Crenshaw A Finalist For SABRE Awards

We are pleased to have been selected as finalists for the 2015 SABRE Awards, North America! Our work with Findaway World was among roughly 300 campaigns selected from more than 2,000 entries in this year’s competition. The annual award recognizes: Superior Achievement in Branding, Reputation and Engagement.

“Findaway’s Path To Success,”our program for the Cleveland-based provider of audiobook and e-book technology, focused on raising the visibility of Findaway World and its full line of products and establishing Findaway as a leader in audiobook and eReader technology for B2B solutions. Our work yielded more than 50 top-tier and trade earned media placements, positioned Findaway as a leader in innovative technology, and helped launch the company onward into the next phase of business expansion.

“Findaway’s Path To Success” was selected as a finalist in the Technology Hardware category by a jury of more than 40 industry leaders. The winners will be announced at the SABRE Awards dinner in New York on May 5.

 

PROI Summit Kicks Off This Week In Cape Town

More than 70 top independent agencies from around the world convened in Cape Town this week for a five-day conference to share best practices and gain insights into industry trends. Among them: our own Dorothy Crenshaw. Follow via Twitter hashtag #PROIsummit.

PROI (Public Relations Organisation International) is a global network of best-of-breed independent PR firms, which enables partner agencies to cover major markets around the world. Crenshaw Communications is proud to be a longtime partner.

 

Making the Case for Robotics in America

Working with one of our newest clients, Five Elements Robotics, we recently placed this bylined piece in Enterpreneur on why America needs to join the global trend toward embracing robotics as a normal part of life.

With our assistance, Wendy Roberts, Five Elements CEO, makes the case that robots are the way of the future. They will help us care for the elderly and provide a boost to our manufacturing economy — if Americans can embrace robots as a part of culture in the same ways tech-savvy nations like Japan and South Korea have.

Other countries are ahead on the “robot-acceptance” curve. The country that gave the world Apple and Amazon is woefully out of step in acceptance of personal robots as a normal part of culture. We just aren’t “mentally ready” for in-home robots the way other countries are… As a society we need to overcome the cultural hurdles that prevent us from taking full advantage of the promises of robot technology.

Check out the full article on Entrepreneur.com here!

 

 

New Partnership For Budgee The Robot

wendy, budgee + jesse at short hills mall

 

Crenshaw Communications is creating a partnership for client Five Element Robotics and the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) to explore putting robots such as Five Elements’ Budgee in shopping centers. Here, Five Elements CEO Wendy Roberts introduces Budgee to Jesse Tron, ‎Director, Communications & Media Relations for the ICSC at Short Hills Mall in New Jersey.

 

PR Lessons From Awesome Mother’s Day Campaigns

Mother’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to boost your PR campaign, whether your company or brand is in household goods or wearable technology. Sometimes dubbed a “Hallmark Holiday,” the occasion is sure to generate social buzz and sharing, so why not position your brand to be in on the action? We looked at some of the most successful, buzzworthy Mother’s Day PR and communications campaigns in recent years to see what we can learn. Here are some insights.

Nostalgia is powerful. Heart-tugging memories can work any time of year, but on Mother’s Day, childhood remembrances pack even more poignancy than usual. P&G, with its roster of popular household brands, has been running the mother of all mom-focused campaigns for several years now, but its tear-jerker salute to moms to leverage its Olympics sponsorship still resonates.

To their moms they will always be kids,” where small children are subbed in for Olympic athletes (because that’s how moms view their kids at any age), is the very definition of nostalgia — “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past.” The brand backed up its messaging with action by providing $1,000 gift cards to help moms with costs of getting to the Olympics — a move that earned media coverage and more buzz.

Find creative ways to connect your brand to a “period or place with happy personal associations”, and you’re touching on unbeatable emotional appeal. A winner.

