Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A career roadmap for millennials and Gen Z

This article was originally published on PR Daily in June 2016. 

Millennials are more than 80 million strong and growing.

They enter the workforce at increasing rates and comprise the largest age demographic. Their foothold in public relations will continue to solidify as older generations, like baby boomers, retire.

Let’s not forget about Generation Z. Though most of these youngsters are in school, they harbor high ambitions and career aspirations.

These two generations were born in the digital age—and will be an asset to the many PR and marketing agencies heading down that path.

RELATED: How to attract (and keep) a millennial workforce.

To get these future PR pros started, here are some old-school career tips that are still applicable:

1. Define your vision.

Begin with a dream or vision of success before you enter the workforce. Be bold, think big and be specific. Tailor your career goals with definitive steps in a hierarchy of achievement.

2. Build bridges.

Obtaining the academic and professional knowledge to launch oneself in a competitive marketplace is only the start. Finding good mentors to help you learn and advance is critical.

3. Think big.

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams. Dare yourself to take risks. Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith. Do so while you’re still young.

4. Remember the three P’s.

Perseverance, positivity and personality all go a long way toward success. Don’t invent reasons why you can’t achieve your professional goals. Don’t talk yourself out of career success before even trying. Be positive, personable and perseverant.

5. Network, network, network.

No, that's not a typo. It's analogous to saying in real estate, location, location, location. The same applies to career advancement and networking. It’s not only important to work harder and smarter with cutting-edge technology, but also to embrace key professional relationships through networking.

David B. Grinberg is an independent writer and strategic communications advisor with 20 years in the White House, Congress and national news media. Connect with him on Twitter, Medium, beBee and LinkedIn . A version of this article originally appeared on BeBee and  LinkedIn.

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from PR Daily News Feed

How to drive content engagement on every platform

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew the exact content your audience craves?

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from PR Daily News Feed

Buyer / Seller Dashboard with Notifications and Calendar?

From Fred Glick:

I am wondering if you know of any system for documents for a transaction where the buyers/sellers, etc. have a dashboard that they can look at in addition to calendar reminders?

There are systems now for the mortgage biz, makes sense for real estate.

Anyone from the Geek Estate community know of such a product offering?

The post Buyer / Seller Dashboard with Notifications and Calendar? appeared first on GeekEstate Blog.

from GeekEstate Blog

30 jobs in the PR and marketing world

Are you feeling the stress of searching for the perfect job? Just breathe.

The key to managing your stress could be practicing yoga.

According to Dr. Natalie Nevins, via the American Osteopathic Association’s website:

Regular yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration.

Nevins, who is also a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor, goes on to list the physical benefits. These include increased respiration, energy and vitality; cardio and circulatory health; weight reduction and more.

Not only are there tremendous health benefits, but a 2016 Yoga in America Study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance says, “Yoga practitioners report spending over $16 billion on yoga clothing, equipment, classes and accessories.”

The market for yoga-inspired apparel and equipment is expanding, and Lululemon is one of the most recognized brands in the industry.

Founded by Chip Wilson in 1998, the Canadian-based company’s official history explains, “What started as a design studio by day and yoga studio by night soon became a standalone store in November of 2000.”

The company now has locations worldwide, including an office in Japan, which features our job of the week: Lululemon is hiring a senior brand manager for its Hong Kong liaison office.

Interested candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in marketing or business related field and at least 10 years’ experience in the marketing field with a high-profile, globally branded organization. Excellent managerial, written and verbal skills are desired.

[RELATED: Master what's now, and discover what's next in PR and communications at the PR Now & Next Conference.]

Not the job for you? See what else we have in our weekly professional pickings:

Director, consumer PR and social media—Redbox (Illinois)

Social media and PR specialist—Kirkland’s (Tennessee)

Senior manager, social media strategy and content—KPMG (Canada)

Digital marketing and social media manager—Food Works (Minnesota)

Employee communications specialist—Tech Data (Florida)

Social media marketing—Personal Trainer Food (Texas)

Marketing communications coordinator—Chute Gerdeman (Ohio)

Senior marketing manager, social media—Publishers Clearing House (NewYork)

PR and communications associate—Eataly (Massachusetts)

PR and communications executive—Mercer (England)

Social media marketing intern—Solera Health (Arizona)

Social media & digital marketing specialist—Indiana UniversityBloomington (Indiana)

Marketing and communications specialist—Arrive Utah (Utah)

Digital communications specialist—Tech Data (Florida)

Social media strategist—the Charity Network (Texas)

Social media marketing manager—Lewis Global Communications (California)

Director, marketing social media—Macy’s (New York)

Social media manager and content creator—Organic Traditions (Canada)

Manager, social media marketing—Ellucian (Virginia)

PR media manager—Ashley Furniture Industries (Wisconsin)

Senior manager, marketing communications—SmithBucklin (Illinois)

Marketing communications analyst—Smith Hanley Associates (Connecticut)

Communications marketing intern—Edelman (Washington, D.C.)

