue to engage with your content and brand.

The Twitter Rules

The Twitter Rules

The Twitter rules have changed. You can read the updated TOS here. Why does this matter for marketers? Because the platforms that they've been using to publish content on Twitter won't let them act as spammers anymore. And, that's a good thing... Here are some quick tips to improve your marketing on Twitter.

1. DON'T retweet your own tweets

2. DO tweet multiple times a day with fresh new content, even if the links remain the same

3. DON'T post the same exact message over and over onto Twitter

4. DO retweet content from others that support your mission/vision including your employees, influencers, media, and other stakeholders

5. DON'T recycle any old tweets anymore

Take the time to create content that informs and educates your audiences. Help others and you will help yourself.

Why I hacked my own Instagram account

Why I hacked my own Instagram account

Just imagine if your social media marketer suggested you create a fictional narrative on social media to help increase your brand's followers. Your company could be viewed as having attended conferences that you haven't attended. You could have been photographed speaking at shows you haven't spoken at. You could have booths at events that your company hasn't attended. Have we gone too far to highlight our own personal brands on social? Will your company too?