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  • Vote for your favorite #CommHacks workhack

    • By jennifer
    • |
    • Thursday, May 23, 2013

    Thanks to all who submitted their workhacks to #CommHacks! Our first-ever hackathon for communications pros is over but that means that the voting is ready to begin.

    We were impressed by the lengths that some professionals go to in order to improve their efficiency and reduce the number of repetitive daily tasks. That's the kind of 1% doer effort we look for! We were inspired by our entrant's custom programs, IFTTT recipes and productivity methods. We hope that you will be too. Maybe you'll glean an idea or two on how to improve your own workflow, no matter what industry you work in.

    So, we've selected our favorites from an array of different techniques, from the very simple to the complex. We're giving away an iPad Mini to the grand prize winner plus other great prizes to four additional winners, courtesy of sponsors Postagram, Sarah's Faves and Pitch Engine

    It's time for you to vote for your favorite! And the semi-finalists are...

      1. PR score: This workhack is a free tool custom-built to analyze six areas of online PR in 60 seconds and calculate a cursory report about a client's PR.
      2. Monitor multiple Facebook pages at once (75+ in this case!) with a custom program in Google Drive. In 3 clicks, it taps Facebook's API, then updates a spreadsheet with "like" counts.
      3. When #Facebook profile picture changes, update #Twitter profile picture.
      4. Tomatoes Chrome extension for the Pomodoro technique. Install it, set it and go! You'll gain 25 minutes of uninterrupted PR work if you use it right.
      5. Automatically save Facebook photos where you are tagged in to your Dropbox folder (local computer).
      6. Keyboard shortcut: change case command for non-mouse hand.
      7. Customer interviews: set up a standard list of questions at the ready for customers who express their love for your brand. Post right away to your blog. 
      8. Productivity technique: Do what gets left undone with time quilting - short blocks of time dedicated to write more, learn a new skill or work on a passion project.
      9. Upload Instagram images to Twitter as though it's any other picture on your phone. Set it to tweet all company photos, or only those with a certain hashtag.
      10. Social posting: pre-date posts directly on the platforms for free (Facebook, TweetDeck, Google+) and then let your team review and edit before they auto-post.
      11. Keyword monitoring: a custom RSS feed with daily email that lets you keep track of all new Google search results for your brand.

      What's your favorite workhack?
      Cast your vote here!

      Voting open through Wednesday, May 29, 2013.
      Winners will be announced on May 30, 2013.

    1. First-ever virtual hackathon for communications professionals #CommHacks launches

      • By sarah
      • |
      • Friday, May 3, 2013

      I’m partnering with my team at Tracky to host the first-ever hackathon for those who work in the communications industry. We are looking for the best #workhacks you, or your team, created that either simplify or improve frequently used tasks by communications professionals.

      group hackathon
      Photo credit: TechCrunch

      Hackathons are typically associated with computer developers or those with a deep knowledge of software who gather together to collaborate on usable software. The Communications Hackathon (#CommHacks) plays off of this, but encourages virtual collaboration to improve the communications industry (and, of course, there are prizes for top honors).

      #CommHacks is live now, Thursday, May 2, 2013 and runs through Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 10pm PDT and will take place via Tracky (@Tracky). Five winners will be selected and the recipient of our favorite #workhack will get a new iPad Mini, 250 Postagram credits, top feature in our Communications #WorkHacks e-book and other honors.

      Here is a sample appropriate entry:

      Streamline the ability to monitor and respond to comments of news articles you (or a client) are mentioned in via your smartphone.

      Then, you would provide the process/instructions on how you “hacked” this together.

      There are two ways you can join in #CommHacks:

      • Use Tracky to create an improved #workhack or work flow that improves a current communications task;
      • Use a combination of other communications resources or APIs to improve a current communications task. (NOTE: If you use another product’s API, please ensure they have an Open Source License.)