Director of marketing and communications—TheatreSquared (Arkansas)

Marketing communications specialist—Sprint (Kansas)

Social media marketing and sales support specialist—Stash Tea (Oregon)

Director of marketing—Abita Brewing (Louisiana)

Digital marketing specialist—West Virginia University (Pennsylvania)

Remarketing communications specialist—Volvo Group (North Carolina)

If you have a position you’d like to see highlighted in PR Daily’s weekly jobs post, please email me a link to the listing.

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from PR Daily News Feed

A mystifying, mistyped tweet from the covfefe in chief

It would garner 68 points in Scrabble—if the word existed.

This morning at 12:06 a.m. Eastern time, President Donald Trump sent what we can only assume is an epic misspelling in a tweet that has captured the internet’s imagination.

It read, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe.”

That was it. The tweet stayed up for hours until Trump finally deleted it. Before it vanished, tweets such as this came fast and furious:

[RELATED: Join us at Microsoft, and learn tactics and strategies to conquer all your biggest communications challenges.]
Finally, the tweet was taken down, and another was posted in its place:

A conspiracy theorist could posit that this is all part of a scheme to get people interested in the upcoming Scripps National Spelling Bee, or perhaps it’s an effort to call attention to how careless we’ve become with our stubby fingers when typing.

It also comes in the wake of Google’s releasing its list of the most common words that followed the question “how to spell ...” The search giant even broke it down by state, meaning that Trump was more likely to misspell ninety than whatever he was trying to spell with “covfefe.”

Here they are in list form, for those who are not map-friendly:

Alabama: pneumonia
Alaska: schedule
Arizona: tomorrow
Arkansas: Chihuahua
California: beautiful
Colorado: tomorrow
Connecticut: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Delaware: hallelujah
Washington, D.C. : ninety
Florida: receipt
Georgia: gray
Hawaii: people
Idaho: quote
Illinois: pneumonia
Indiana: hallelujah
Iowa: vacuum
Kansas: diamond
Kentucky: beautiful
Louisiana: giraffe
Maine: pneumonia
Maryland: special
Massachusetts: license
Michigan: pneumonia
Minnesota: beautiful
Mississippi: nanny
Missouri: maintenance
Montana: surprise
Nebraska: suspicious
Nevada: available
New Hampshire: difficult
New Jersey: twelve
New Mexico: bananas
New York: beautiful
North Carolina: angel
North Dakota: dilemma
Ohio: beautiful
Oklahoma: patient
Oregon: sense
Pennsylvania: sauerkraut
Rhode Island: liar
South Carolina: Chihuahua
South Dakota: college
Tennessee: chaos
Texas: maintenance
Utah: disease
Vermont: Europe
Virginia: delicious
Washington: pneumonia
West Virginia: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Wisconsin: tomorrow
Wyoming: priority

OK, readers, what’s your most egregious typo or misspelling—that made its way to the public eye? Please ’fess up in the comments section.

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from PR Daily News Feed

How to guarantee press coverage for your client

Reporters, editors, producers, hosts and bloggers follow a rhythm determined by deadlines, competitors, showtimes and breaking news beyond their control.

Integrate that rhythm seamlessly with perfectly-timed guests and sources, and you’ll ensure incredible press coverage for your client or organization. If that sounds easy, it’s not.

Opportunities abound, however, to gauge that rhythm and work within it to ensure absolute benefits:

1. Know when to hit “send” on a pitch

Media researchers annually study the “ when” part of pitching. Anecdotal evidence supports their findings.

The media professionals with whom I spoke largely identified 7-10 a.m. Eastern Time weekdays as the time when journalists are most receptive to pitches. Fridays are out unless someone is writing or producing a weekend story. After 5 p.m. Eastern Time on any given day is a nonstarter. Sending emails or calling on weekends is ridiculous unless you have the perfect contact for a breaking story.

“When I’m back at my desk around 9:30, I start reading in and review pitches for the next day,” a veteran producer for a cable network morning show tells me. “Others who run a show at different times may read in at other times, but hitting inboxes in the morning by 10 a.m. is usually a safe bet.”

“When I was a journalist, the best time to reach out to me was midmorning,” adds Jeremy Gonsior, a former Holland Sentinel reporter who now runs a content marketing agency in Holland, Mich. “I was usually developing stories then and pitching them to my editors. As far as days of the week, Thursday was especially effective because I was preparing to write a few stories for the weekend and I needed some ideas.”

Shelley Irwin, host of “ The Morning Show” on WGVU in Grand Rapids, Mich., says that she prefers to hear pitches by 9 a.m. Eastern Time, “when I am sharpest.” She especially favors those sent by email as far out as two weeks or longer.

2. Do your homework to personalize the pitch

Irwin also emphasizes that the author of the pitch should personalize the message to attract her interest.

Personalization is important to the “how” part of public relations. It’s where experience and understanding become invaluable. It involves meaningful connections and builds trustworthiness at a professional and personal level.

Seth Leibsohn—co-host of “ The Seth & Chris Show” on KKNT 960AM in Phoenix, Ariz. and former producer of “ Bill Bennett’s Morning in America”—describes the difficulties radio hosts encounter when considering new guests.

