We Are Communication Architects

Building brand awareness through content creation and community engagement.

July 31st, 2015

Don’t Just Listen on Social Media, Empower Your Team to Respond and Act

It’s with good reason one of the biggest buzzphrases of 2015 is “content strategy.” But recently I had an experience that reminded me just how important listening is to a brand’s digital strategy, and I think the lesson bears repeating.

My family and I concluded that, of the 400 or so channels we pay for via our cable TV company, we really watch about 20 of them. We called our cable company to ask about reducing our channels and cutting our bill, but were told by the phone rep that we couldn’t cut channels or reduce our price.

In frustration, I reached out to the cable company on Twitter, explaining the situation, asking why I wasn’t allowed to cut service, and why I would have to pay the same amount for 25 channels as I was paying for 400 channels. Then, I added the kicker: I was considering looking at Sling TV, a cable competitor, if I couldn’t get resolution from the cable company. Please, I asked, could someone get in touch with me to discuss my account?

Within one minute, someone from @slingcares, the customer service account for SlingTV, had responded to me, offering to answer any questions I had regarding their service. Over the course of the next hour, the folks at Sling and I had an extensive exchange, with their reps politely explaining their service and informing me of all their options. They even offered to request a specific channel for my package that wasn’t available in their standard packages (hey, when you have a three year old, you kind of need Sprout!).

What ears?

Meanwhile, more than 12 hours later, I hadn’t even heard from the cable company, even though I’d also reached out to them on their customer service handle. Needless to say, my family and I have decided on Sling as our alternative to cable television.

The point of this post, however, is not to detail for you my choices in delivering televised entertainment. Rather, it’s to highlight the smart work done by the Sling Twitter team.

They obviously were monitoring social media and Twitter in particular for mentions of their brand. I hadn’t addressed my original tweet to them, only mentioned them – but in very short order they saw their name mentioned and responded to me in a very helpful manner. They never compared themselves to cable or tried to disparage their competition, they just answered all my questions as directly as they could.  And in the end, they won a new customer.

What did Sling do right?

[1] They were actively monitoring social media for mentions of their brand, and saw my tweet within a minute of it going out. Their digital strategy obviously includes more than just generating their own content and pushing it out as widely as possible; they included listening and engagement in their overall digital plan.

[2] They had empowered their Twitter team to respond to mentions, rather than just flagging them for some higher-up who would take time to approve an engagement with me. Their Twitter team was obviously trained for engagement, not just publishing.

[3] The training was obviously professional, in that at no time did Sling take a shot at the cable company or the cable industry in general. They were smart enough to keep it positive and make me feel good about our interaction rather than just stoking my frustration at the cable company.

[4] The Twitter team is obviously empowered to take action for customers in order to try to make them happy. By offering to put in a request for Sprout when I asked about it, the Twitter team showed that they were at least tentatively able to take additional steps beyond just answering questions. I wasn’t just talking to powerless sales reps, I was actually talking to the people who could take steps on my behalf.

There is a lot of attention paid – and rightly so – to content strategy and to the importance of your own content in digital social networks. You have to have good and relevant content in order to matter within a social network, and it is your content that will convey brand messages, attributes and values to an audience. But it just may be the quality of your interaction with consumers – and the feeling you give them when you engage them – that wins you new customers or keeps your existing ones.

About the Author
Christopher Barger is Senior Vice President of Global Digital at Voce/Porter Novelli. You can follow him on Twitter @cbarger.

Filed in Social Networks

July 29th, 2015

Twitter Earnings, User Growth and What Twitter “Is”

Twitter announced its quarterly earnings and other updates yesterday. In short, monthly active users are up (though they seem to be using some creative math to make that case, which led to the inevitable investor discomfort) and revenue grew while losses shrunk. Sounds like good news, no?

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Of course not, because this is Twitter. The investor call yesterday has led to a number of stories that seem to appear in the wake of each such call such as “people don’t get Twitter” and over-analysis of comments by interim CEO Jack Dorsey (himself the subject of plenty of hot takes) about how Twitter continues to question the reverse-chronological timeline.

Perhaps Twitter was easier to understand back in 2007 or 2008, before Facebook became the juggernaut it is now and when we were all still pretty entranced by personal blogging, which Twitter closely resembled, mostly because both use the reverse chronology as their core feature. So a whole group of people who were committed to their blogs jumped into Twitter and said “Oh yeah, I totally get this.”

