The Most Social-Savvy Emmy Awards Ever?

Emmys 2014
Emmys 2014

Last night marked the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and whether or not you laughed at Seth Meyers’ jokes, got teary-eyed during Billy Crystal’s tribute to Robin Williams (R.I.P. Robin) or chuckled at Gwen Stefani’s mispronunciation of the Colbert Report (Colberg anyone?), the real highlight of the show was following along on social media.

Big-time award shows like the Oscars and Emmys have become less conservative and more conversational in recent years, and this year’s Emmys was no exception. While the awards show didn’t have a big social media moment like the famous Oscar selfie with Ellen DeGeneres, the Emmys did step up its social media game with activations like the following:

Exclusive content: Leading up to the Emmys, fans were treated to rehearsal footage and backstage sneak peaks of preparation for the show, using the @LateNightSeth social handles.

Vine 360 Station: The Today Show’s Vine 360 cam gave celebs a chance to take a spin and show off their red carpet looks. The clips were posted on the show’s social media accounts. Check it out here.

Facebook Selfie Station: Facebook and NBC partnered to give famous faces the opportunity to stop by the station and capture a quick selfie while making their way down the red carpet. You can check out their selfies on the NBC Facebook page.

Facebook Mentions Box: You may have seen “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush lugging around the Facebook Mentions Box, a device allowing celebrities to answer questions from fans. Stars shook the box like a Magic 8-Ball and answered a random question using the device's camera. Check out this example from Jason Biggs on the “Access Hollywood” Facebook page.

Twitter zipline camera: Twitter used the Emmys to debut a Twitter-branded zipline camera featuring red carpet and pre-show footage, used by “Access Hollywood” and posted on NBC’s official Vine and Twitter pages, giving fans a bird’s-eye view of glammed up stars.

Official Twitter correspondent: Twitter also brought on comedian Retta from “Parks and Recreation” to share snippets from the evening in 140 characters or less. You can check out her hilarious insights here and here.

Twitter GIFbooth: Twitter also created a GIFbooth to capture backstage moments and celeb reactions to the awards.

The increased incorporation of social media into awards shows like the Emmys has allowed fans more access than ever before to one of Hollywood’s biggest nights, from the rush of the red carpet to backstage musings. At any point in the evening, viewers had a chance to actively engage with the show in real-time, which is what social media is all about, right?

By the way, in case you missed the Emmys, here’s a short list of some of my favorite moments from the show:

Were there other buzz-worthy moments at the Emmys or on social media? Tweet us: @CuratorPR!

Disruption vs. Assimilation

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For years in the marketing world we've talked about effective campaigns as those that have the ability to be disruptive. I read an article in the New York Times recently on marketing through Facebook that talked about, among other things, seeking to create a "thumbstopper," which is an ad that is so arresting it stops the user from mindlessly scrolling through their feed. I get it. And I can appreciate the thinking. But, I disagree. The world we live in is deafening with marketing messages and people are being hit from a multitude of channels and grassroots executions. Creating something that stops someone in their digital or real world tracks can make sense on the surface. There is value in disruption, but only if the objective is an impression. If the objective is ultimately true, sustained engagement with a brand or a sale at the cash register—and, of course it always is—then the ultimate measure of effectiveness should not be disruption, but assimilation.

The most effective campaigns should create marketing that actually understands the customer's pain point and delivers a helpful solution. The marketing should assimilate that brand into their consumer's life.

The Real Housewives of Orange County are disruptive. They create a hell of a lot of talk value and it's hard to change the channel when they're on. But there's nothing there beyond an impression. No value. It's a car accident on the side of the road. Shock value is a short-term hit. Seeking disruption in marketing is the same thing. I believe it's about developing programs that are creative enough to capture an individual's attention, but lives in a place where they see immediate value so as to assimilate the brand into their lives. It's what we hang our hat on at Curator.

Agree or disagree? Hit me up on Twitter @battishill or @curatorpr and let's talk.