Incorporate a global sweep. Layer this one on top of nostalgia for the broadest possible appeal. From the Olympics to this heartwarming short film, shot entirely using Google Glass, smart consumers and businesses alike see themselves as globally connected.The film “Seeds,” which went viral on social media, was shot over 10 days in four cities on two continents across three different time zones, appealing to viewers’ feelings of interconnectedness across distance – a strong theme for Mother’s Day. It’s also a great example of how a cutting-edge wearable tech device — not exactly traditionally associated with moms — can be the inspiration for a brilliant Mother’s Day piece. It’s tech PR at its finest!

Offer practical solutions to common problems. Marketers and PR people know many will be short on either time or ideas for what to do for Mother’s Day. This roundup of ways to score deals on gifts for mom also employs the digital angle, providing helpful ways to impress mom while making her life easier. Mulberry created a partnership with a florist to provide flower bouquets to customers on the spot. Offering real-life solutions to consumer problems or challenges around Mother’s Day is bound to gain media traction.

A Journalist’s POV: 3 Questions From A NY PR Firm

Our “Journalist’s POV: 3 Questions From a NY PR Firm” feature provides “real-world” advice for public relations people from working journalists with whom we have solid relationships. Today we talk to Camille Noe Pagán, a journalist and editor specializing in health and nutrition who was recently named Health Editor at Real Simple magazine. We put three questions to this accomplished writer and novelist on her relationships with PR professionals and got a “bonus” comment too!

What is the worst PR pitch you ever received? I’ve received a lot of crazy pitches (bacon-flavored lube, anyone?) but the worst are the ones that say, “Did you know that today/tomorrow is national X day? Here’s a story for your readers …” One glance at my website or bio reveals that I don’t write for daily outlets; instead, the publications and website I contribute to are on production schedules that are typically months ahead.

What makes a good/bad interview subject for you? A good interview subject is one who is well-versed on the topic. There’s nothing worse than an overzealous email response suggesting the “perfect!” expert—only to discover that the source actually has little to no insight regarding the subject at hand. It’s not just a waste of my time, it’s a waste of the expert’s time, too, and it’s awkward!

What should PR people know about your job that will make them better at theirs? Like every journalist and editor I know, I don’t always have time to go through email the same day I receive it. Getting a follow-up email the morning after the initial email was sent is too much, and actually makes me even less inclined to write back (that’s saying a lot, because I try very hard to respond to every personal email I receive).

A good relationship with a great publicist is a wonderful thing. There are at least a dozen publicists I work with regularly—some of whom I’ve now known for over a decade—and they have given me stellar ideas, connected me with incredible sources, and in many occasions, saved me from disaster when I needed a last-minute expert or information about a product. I think the key word is “relationship”; these are connections that have been fostered over time. Each one started with a friendly email or in-person introduction, and was solidified by mutual respect.

8 Painless Ways To Write For SEO (Without Sounding Like A Bot)

By now most PR agency professionals know that Google algorithm changes over recent years have been a boon for PR by rewarding content quality over keyword-stuffed news releases or shady backlink schemes.

That’s great, but the importance of SEO in PR and content marketing and the growth of branded content means that we must learn to write for SEO. The first time I sat down to write 30 pages of SEO-enhanced web copy for my own site, it felt like a straitjacket – restrictive, un-creative, even false – the opposite of what high-quality content should be. But as I gained experience and knowledge writing for SEO and working with a great team of experts, I picked up tips and skills that are now second nature.

Here are some ways to write blog copy and other digital content to maximize searchability without sounding like a machine.

Focus on relevance

Answer questions, solve problems, and offer truly useful information. If you focus on what type of information people are likely to look for online, the keywords will follow more naturally.

Write naturally, using synonyms and word variations

Repeating the same word too many times in the first paragraph of  your copy will not only cause you to be downgraded by search engines, it will probably turn off readers, because it sounds terrible. Use synonyms, related terms, and grammatical variations just as any good writer would. Don’t worry, the search engines have learned that “top PR agency” and “best public relations firm” are virtually interchangeable terms.

Write for the long tail

Writing to focus on the “fattest” or most general keywords is tempting, but it can be a tricky proposition. Those huge keywords are nearly impossible to own. Instead, try for the long tail by means of more specific phrases. It’s roughly the difference between a search term like “content marketing” and a phrase or question like “how should a B2B company get started in content marketing”?