Now though that group of users is at least two or three generations (in terms of internet users) in the past and the current group of young people (I refuse to use the term “millennials”) has their own set of preferred apps and communications tools. In some cases – Snapchat and the like – those completely do away with profiles, timelines and such conceits in favor of focusing exclusively on what’s happening RIGHT NOW. But in other cases – particularly Instagram – the same model Twitter uses is in place with people needing to set up accounts and profiles and the feed of updates displaying in reverse chronological format, with new photos right there at the top and no algorithm deciding what is or isn’t relevant, at least not yet.

So maybe it’s not that the format in which updates are displayed is the major sticking point. Maybe it’s just that Twitter, as I’ve long maintained, will never be a mass audience product.

It’s telling that Twitter’s active user count shot up like it did as a result of adding people who receive updates via SMS and don’t visit the site, use an app or heavily engage with other people’s updates. They are part of what I suspect is a large contingent of users who enjoy getting updates but don’t see the value in engaging or doing much publishing of their own. They want to use Twitter as a news service, essentially, and not as an engagement and conversation platform. Or they just want to lean back with Twitter while watching The Bachlorette and see everyone’s updates but not participate themselves.

And maybe that needs to be OK. There is only one big reason why that wouldn’t be something Twitter – and the endless array of analysts covering its every move – wouldn’t think these are still valuable users and that’s advertising. By going public years ago and needing for its every move to be one that increases revenue, Twitter is no longer the “use it as you see fit, that’s cool” place it was in its early days. Now if you’re not engaging and posting actively you are a missed opportunity.

I’m a big fan of a messy Twitter. I like the unfiltered stream and find those who don’t are the same one who, years ago, said they were ditching RSS feeds because they got all their news on Twitter, thereby showing they failed to understand either. I get that doesn’t work for everyone, which is why I continue to believe if the company were to introduce tools to better manage the feed (Lists already exist, but it’s not something most people use) they need to be opt-in.

Twitter was easier to explain – and for people to understand – when “microblog” would suffice. Now, though they need to face a world where it’s not necessarily the difficulty to define or understand that is keeping people away but the fact that the world of communication has simply evolved past what it offers, while a core group of committed user keeps it alive. In other words, it’s Twitter’s choice whether to change core functionality to adopt features that might appeal to a group that would never use it regardless or focus on maintaining a tool whose current features continue to appeal to a smaller but devoted audience.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Microblogging, Social Networks

July 28th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 7/28: Facebook Adds Video Restriction Options, PR Blogs You Should be Reading & More.

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Social Media

Facebook Now Lets You Restrict Who Views Videos by Age and Gender

“As Facebook takes aim at YouTube with a growing video platform, the social network is giving advertisers and publishers more say in who sees their videos.

The company said Tuesday that video creators will now be able to restrict their audience by age and gender, in addition to the location and language options it already offered.”

Voce Insight – This update is great for businesses and brands, especially those with more adult content. By targeting content to viewers only over a certain age, marketers can ensure that their content is seen, without worrying about penalties from showing inappropriate content to a younger audience.

Food publishers are early winners of Facebook video

“Food publishers have found the recipe for success when it comes to Facebook video. The most popular video publisher on Facebook is BuzzFeed Food, which has so far posted over 250 videos to Facebook, offering viewers step-by-step tips on how cook oddball recipes such as double stuffed pizza dogs, bacon-wrapped grilled cheese, and honey-whiskey lemonade, among many other similarly inventive creations.”

Voce Insight – When posting Facebook videos, it’s best to keep them short. YouTube may accommodate longer videos, but on Facebook your videos are competing with many other pieces of content in your viewer’s News Feed.

Public Relations

Top 10 PR Blogs You Should be Reading

“To sharpen your skills, network online, find cool events and keep up with the latest trends, here are the best PR blogs, newsletters and websites you can read or sign up for online. Think of them as continuing education at a fantastic price.”

Voce Insight – If you’re thinking about a career in PR, you need to learn as much about it as possible. Reading blogs will give you real-life practical applications of the topics you learn in the classroom. This will enrich your learning experience and enable you to see how a career in PR could actually be.