A Three-Piece Typography Starter Kit

Being that most of our written communication is comprised of type, I think it behooves just about everybody to get a little basic break down of typography. Understanding just a few principles can really help you to make your presentations, agendas or your family's holiday update letter to feel more professional and to look nicer. It's not just about looking sleek: paying attention to your type can actually help you to get your points across more clearly. Better still, everything I'm going to talk about you can do in Microsoft Word. Best of all, I won't even get all completely technical type-nerdy on you.

My starter kit for killer typography boils down to just three umbrella rules: 1. Be Context Aware 2. Create Contrast 3. Go Simple So ditch the 12-point Times New Roman and let's try something fun!

1. Be Context Aware The most important thing to recognize in selecting a font is how it will be used and what message the words in that font will impart. Consider the level of impact you want each item to have, what sort of mood you want to convey. This infographic section has a pretty simple breakdown of different categories of fonts (or typefaces, if you do want to get technical).

typebymood

 

Another thing to be aware of is readability. Always make sure to set body copy in a legible, clean font. Serif fonts are generally easier to read for lengthy bodies of text, which explains why most books are set in serif fonts. However, for any broken-up text boxes or block-text the length of – oh-let's-just-say – a cover letter, a crisp sans serif can also make a legible and engaging impact. Furthermore, people tend to err on the side of picking fonts that are larger than necessary. Twelve-point is kind of a default in Word, but when printing, I almost never print body copy at more than 10-point, frequently going as small as 7-point or 8-point (it helps to add a bit of space between lines to increase legibility). If your body text is that small, you probably don't need huge headings either–just enough difference to be understood as different types of information. The rules are a little different on screen though; things need to be a bit bigger, which usually means using type that that's about the size you would normally expect to use anyway.

2. Go Simple There are loads of resource sites (Check out Font Squirrel, Google Fonts, and The League of Moveable Type for starts.) where you can get free fonts that range from highly practical and useful additions to your library, to exciting-and-fun fonts that can look a bit ridiculous if overused. Don't overdo it; be sparing with all the crazy-cool decorative fonts to punch up the overall feel of whatever you're making. Think of decorative fonts like neon: a great fashion accent, but it takes a real fashionista with a wild streak to pull off a whole outfit. For example, the largest headers or the title work well with creative fonts being that they are short and surrounded by extra space, but I wouldn't recommend applying them to subheadings–that can get overpowering and illegible (and for the love of Eric Gill, never set paragraphs in script).

The key point of maintaining simplicity is to limit yourself to two or (as needed) three typefaces in a document. One to two of these should typically be very utilitarian and legible, while the other can be a little more expressive in terms of mood. If you don't know what to think about a particular font, search up some reviews. Designers are typically very vocal online, sharing resources and opinions steadily.

3. Create Contrast

The last step is to consider how to create variety in your document. It's helpful to establish something of a hierarchy of information. Different parts are assigned different levels of importance or relate to different elements. The best way to differentiate and help readers quickly ascertain what relationships exist between different pieces of written information is to use different fonts. Think of all the different types of information you might have: headers, subheaders, body, contact info, captions, quotes, time schedules– it's a lot of different things. But didn't I just caution against using more than 2-3 typefaces? Well, sure, but it's all about how you treat them.

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/03/graphic-content-typonine/?_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=design&_r=0

A single typeface, particularly a good one, has a lot of breadth. You can use it in all capitals or small caps; italic or bold. Many typefaces have ultra-light or ultra-black weights in their indexes. Capitalize on them! As always, size and scale are other ways to create contrast within a document, but if you can treat the scale with more subtlety and work different weights and complimentary type pairings instead, you'll find you have a more sophisticated final product. When choosing your typefaces, the trick is too make sure that they not only aren't too similar,  but that they also compliment each other. Usually, pairing a sans serif and a serif will work in your favor, but there are some handy pairing guides (herehere, and also here) that I've enjoyed and made use of to help you start. It's a commonly held belief that typography is such a utilitarian element of communication that it doesn't necessarily need to be original so much as it needs to be good. So feel free to seek out and employ precedents. A final helpful way to create contrast is to find different ways of breaking up text. Use columns or pull quotes to add variety to your reader's flow. As we all know, nobody really likes to look at long monotonous documents so the more points of interest, the easier to engage people with content(cue the guffaws at my ultimate failure to provide such things in this post).