Pay attention to headlines and subheads

This is still the toughest part for me, because I like wordplay and obscure titles that don’t contain obvious search terms. But for maximum clarity with search engines, your headline should contain your most important keyword, and you should have subheads for clarity and readability as well as SEO.

Make it shareable

The social sharing factor will only grow, so writing with an eye toward making it as shareable as possible is a worthy goal. What does that mean? There’s a great deal of good information about how to ensure your content is shareable, including my colleague Michelle’s recent post targeted to PR professionals.

Make the length appropriate to the topic

First we’re told to write short for the growing number of visitors who access content via mobile device. Then we hear that Google likes longer content (i.e., 1500+ words.) Here’s my rule: write what the topic demands, as long as it’s 300 words or more. Don’t pad, but don’t cut it short if you have valuable material to share.

Remember that images drive SEO

Images are more important than ever, mainly because they’re eye-catching. But don’t forget that alt text is a factor in searchability. Most SEO experts agreed it’s a good idea to rename the image file to include your keywords and to put them in your image title, alt text, and description.

Create new content regularly

This is probably the most important rule in writing for SEO, because even a killer post will eventually fall off the first page. The point is to show the search engine – and, more importantly, visitors to your site or  blog – that someone’s home.

Digital Tools No Tech PR Team Should Be Without

Technology public relations isn’t rocket science (okay, except when it is!), but soaring past the competition is easier when you have the right tools. They can improve every aspect of tech PR, from wooing and winning over the CEO to achieving and reporting top-notch results. Want to make a quantum PR leap? Try some of these.

Beyond PowerPoint and Prezi. Set your presentations apart with dynamic alternatives to the same-old, same-old. PowToon brings animation to your deck. Haiku Deck is customizable for iPad, and Sparkol works best for online video presentations.

Budget better. And plan and forecast better as well. With easy-to-use online software package planguru, your tech PR team can take some of the pain out of budgeting and plan more realistically.

Make your writing pop. As any PR pro will tell you, writing well for all platforms – blogs, byline articles, pitch letters – is at least half the battle in gaining earned media attention for your product or service. The best way to be a better writer is to write, but there’s no harm in getting help when you need it. We recommend Grammarly for quick editing beyond Spellcheck. Readability-Score is also very helpful in determining how clear your writing will be to your intended audience. Finally, Grammar Girl provides easy tips to ensure that, for example, you’d never say “insure” in this sentence.

Power up your pitching. Why not arm yourself with all the tools in the toolbox? You’re probably familiar with Cision or similar databases for list creation and Muck Rack for homing in on journalists “socially,” but have you tried Pitchrate, which likens its platform to — wait for it — match.com for media and sources? We also like PitchEngine, which microtargets bloggers and journalists with content from platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Vimeo.

Soup up your analytics. PR measurement and results reporting have become very sophisticated, and there are tools that help PR pros tell the most complete story. This includes Google Analytics, of course, but others as well. For example, CustomScoop provides customized monitoring and analysis reports. NOD3x  identifies influencers and assesses sentiment and BuzzSumo ranks content based on number of shares generated. The insights can help the PR team with content promotion, curation and article development. Talk Walker is also great for gathering social data with a “Google Alert” type system.

PR And The Power Of Podcasts

As storytellers and public relations professionals, we consider podcasts one of our favorite forms of content. What’s not to love? You can take them on the go, listen at your own pace, delve into subjects in-depth, and get lost in the story-time nature of the experience. But personal preferences aside, podcasts are becoming a powerful form of content for companies and brands looking to expand and strengthen their PR reach. Podcasts are part of a new era of content creation in which CEOs, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders of all kinds can position themselves in front of their target audiences.

In case you aren’t yet convinced, here are the top reasons we think podcasts make powerful content for PR programs.

Podcasts intensify the bond between you and the people who are most important to your company or brand. The level of engagement for podcast listeners is higher than engagement with any other type of content, many sales and marketing experts believe. It goes beyond “click bait” or the quick, easily digestible listicle-type nuggets of information that are so prevalent today. The listener has made a decision to spend quality time with your content, and that creates a strong bond.