Which Big Brands Are the Best Strategic Storytellers? [Infographic]

“PR News and Nasdaq Media Intelligence launched a poll earlier this month asking the PR News community which of Fortune’s 2015 Most Admired Brands succeeds best at telling humanizing stories that drive positive awareness.”

Voce Insight – Your storytelling has to start with your own website and social channels – the media you own. You can then point customers, journalists and other influencers back to that owned media as a reference point, gaining you earned impressions, articles and positive awareness.

Career

8 Phrases That Are Killing Your Cover Letters

“Few people like writing cover letters. As a result, they tend to fall back on cliches and fluff that doesn’t strengthen their applications, but in many cases, weakens them.”

Voce Insight – The most important part of writing a cover letter is tailoring it to the company you’re sending it to. Prove with your writing that you’ve done your research. Don’t just say you’re well qualified for the job – show that you are. If possible, also get the name of the person who will read the letter, and address it to them, rather than with the impersonal, “To whom it may concern.”

3 Steps for Asking for Career Help from Acquaintances or Strangers

“This is all about building a relationship. Asking for advice, insights, and recommendations is a great way to initiate and cultivate a lasting relationship.”

Voce Insight – It may sound counterintuitive, but when you need help in your career, it’s important to make it seem about the other person, not you. If you come to someone with demands about reviewing your resume, etc., they’re going to be less inclined to help you than if you came to them asking advice.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

July 21st, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 7/21: Shoppers on Facebook, PR Truths for Recent Grads & More

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Social Media

Can Facebook Turn Its Users Into Shoppers

“Facebook has long relied on advertising as its key source of revenues. Earlier this year, the company announced it was adding Messenger so members could interact with businesses and track packages. The addition of direct commerce to Facebook pages would appear to make the social site into a one-stop shop for retailers looking to build not only their brand images but sales as well.”

Voce Insight – Once again, Facebook is working to stay fresh by adding another new initiative to the site. By adding direct commerce to Facebook pages, it appears that Facebook is looking to further solidify its ties with brands, and in turn hopefully increasing advertising revenue. Only time will tell if this will pay off.

How Social Media Helped Purdue University Raise $13M in a Single Day

“Purdue University wanted to expand into new, younger markets to engage a future generation of donors. They were successful this time around because they activated an entire community of young alumni on social media and used data to understand how to reach them.”

Voce Insight – Social media is an increasingly important channel for charities and social enterprises. Not only is it the number one reason people in the US use the internet today, but a promising 55% of those who engage with organisations on social media eventually take further action for the cause – donating, volunteering, signing a petition or attending an event.

Public Relations

13 clever and inspiring quotes about writing

“Writers often pride themselves on their limitless creativity, but even they occasionally need an inspirational push. Luckily, other writers and creative people can help. If you need a little inspiration this week, here are 13 witty and insightful quotes about writing.”

Voce Insight- The clever quotes here are nice to read, but the most important one might be about terrible first efforts. Public relations can provide some challenging writing assignments. Sometime the best way to start when you don’t know how is to write an awful first sentence. Just by getting any thoughts you have down, you can start to mold them into something better.

6 Questions to Ask to Make Your Blogs More Actionable

“Blogs are de rigueur for most brands and organizations. However, due to the overwhelming number of blogs it’s a challenge to make sure your blog posts are getting read among your stakeholders.”

Voce Insight- A blog is a terrific place to announce news, or engage with your audience even when you don’t have anything to release. More importantly, it can serve as a more permanent repository for all your PR content and a more navigable space than a nebulous corporate website.

Career

3 PR Truths for Recent Graduates

“Internships can make or break the initial gig, but odds are you’ll end up working at an agency to get things started. Nearly all top-tier PR jobs require at least three to five years of “agency experience” before a candidate is even considered.

Cherish these years. They’ll teach you more about PR than any classroom ever could, and will push you to your emotional breaking point. Agency life can be brutal. Starting out with a fancy-sounding job title doesn’t mean that you’re ready for what’s coming.”

Voce Insight – PR is one of the most stressful and demanding careers you could have, but the rewards are numerous. By putting in the hard work in your internship and first job, you’re setting yourself up to earn the respect of your peers, and eventually bigger and better assignments.

4 Habits the Most Successful Job Seekers Share

“Targeting the right positions is half the battle. Many job seekers take an “apply to any position I’m remotely qualified for and hope to get lucky” approach, but the best job seekers are very selective about where they send their resume.”