Now if you've made it this far, you're basically qualified to take on my internship (That's everything: my entire design BA in a blog post). If you're nerdy enough to still be curious, check this out because it will make you smarter and cooler almost immediately. I wish you all Garamondspeed in your future day-to-day typographic endeavors.

The Three C’s of Curator: A Year in Review

Time definitely flies. With this week marking my official one-year anniversary with Curator, I’m taking a look back at the key components I’ve observed over the last year that make Curator such a unique place to work. Check out my “Three C’s” of Curator below! Culture

Curators with their Jawbone UP bands

 

One thing that sets Curator apart is the emphasis on culture within the agency. Curator’s culture is that thread of camaraderie that ties us all together.

Over the last year, I’ve learned that Curator likes a little friendly office competition. Whether it’s Bachelor and Bachelorette brackets in which we pit hopeful contestants against one another on their journey to find love on TV (and hope that our contenders are victorious), Oscars Ballots in honor of one of the biggest nights in Hollywood (which by the way, resulted in an epic selfie, which I discussed in my last blog post) or our current running March Madness bracket, Curator is all over it. And then there’s Curator’s summer outing, which helps us all connect as team members and celebrate our hard work over the last year. There were a lot of “I’m on a boat” references last year. There’s also a cultural focus on health and wellness. Last fall, all Curators received Jawbone UP bands to help us track our steps, sleep levels and what we eat. The bands also provide reminders like alerting us that it’s time to get up and move around, which is an especially helpful reminder for those times we’re sitting at our desks focused on turning out great work. I admittedly get little reminders that I need to sleep more … I’m working on it. But beyond the Bachelor brackets and summer outings, there is an underlying culture of success. From the way we communicate with clients to the manner in which we ideate and support each other on account work, culture permeates all aspects of Curator.

Content

Fashion Valley showcasing Spring trends on Wake Up San Diego

 

We learned in Brooke’s recent post that content is queen, while customers are king. Merging high quality content that makes sense for your brand with what your customers want is what Curator strives for. We love to tap into the social conversation when it is organic to your brand. When working with Simon Property Group, that often means tapping into fashion trends, seasons and the pop culture fodder of the moment, through events, press announcements, photo shoots and more.

Throughout my time working with Fashion Valley in San Diego, we have worked with local broadcast stations to create interesting and fun content meant to bring awareness to the fashions, gift options, entertainment and events available at the center. Our segment topics have run the gamut, from New Year’s glam to Spring styles, and fall fashion shows to appropriate attire for Opening Day at the Del Mar Racetrack.  The content is stylish, fun and personifies the caliber and variety of choices that Fashion Valley brings to its shoppers, while tying into the trend or theme of the moment. Check out our latest Oscars-themed segment here.

Creativity

Villa Group on The Ellen DeGeneres Show's 12 Days of Giveaways

 

Creativity is another aspect that is inherently infused into the work Curator does. Curator strives to deliver smart, thoughtful and effective campaigns that allow the brands we work with to reach their audiences in innovative ways. “Will Vote for Food” on behalf of Whole Foods Market and LiveLifeLocal on behalf of Safeco Insurance are excellent examples of the thinking Curator puts behind our clients. You can read up on those two campaigns here.

During the holiday season particularly, brands face strict competition in capturing the attention of consumers. With consumers being bombarded with countless brand messages, how can brands garner attention during what is a peak period in the year? During my time with Curator, we grappled with this challenge for our client Villa Group, which owns a handful of top-flight all-inclusive hotels and luxury resorts in Mexico. One way we were able to capture widespread consumer attention was through a partnership I helped forge with The Ellen DeGeneres Show during one of her highest rated episodes of the year, the 12 Days of Giveaways. Audience members are over the moon to be a part of this show, as are brands. On Day 10 of Ellen’s 12 Days of Giveaways, we were able to provide 4-night stays at either of two of the Villa Group’s gorgeous properties, Villa del Palmar Cancun and Garza Blanca Preserve and Resort in Puerto Vallarta for all audience members. In return, the Villa Group was able to be associated with the number one daytime talk show in the nation. The result was phenomenal exposure for the brand.