[RELATED: Attend the Practical PR Summit and transform your PR skills to become more successful in the new media landscape.]

“Radio hosts typically go to guests they know or have had on because of certain dynamics of radio that don’t exist for television,” Leibsohn says. “The guests radio hosts want, or go to, ‘get’ how to do radio. They know they have to sound clear on the telephone, they know they need to be sensitive to wrapping up answers as music comes on leading to a hard break, they know since there are no visuals or other visual props or chyrons that the conversation itself has to be interesting and draw people in.”

Liebsohn says that speakers represented by credible public relations professionals help because they have built a record of delivering high-quality guests. A relationship that required years to build can disappear with one or two flakes.

“I can’t tell you how many publishers and others have given me really bad guests with no training and I’ve tried to politely tell them after that I am happy to help train them but they were terrible, etc., and they just couldn’t care less,” Liebsohn explains. “They cared about the numbers and the next booking.”

3. Spend time on the message

Another great way to earn the disdain of media professionals is to blast pitches to anyone with a publicly available email address or disguise a marketing email as a pitch.

Jonah Bennett, national security and politics reporter for The Daily Caller, says that he prefers the meat of the message in the first two sentences, at which point he decides whether to continue reading.

He works best with people whom he’s developed relationships with over years of trading tips and talking about much more than the content provided in a single email. Public relations folks who incorporate gimmicks to trick him into opening mail become infuriating.

“I find that people are starting to rely on clickbait email headlines when the content they’re pitching, frankly, sucks,” Bennett says. “Then I just get annoyed and immediately delete the email.”

Brian, another longtime producer with a top cable television network, stresses the importance of spending time on brief, descriptive subject lines. He considers subjects that include ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) as the worst violators.

“It almost makes it certain that I will kill the email without opening it,” Brian says. “For one, it suggests that the news is already well-known and therefore a terrible pitch, because what you are pushing should be new and exciting. ICYMI is another way of saying, ‘Here’s some old news.’”

4. Prepare for breaking news

Suppose an expert or CEO finally establishes a relationship with someone in the news media. The interview is scheduled or the article is confirmed for publication. You’re holding your breath by this time. Then the worst happens.

Breaking news.

It is the bane of every public relations pro. It disrupts the media rhythm, and all of the best-laid plans are tossed aside as bookers and reporters scramble to secure sources.

But it can work to your advantage.

Julie, a producer of several premier cable network programs, says that guests with insight into breaking news such as a terror attack, financial crisis or military engagement move to the front of the line. She appreciates those who pitch clients or themselves as news unfolds.

“Relevancy beats timing any day,” Julie says.

She isn’t unusual. As a reporter, I dropped anything I might have been working on to speed dial through a short list of sources relevant to a current breaking news story. I took quotes from the first four or five and then stopped taking calls.

I didn’t enjoy it—especially because it isn’t fair to those I called who might have spent time on a more thorough response—but that is how the business works.

Accessing coverage is a skill like any other, one that requires practice and experience. It is a matter of understanding the rules to get in the game.

@DavidYonkman is the founding principal of DYS Media, LLC. He’s a former Washington correspondent for Newsmax, PR pro and Capitol Hill communications director.

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from PR Daily News Feed

4 reasons why I hate Seth Godin

You either love or hate Seth Godin.

Before we get into our—that is, my—feelings about him, let’s not deny how successful Godin has been in offering marketing tactics, inspirational advice and head-scratching axioms to corporate execs and marketing professionals.

He’s written 18 books, translated into more than 35 languages. According to his website, his blog is “one of the most popular in the world.” He has more than 600,000 followers on Twitter. He follows one thing (his alternative MBA program).

Yes. You read that correctly. The man started his own MBA program.

I don’t hate him for his success. I don’t hate his glasses, either, but when I hear someone quote Godin, a little part of me dies. Here’s why:

1. Like a baby leopard looking at himself in the mirror for the first time in a citrus grove, his headlines make no sense.

I spent a lot of time reading his blog before I started writing this article. Afterward, I spent a lot of time drinking. Maybe that would help me figure out what he was saying. Nope. I’m still confused. Seth, what are you trying to tell us?

[RELATED: Learn how to infuse storytelling and great writing into all your communications at the Business Writing Summit.]

Take a look at a few of his headlines:

These are not headlines. These are nonsense. It’s like he’s trying to write his readers some kind of secret, coded message—and then you think, “Ahh, yes, my CEO is just like a banana peel—I get it. I get it.” No, you don’t, but that’s OK. There was nothing to “get.”

2. He makes me scared to leave the house.

According to Godin, there are so many things I need to be afraid of: my career (Where is it now? Where is it going? How will it get “there”?), not taking chances, not taking my turn, not starting a project or starting too many projects. In the meantime, Godin wants me to start dancing with fear. No, Seth. If I spend my time dancing with fear, I’m going to miss out on the cute guy standing next to me.

3. Nothing is profound (Sidenote: Could this be the title for his next blog?)

Godin specializes in writing mystery koans for corporate America. Luckily, I’ve dissected them. Take a look at these three:

Stinginess in the connection economy

When six people are trying to split a pizza, some stinginess appears. After all, more for one person is less for the other five.

