CES 2018 and Beyond

CES 2018 Trade Show Collage

Images from GreenRoom and its clients during CES 2018 and the PGA Merchandise Show, both industry trade shows.

Each January brings the first of many industry trade shows in the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Brands across a wide spectrum of vertical markets participate, and many clients say that the show (and its allied events such as Pepcom) can be incredibly impactful to attract media attention, drive brand awareness, and develop relationships with partners and consumers for the year ahead.

Planning for industry trade shows and events such as these can be challenging; how to select which shows offer the best opportunities to execute communications strategy, budgeting for them successfully (both in terms of dollars allocated and internal resources dedicated), and building media calendars for public relations/ leveraging digital and social media content into success at the trade show itself.

One great example of this is utilizing an industry event or trade show to promote new partnerships. At the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, we aided our client Blast Motion in the announcement of an exclusive deal with golf giant TaylorMade. With all the biggest names in golf media attending the show, this provided a platform to amplify the news in the right place at the right time. The GreenRoom team has a strong track record in developing successful strategies for such industry events, and helping clients manage participation to maximum effect.

Following each event, leveraging media and industry contacts into high-profile coverage and dynamic relationships often overwhelms internal teams focused on a number of deliverables. Here, too, we find that having a team of professionals, such as a communications agency, at your command expands the amount of time and energy brands have to plan for future events on the calendar. This can drive media coverage and sales opportunities throughout the year, resulting in met or exceeded marketing goals, all while engaging consumers and building a community of brand ambassadors.

Five Must-Haves for Building Your In-House Studio

We’ve upgraded our creative capabilities with the construction of an in-house photography studio. This dedicated space allows us to not only snap custom product photography in a pinch, but also create the top-notch videos that have become critical for social media success. To get a better sense of what goes into a studio build, here’s a breakdown of the five studio must-haves.

  1. Room to Move 


$ | To get the absolute best shots, photographers need to move and bend around their subject. The more angles and perspectives a photographer can capture, the more material you have to produce the perfect image. Keep a clear path around the set for your photographer to travel without worrying about tripping over cords, backdrop edges or stray props.

  1. Seamless Backdrop


$ | Seamless backdrops are essential for taking polished, versatile product photos. A bright white sweep reflects any light in the room, giving your subject a glowy appearance. There are many options, including muslin canvas and paper rolls, to suit your budget. Be sure to protect your investment with a sturdy storage solution–we use a rack and frame.

  1. Lighting


$$$ | A multi-light setup can make or break your photos. Investing in at least three continuous lights, as well as light management instruments like reflectors and diffusing softboxes, gives you control of the direction and intensity of your artificial lighting. Don’t forget about your natural light–suppress pesky bounce with blackout curtains/blinds or black matte paint.

  1. Tripod


$ | Although photographers often opt to keep their cameras handheld, a strong, reliable tripod will transform your capacity to produce high-quality video content. Look for screw-in release systems on angle and height adjustments, as they maintain their rigidity better than their clip-based counterparts. As a general rule, your “normal” tripod should stand about six feet tall at its tallest setting.

  1. Monitor


$$ | Last but not least, a high-speed tether connected to a high-resolution monitor enables your photographer to review the photos taken in-studio instantly. Dedicating a machine to photo and Dropbox management streamlines the organizational process, so photographers can retrieve the files they need in real-time.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building an in-house studio for your agency. What are the must-haves pieces in your photography kit? Leave your gear recommendations in the comments below!

Four Lessons PR Pros Should Learn From Social Media

Within the last decade, the public relations and communications industries have undergone many changes. We can point to several technological advancements that have brought us to where we are today, but none are more powerful than the rise of social media. The active and instant nature of social media has changed marketing, and PR pros should take notice. Here are four lessons from social media you can integrate into your PR strategy:

Don’t be afraid to get personal.  

No two social media users are the same, which is why personalization is key. Technology market researcher Gartner found by 2018, companies that have “fully invested in all types of personalization” will outsell companies that have not by 20 percent. Using data to deliver relevant content to audiences is the name of the game in social media right now.