As I embark on year two with Curator, I look forward to new and exciting adventures within the Three C’s, and beyond.

The Art of the Pitch

Here at Curator, we wear many hats every day, but the one we probably wear most is media relations. Pitching traditional media and bloggers is something we do on a daily basis, and the success of our campaigns usually hinges on the breadth and depth of the coverage we are able to secure. Some of us pitch the same people on a more regular basis, while other times we need to explore a different market or just expand our contact list for a new client. The art of the pitch is something probably hundreds of bloggers, media and PR professionals have written about over the years, but I believe it is ever changing. While their might be a lot of universal “don’ts,” I don’t believe there is one singular “right” way either.

With so many brands and companies pining for the media’s attention, the importance of building relationships and establishing a good rapport is much greater. Every email and phone call should be thought of as that one shot to get it right, because let’s be honest, if the first point of contact turns them off, the next email is likely to end up in the Trash folder before it’s even opened, or worse, the person asks to be removed from “the list.”

So, that all said, instead of using this post to share just my own learning’s, I went straight to the source, or rather, sources. I reached out to a handful of bloggers, media and peers to get a wide perspective on what, today, seems to be working and not working when it comes to pitching.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first, shall we? If you’re guilty of doing any of the following, stop it right now!

I laugh when I get those e-mails that begin Dear <insert name> or Hello Mommy Blogger. It may take a few extra minutes (or in the case of a mass mailing, an hour), but using my name and personalizing the e-mail goes a LONG way. - Zippy Sandler, Champagne Living, @zipporahs

I dislike interns that aren't communicating with each other, with the owner. I once received the same proposal, word for word, 5 different times from 5 different interns from a handbag line that I already had a relationship with, specifically with the owners. Frustrated, I put them on the back burner. It also sucks, for lack of a better word, when you build a relationship with a particular brands PR girl and after a year or 2, say she moves on to another job and all of a sudden you never hear from the company again. It's like, hello? Where's the courtesy email? When you spend time advertising, building a relationship and then your contact leaves so you're dropped is a tad unprofessional, annoying. – Vanessa Grannis, Shopping Saving & Sequins, @ShopSaveSequins

PR people assuming I write about baby and toddler items just because I'm a mom (I don't). Lengthy old school press releases; e-mails with a one-line personalized intro, 3-5 quick bullet points, then a call to action if I'm interested at the end is all you need. Also: please lose the "we can send high res images upon request." line. – Marlynn Schotland, Urban Bliss Life, @UrbanBlissLife

One of the challenges that I face with a lot of PR reps that prospect me is that they ask for my services, whether it be reposting, styling, or writing about product and they expect us bloggers to do it for free. This is one of the biggest challenges that us bloggers that particularly don't have thousands and thousands of followers face on a daily basis. – Bay Area fashion blogger

We would have to say of all the PR pitches we receive, our number one pet peeve would have to be press releases that are made out to sound like invitations. "Join us," "We welcome you to experience," only to read to the bottom where ticket prices are listed. – Jeremy & Adrian, The Food Gays, @FoodGays

My biggest pet peeve is when I get what I know is a blanket pitch about something that has absolutely nothing to do with my beat or something that doesn't relate to Seattle at all. As a city magazine, I really don't cover anything that isn't Seattle-related and it starts to really grate on my nerves when my inbox is filled with meaningless pitches. It just wastes everyone's time! – Ali Brownrigg, Style Editor of Seattle Mag and Editor of Seattle Bride Magazine, @Ali_Brownrigg

Pitches that are totally 2009 - like this one I got the other day: "Being able to give prizes to your readers is definitely one of the perks of being a blogger. It’s a super fun way to create excitement on your blog and interact with your visitors." And these people wanted me to turn around a giveaway and facilitate prizing in about 20 hours!? This leads to my next pet peeve: assuming I have nothing to do and no editorial planned and want to jump at the last minute to promote someone else's contest (please retweet, etc.) – Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit, YoYoMama, @yoyomamadotca

Now, if you’re already doing any of the below, give yourself a high-five right now. These are the things people have found success with, and are also preferences heard straight from the horses mouth.