Voce Insight – Listen carefully to what people ask. For example, “Tell me about yourself” isn’t a historical question about how you got to where you are. Instead, it asks about what kind of person and professional you are.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

July 17th, 2015

Social Media Could Save Shuttered Sites

I’m a movie fan. Anyone who’s talked to me knows this. While I may not be able to watch all the new releases I still eagerly keep up with film criticism, reviews and more. I love talking about movies and writing about movies when I have the chance. Which is why I’m so bummed the world of online movie writing has lost two great outlets in the last few months.

First FilmThreat was shut down after a last-ditch effort at raising crowdfunding to keep it going was unsuccessful. I have a special connection and place in my heart for FilmThreat since it gave me my first online outlet, first for a column called Movies on the Brain and then as the home for Movie Marketing Madness, the latter of which I would continue as a blog for several years. Then The Dissolve announced last week it would be shutting down simply because the economics of running the site no longer made sense for the parent company.

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Both of these are huge losses to the online film fan community. FilmThreat has always, going back to its beginnings as a print fanzine, championed the weird in film, supporting all kinds of movies that would never rise to the level of getting attention from the major industry pubs. And The Dissolve in its short life had become a home for some of the best, most intelligent writing on the web as its writers not only covered current movies (albeit without stooping to the same “scoop” level other sites did) but also celebrated classic movies, frequently producing longreads on decades-old films that needed to be revisited.

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While it’s certainly unfortunate that these sites will no longer be homes themselves to their writers that doesn’t mean, though, that the brands themselves can’t continue supporting the writers they previously housed.

Understanding that this would be an unpaid effort, both FilmThreat and The Dissolve could conceivably live on on Twitter, with someone managing their accounts to link to not only the writing of their previous stable of writers but also to the best of what else is out there. Those accounts could curate content that is in line with their overall mission statements. So @FilmThreat could keep linking to obscure independent movies deserving of support and which would appeal to the special kind of nerd the zine/site used to be read by. And @TheDissolve could keep linking to new articles from its writers as they wind up somewhere else as well as to long-form content that is the kind of stuff those writers used to produce.

So this begs a larger question: Can a brand continue to exist on social networks when its hub site has faded from existence?

My answer would be “yes.” The editorial mission of a brand doesn’t need to end even if the site no longer exists. Someone can continue to fulfill that mission and speak to the audience even if the links go elsewhere and there is no core site.

As I said, yes, there would be no money for doing so. It would be an effort entirely built around servicing the fan base, not working for ad revenue. And yes, it would be hard to call those efforts a “success” since there are literally no concrete goals to work toward. But these accounts could keep the fandom going and become a valuable touchpoint for fans who may not know where the writers they’ve been enjoying have wound up. There are an end unto themselves.

Social network profiles mean that while sites may come and go, the editorial missions that powered them don’t necessarily need to. These pro bono efforts may fall victim eventually to corporate machinations in case someone else swoops in and buys up the name and other assets. But for as long as they remain independent they could still add value to the overall conversation long after their home sites have officially passed from the online world.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Media, Social Networks

July 14th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 7/14: How Facebook’s News Feed Works, Tricky Interview Questions & More

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Social Media

Here’s How Facebook’s News Feed Actually Works

“In Knoxville, a group of 30 contract workers sit in a room full of desktop computers, getting paid to surf Facebook. They are tasked with scrolling through their News Feeds to assess how well the site places stories relative to their personal preferences. Their assessments, as well as ratings from about 700 other reviewers around the United States, are later fed back to the team in California, all in the service of improving Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, the software that delivers personalized streams of content.”

Voce Insight – All community managers should know that their content appearing in the newsfeeds of their readers is dependent on Facebook’s algorithm, which changes regularly based on feedback from this group of contractors. Staying up to date on how this might affect traffic on your page and adjusting accordingly is key. You should always keep the client informed of any major changes that might result in lower or higher likes and comments.

Snapchat Features You Didn’t Know Existed (Or Just Didn’t Know How to Use)

“A relatively new feature on Snapchat, you can actually zoom in and out while filming video. This might come in handy when you’re a bit far away from the action (think of your nosebleed seats at that conference), or even when you want to emphasize something within your clip.”

Voce Insight – A new change to Snapchat’s layout offers a pretty clear sign the ephemeral messaging service wants to direct more eyes to promoted content from its media partners.The change prioritizes the Discover section, and its branded content and advertisements, above some content from users’ own personal contacts.

