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.

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.

4 Crisis Communication Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid a PR Disaster

The past month has been quite a rollercoaster ride for companies like United Airlines, Pepsi, and United Airlines (again) who found themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. At GreenRoom, we thought it prudent to put together four quick dos and don’ts when faced with a crisis. In the case that Oliva Pope doesn’t pick up the phone when you call, it’s critical to have a plan, which leads me to our first piece of advice:

 

DO have a plan of execution

4 Crisis Communication Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid a PR Disaster GreenRoom Agency

With the amount of time spent planning announcements, marketing campaigns, trade show logistics, or even a vacation, the thought of having a “crisis communication” plan tends to fall to the wayside. Ensuring a designated spokesperson is prepared, and the message to media contacts is clear, having both an internal and external order of operations helps streamline conversations in the event a brand is faced with a crisis.

 

DON’T wait until the crisis comes

As you can imagine, this is easier said than done. Your day is filled with attending to pressing matters that could determine whether you hit your fiscal year’s goal, and the last thing you want to focus on is a hypothetical situation that may never occur. Generally, when corporate entities scramble, it’s very clear to the public and companies typically begin making terrible decisions. The potential snowball effect can lead to unintended consequences that prolong a crisis.

 

DO view the situation from the audiences’ point of view

4 Crisis Communication Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid a PR Disaster GreenRoom Agency

Once the crisis presents itself, take a step back and understand who is truly being affected and why. Sometimes when a company finds themselves in a crisis, the reasons aren’t always obvious, and other times it’s right in your face. Social media offers the ability to see the conversation in real time and can give perspective on the situation which can lead to a more effective and compassionate solution.

 

DON’T assume the audience is wrong or overreacting

The term “PR nightmare” exists for a few reasons and often arises out of an expectation that was amiss. Perhaps a concept was not meant to be insensitive but was perceived in a way that unleased a tornado of backlash. While it’s impossible to always know what someone will think, trying to view a campaign from a multitude of angles can avoid a misunderstanding. However, it’s always important to exercise empathy in the wake of something the public deems offensive.

 

DO move quickly

4 Crisis Communication Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid a PR Disaster GreenRoom Agency

In the PR world, timing is EVERYTHING. Whether you’re preparing a launch event and need to assure a high volume of press coverage is published or looking to secure longer-lead opportunities for a seasonal marketing initiative, it is imperative that everything is timed correctly so you don’t miss what could be a major opportunity for brand awareness. The same thing applies in a crisis situation! Once a fire starts you need to begin putting it out before it burns down a village. This is closely intertwined with preparation, so you’re not wasting valuable time bouncing ideas off one another (in an already stressful situation), and immediately begin executing your plan and mend your brand.

 

DON’T wait it out

In a world of 24-hour Snapchat Stories (or at this point, Facebook and Instagram stories), it can be very easy to assume that certain things will blow over soon enough. While that may be the case, companies that find themselves in a crisis learn rather quickly that sitting on the sideline can only make matters worse. When someone wants an answer, they want it now!

 

DO be transparent

4 Crisis Communication Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid a PR Disaster GreenRoom Agency

When you find yourself with your reputation on the line, the last thing you want to do is add fuel to the fire and give people more of a reason to be upset or distrusting. Honesty and clarity are key. Explain the situation in conversational language and paint a clear picture on how you plan to resolve the issue. There are always two sides of a story, and sometimes it takes a company explaining their side of the story to help clarify misconceptions. By not addressing the issue head on, the audience can become even more unforgiving and elevate the situation to unfixable levels. Always be honest and never mislead, which takes us to our final don’t…

 

DON’T lie

This one is a no-brainer but has been ignored in the wake of a crisis when people are not thinking clearly in tense situations. While it may seem like an easy way out, the moment it comes to light that a company lied, trust is violated, which is something consumers take quite seriously. You don’t have to take our word for it, just ask Samsung.

There is no perfect formula to resolving a crisis, as some situations can take months or even years to fix. Being prepared and having a plan of action can go a long way when you find yourself in this situation. However, if you’re a company that can do-no-wrong, there are still plenty of great reasons to hire a PR agency. Keep in mind though, there isn’t a company on this planet that is immune to a crisis, as we learned when media darling and source of nutrition for Millennials was put on the spot – I’m of course talking about Chipotle.

Do you have any crisis communication tips to share? Comment to tell us your insights!

 

4 Ways Brands Can Welcome Facebook’s Messenger Day

Facebook launched its latest Snapchat-influenced feature last month with the debut of Messenger Day. The social media platform with 1.86 billion monthly users aims to add more visual communication functionality with the new addition of stories.