      You can submit #workhacks for one, or more, of these “Areas of Need:”

      1. News
      2. Community relations
      3. Government relations
      4. Media relations
      5. Content marketing
      6. Editorial calendars
      7. Monitoring
      8. SEO
      9. Social networks
      10. Overall communications (e.g. internal, email)
      11. Wild card


      1% of doers

    2. How to get more done in less time: Sarah Evan's #Workhacks

      • By jennifer
      • |
      • Monday, February 25, 2013

      Last week our Chief Evangelist Sarah Evans (@PRsarahevans) shared her favorite #workhacks with the attendees of #SoloPR Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.

      What are work hacks? They are ways people have discovered create effective solutions to a common work problem.

      Sarah shares how to:

      • run your social editorial calendar without a spreadsheet;
      • monitor online news stories faster than 99 percent of your peers;
      • transform the way you manage media queries, including HARO;
      • and more...

      You can view her entire presentation at SlideShare


      Have your own #workhack? Share your favorite in our official #workhacks track.

      Huge kudos to Kellye Crane (@kellyecrane) and the entire #SoloPR crew on a hugely successful summit!

    3. [RECAP] How to Optimize Your Company News for Mobile, Social SEO and Visual

      • By sarah
      • |
      • Saturday, February 2, 2013

      Lisa Buyer“2012 was a big year for visual PR but 2013 will be the year that it (hopefully) grows up” says Lisa Buyer on her recent appearance on Sarah Evans’ PR Google Expert Hangout.

      Buyer started her presentation with some insightful statistics on “online newsrooms”, that is, dedicated areas within brand websites that house all company news. A recent report by MyNewsDesk cites:

      • 98% of brands report they now have an online newsroom
      • 35% say they fail to keep news up to date
      • 51% fail to present quality images
      • 29% are using video in news releases
      • 65% of brands are linking from their homepages directly to their newsrooms
      • 38% of online newsrooms are lacking functions such as categories, tagging and search

      fail to update news

      What does this all mean? It means that although online newsrooms have been embraced by brands, many are missing a huge PR opportunity by not optimizing them for search and making them visual. We are only halfway there. This is not a case of “if you build it, they will come.” Says Buyer, “We need to make it as easy as possible for journalists to find what they are looking for. Journalists use Google search as their primary source for information, so you need to make your newsroom a journalist’s dream.”

      Buyer suggests “Optimize” by Lee Odden be on every Social PR professional’s reading list and provides some invaluable tips you can use to help make your newsroom your “hub of information for Google search” including making sure all of your newsrooms’ content includes key words, titles, links, hashtags and meta descriptions. Also, “make sure not to post only PDF press releases as Google will not see them.” And, if you don’t already have an online newsroom, Buyer suggests MyNewsDesk as a simple, efficient solution.

      Make your mobile SEO sing by making your releases robust, exciting and visual. Buyer offers up several excellent platforms you should consider incorporating into your newsroom strategy including:

      Instagram - Tell your story with images instead of text, Starbucks has struck SEO gold with their Instagram posts. [link]

      Pitch Engine - Optimize press releases with images and video using this user-friendly platform that provides well designed, socially optimized templates.

      Scribe SEO - This non-intimidating platform can sit directly in Wordpress and will take your blog posts and press releases then generate keywords, provide linking ideas and even help you connect within social media networks.

      Haiku Deck - A mobile friendly presentation platform you can use to create concise, visually rich press releases and pitches from your IPad!

      By incorporating some of these simple tactics you can make 2013 a visually rich, mobilely optimized year, giving journalists what they want, making it easy for them to find it, and thus providing your clients with a fabulous competitive advantage.

      Thanks again to Lisa and to Carah von Funk for sharing these fantastic tips for our blog readers!

    4. HOW TO integrate social collaboration in your PR 2.0 strategies

      • By sarah
      • |
      • Tuesday, October 30, 2012

      Post by Sarah Evans, Tracky's Chief Evangelist

      For the past year, I’ve been on a quest to spread the word about open social collaboration and productivity and why it is the key to social media success and essential to every public relations professional. According to analysts at Altimeter Group, enterprise collaboration drives business value in four ways:

      1. Encourages sharing;
      2. Captures knowledge;
      3. Enables action; and
      4. Empowers people

      Funny – these business values directly relate to what we, as PR professionals, strive to do everyday. So, how does open social collaboration fit in?