Public Relations

The BBC is partnering with bloggers and community sites to promote local news

“The changes in the news industry mean that there are gaps in the coverage of our country and they are growing. At the same time, power is devolving. The BBC is going to have to make the most of digital services, alongside radio and television, to ensure people have the information they need where they live and work.”

Voce Insight – PR professionals should see value in smaller, local or specialized publishers just as the BBC does here. Smaller publishers are hungry for news and willing to talk, especially if you reach out to them with a story that is very applicable to their set of readers. Going after larger national publications like The New York Times or Bloomberg is important, but they should not completely supplant the growing ranks of smaller publications.

Why Digital Networking is Essential for Your PR Career

“Connecting with local PR pros is great and highly recommended if you want to start a career in PR. However, one of the most frequent requirements you will meet in your job search is to be a social media savvy. That means knowing how to use the newest social channels. You must know how to communicate and engage people on them, as well as how to read their analytics.”

Voce Insight – You’ve heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” When it comes to looking for a job, this is definitely true. While a personal referral is not a replacement for job skills, it definitely comes in handy as a first step in getting your foot in the door.

Career

6 Tricky Interview Questions (and How to Answer Them)

“Tell me about a time in your life when you actually failed at something. The best way to answer this toughie? ’Fess up about your failures. “After interviewing over a 100 people in my career, this is the question that literally separates contenders from pretenders,” James Hritz says. “It’s interesting how many candidates are loath to admit they have ever failed at anything!”

Voce Insight – It’s no secret that interview questions are tough. They’re designed to make you nervous that way an interviewer can see how you react under pressure. Make sure to take a breath before answering, allowing your brain to catch up and formulate an intelligent response.

4 Things You Should Always Ask Your Recruiter

“Usually there will be more than one person that gets presented to the client. The nice thing about working with a recruiter and them having a relationship with the hiring manager is they should know how many other people are being presented for this particular position.”

Voce insight – Since most recruiters get paid when they get you work- they work hard to seal the deal. As the talent- you don’t pay them a dime during any part of the process- that’s all handled by the employer. All you have to do is be a rockstar and get hired.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

July 7th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 7/7: Basic Tips for Job Seekers, Twitter’s Project Lightning & More

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Social Media

10 brands’ worst social media mistakes

“Companies are increasingly turning to social media to expand their Internet presence, promote their brand and engage with consumers. However, though social media is a powerful and effective tool, it can also generate a ton of negative publicity if used carelessly.”

Voce Insight – Time is always of the essence when working in social media, but you should always make sure to do your research before you share. Acting too quickly can often result in publicity you don’t want.

Twitter’s Project Lightning Could be Called ‘Moments’

“The idea behind Project Lightning is to better aggregate tweets and photos from live events and breaking-news situations. Similar to Snapchat Stories, human editors will highlight the most important aspects of a story, so users can learn what is important as a real-time event unfolds.”

Voce Insight – Twitter is doing whatever it takes to stay relevant for its users. By incorporating a better aggregation service for real-time events, Twitter is attempting to take on SnapChat Stories. Only time will tell if this maneuver will pay off.

Public Relations

6 tips for keeping your pitch out of the trash

“While news is new and urgent, features are longer, narrative stories that are not usually as time-sensitive. You can spend a little more time getting to the point in a feature pitch; good feature pitches hook the editor. For news, however never wait until the third paragraph to get to the point. Instead, let the editor know all the newsworthy information quickly. If the editor has to go digging, odds are your pitch won’t survive.”

Voce Insight – Without question, the single biggest mistake writers make in presenting a 60-second pitch is this: they try to tell their whole story. Check out these tips to keep your pitch out of the trash.

8 simple ways to improve your PR writing

Trim, cut, and trim again. A common mistake novice writers make is being overly verbose. Young or inexperienced writers falsely equate more words with better writing. Generally, the opposite is true. A more concise sentence holds the reader’s attention, because there are fewer things to distract from the main idea.

Voce Insight – Writing well is an important skill in the PR industry. You are trying to convince the media, the public, your employees, your vendors, shareholders, someone, to do something — change their opinion, reinforce their attitudes, write about or film your client, vote for your issue or candidate, or purchase your service or product. Check out these tips to improve your PR writing skills.

