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The News Chair

Stop Dissing and Dismissing Social Media


One day when I was working at a major metropolitan newspaper, the top editor caught me watching “The Simpsons” on company time.


Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

No, I didn’t get fired for it, or even rebuked. Turns out I was researching a story on the then-nascent phenomenon of television networks posting entire episodes on their websites and how it and streaming services like Netflix were changing the way we watch TV.


Still, I’m sure in that moment I turned around to see him looking over my shoulder, both of us briefly thought he had encountered an employee engaged in an epic goof-off.


Unfortunately, that attitude seems to prevail in many businesses, where seeing the familiar blue highlights of Facebook on an employee’s computer screen has often been perceived as broadcasting to everyone that they’re not working — even if they’re in charge of the company’s social media presence.


Get serious about social media

A recent PR conference even featured a symposium titled, “Dispel your boss’s 3 biggest fears about workplace social media.”


If companies are ever going to get serious about using social media for outreach, then this attitude has to change. While you shouldn’t be exchanging baby photos with your sorority sisters on Instagram at work, Facebook, Twitter and similar platforms are increasingly the way people connect in our society … including how many companies acquire new clients.


Connecting with customers

As marketing professionals, we’re often tasked with monitoring a client’s social media pages or making posts to them. Because of Facebook’s page admin system, you log in via your own personal page and then switch over to various identities. However, alerts about all pages to which you have administration rights keep arriving no matter who you’re “facing” at any particular moment.


So despite the oft-heard admonishment that you “don’t do Facebook at work,” I’ve actually had days where I never turned it off, running it and other social media on tabbed Web browsers all day long!


Plenty of people also connect via professional networks and group pages on LinkedIn and other platforms. They can direct each other to a particular resource or even hash through a common shared problem.


Tips for social media success

Even seemingly boring, “non-sexy” brand names have found ways to be exciting to their audience on social media. Kevin Allen at PR Daily has a helpful infographic about how even ho-hum brands like Dockers (think “Dad pants”) can project coolness.


If your business is stuck in the Neanderthal stage of social media, Carrie Morgan of the Rock the Status Quo blog has a list of three five-minute tasks you can undertake to add value to your social media status or your client’s.


They include:

  • Share releases on LinkedIn
  • Share company newsletters on Facebook
  • Comment on noteworthy articles online


Need help with your social media presence? We’re here for you!


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Give Audiences the News They Want


The word “newsroom” may give people the thought of a room of editors and reporters hustling and bustling to get the latest breaking news and convey a variety of stories to their viewers or readers via one publication or station.


Tiffany Whisner

Tiffany Whisner

When it comes to an online newsroom, however, your corporation or organization needs to make sure to focus on multiple audience interests.


It’s a one-stop-shop for ANYONE, not just the media, to learn everything they need to know about your business. So make sure all your different audiences get what they want.


Steps to building an effective newsroom

In his article, Jon Bernstein says, “Building an effective brand newsroom isn’t about creating the next big phenomenon. It’s about consistently giving an audience what it wants.”


Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Define your audience. Create a persona of your ideal customer. Every time you produce a piece of content, consider what angle best suits his or her needs.
  2. Establish an editorial proposition. Provide information that is useful and valuable to your target audience. Don’t just talk about your own brand.
  3. Find your tone of voice. Being relaxed, informal and direct works well, especially when working across multiple channels.
  4. Establish no-go areas. Define up front the subject areas you are willing to write about and those you should avoid.
  5. Be ready to react to breaking news. You must be able to publish and distribute content on the fly with skill, confidence and authority. You also must know which medium will work best.


How to design an online newsroom

Then, what are the basics that must be included in an effective online newsroom? Jackson Wightman shares some of the elements in his article for PR Daily.


  • Make media contact details obvious. There should be a person who is listed as the point of contact. This should be above the fold and highlighted.
  • Link to news releases and media coverage. This provides an out for journalists in a hurry who may not be able to speak with your company’s or client’s executives.
  • Include a media backgrounder. Have a least one backgrounder on the company and one on a new line, product or service you’re launching.
  • Include executive bios. Some press segments will want to know about the bosses. Be safe and include these.
  • Be social. Your newsroom should have clear social media links. Brands may also embed widgets to display the latest social status updates.
  • Multimedia content is a MUST! This can make or break your newsroom. Have hi- and Web-res photos, along with videos, audio recordings and logos.
  • Show off case studies. Why not show interested media how you’ve helped clients overcome their problems?
  • Display blog content on the homepage. Feature relevant, popular blogs on your newsroom homepage.
  • Make it all searchable. Media are time-crunched. They will abandon ship if they can’t find what they want.
  • Optimize around keywords. The online newsroom offers a chance to optimize content based on keywords.


If you build it, they will come

According to the 2013 newsroom report, “How the World’s Top 100 Brands Are Using Online Newsrooms to Tell Their Stories,” noted in this article by Lisa Buyer, 98 percent of brands report they have an online newsroom. But 35 percent fail to keep news up to date.


The online newsroom is a great opportunity to tap into all the quality content that can add value to media as well as potential customers and clients. And we have a team to make your online newsroom the best it can be!


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Walk with Olivia Newton-John and Colts’ Chuck Pagano!



You’re the one that I want! Star of the movie musical “Grease,” Grammy award winner Olivia Newton-John is getting her walking shoes ready for a special event taking place in downtown Indianapolis.


Newton-John will join Indianapolis Head Coach Chuck Pagano and his wife Tina to lead the Pink and Blue for Two “walk within the Mini-Marathon” on May 3.


They will take part in the Finish Line 500 Festival 5K and walk to raise awareness for Pink and Blue for Two. The Coles team is helping promote the event and the cause with Newton-John’s nephew, Emerson, a race car driver.


Pink and Blue for Two’s mission is threefold:

  • Raise awareness of both breast and prostate cancers and their similarities
  • Urge couples and family members to remind one another of annual screenings
  • Educate people on the importance of overall mind, body and spirit wellness


Coach Pagano was forced to take a leave of absence from the Indianapolis Colts after being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow cells. He beat cancer after treatment and grueling rounds of chemotherapy.


“When I was approached to take part in the Pink and Blue for Two Walk in Indy, I was honored,” Pagano said. “With the support of my family, the team and fans everywhere, I beat cancer. The Pink and Blue for Two campaign embraces that spirit.”


“I am thrilled to have Coach Chuck and his wife Tina leading the Pink and Blue for Two Walk,” Newton-John said. “We cannot think of a better Indy-based couple to lead this walk with us representing Pink and Blue. We hope the city and its loyal NFL fans embrace Pink and Blue for Two and will stand with us together to bring the desperately-needed attention to the ‘blue’ (prostate) side of the campaign.”


Want to take part in the walk and join Olivia and Chuck to raise awareness? Sign up today for the Pink and Blue for Two Walk here!


Like Pink and Blue for Two on Facebook and follow on Twitter. For more information on the organization, visit pb42.org.


Step out and join the cause on May 3, 2014. Screen Together. Live Together!




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