This same idea can easily translate to PR practices. Personalize your pitch to better suit the audience. Not only will it show the outlet that you aren’t sending the same generic message to everyone, but it will also help build more meaningful media relationships too.

‘Tis the season for fresh content.

Social media content revolves around the seasons – and this goes far beyond the holiday season. Every odd holiday is both celebrated and embraced on social media. While this may not be as popular in PR, incorporating a seasonal aspect to your outreach will ensure your content is fresh and timely.

Don’t think this applies to your client?  Try researching holiday’s or awareness months that relate to broaden your audience with more concentrated outlets.

Show, don’t tell.

Social media is all about the visuals. By 2019, video content will be the driving factor behind 85 percent of all search traffic in the U.S. Between Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat alone, video content is taking over the marketing world. This is all the more reason to implement video content to your 2017 PR strategy. As our media consumption habits continue to evolve, eye-catching visuals are more likely to capture the attention of both media outlets and consumers. Videos can take on a variety of different forms like the following:

  • Product-focused: Show employees or influencers using your product
  • Instructional: Have a new concept or product launching? Use a video to introduce and inform consumers and media how it works
  • Q&A: Make the most of a live event by doing a Q&A video at the activation

Do your (social media) research.

You can find just about anything on social media in 2017. This goes for media, too. Find the media outlets you’re targeting on social media and interact with their employees on social. The social space is the hub of millions of conversations, and while this may seem like stalking at first, it’s what social media is for! You never know what you may learn about someone just by following them on Twitter. Take advantage of your social media learnings to craft a custom pitch that’s more likely resonate with this person.

How have you integrated any of these social media practices into your PR strategy? Comment to share your insights!

How do I Make the Most of the Holiday Gift Guide Season?

The holiday season can be the most fruitful time of year for brands with regard to sales and moving product off the shelves. This is a period when most consumers are in “buying mode” and are heavily influenced by strategic marketing and Holiday gift guides. Often seen as a crucial period of the year to secure media placements across different mediums including web, print, and broadcast for many brands, these guides are a great way to leverage the Holiday season and further expose your products to millions of potential customers.

What many brands don’t realize is that timing is everything for these gift guides.

Given the fact that many of the longer-lead ones (i.e. print publications, broadcast, and marquee outlets) close their doors as early as August, timing is crucial. From a digital marketing perspective, this lead in time is a great opportunity to begin developing assets and content that will run alongside your Holiday media initiatives. Cohesion between your PR team and digital team is paramount; ensuring that both teams are on the same page will lend itself greatly to achieving your Holiday goals. A great PR agency will prepare for gift guides months in advance, with messaging tailored to individual vertical markets and aligned with editorial calendars to position their clients in an efficient, easy to digest way for the media. This also means that an agency is already discussing gift guide opportunities with the media in July and even as early as June.

However, not all hope is lost for those jumping on board in the September/October time frame! Short-lead gift guides will sometimes close as late as the week of Black Friday, with many media outlets publishing “Last Minute Gift Guides” to help consumers that haven’t quite made up their minds. The shorter lead guides are typically web based and require a more at-the-ready mentality, sometimes put together as little as a week before being published, with publications relying on a few of their go-to sources. At GreenRoom for instance, our strong relationship with the media has established us as a good source for great products to fill these last-minute gift guides, as the media knows we are a very consumer brand focused agency.

Not only should your team aim to get in the door early, they should also be mindful of the editorial calendars and timelines.

In a season known for being hectic, with brands competing madly for the attention of the consumer, one of our aims has always been to make this time of year extremely easy for both the media and our clients. In addition to benefits of the gift guides, a well-equipped agency will not only look to secure placement in a particular gift guide, but also secure an additional product review with the same publication – resulting in two separate hits within the same media outlet.