I want original content that helps my blog stand out and remains true to my brand voice, so if a PR company is excited about new ways of presenting their product to my audiences, it usually makes for a more long-term relationship and we build that trust working together on fun, unique customized campaigns. I like it when PR people are honestly excited about the brand they are pitching. It's very obvious when they're not, and that makes it hard for me as a blogger to get excited about it. -– Marlynn Schotland, Urban Bliss Life, @UrbanBlissLife

I really like when PR firms and brands take the time to see if my blog is a fit for their pitch. Though I am a lifestyle blogger, there are clear things I write (or don't write about.) – Jess Estrada, Fresh Jess, @JessEstrada

I really like it when I can tell that a company or brand has actually read my blog and wants to work on creative ways to reach my readers. My best sponsored content ends up being content that works with my blog and subject area-- not just a brand feature. – Jenni Bost, A Well Crafted Party, @jennibost

Personalization! Also give me option to brainstorm how to share their content in a relevant way to my readers rather than regurgitating information. - Brooke Andersen, Just B, @Brookeandersen

Use social media. I literally stalk writer's twitter to see what they're up to and what they're interested in. And some magazines, like Cosmo stream their weekly pitch meetings on the Internet, so I like to try and watch. – Ani Istanboulian, Account Executive at Dog and a Duck

I love it when a brand or rep spells out exactly what is expected. Yes, I still write in my own voice, but if I know that you want the words "Lovely Lollies" linked, I'm more than happy to do that...just let me know. Send me your client list; if I'm working on something that might be a great fit, I can let you know. You may be looking for the same thing at the same time. - Zippy Sandler, Champagne Living, @zipporahs

My #1 tip probably is to be personable and customize pitches for people based on your relationship with them. On top of that is work really hard to build relationships with them. – Sarah Goehri, Account Executive at Porter Novelli Seattle

It’s easy to get lazy, but a little research often leads to long –term and brand advocates, not even because they love the brand, but more so because they get along with you. – Jenny Savage, Account Executive, Webber Shandwick

LOVE it when a brand or rep wants to develop a relationship, and not just a "will you do this for me" (from PR) or "will you send something to me" (from blogger). Some of my dearest friends have come from PR/blogger relationships. An e-mail that says, “Hi, how are you doing (no agenda)" works WONDERS. I may have something in the works and have TOTALLY forgotten that you represent brand that would be a great fit for my cruise article and I am instantly reminded to ask if you'd have something that you'd like included. – Zippy Sandler, Champagne Living, @zipporahs

Developing a relationship always makes pitching easier. Try to personalize each pitch and then send thank you notes after the story runs. – Kelley Tarzian, Media Relations Manager for Macy’s

I think the list for both do’s and don’ts could go on and on, but these are some great reminders and lessons for those new to the pitching game. My final two cents on the matter is: when in doubt, make a friendly introduction and ask what that person’s preference is. They’ll probably be relieved you’re asking and it will save you both time and energy, which we all know is sensitive to begin with.

Have a great success story, or learned something the hard way? Share the knowledge with us at @CuratorPR.

You Like Me. Right Now, You Like Me!

via mullerover.com Sally Field is often misquoted when people refer to her 1984 Academy Awards Best Actress acceptance speech. Rather than the oft-heard “You like me. You really like me,” Field actually said “You like me. Right now, you like me!” (proof)

When it comes to Facebook and liking, “right now” is the operative word (rather words).

You see, over the past several months, we’ve been noticing shifts – some lightning fast and others glacial – in what advertising or promotional tactic works best on the world’s largest social network when it comes to growing fans. Right now, the answer seems to be Like Ads.

For much of 2012 and the early part of 2013, Promoted Posts were King. Companies that manage their profiles well were taking their best content and paying to promote it to a wider audience than their existing fan base. The theory was that this content – if written well and using a good image – would be well received enough to turn these potential fans into real ones. And it worked.