But in interactions that lead to connection, to shared knowledge, to possibility, it's pretty clear that there isn't a zero-sum game being played. In fact, the more enthusiasm and optimism people bring to the interaction, the more there is for everyone else.

You don't need to save up the goodwill and encouragement you offer to others. It will be automatically replenished, and it pays dividends along the way.

The takeaway: Share your pizza. Share your ideas.

(P.S. Nobel laureate John Nash already explored this notion.)

The middle of everywhere

If the railroad didn't make it to your town, or if the highway didn't have an exit, or if you were somehow off the beaten path, we wrote you off. Your town was in the middle of nowhere.

Now, of course, if wireless signal can reach you, you're now in the middle of everywhere, aren't you?

The takeaway: It’s good to be near WiFi.

Cursing gravity

You can disdain gravity all you want, call out its unfairness, seek to have it banned.

But that's not going to help you build an airplane.

The takeaway: Yeah, I have no idea.

4. Hardly anyone disagrees with him—publicly.

Godin has some pretty sweet PR going for him. Nobody disagrees with him—really. After a quick Google search, I found that nobody hates Godin as much as I do (except for a few people who “hate” on his success). He’s only nabbed a few lukewarm headlines:


If these people read Godin’s stuff, they would know he would want you to “bring your point of view and your active voice, or let’s not meet.” I like to think if Godin read this blog, he’d approve. He wants discussions. He wants disagreements. He wants passion. See: When tribal adherence becomes toxic.

What do you think? Agree or disagree with me? Please express yourself in the comments. (He’d relish the feedback.) I’ll let him have the last word.

Which part do you disagree with? The steps in the proof? Or the conclusion? If you agree with every step of the argument, but the conclusion leaves you angry or uncomfortable, it might be time to reconsider your worldview, not reject the argument.

Jessica Levco is a freelance health care marketer. She was the former editor of Ragan’s Health Care Communication News.

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from PR Daily News Feed

Meet your next big client—without leaving your desk

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    • Corporate Video Best Practices - September 20, 2017
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If you’re interested in sponsored speaking, we’d love to hear from you. Email or call Kristin Farmer, or 312-960-4405, for more information. Click here for more information on sponsorship.

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from PR Daily News Feed

9 common writing puzzlers

Competent writing is essential for any professional communicator.

Even with all our experience, sometimes we’re not sure we are using the correct word (or punctuation mark) in the right way, and there isn’t always a handy automated feature to come to our rescue.

Here are nine linguistic challenges with which we sometimes grapple—and suggestions from renowned sources for getting them right:

1. Affect or effect? “Choosing between affect and effect can be scary,” writes which offers a mnemonic device to help you use the two words correctly. “Think of Edgar Allen [sic] Poe and his RAVEN: Remember Affect Verb Effect Noun. You can’t affect the creepy poem by reading it, but you can enjoy the effect of a talking bird.”

2. Toward or towards? This one is easy, because either choice is right. “Toward and towards are both correct and interchangeable: you can use either one because they mean the same thing,” says Grammar Girl. [ Editor’s note: She also says “towards” is more common in British English. AP style favors “toward.” ]

3. A part or apart? “When you are saying that one thing belongs to another, you use a part,” writes Odyssey. “When you are saying that something is away from something else, you use apart. If you think about it, a part and apart are kind of opposites!”

[FREE GUIDE: 10 punctuation essentials]

4. Dash or hyphen? “When you’re setting off a clause—this one is a good example—use the longer dash, called an m-dash,” writes the Harvard College Writing Center. “You can indicate this dash with two hyphens—like this—if you don’t have an m-dash function on your computer. Be sure that the parts of the sentence that precede and follow the dashes would make sense even if you removed the dashes and the words they bracket. Whereas the m-dash is used to set off parts of a sentence, hyphens are used to join words together: ‘broken-hearted,’ ‘two-thirds,’ ‘sister-in-law.’”

5. Which or that? “The battle over whether to use which or that is one many people struggle to get right,” according to The Writer’s Dig. “It’s a popular grammar question and most folks want a quick rule of thumb so they can get it right. Here it is: If the sentence doesn’t need the clause that the word in question is connecting, use which. Examples: Our office, which has two lunchrooms, is located in Cincinnati. Our office that has two lunchrooms is located in Cincinnati.”

6. Lay or lie?Lie and lay both have many definitions, but they’re most often confused where lie means to recline and lay means to put down,” writes Grammarist. “But the distinction is simple: Lay needs an object—something being laid—while lie cannot have an object. For example, you might lay a book on the table, lay a sweater on the bed, or lay a child in her crib. When you feel tired at the end of the day, you may lie down. But you can’t lie a book anywhere, and you can’t lay down (no object) at the end of the day.”

7. Who or whom? According to the Grammarly Blog, who should be used to refer to the subject of a sentence and whom should be used to refer to the object of a verb or preposition. “When in doubt, try this simple trick: If you can replace the word with ‘he’ or ‘she,’ use who. If you can replace it with ‘him’ or ‘her,’ use whom.”