Users now have access to the updated Facebook camera that allows them to overlay special effects on photos and videos, and then share content to their Facebook Stories, News Feed or with individual friends via Facebook Direct private message.

As visual storytelling becomes more integrated with Facebook and other social media platforms, brands will need to add this new function into their marketing strategies. Below are four ways brands can effectively incorporate Facebook Stories into their current social media efforts.

Today, we’re excited to introduce the new Facebook camera. We think it’ll give everyone more ways to express themselves and share what they’re up to. So from now on, you can just let your camera do the talking.

Posted by Facebook on Monday, March 27, 2017

 

 

1. Share behind the scenes content

GreenRoom

Unless you work in a highly regulated industry, content generated by employees can be equally as effective as user-generated content. Because this new feature is only available to Facebook user profiles, this is a way for brands to build awareness through employees by showing behind the scenes stories or other aspects of your brand that consumers don’t typically have access to. Keep in mind, your employees are your biggest brand ambassadors, and with Messenger Day this is made easier.

 

2. Capture and share a live event

GreenRoom blog

Do you have a trade show or industry event coming up? Use Messenger Day to share images and videos from the event. According to SEO Journal, posting content from a live event can increase engagement by 178 percent. This is a great way to expand your reach by showcasing your brand to a broader audience.

 

3. Utilize the power of brand influencers

GreenRoom Blog

Brand influencers can be major advocates for your business, and if you’ve already found influencers that connect with your audience and your brand’s values, Messenger Day can not only strengthen that relationship but also increase brand awareness with heightened exposure. Encourage your brand influencers to utilize Messenger Day as another medium to engage with your audience and test out which content resonates best.

 

4. Drive traffic to other social platforms

Are you looking to promote your new blog, website or Facebook page? Utilize Messenger Day to direct your audience to your other content sources. Promote a recent post or optimized website page with a Call to Action at the end of a Messenger Day post that directs followers to the specific content. Above all, this new Facebook feature can be utilized to promote your brand’s spectrum of content and drive traffic to specific areas.

As with any new social media feature, just because Messenger Day is new, doesn’t mean it will appeal to every audience. Test out Messenger Day with different forms of content to gauge what appeals to your audience, or if Messenger Day is a platform that’s even worth your time.

In the interim, we’ll be excited to see if and when Facebook launches Messenger Day for business pages. What are your thoughts on Messenger Day? Have you created a Facebook Story on your feed yet? Comment below to share!

5 Things We Discovered at SXSW 2017

The annual South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas was the epicenter of everything tech, film, and music related from March 10-19.

This year, speakers included former President Barack Obama, WWE Superstar John Cena, Kesha, the cast of Veep and more. In years past, SXSW wasn’t complete without the launch of an innovative app – like the unveilings of Twitter, Foursquare, and Meerkat at previous fests. But SXSW 2017 was different because it focused more on products rather than apps. Below are 5 significant takeaways from this year’s fest.

1. Health and wellness products are expanding popularity.

With all the health-centric apps utilized today, it only makes sense for more products aimed at improving wellness to hit the market. One product with this focus at SXSW was Habit, a startup selling $300 kits to help users determine the best food for their bodies. The kit provides tools for an at-home test which users take and send in to receive a personalized nutrition plan accompanied with matching meal kits.

 

2. Mattress company Casper has people talking.

SXSW wasn’t the year of the app, but rather the product and Casper is the perfect example of that. The mattress-in-a-box company utilized clever marketing to capture the attention of the SXSW crowds. They partnered with a local downtown Austin hotel and offered a daily promotion at 3 p.m. to release 20 hotel rooms for $99, which was much lower than the going rate in the area. The rooms were complete with Casper mattresses, pillows, slippers and transportation provided by Tesla. If guests wanted a bedtime story and tucked in, Casper provided that, too.

 

3. Virtual reality continues to capture the spotlight.

VR headsets captured the attention of many attendees at SXSW this year. With Sony’s announcement of the PlayStation VR headset available in October for $399 and the Meta 2 headset available for $949, VR will be more accessible as the year progresses. Would you buy a VR headset at these price points?

 

4. Companies explore digital software.

GreenRoom Agency

 

Virtual software was a staple at SXSW this year as more and more brands venture into digital solutions and offerings. One example, Shiseido, a skincare and makeup company, developed an app that virtually applies makeup in different styles, making them up for a conference call or FaceTime session.

 

5. Pandora started a premium streaming music service. 

GreenRoom Agency

Although Pandora is one of the oldest music streaming services, it’s now following its competitors lead with the launch of Pandora Premium. The $9.99 per month service allows users to listen to any song or album on demand. What differentiates Pandora Premium from others like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal? Its user base of 81 million active listeners and strong personalization features. It will be interesting to see how its competitors react. Would you be interested in trying out Pandora Premium?