According to Business Insider, it typically takes 7 – 8 exposures to the consumer before a consumer decides to purchase, making every additional opportunity important. It’s always good to be mindful of developing your PR strategy not only to benefit from gift guides, but also to acquire additional coverage thereafter. Our focus on leveraging Holiday gift guides, strong relationships with the media, and timing conscious approach are just a few of the many strategies we employ to ensure strong coverage year-round and position our clients for great success.

Turning Traditional PR into Digital PR

When looking at the marketing wheel, each spoke represents an important element that keeps the wheel turning. These can include PR, digital marketing/social media, print & web advertising, television commercials, influencers, and other components. Each one requires a dedicated team to properly develop and execute a strategy for success. While many agencies try to offer every service possible, a great agency will know that results suffer tremendously if there isn’t a dedicated team for each service.

At GreenRoom for example, we hone in on two services that we feel are the best compliments for each other: PR and digital marketing.

With one team that is focused solely on PR and another focused only on digital efforts, there are plenty of efficiencies that come with having these two necessary components under one roof.

Benefits include consistent messaging along social media platforms and secured media, ease of communication between the two teams, and strategies that reflect the efforts happening on the social media platforms and in the media. We hear time and time again from companies who view digital marketing as a tool for customer relations, not as a tool to further market the brand and drive sales.

To us, digital marketing and social media are new frontiers of opportunity to place your brand in front of millions of potential customers. Better still, digital efforts can extend the reach of great PR and lengthen the life of heavy – hitting press pieces. What is news today will be old news tomorrow, but if you’ve been featured in an outlet with one of the highest reader and subscriber numbers, wouldn’t you want to turn that media hit into a tool to gain more customers? This is exactly what a targeted digital marketing strategy can do. By identifying an audience based on sales or desire to increase growth in a market, your digital team can take a great placement secured through your PR strategy and amplify the coverage across your social media platforms using advertising strategies to place these wins right in front of a particular audience.

At GreenRoom we take this a step further; while the PR team is busy engaging with the media, our social team is also engaging with the social platforms for of these media outlets. By working with an outlet’s digital team, we gain insights into how that media outlet posts. This ensures that the brand is included and tagged, while we offer suggestions such as hashtags and key terms. This is a great way to maximize a post even before any money is spent on the digital fronts.

Utilizing PR and digital marketing to work together to amplify and extend the life of great coverage is a powerful tool in your marketing toolbox.

Your PR team should always relay media hits as soon as they publish so your digital team can leverage these within their arsenal. Instead of the consumer relying on you to explain why the product is great and worth the purchase, you can utilize a review from a marquee press outlet and amplify it across your customer base. While this is a strategy overlooked by many, companies that are using this method are turning traditional PR into digital PR of the 21st century.

PR , Politics, and the Ever Changing News Cycle

More than ever, politics is taking center stage in different aspects of our lives, and the publications we read every day are taking their cue from this dynamic. As such, journalists who don’t typically cover politics are now pulling double – or – triple duty to keep up. From a PR perspective, this presents a challenge for brands to have themselves featured and written about when more and more stories are politics – based.

An agency with their finger on the pulse of the media will be well equipped to capitalize on this shift and secure great hits.

At GreenRoom for example, we are always ready to pivot and develop strategies that will ultimately position our clients to be successful. With journalists increasingly focused on producing politically – focused coverage and reducing bandwidth for product – oriented media, it can be challenging for a brand to get the attention they are seeking. Your team should have strategies at hand that allows you to leverage your brand within the evolving news cycle. One example of a strategy we employ is “media newsjacking”; our approach is to look at trending political stories and put our clients at the forefront of these topics. This is a good way for a brand to get great corporate and business – oriented coverage. Select a lead executive on your team and give them an opportunity to discuss the effects certain political policies are having on your industry. These soundbites and quotes may be syndicated across different markets and lead to the establishing of your company as an industry leader.

A priority for your team is to have a healthy, revolving mix of coverage that transcends different vertical markets.

While it’s always great to have a large volume of product spotlights, you will need to make sure that you’re focused on further establishing yourselves within your particular industry. It can certainly be difficult to break out of the mold of traditional press and move towards a more business – focused angle, but when you’re collaborating with a holistic agency such as GreenRoom our strategies are designed to leverage the current media conversation and ensure that your brand is involved.