8. Less or fewer? “If you want a simple rule, the difference between less and fewer is straightforward: The traditional advice is that fewer is for things you count, and less is for things you don’t count,” advises Grammar Girl. “You can count M&Ms, glasses of water, and potatoes—so you eat fewer M&Ms, serve fewer glasses of water, and buy fewer potatoes for the salad. You can’t count candy, water, or potato salad—so you eat less candy, observe that the lake has less water, and make less potato salad for the next potluck.”

9. Ensure or insure or assure? These three words are similar but have different meanings. Writing Explained suggests ways for remembering how to use each word correctly:

  • A good way to remember ensure is that it has two “e’s” in it, just like guarantee does. To ensure is to guarantee.
  • You can remember insure because it deals with finances and underwriting risks. You generally do this by taking out an insurance policy. Both words start with insur.
  • Assure is something that you tell to another person, something that can feel doubt or uncertainty. This means you only assure things that are alive. Both start with an A.

A version of this post first appeared on Movable Ink.

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from PR Daily News Feed

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How marketers can make truth a competitive advantage

The Oxford English Dictionary made “post-truth” its 2016 Word of the Year, noting that use of the word had increased 2,000 percent over its usage in 2015. Oxford defined post-truth as occurring when “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

Related: Fake News and the Threat to Your Brand: 4 Things You Can Do AboutIt Now

Wikipedia ’s entry, meanwhile, chimed in with its own definition of post-truth as “the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.”

All well and good. But, you have to wonder: Are these definitions talking about politics or sales and marketing?

The reason I ask is that part of running any company entails communicating with your market and employees. In every one of those interactions. you're called on to make decisions about “the truth.” And many of those decisions are non-controversial, while others entice you to be more liberal in your characterization of the truth -- as in, “We now have over 1,000 customers”—since the definition of "customer" is often stretched to be as flattering as possible.

What's more, in the Post-Truth Era, you might be wondering, Will I need to be even more liberal in my treatment of "the truth" just to keep up with my competitors? Actually, now seems like the perfect time to make truth a priority: You can differentiate yourself from your competitors and increase your chances for long-term loyalty and customer growth by emphasizing clarity, honesty and reality.

Stretching the truth, on the other hand, is tempting; but misleading customers can have disastrous consequences. One recent example was Volkswagen's fuel efficiency claims for its diesel vehicles, which resulted in billions of dollars of lost value. Another was the Irish meat company Tesco, which lost over $400 million in market cap in its horse meat fiasco. Trust and credibility are hard to come by, and very easy to lose.

Related: Sharing Fake News Can Hurt Your Reputation

Laws protect consumers from false advertising, but they probably aren’t going to help you deal with a misleading competitor. Remember when POM sued Coca-Cola over the latter's Minute-Maid blueberry-pomegranate juice (which contained less than 0.5 percent of both fruits, combined)? That case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately, a California jury decided in favor of post-truth juice.

So, there it is: The truth is not always self-evident, meaning you’ll need to win by persuading the market that the truth matters.

Every day, we are tempted to mislead in small ways, by stretching the truth just a bit. And, in the sales and marketing universe, teams are measured on short-term goals. It's therefore natural for them to want to make trade-offs that don’t prioritize the long-term needs of their company and brand.

Which way do you choose to go? Here are four things you can do to make truth a competitive advantage:

1. Define your standards for truth.

Truth is a term that gets thrown around by people in every department in your company, but it’s likely that everyone has a different definition. What’s the truth about your product? Your engineers would say “Read the documentation,” while your sales and marketing teams would say there’s a bigger story to tell that is tailored for each customer.

So, have your leadership team review this list of false advertising tactics. Ask whether any of these apply to you today. Work with team members to define standards, and distribute them broadly across your company.

2. Make truth part of your culture.

You need to uphold your standards about truth, and call people out when they don’t follow the rules. Use your weekly leadership meetings as an opportunity to review ongoing decisions and to settle points of confusion or contention.

Use town halls and internal communications to illustrate that this is a value that is core to the company: Showcase stories where using the truth has helped you win. Your stories can’t simply be about doing the right thing; they have to be about gaining a competitive advantage.

3. Appoint a final judge.

There will always be gray areas, and you need to identify someone who has the responsibility of deciding what is right for the company. It might be your CEO, or someone entrusted with the final say, whose judgment is respected by others (at my company this person is the VP of strategy). What's important here is that you're not deciding whether to break the law. You're deciding the right tone or angle to use when multiple options are equally valid and reasonable.

Having a final judge is important, in terms of process and emphasizing the importance to employees. But you should work hard to avoid creating bureaucracy, by making the process efficient and transparent.

4. Measure and reinforce.

I believe that being truthful will give you a competitive advantage in the short and long term. Ask customers, Do you believe our teams are telling you the truth? Did our product or service live up to the expectations set by your sales and marketing teams?

Then ask yourself, Do our customers support our view that “sticking to the facts” gives us a competitive advantage? After all, it’s hard to argue with data. And, ultimately, that’s what the truth is all about.