Then it stopped working. First slowly, then more dramatically. We saw accounts that were gaining 100 new fans per week drop to 10 with the same budget and same fun, pithy content. Clearly, something changed and, as a result, we needed to, as well.

What to do? Facebook’s advertising platform and myriad ways of reaching its members continues to evolve, and mid-year, Like Ads – true to their name – stood out as the new champion of driving new folks to Like a page. That 90% drop in Promoted Post performance was completely reversed and then some. In fact, we’ve seen some clients spend less on Like Ads today than they were on Promoted Posts in their heyday, and they’re seeing 15-20% better page growth.

The other important thing to remember about Like Ads is that now, with all these new folks coming to your page, it’s even more critical to provide regular, fresh content, a good cover image, and strong relationship-building commentary with fans. The more people who come (as a result of those Like Ads), the more brands have to do to make sure their legions of fans stay connected.

Again, though, “right now” is the operative word, and it’s a word of caution.

When it comes to social media, there’s no such thing as autopilot. What works today may not tomorrow, and it’s imperative for brands to not only monitor the performance of their pages and profiles, but also to analyze the data they get back and react and optimize accordingly. Success in social media is not a given or a one-tactic show. It comes from smart planning, hard work, a quick-response mindset, and knowing which tools to implement and when.

So, when someone within your organization asks you, “Do you think we should be running Like Ads?,” after doing some more research, the conversation you should have should start with “Right now…”

(Author’s Note: Facebook has many tools for many different needs. While this particular article focuses on the goal of driving page Likes, your goals may differ and other tools may be needed. In all cases, it’s best to understand your objective and then look for tools that can help best achieve those objectives.)

Curator News Feed: August 9, 2013

We've got a little bit of everything this week--from shark attack suits to the latest Mumford and Sons music video, plus some new social media news that we're kind of geeking out about (what else is new?). Happy Friday, all!

Credit: Fast Company

Facebook Rolls Out New Story ‘Bumping’ FeaturePR Daily. We’ve seen Facebook struggle to remain relevant in the midst of new social platforms coming into play now more than ever before. According to PR Daily, one way to appeal to their audience is to update what users see in their newsfeed. This week’s latest Facebook announcement shares that now Facebook will be “bumping” old content to the top of news feeds. The change could have a fairly dramatic impact on sponsored posts if it means that non-sponsored posts will actually gain more visibility. The remedy for this from PR Daily? Keep producing quality content and it will always beat out the rest of the Facebook noise. -- Annie

Mumford and Sons stand in performers, Mashable. What do you get when you combine great music with great comedy? This music video. I won’t spoil the surprise by going into detail here, but suffice it to say, if you like Mumford and Sons and SNL (and what’s wrong with you if you don’t?), this music video will make your day. -- Matthew

Twitter Partners with Datalogix to Track When Tweets Lead to Offline Sales, TechCrunch. Quantifying fast and hard ROI from a single Tweet or Facebook post is a constant stumbling block for a lot of brands on social media. Finally, we may have the answers we've been looking for. My favorite fact from this article: "Brands’ organic tweets drive sales. There was an 8 percent sales lift among users who saw a brand’s organic (i.e. unpaid) tweets versus those who didn’t, and the lift was three times greater if they saw five or more organic tweets." -- Megan

Announcing Instagram 4.1, Instagram Blog. Instagram announced big news this week with an app changing feature for allowing media uploads for video. This change opens up endless possibilities for existing users and brands to utilize video more. Some concerns might be is to whether this will turn Instagram into just a media outlet rather than a place of creativity? Or better yet, what feature do you think Vine will come out with next to compete? -- Brooke

Can this Surf Gear Prevent Shark Attacks?, Co.Design. Besides deterring Jaws, I think these wetsuit and surf boards designs are pretty cool. I wonder if wearing one while watching Shark Week from my couch will make me less scared. -- Maria