Podcasts are a part of the greater shift toward mobile. The rise of content consumption on mobile devices has been well documented, and podcasts are a growing part of that, as most people listen to podcasts on mobile devices. This should come as no surprise, as the very nature of podcasts makes them perfectly suited to be consumed via mobile: you download them once to be listened to wherever, whenever you choose, and as often as you like.

Podcasts are an easy way to create guest content. Ever try to get a partner or third-party spokesperson to contribute a piece of content? Written or visual forms of creative content can be very time-consuming to produce and it’s a lot to ask of someone, but most people are amenable to a 10-minute phone interview. Record the interview, edit it, and voila — you have guest content.

Transcribing podcasts creates still more content. Once the podcast is complete and uploaded, having it transcribed (and edited) creates instant content, which can live online and enhance SEO. It’s essentially two for the price of one – the audio content of the podcast, plus the written content of the transcript.

It’s the way of the future. Apple reports podcast subscriptions have topped 1 billion. Serial, the most popular podcast of all time, has been downloaded more than 40 million times. And the number of unique podcast listeners has tripled, from 25 million to 75 million listeners, over the last five years, according to a tracker of 20,000 shows. Just as blogs — once a frontier reached by individuals — have developed into full fledged (and well funded) news websites, the podcast is growing from an under-the-radar form of entertainment to a legitimate information channel of its own.

 For guidance on how to create podcasts that strengthen your brand, download our podcast tipsheet:
Download Tipsheet Here



Three Content Trends That Impact Public Relations

Content is still king, and as most PR professionals are aware, the kingdom is only growing. Brands are building newsrooms, journalists are moving to the dark side, and it seems like there’s a new social platform born every week or so. So, it’s particularly important for PR and content pros to stay on top of trends and tools. Here are three.

Mo’ Mobile. “Mobile-geddon” is here! Google’s much-hyped algorithm change arrives April 21, and it has already set off a scramble to optimize. The change will downgrade sites that are not mobile-friendly while rewarding those ready for the mobile revolution. Google promises that the change will have “a significant impact” on search results. The good news is there are plenty of tools to determine if your content sites pass muster, including Google’s own mobile-friendly test.
The change is not a surprise, since 60 percent of content is now accessed on a mobile device, and that percentage will only grow.

Social streaming finally takes off. I know what you’re thinking; live streaming has been around for years, so why the fuss? After Meerkat took over this year’s South By Southwest conference, there’s fresh buzz around it and competitors, including Twitter’s own Periscope, stre.am, and others. The reasons for the resurgence boil down to a few factors: the soaring mobile device usage that seems to drive just about everything; the social platform integration the new streaming apps offer; and the emergence of several competitors in a “one-up” struggle that’s good for business.
For PR pros, live streaming is worth checking out if you actually have something to say. It can be used to support news announcements and company events; new product demos; executive interviews; or maybe even a reaction to a big announcement or a real-time marketing stunt during a live event. Social streaming can also be useful to offer fans or customers a first peek at something new or special, like Starbucks’ “tour” of its coffee roasting facility, or retailer Everlane’s cool new office.

Audio is hot. Yes, it’s one more trend that’s part of the broader mobile explosion, and it might be the most intriguing for content and PR professionals.  Podcasts – and their step-cousin, the audiobook – have been around for a while, but with the blockbuster success of “Serial” and the popularity of business-focused audio content like “Working” and (my favorite), “Startup” — the podcast is definitely having a moment.

If you’re not up for creating your own, look no further than Slate’s Panoply, a full-service podcast network for media brands, authors, personalities, and “premier organizations” (I think that means brands.) What stands out here is the sky-high audience engagement that a truly great podcast can deliver, and the potential for brand integration that works within the content itself or even enhances it. (We still fondly refer to our email services provider as “MailKimp.“)

Okay, so the above trends are really about a single trend, which is mobile adoption. But hang onto your smartphone, there’s surely more to come.