The Post-Truth Era has created a moment of general ambiguity and confusion. Sources of truth we used to take for granted are now questioned. This is the perfect time to center and ground your audience in rationality, and to demonstrate value by reestablishing confidence in the notion that logical thought, evidence and truth matter and lead people to good outcomes.

Related: Jessica Alba's 'Honest' Mess

Sales and marketing teams are on the front lines of your conversation with the market, and you must arm them with the right tools to make truth your competitive advantage.

Tomer Shiran is the co-founder and CEO of Dremio. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur. Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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from PR Daily News Feed

Is your work worthy of the title ‘Content Marketing Strategy of the Year’?

Our digital age makes finding just about anything as simple as typing a few words into a search box on your computer.


Finding quality trustworthy content, however, can be more difficult.

Nobody questioned your content, though. In fact, you were the go-to destination for reliable information in your industry.

Whether curated or original, you shared content that achieved remarkable engagement, capitalized on the latest social trends or even attained content immortality with a viral video.

The launch of PR Daily’s 2017 Content Marketing Awards allows us to celebrate the content that was invaluable to your audience and drove outstanding traffic to your product or service.

The Content Marketing Awards honors communicators who helped boost their brand’s reputation as an industry leader. Whether your blog fused interesting topics with informative material, your content-oriented website stood out in an oversaturated market, or you were able to attract the best and brightest talent in your industry with a captivating video or interview, you deserve recognition for your ability to give your audience what it craves and use that to your brand’s advantage.

We’re featuring 18 categories, including:

  • Best Article
  • Best Content Series
  • Best Influencer Content Marketing
  • Best Real-Time Content
  • Best Viral and Trending Content Marketing
  • Best Video
  • Grand Prize: Content Marketing Strategy of the Year

We are also introducing the subcategory, “Content marketing for the purpose of …”

  • Brand Awareness
  • Brand Loyalty
  • Customer Engagement
  • Talent Recruitment

Enter now to receive the recognition you deserve for your content supremacy.

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from PR Daily News Feed

AP allowing the singular ‘they’

Take a victory lap, those of you fighting for pronouns more elastic than those tied to the XY and XX chromosomes that distinguish males and females.

With the release of the revised The AP Stylebook on Wednesday, you now have the endorsement of the world’s largest news gathering organization in the use of they as a singular pronoun.

AP changed the rules for two reasons, lead editor Paula Froke said in a statement quoted by Poynter: the “recognition that the spoken language uses they as singular, and we also recognize the need for a pronoun for people who don’t identify as a he or a she.”

The decision was announced in March but is made official with the release of the book this week.

Froke added that it is usually possible to write around the use of they as a singular. For the first use, a traditionalist usually can stick to, uh, their guns by making the antecedent a plural (“ traditionalists usually can...”), or by otherwise revising the sentence to avoid AP’s newly sanctioned irritant.

In the second instance, changing gender sensitivities make the plural pronoun a necessity, although an explanation might be required to avoid confusion, the AP offers.

[RELATED: Attend the Business Writing Summit, and start writing more powerful press releases, blog posts, internal memos and more.]

Identifying as ‘neither’

“In stories about people who identify as neither male nor female or ask not to be referred to as he/she/him/her: Use the person’s name in place of a pronoun, or otherwise reword the sentence, whenever possible,” the AP adds. “If they/them/their use is essential, explain in the text that the person prefers a gender-neutral pronoun. Be sure that the phrasing does not imply more than one person…”

Clarity is a top priority, and gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers, the style mavens aver. For traditionalists, at least there’s this bone: “We do not use other gender-neutral pronouns such as xe or ze.”

(Don’t count on this bulwark to hold. I’m giving it two years.)

In other highlights, the AP offers guidance on terms such as fake news, esports, and cyberattack. The AP will host a Twitter chat on the topic Wednesday.

In a story by NBC News when the announcement was made in March, an activist who uses gender-neutral pronouns welcomed the decision. "It's great to know that I won't have to fight so hard to have my pronouns respected by journalists,” Jacob Tobia said.

Apparently unaware of the coming change in AP Style, the Daily Beast advocated May 26 for just such flexibility in the gender-neutral singular use of they.

“So why do editors still not trust readers to understand that they can refer to a single person?” a writer stated. “All it takes is one tiny disclaimer—a reminder, really—that some people identify as neither male nor female and accordingly prefer gender-neutral pronouns.”

On the other hand, a writer at the right-leaning PJ Media wasn’t pleased with the change. “Remember when boys were boys, girls were girls, and we really didn't worry too much about the half percent of the population (or less) who didn't fall into one of those roles?” the webzine asked. “Good times, weren't they?”

Either way, it’s official on Wednesday.


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from PR Daily News Feed

Report: Employee engagement a top priority, but it’s not so easy

Employees today expect more from the sawmill than just sawbucks.

People expect a bit more razzle-dazzle (and fewer sawblade incidents) from their workplace experience.

Executives and internal communicators know that employees increasingly demand an engaged, pleasant work environment, but how exactly to create that is the big question.