Career

Have LinkedIn and Medium Killed the Old-Fashioned Blog?

“An independent blog is a place you can test out your ideas and hone your writing skills without necessarily hitting the radar of everyone you’ve ever met at a conference. Then you can choose just the best items to post and share more widely.”

Voce Insight – Beyond your presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, a personal blog or website can be a more permanent repository of your professional and personal identity. Personal blogs and websites are also easily customized and can be used to target a smaller audience. For example, you might include a link to your blog when sending your resume to a prospective employer.

Basic Tips for Clueless Job Seekers

“There can’t be any typos or mistakes in your resume or cover letter. This includes bad grammar. Proof your cover letters three times and your resume ten times. I’m serious.”

Voce Insight – Many people think an interview is where you make the first impression with a potential employer. However, your resume/ cover letter is often where the first impression is made. Make sure your resume highlights your skills in a professional manner, while your cover letter is where you can let your personality shine through.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

June 30th, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 6/30: Questions Recruiters Ask Before Hiring You, Tips to Be Efficient in Your Job Search & More

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Social Media

An Algorithmic Feed May Be Twitter’s Last Remaining Card To Play

“Twitter has done nearly everything it can to refine and enhance the way tweets present information, without touching the order in which they’re published. That order — chronological, with no algorithm elevating the “best” tweets — has long been sacred ground for the company. The order is cherished by Twitter’s core users, with many arguing its organic surfacing of news and conversation is what makes Twitter work.”

Voce Insight – As it stands, the onus to organize the millions of tweets flowing through Twitter on a daily basis falls on its users. Though an algorithm might make for easier experience (and potentially more money for Twitter), it will irrevocably change how and when certain tweets make it through to a larger audience. Should an algorithm be put in place, community managers need to take that into account when making recommendations to clients.

12 Questions to Ask Before You Hit ‘Send’ on Social Media

“Sometimes, it’s good to pause and reflect on the emotion behind a post. Is the post a knee-jerk reaction to something? If it’s real-time, did I take a moment to pause and re-read before hitting publish?”

Voce Insight – It’s always better to take an extra few moments to reflect on what you want to post, rather than post something that you can’t take back. Social media tends to be unforgiving, so if you make a mistake or post something too controversial, your fans will take notice, and not in a positive way. Err on the side of caution with what you post to ensure you won’t have issues.

Public Relations

Yes, PR pros, you do use math—and more than you realize

“Ever find yourself calculating the percentage change in a PR metric over time? What about looking at shifts in company share price? All these activities require the application of basic arithmetic.”

Voce Insight – Remember when you were required to take math classes and you thought to yourself, “when will I ever need to use this stuff for my career?” Well guess what – “If you’re managing a client’s budget, you’re doing math. If you’re using data points to pitch a story, you’re doing math. If you’re managing a research project which comprises surveys, you’re doing math. If you’re running your own PR business, you’re absolutely doing math.”

Wikipedia Pages of Star Clients Altered by P.R. Firm

“Sunshine Sachs, a powerful public relations firm that represents Ms. [Naomi] Campbell and others, has played loose with Wikipedia’s standards and recently violated the site’s updated terms of use agreement, by employing paid editors who fail to disclose their conflict of interest on the website.”

Voce Insight – Wikipedia is one of the first places a reader might go to get more information on a company or public figure, which makes it an important place for communications professionals. However, when making edits, representatives should always disclose their conflict of interest and only seek to correct incorrect facts or omissions. This requires collaboration with community managers and patience, which will all be worth it to avoid headlines like this. More on this here.

Career

Questions Every Recruiter Asks Before Hiring You

Learning how to proactively problem-solve is a skill that requires practice over time, so you’re not going to be expected to be a master problem-solver right out of the gate. But you do need to show evidence that you can solve problems, and that you have the potential to develop that skill over time.

Voce Insight – Always try to figure out the answer to a problem before asking someone else for help. Your managers are there to help you, but they’ll become frustrated if the answer to your question is right in front of your face. If all else fails, Google it. That may sound too simple, but most of your questions probably have solutions on the internet.

Use These Tips To Be Efficient In Your Job Search

“Any great plan requires a detailed and creative strategy. Your career goals matter and your job search should center on those goals. Each day, you should have a plan of attack – whether it is spending the morning reaching out to recruiters on LinkedIn or tweeting to staffing agencies, and spending your afternoons following up to HR managers, your job search must encompass strategic execution of that plan to achieve results.”