      Get the answer and the full post here!

    5. How to Evolve Your PR with Social Collaboration

      • By sarah
      • |
      • Tuesday, October 30, 2012

      “Frequent email checkers are stressed out and removing the constant email-checking from a worker’s habits meant more focus and productivity, less stress.” This quote was extracted from a LifeHacker article entitled, "Email is like stress in a bottle, study shows."

      If you’re constantly checking email, social networks and the like, it’s tough to be productive. If you’re not productive, you probably don’t have time to effectively promote yourself. In fact, the majority of small business owners I talk to tell me they wish they had more time to promote their work and connect with customers. How can they do it with their current work flow?

      They can’t.

      In mid-July, Jennifer Gosse (@jennifergosse) and I had the privilege to speak with the attendees of Evo: the Evolution of Women in Social Media conference (@evoconf). Our four-hour training session focused on The Evolution of PR: A Culture of Collaboration, Connection and Community.

      Evo PR collaboration workshop

      Before you can work on finding time to “do better” public relations, you must let go of “busy.” For the majority of us, “I’m busy,” is our default response when someone asks how we are doing or what we’re doing. We say it so much that we no longer remember a time when we weren’t busy and we constantly feel as though we’re in a rush. Once we start the bad habit of “busy,” it takes a conscious effort to stop.

      share what you're getting done

      Instead of telling others how busy you are, focus on telling them something you’ve accomplished, or, better yet, a passion project you’re working on. Stopping the glorification of busy starts with you.

      80% work an extra day per week

      I’ll step off my “busy soapbox” now and get to the good stuff. How does social collaboration fit with public relations?

      So that we’re all on the same page, it’s important to note that, in this instance, public relations includes:

      • Community relations
      • Customer service
      • Public speaking
      • Media relations
      • Social media

      That means there are a heck of a lot of tasks related to each aspect mentioned above. Working better together with customers, peers, media and other stakeholders will determine your long term success.

      What do I mean?

      Check out Jerry Doyle. He is about to revamp his entire website so that listeners and hosts can collaborate. The new site is powered by community engagement, eliminating one-way comments. He is extending the value of comments to create community. The back end is powered by Tracky and allows him to identify “doers” and curate them into private goal-oriented groups. He’s completely changing the game with social collaboration. Giving his listeners a chance to truly interact and share potential content with others is a huge public relations win. Here’s a sneak peek of an interactive portion of his new site, under development:

      Jerry Doyle

      It’s not just about websites, though. You should have more efficient processes put in place in order to manage your PR tasks. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite social collaboration tips and tools for you here (feel free to add to the list).

      Coopetition is alive and well. Too often people think that they can’t work together mainly out of fear. Fear that someone will steal their idea, fear that the other person’s products will be more successful or other fears. I have a different view, in this case the cooperation and collaboration will ultimately benefit both of us and, more importantly, impact the lives of the most precious resource, our children. I encourage all of you to think and work collaboratively. You never know what you cook up that will change your life and the lives of others.

      Social media marketing maven Ted Rubin (@tedrubin) has coined a concept that we love: Return on Relationship (#RoR). It's about building authentic relationships with colleagues, customers and your social circle. His recent Mashable article is about brand advocacy. We love the concept of give-give as the new marketing and by building long-term authentic relationships, we can learn more from each other.

      "This give-give cycle is the new marketing. It’s important to allocate resources to building relationships with the people who believe in a brand and want to share it with their networks. Then take that from give-give and evolve it to learn-learn. That makes it sustainable.

      ...Simply honor your customer relationships, because that’s where it all starts. Build it into your culture and the DNA of your brand. Recognize the value of relationships and invest in them because true advocacy cannot be developed without them.”

      Evolution of social collaboration

      By developing a culture of collaboration you will find that you continue to do what you do, a little better. You’ll be able to do more with the people who are important to you and make better use of your time.

      Want to learn how? Email me at: sarah<at>

      Want to keep collaborating with us? You can find our Evo’12 presentation and other resources in Tracky.


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