For more information on SXSW, visit their website here.

 

Making the Move with PR

“Don't worry about a thing,every little

One of the benefits of working in public relations is the flexibility to live and work virtually anywhere. While moving can be daunting, the benefits of following your career are limitless. I never thought I would find myself moving away from home, but I saw an exciting opportunity to grow and move forward. After accepting my role at GreenRoom Social, I had less than a week to pack most of my life, drive from New Orleans and find a place to live. Yes, it was a bit overwhelming but it can be done, trust me! If you’ve just moved to a new city to start or continue your career, here are some tips to help you get settled:

1. Media Introductions: Remember, journalists are people too. Introduce yourself and become someone they want to work with. If you’ve just started your career or starting a new venture, be sure to introduce yourself to media contacts across all vertical markets. You never know what type of brand you’ll be working with! Cultivate relationships that will turn into possible opportunities in the future.

2. Professional Organizations: Explore what professional organizations are available in your new location. Professional networks provide a foundation of colleagues, friends and learning that can help in all assets of your professional and personal life.

3. Get To Know Your Industry: After all the moving, unpacking and settling in, take some time to actually get to know what clients you will be working with. Follow them on social media, research previous media coverage and start tracking coverage as soon as possible. Immerse yourself as much as possible in competitive brand research, dig into relevant trade publications and conduct a communications audit.

4. Social Media: From Facebook to LinkedIn, start following marquee media outlets on their social media channels. You’ll stay connected with the media and it provides an addition conversation piece.

5. Finally, just DO IT! : Make the move and create your own path. Whether you’re a recent college graduate or a veteran public relations pro, you will never know unless you take the plunge

While PR isn’t rocket science, it takes relentless, passionate and hungry professionals to move forward in this industry.

 

4 Steps to Beating Writer’s Block

write-all-the-things

A huge part of PR is writing about diverse clients, products and use case to the media. If you’re as fortunate as we are to have an incredibly interesting roster, that process is generally not too difficult. However, there are times when you’re just struggling to come up with something that persuasively articulates your point in the most effective way.  When that happens, it’s important to take a step back and regroup. Following are a few of our favorite ways to beat writer’s block:

  • 10-minute writing prompt – To help clear your mind, spend 10 minutes writing about something completely unrelated to your work. Start with a sentence like “The brick crashed through the window” and see where your mind takes you for the next ten minutes. Other starter sentences include
    • “I can’t believe it,” she said.
    • He opened the check made out in his name, and it said $1 million.
    • She hadn’t laughed that hard in months.

** A twist on this is to step away from the computer and pick up a pen and get old school with it!

  • Plug in – If your office is anything like ours, there can be a lot of noise between phone calls with journalists and clients, lively brainstorming sessions in the conference room and water cooler discussions about Jimmy Kimmel’s latest viral video. Getting out the headphones and either putting on your favorite music or just blocking out the noise can be the remedy for writing a dazzling pitch or press release.
  • Clean – The life of a PR pro often means that there are slide decks, spreadsheets, fact sheets, notes and a sea of post-it notes on your desk. Your inbox is also probably full of client and journalist correspondence, competitor’s newsletters and Google Alerts. Take a few minutes to file the physical papers and the emails you don’t need anymore. The literal and figurative “clean house” will also let you approach your writing with a clear mind.
  • Chew gum. Yep, it’s science.

Happy writing!

Demos Do It – Keeping it Fresh on the Floor

CES Trade Show Demo

This isn’t your grandma’s “wear comfortable shoes and bring business cards” post about a tradeshow floor! We’ve been logging some miles around the country recently, and have watched two very distinct scenarios unfold. One is an engaging booth that always seems to be full, and the other is the group that puts forth an effort, but can’t hold an audience.

The cause of the breakdown seems simple, but so many often miss it due to siloed thinking, or an inability to listen to their audience. What separates an average booth from a great experience at a tradeshow is the how the demo is done. The exhibitor that has a great booth understands the product just as well as he or she understands the audience and accommodates them accordingly. By asking questions of the attendees and then showing how the product seamlessly fits into their lifestyle or activity will make a fan (and a new customer!) faster than any slick video reel or tradeshow giveaway. Even better, converting a naysayer into a fan by proving how the product can fit into their life is one of the strongest testimonials a brand can get from a show floor.

So, while you’re prepping for your next show, make sure you understand your audience as well as you understand your product and be ready to modify your demo accordingly. And, of course, wear comfortable shoes and bring business cards…