Voce Insight – It may seem like a good strategy to apply to every job, particularly if you are in desperate need of new work. But not every career is relevant to you and your skills. In addition, you may not be a match in terms of organizational values and company culture.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

June 29th, 2015

Rich Cline Named a Top Tech PR Agency Executive

Voce co-founder and agency President Rich Cline has been named to Hot Topics PR 100 2015, a list of the most influential tech agency PR executives in the world, a list generated by the members of the Hot Topics community. Congratulations to Rich!

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Filed in Voce News, Voce People

June 23rd, 2015

Voce Student Weekly Reading 6/23: Ways to Maximize Your Team’s Talent, Hidden Agenda Behind Common Interview Questions & More

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Social Media

Facebook is Nipping at Youtube’s Heels in the Race for Video Viewers and Advertisers

“According to a recent survey and market research by Ampere Analysis, Facebook is on track to deliver two thirds as many video views in 2015 as YouTube does — two trillion versus YouTube’s three trillion. Both services have a comparable number of monthly users overall.”

Voce Insight – Facebook’s decision to focus more on video content is apparently paying off. By adjusting their algorithm to favor native video uploads, Facebook is on its way to video domination. Only time will tell if they will be able to overtake YouTube, but the initial reports show they are growing extremely fast.

What Are the Best Times to Post on Social Media? [INFOGRAPHIC]

“It turns out that people engage on Facebook most on Thursday and Friday. A lot of people use Facebook when they are at their desks in the their offices, but don’t want to be. Indeed, 86% of posts are published during the week. Earlier in the week, peole are trying harder to actually work, so engagement falls below 3.5% on those days.”

Voce Insight – It’s important to remember that when you post varies from platform to platform, which this infographic does a good job of illustrating. This is good to use as a general guide, but you should also take lessons from your own specific audience and tailor your publishing program accordingly.

Public Relations

Introducing the News Lab

“It’s hard to think of a more important source of information in the world than quality journalism. At its best, news communicates truth to power, keeps societies free and open, and leads to more informed decision-making by people and leaders. In the past decade, better technology and an open Internet have led to a revolution in how news is created, distributed, and consumed.”

Voce Insight – The democratization of information has given journalists more power than ever to produce high quality journalism. However, it has also created more competition than ever. Looking beyond this announcement from google, it’s not hard to imagine every newsroom being something like a laboratory. Journalists are always striving to summon powerful data to produce something useful for their readers. This is something PR professionals should keep in mind when contacting them.

4 Ways to Avoid Overservicing PR Clients

“Overservicing, doing more than you’re getting paid for, is a common challenge for PR firms and firm leaders. Sometimes it’s a conscious business decision – you’ve decided to invest your time to expand your work for a company, or you’re flexing your muscles with a new capability that’s going to take your team more time to showcase their talents. But, typically, it’s not consciously planned or agreed upon. It just happens, and it happens time and again.”

Voce Insight – Spending too much time on a client can take a toll on your team, so it’s best to avoid whenever possible. This starts by accurately recording your time and letting your managers know if certain activities are eating too many hours. That way they can have honest conversations with clients to better set service expectations.

Career

Master Your Craft: 7 Ways to Maximize Your Team’s Talent

“On the road to greatness, natural talent alone is rarely all it takes. Without the gumption to harness that natural ability into something transcendent, the talented are doomed to live in mediocrity.”

Voce Insight – Chances are you’ll be working with some highly talented individuals over the course of your career. Still, individual talent is never enough, especially in the PR industry. Team members need to be able to trust each other to bear their share of the load. This means creating meaningful connections with those co-workers and communicating as much as possible.

Direct from HR: Hidden Agenda Behind Common Interview Questions

“Tell me about yourself” lends a few different clues about a candidate that I can only find out by asking such an open-ended and subjective question. The depth of their story tells me how quick they are to open up to people, it also gives me a window into their judgment on professional conversation and work-appropriate content.

Voce Insight – Make sure to practice top interview questions so you are better prepared with a well-rounded answer for your interview. Being prepared will not only help you sound educated and intelligent when you reply, but will also build your confidence so you can go into your interview without any fear.

Filed in Career Development, Weekly Reading

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