A new report from Deloitte has tried to address this issue by identifying specific elements that formulate a great employee experience. Deloitte also highlights common improvement impediments, such as role confusion, lack of accountability and a dearth of investment in employee satisfaction.

The issue of employee engagement, or lack thereof, has major implications for employers. One study found that disinterested, unmotivated staff members cost the U.S. economy upward of $500 billion per year. 

This Deloitte report found that "nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience very important (42 percent), but only 22 percent reported that their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience."

Deloitte recommends reversing negative workplace trends by cultivating “meaningful work, the purpose of the organization, employee talent development and growth, rewards and wellness, the work environment, fairness and inclusion, and authenticity among management and leadership.”

[RELATED: Join us for the Employee Communications, PR and Social Media Summit at Microsoft.]

Given all the apps for productivity, engagement, wellness or feedback, as well as a plethora of free online communication resources, there have never been more tools at employers’ disposal to enhance the workplace experience. It’s just a matter of allocating money and other resources and prioritizing employee engagement.

An executive quoted in the Deloitte report says: “We used to prioritize our stakeholders and shareholders first, customers second, and employees third. We now realize we had it backward. If we put employees first, they in turn take care of our customers, and they in turn take care of our shareholders.”

To learn more about Deloitte’s recommendations for enriching the employee experience, read the entire report here.

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from PR Daily News Feed

Satisfying Regulation Fair Disclosure (RegFD): 8-K, News Releases, IR Websites, Social Media

It’s been four years since the SEC’s social media guidance was added to RegFD and a good a time as any to refresh the details of RegFD.

Issuers have considerable flexibility in determining how to satisfy the public disclosure requirements of RegFD. The public disclosure requirement can be satisfied by filing the information in a Form 8-K or by any other non-exclusionary method of disclosure that is reasonably designed to provide broad public access to the information.

RegFD was implemented October 2000 to address perceived abuses involving the selective disclosure of material nonpublic information to analysts, institutional shareholders and others with the opportunity to profit from such information. Prior to the adoption of RegFD, a number of public companies were disclosing earnings results and other nonpublic information to analysts and institutional investors before broadly disseminating that information to the general public. The SEC believed this informational disparity undermined the investing public’s confidence in the fairness and integrity of securities markets, since those who were privy to such information had the opportunity to profit at the expense of the uninformed.

At the time RegFD was adopted, the SEC recognized the potential for using website disclosure as an acceptable means of satisfying the “public disclosure” requirement of RegFD, but stopped short of concluding that such disclosure would, by itself, suffice.

In August 2008, the SEC issued an Interpretative ReleaseCommission Guidance on the Use of Company Websites – in which it concluded that certain issuers could, subject to certain conditions, satisfy the public disclosure requirement under RegFD by posting information to their websites. To take advantage of this means of satisfying the disclosure requirement, an issuer must that its website is a recognized channel of distribution and that the disclosed information is posted and accessible on the website and has been “disseminated” for purposes of the regulation.

In this regard, the release noted that whether a company’s website is a “recognized channel of distribution” will depend on the steps the company has taken to alert the market to its website and its disclosure practices, as well as the use by investors and the market of the company’s website. Similarly, one of the factors to be considered in determining whether information on the website has been “disseminated” for purposes of RegFD is whether the company has made investors and the markets aware that it will post information on its website. While the release did not provide “bright-line” guidance as to when the public disclosure requirements of RegFD could be satisfied by an issuer’s website posting, it did provide a non-exclusive list of considerations that an issuer could use to make such a determination.

Questions regarding the legality and propriety of public disclosure through websites resurfaced when Netflix and its CEO, Reed Hastings, received Wells notices from the SEC staff communicating the staff’s intent to recommend an enforcement action against them for violation of RegFD. The staff’s action was in response to a July 2012 post on Mr. Hastings’ Facebook page, stating that in June 2012 monthly viewing of Netflix had exceeded a billion hours for the first time ever. Within two trading days of Mr. Hastings’ post, Netflix’s stock price had risen by nearly 20%, although it is not clear whether this rise was due to the Facebook post or other factors. The SEC ultimately determined not to bring an enforcement action against Netflix or Mr. Hastings. However, it released a 21A report of investigation to provide guidance to issuers regarding how RegFD and the earlier guidance in its 2008 Interpretive Release on the use of company websites apply to disclosures made through social media channels.

The April 3, 2013 report noted that in light of the direct and immediate communication made possible by social media channels, the SEC expected issuers to rigorously examine whether a particular channel is a “recognized channel of distribution” prior to disclosing any material information through it. To this end, the SEC emphasized that, as outlined in its 2008 Interpretive Release, the investing public should be alerted to the channels of distribution a company will use to disseminate material nonpublic information. The SEC suggested that a company could provide appropriate notice to the investing public by disclosing on its website the specific social media channels the company intends to use for the dissemination of material nonpublic information. The SEC cautioned that the disclosure of material nonpublic information on the personal social media site of an individual corporate officer – without advance notice to investors that the site could be used for such purpose – would likely be a violation of RegFD.