Why Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Bought the Washington Post, The Week.  I have long revered the Washington Post. Growing up, Katharine Graham, Bob Woodward and Carl Berstein were heroes in my eyes. This week, I was completely surprised to read the news that Jeff Bezos purchased the D.C. institution. I’ve read almost everything I can get my hands on to understand what the heck is going on. This was a great article sharing five credible theories behind the buy. Based on the letter Bezos wrote to Washington Post employees, I think big things are on the horizon. He writes, “Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there.” -- Ann Marie

5 Startup Founders Reveal Their Best Company Culture Tips, Mashable. Here at Curator we understand the importance of having a strong and thriving culture. Ours is much like a family, with established traditions and shared values that we all contribute to. As we continue to grow and evolve in our work, that brings opportunity to reflect on where we've been and reevaluate where we'd like to keep heading. I really enjoyed reading this article because I think we can always learn from others' experiences and I love that some of our cultural foundation is shared with other brads and companies that we admire. What's your favorite takeaway from these culture tips? -- Chelsey

The Channel Is Where You Make It

Curator PR

We’ve talked for years about the “changing media landscape.”  The question in my mind is whether that shift has become so pronounced as to declare traditional news channels irrelevant? 

In the last few days, President Obama has appeared on "The Tonight Show," and conducted online chats with Amazon.com and Zillow.com audiences.  Compare that with a stat I heard this morning on NPR that the president has only given one interview to the New York Times in the last three years and hasn’t sat down to give a one-on-one to the Washington Post in four years.  Clearly the president’s communication team believes they can reach more of an audience—and have a more unfiltered conversation—through these new “news” channels. 

When was the last time you caught the 5 p.m. TV news?  When was the last time you checked your Facebook feed?

Is it more relevant to you that a house burned down 25 miles from yours and a reporter is showing it from four angles or that your friend on Twitter shared news about a new bakery in your neighborhood?

What do you care about? At Curator one of the questions we ask ourselves as we ideate is whether or not a consumer will really care about the idea – how will it make them look to their social media audience if they “like” a post and what that says about their personal brand.  Do you care about what traditional news channels report in large measure?  From a marketing standpoint our concern has to be where the audience is and if traditional news channels are not providing the type of content that maintains the attention of a group of consumers we have to look elsewhere.  So when the president wanted to talk about housing in America his communication team choose Zillow to reach an audience focused on buying or selling a home. Makes sense.

Last week we purchased an old Seattle P.I. newspaper box from a store in SoDo called Second Use.  They had pallets of them. It’s a striking image of the decline of traditional news media.

We’re going to put an iPad in the box window and show our reel – we like the "old media meets new" metaphor. 

Credit: BGR.com

The New York Times isn’t going away and neither is local news or the Washington Post (We’re very interested to see what Bezos does with the Post.) There is definitely a place for traditional news – even in this new environment, and we’d be foolish as communication professionals to dismiss them.

So the question I ask myself is how we prioritize these channels as it relates to marketing.  As we talk about the new media landscape the options to reach and interact with a consumer expand even beyond social media channels and bloggers.  The “channels” are endless.  Amazon.com and Zillow became channels.  A channel today can live anywhere your consumer is – anywhere.  This is liberating news for creative communication companies. All that matters is that we make a connection.  What are some of the channels you’re using to do this for your clients?

They Say it’s Your Birthday

Curator PR

It’s my birthday next week, and birthdays are one of those times that you get to be the person that everyone is thinking of. At whatever scale, friends, family, and co-workers are thinking of ways they can make the birthday person’s day better, happier, easier, and more fun—in other words, people are most compassionate on a birthday. This is how I think PR folks should think about pitching media.

It’s no secret that reporters are frustrated. If you’ve ever joined me in the search for “how to reach out to journalists with a media pitch,” you know the result is a long list of all capped, “DON’T’s, NEVER’s, and PLEASE’s.” Reporters speak out about specific annoyances, and they feel like the neglected birthday kid. You know, the one that’s never had a surprise birthday party thrown for them. Reporters want to be respected and valued for their expertise and talent, not just looked at as a tool to publicize our clients. We’ve all got deadlines and pressure, so it’s easy for PR folks to focus on themselves, their own story, and agenda. Too often PR professionals are trying to throw their own party.