6 Website Problems and WordPress Plugins That Can Solve Them

If you’re one of the 27 percent of websites powered by WordPress, you already know this is a powerful platform.

What you may not know is how you can take your website to the next level. Enter the world of plugins. With the right plugins, your site can reach new heights — without the assistance of an expensive developer or classes in coding.

Whether you’re looking to expand your email newsletter list or add functionality to your images, we’ve done the research on several website problems and WordPress plugins that can help.

1. You want more data from your website.


Honestly, who doesn’t want more analytics from their website? This is why the WordPress team created Jetpack, a free plugin that provides site stats in an easy-to-digest dashboard. In addition to the must-have insight, Jetpack crawls your site every five minutes, alerting you if any issues arise. In an era of daily cyber security threats, this added benefit is essential.

2. Your website isn’t SEO friendly. 

For every time a business owner has said “I want better SEO,” there’s been a later look of bewilderment as he/she views the overwhelming and often contradictory information about how to execute that goal. This is where Yoast SEO comes in: even if you’re not an expert, Yoast SEO helps you create more effective content and improve your SERP ranking. For example, this plugin shows you a Google search result snippet preview, so you can see exactly how your content will look when it appears in a Google search.

3. Your contact forms aren’t cutting it. 

While most WordPress themes come with built-in contact forms, it’s often better to create your own. Improve your UX with the WP Forms plugin. WP Forms’ drag and drop form builder allows you to easily create your own that can be customized for your use — ranging from contact information to payment collection. There are many plugins out there that have this functionality, but WP Forms makes it streamlined.

4. Your responsive website’s images aren’t optimized. 

If you have a responsive website, then Soliloquy is essential. This plugin creates simple image and video sliders though their pre-built templates. The media on your website tells an important story, and this plugin allows you to make the most of your photos and videos. Just drag and drop your images to begin building!

5. Your website isn’t growing your newsletter contact list. 

Do you have a recurring newsletter through MailChimp? Take your email lists to a new level with Mailchimp for WordPress! When you connect your accounts, you can increase your email subscribers through an opt-in form or add the functionality to allow your visitors to subscribe from other forms on your website, including your comment form, contact form or checkout form.

6. Your photos aren’t visually appealing. 

Envira believes you shouldn’t have to hire a developer to create a visually appealing WordPress gallery, and we couldn’t agree more! If you’re not satisfied with your website’s gallery, a plugin like Envira Gallery can make your photos look much more polished. Additionally, its responsive design and SEO-friendly features like quick loading images and image tagging make this plugin a no brainer. Even though it can be tricky to optimize photos for search purposes, Envira gallery’s features set you up for mobile and desktop success.

Do you have a plugin that you couldn’t live without? Share it in the comments!

How to Jump Start Your PR Career: Advice to New Grads

You’ve sharpened your PR skills, developed relationships and honed your copywriting craft over the last four years. Now what?

Entering the world of PR as a young professional can be daunting, but with jobs in PR expected to grow by 24 percent through 2018, there are plenty of opportunities to gain valuable industry experience from the start. While there’s no secret to success, there are tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way that can help you jumpstart your PR career. Here’s our advice for new grads:


Get Involved by Joining a Professional PR Organization

In a world where you are who you know, networking is essential.

Joining professional and volunteer organizations outside of the workplace will help build your presence in the community. These organizations provide you with the opportunity to hone in on your PR skills, while providing you with an avenue to share your knowledge with others. I joined Junior League of Miami, which is a part of the AJLI and it’s helped me network through volunteer opportunities.” said GreenRoom’s Rebecca Casamayor.

 By establishing connections and sharing your interests, you lay the foundation for a business relationship.

Not sure where to start? Ask a former internship colleague or a trusted professor.