Here’s how to make a reporter feel like it’s their birthday:

Act like the reporter is your best friend

Just like you wouldn’t serve a traditional birthday cake to your Gluten-free friend, consider how you may insult a reporter by sending an irrelevant pitch. You can show reporters compassion by knowing their expertise, learning their interests, and understanding their style. We’ve got tons of tools to access people just by knowing their first and last name. Aside from reading recent articles or their blog, check out their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. People often tweet about personal interests and LinkedIn is a great way to learn about past work.

Give them what they want

We all know not to gift the friend living in Manhattan a pair of hiking boots, even though she is visiting Seattle soon and you plan to convince her that Mount Si is the best place on earth. You want that, she doesn’t. When crafting a pitch, think about what the reporter wants, which is ultimately to get promoted or great reviews from their boss. Great reporters are known as a source for breaking news or a new perspective on old news, so pitching a unique angle or offering an exclusive interview is what reporters want. PR folks can also help by providing great content. A lot of news outlets are understaffed, and so if you share photos or video, it opens up a chance for reporters to cover the story when they otherwise may not have had time.

Walk a mile in their shoes

You can’t effectively throw a surprise birthday party at 3:00 p.m. on a Friday, if the person of honor gets off work at 5:00 p.m. A reporter’s day is bombarded by hundreds of emails, most of which they can’t read, because from 9-5, they’re gathering information for another story. The busiest point in the day is the hour or two leading up to their deadline, which is usually 5:00 p.m. Make a strong and brief point, and only do it one time to make the most of a reporter’s time. Most reporters check their email at the start of their day, so it’s helpful to send them then. Time constraints make using the phone an annoying interruption, so only use it when a reporter has already committed to your story and needs information from you.

Reporters see the above points as obvious insights, which make actions that contradict them seem even more offensive. When compassion is applied, it can mean the world, and can also mean coverage for your client. 

Nordstrom Styles a Conversation with Designer Preview Event

Seattle is home to several curator brands – organizations that create products, services or experiences that stand up to the conversation of the marketplace. These brands curate and participate in the conversation, whether that’s happening on the street, through social media posts and updates or unfolding in the media. Nordstrom is a fantastic example of a curator brand. Just last week, our office was chatting about Nordstrom’s decision to integrate Pinterest with its in-store shopping experience. The brand made news when it gave a nod to the conversations and activity happening among the more than 4.5 million followers on Pinterest. Now, shoppers in 13 Nordstrom locations will see Pinterest icons, noting “most pinned” products. We loved this idea.

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the Nordstrom Designer Preview. Each year, Nordstrom showcases top designers’ Fall collections in a highly produced runway event benefiting the Seattle Art Museum. As I sipped my Glamourtini and soaked in the sunset view from the Pier 91 location, I marveled at how Nordstrom had carefully scripted the evening to provide participants opportunities to create conversations around their brand. Before the models took to the runway, they invited Lawren Howell, Vogue’s West Coast Fashion Editor, to share 5 highlights from the Fall runway shows in London, Paris, Milan and New York. Did you know that coats are the new handbag? Neither did I, but I felt an urge to reach for my phone and tweet out some newly learned fashion nuggets. They even provided me with a hashtag to do so -- #NordstromxVoguePromos.

Gorgeous Gucci on the runway.

After the show, guests were invited to browse the Pop-Up Store, and try on looks straight from the runway. Snap a selfie in that amazing coat with feathers? Yes, please! While I didn’t see any Pinterest icons throughout the evening, Nordstrom produced a flawless event that inspired me to share my experience not just with my friends at the event, but to post my favorite looks on Facebook and Instagram, tweet news of my great seat (row 1!) to friends and family and make a Vine of the fabulous people watching. Friends who weren’t even in the same state commented on my favorite Gucci dress. My mom, who had joined me a few years ago, messaged me that hoped to come back next year. And a few people even ooh’d and ahhh’d over my sweet row 1 seat (row 1!). Thanks for sparking such a fun conversation, Nordstrom.