Be Patient When it Comes to Finding the Right Position

As a fresh college graduate, you’re naturally eager and anxious to land a paying gig. However, you shouldn’t settle for just anything. Practice patience, as GreenRoom’s Dani Frank highlights here:

“Finding your first job won’t always happen in the first month, three months or even six months after you graduate. Don’t let this stress you out. Focus on finding an office you’ll be excited to show up to each day, a boss that you’ll be able to learn from and a company where you’ll have the potential to grow,” Frank said.  

In short: Look for a job that will provide you with the experience and growth opportunity that’s right for you.

Feeling frustrated during your job search because you’re not hearing back from applications? Try updating your LinkedIn profile with these tips.


Don’t be Afraid to Stand Out in Your New Position

Starting your first PR position can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that simply trying (and sometimes failing!) is the best way to grow. Make a strong first impression at your new job by taking on unfamiliar tasks and sharing your fresh ideas.

“Accept new challenges. Don’t be afraid to go all in on something you’ve never done before. In my career, I’ve done everything from mitigating international crises to rebranding a city to speechwriting for the chairman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There’s not a class in the world that would have taught me how to do any of the above. But a willingness to learn and the courage to take risks will get you far in your career,” GreenRoom’s Austin Langlois said.


Stay up to Date with PR Industry News

Although you’re not physically sitting in a classroom anymore, learning is still a top priority. As the world of PR and media constantly evolves, so must you to maintain your expert status. Not only will this help your career, but sharing insights can make you a thought leader in the industry.

“The media landscape is constantly evolving. Although you have officially graduated from college, it is important to keep your finger on the pulse by indulging in industry literature. It’s always impressive when a recent graduate is well versed on industry happenings.” Casamayor said.

Looking for outlets to utilize? Visit PR Daily, Adweek and PRSay to stay in the loop on the latest best practices.


Understand Clients Goals From the Start

While every company wants to sell its product or service, that doesn’t mean every company has the same goals.

“You have to know what your clients’ goals are. Without that, you cannot be successful,” GreenRoom’s Alex Onaindia said.

The company could have very external goals like heightened brand awareness or selling into a key market, or a more internal focus like impressing an investor or improving employee retention. Ask questions and get specific when talking with your client.

By being persistent, establishing a network, and taking risks, you’re sure to set yourself up for success. Don’t forget, every PR professional was once in your shoes, so listen and learn from their experiences.

Now that you’re ready to begin your career in PR, read our blog post Letter to Future Public Relations Practitioners to find out what a career in PR really looks like from a recent graduate.

Coachella 2017: How Brands Competed for the Crowd’s Attention

Since it first took over the desert in 1999, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has become an annual pilgrimage for music-goers during two weekends in April.

This year was no different as the attendance exceeded 125,000. With such a large audience, brands at Coachella 2017 competed with bands for the attention of the millennial crowd.

Festival sponsors including Absolut, H&M, and Marriott all vied for the interest of attendees, which included three GreenRoom team members. They share their brand marketing experiences at Coachella below.


HP’s Antarctic Dome offers a chill spot with video

With temperatures over 100 degrees in the California desert, HP gave crowds a break from the heat with its Antarctic Dome. A massive domed projection screen took guests on a visual journey in an air-conditioned, planetarium-style theater. A kaleidoscope light show was all fueled by HP technology and was a hit with the Coachella crowds.  Check out our team’s experiences and take on the Antarctic Dome:

Patrick Gevas: “Beyond the stunning visuals and thunderous sounds in the dome, it was a great example of blending the latest tech to create a truly unique experience. The AC was a welcome respite from the heat!”

Jonathan Lubic: “It was an immersive visual experience that provided the perfect addition to an already event filled festival. For 8 minutes, HP and their technology had my undivided attention. This feat in itself is impressive due to all the other acts playing at that time across the festival ground!”

Cesar Paublini: “The Antarctic Dome was one of the most astounding attractions at Coachella. It featured a 360 degree screen on the roof playing videos simulating being launched into space, it was mind blowing and something you would want to experience.”


Heineken House sets the stage for entertainment

This year, Heineken returned for another edition of its Heineken House concept. In addition to serving its signature beer, Heineken created a digital art installation where guests could enter an interactive simulation and create their own artwork using a stencil or tag a selfie with a spray can. The Heineken House featured music lineups both weekends of the festival with acts like Grandmaster Flash.

PG: “They created a very trendy place to not only get a cold beer, but enjoy the music and take advantage of fun games on the back patio.”

CP: “The music, the people and the atmosphere blended so well together that I felt like I was in a movie.”


American Express targets trendy Coachella crowd

The official credit card of Coachella created the American Express Experience where you stared in your own mini-music video. AmEx also incorporated the Coachella app in its marketing by offering AmEx customers $10 after spending $10 at the festival using the app.

JL: “What was fun about this was it had little to do, if anything, with actual American Express credit cards. In fact, it was just a fun ‘music video shoot’ that had AmEx’s name on it – certainly positioning AmEx as a fun, young brand as opposed to a bank that issues credit cards.”


GreenRoom’s tips and tricks to leave a mark at your next event

Large scale events like Coachella provide brands with opportunities to reach its target audiences with personalized brand marketing. Do you have an event coming up? Try these four tactics:

  1. Create a branded Snapchat geo-filter to elevate your presence at the event
  2. Partner with the event or festival organizer to provide branded swag for invitation or ticket send outs
  3. Offer access to your product in exchange for a branded social media post
  4. Give guests the ability to make content they can save and share on their social channels

Remember to keep it in line with the event and allow for guest personalization. Additionally, take advantage of sharing live content of the event to engage with both digital and in-person attendees.

Have you been to any music festivals or events this year? What brand marketing did you notice? Share your experience with us!

10 Chrome Extensions to Make Your Work Day More Productive

Did you know Google Chrome is the go-to web browser for all internet usage, with 41% of people using the browser in 2016?

As the internet continues to consume our daily lives, the constant feed of GIFs, videos, and social media updates can be distracting, to say the least. That’s where Google Chrome browser extensions can help. Whether you want to improve productivity or avoid spending two hours reading every article on your Twitter feed, try these 10 Chrome extensions to increase your efficiency.

1. OneTab

If you find yourself with an excessive amount of tabs open at once on a daily basis, you need this Chrome extension. OneTab converts all your tabs into a list and saves your computer memory by reducing the amount of tabs open in Chrome.


2. Boomerang

Optimize your inbox with this Chrome extension that allows you to schedule messages, track responses and set up reminders all within Gmail.


3. LastPass

Instead of remembering all the passwords for your logins, remember only one with LastPass. Use this Chrome extension to create a LastPass account and save all your usernames and passwords to auto login to your sites.


4. StayFocused

Do you sit down at your computer determined to be productive only to find yourself two hours later on social media with nothing accomplished? Stay on track with StayFocusd. This Chrome extension allows you to set limits on the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites.


5. Grammarly

There’s no excuse for bad grammar with this Chrome extension. Grammarly checks your spelling as you type and integrates within social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


6. Momentum

Create a personal dashboard with Momentum where you can craft your own to-do list and get inspired with a daily quote and photo.


7. Rapportive

Rapportive saves you time by doing the research for you. From within your inbox, this useful Chrome extension shows your contact’s Linkedin profiles, recent tweets and lets you to take notes on each contact all from within Gmail.


8. Zest

Do you need to stay up-to-date on industry news, but don’t want to take the time to visit multiple industry outlets? Enter Zest. This Chrome extension is a tab feed of the latest content and news made for marketing and PR professionals.


9. Full Page Screenshot

Don’t waste time trying to take the perfect screenshot of a specific area. Full Page Screenshot makes taking screenshots of entire websites and page elements easy and there’s no sign-up or login required.


10. Note Anywhere

If you prefer to take notes digitally, Note Anywhere is the ideal Chrome extension for you. Take notes on any page, and the notes get saved in real time so when you revisit the page, the notes are loaded automatically.


It doesn’t stop there, though. Click here to read our blog post on which five uncommon foods you should add to your daily menu to boost productivity.