What is Material Information? RegFD only prohibits the selective disclosure of material information. RegFD does not define materiality, but instead relies on the definition that has developed through case law. Based on the general principles established by the courts, information would be considered material if:

  • There is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider it important in making an investment decision
  • It would be viewed by a reasonable investor as significantly altering the total mix of information available
  • It is reasonably certain to have a substantial effect on the market price of the issuer’s securities

Given the fact-dependent nature of the analysis, there is no bright-line rule as to what should be considered material for purposes of RegFD. In the adopting release for RegFD, however, the SEC provided a non-exclusive list of the types of information and events that issuers should carefully review to assess materiality:

  • Earnings information
  • Mergers, acquisitions, tender offers, joint ventures or changes in assets
  • New products or discoveries, or developments regarding customers or suppliers (e.g., the acquisition or loss of a contract)
  • Changes in control or in management
  • Change in auditors or auditor notification that the issuer may no longer rely on an auditor’s audit report
  • Events regarding the issuer’s securities — e.g., defaults on senior securities, calls of securities for redemption, repurchase plans, stock splits or changes in dividends, changes to the rights of security holders, public or private sales of additional securities
  • Bankruptcies or receiverships

The SEC has made clear that any communication between an issuer and analysts regarding earnings involves a high degree of risk under RegFD. As a result, any information that an issuer plans to disclose to an analyst should be carefully scrutinized to confirm that it is not material or has already been publicly disseminated. If those determinations cannot be made with certainty, the issuer should consider the information material and comply with the public disclosure requirements of RegFD.

from Blogs

What Content Discovery Means for Search and How to Fuel Its Growth

The internet has changed the way we discover and consume information. Think about the year 2000 — you put a keyword in the search bar and websites with the highest keyword concentration were the ones that appeared on top. Things gradually changed with the Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and other updates. The focus was more on quality of content. The search industry was further revolutionized with the introduction Google’s Instant Results around 2010. People were excited to see how the search engine offered relevant results just by reading the first few letters of a keyword.

Fast forward to 2017, the search engines have become even smarter. Their only focus is at offering the most relevant and useful information based on user preferences. Enter content discovery! Marketers are now keen on making brand content discoverable to ensure better awareness and traffic.

But what is all this buzz about content discovery? Let us take a look.

What is Content Discovery?

Content discovery is the art and science of using predictive algorithms to help make content recommendations based on how people search. Search engines and various other platforms are now using artificial intelligence (AI) to understand customer preferences and interests. This helps users to find content that’s most suitable for them.

To understand what content discovery is all about, let us review some examples. Social media sites such as Facebook have content discovery features integrated into its algorithms. Consider the News Feed offered by the social platform. The content that appears in an individual feed is offered according to each users past behavior and personal preferences. In fact, a survey carried out by Forrester Consulting found social media to be the most preferred source of discovery for news and information among online adults between the ages of 18 and 55. The survey also revealed that a young millennial follows an average of 121 publishers on the social media.

Similar to Facebook, YouTube’s “Recommended for You” section is another example of how user activity and preferences fuel content discovery.

Why is Content Discovery Important?

Content discovery has become more important than ever. This is because the amount of online content is increasing exponentially. Almost every brand is creating content to offer value for their audiences, which means it’s even more difficult for people to find the information they are looking for. Content discovery allows people to find information that is highly relevant and personalized. In fact, content discovery helps both consumers and online marketers. Here is how:

  • Consumers find desired data/information quickly without having to scour through hundreds and thousands of search results.
  • Online marketers can put relevant content in front of their targeted audience at the right time through the right channels.

Content discovery, helps people weed out irrelevant and unimportant information. The next question is how can brands, publishers and advertisers benefit from content discovery?

How Content Discovery Helps Brands, Publishers and Advertisers

Marketers spend time creating high-quality content, sharing it across various channels but often fail to get the desired attention they seek. Why? There are high chances that the content gets lost in the deluge. So what can marketers do to ensure content gets seen? Here is what leaders are doing to get attention and expand their reach.

Brands, publishers and advertisers are leveraging various content discovery platforms such as Taboola, Outbrain, Curiyo, Renoun, and others to expand their reach and improve ROI. The content discovery tools allow the marketers to offer high-level engagement (through high-quality and relevant content), which offers them with ample opportunities to monetize and capitalize on the user engagement levels.

The platforms analyze user behaviors by considering a number of metrics such as time spent on a specific site, the path taken to reach a specific content source, search habits, preferences and others. These useful insights can be used to target content and advertisement campaigns and ensure better lead generation.

Content discovery has become even more important for brands as consumers prefer information on their mobile devices rather than on their PCs and laptops. According to Statista, the number of smartphone users across the world has increased from 1.5 billion in 2014 to 2.17 billion in 2016. The number of smartphone users are expected to rise up-to 2.87 billion by 2020. Moreover, about 20 percent millennials are no longer using their desktop to access the Web.

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With a number of content discovery platforms available to the marketers, publishers and advertisers, they need not worry about a user leaving their site/blog to find further information on their preferred topics.

Here are some quick tips that will help marketers present the most relevant content in front of their targeted audience:

1. Offer Users Quality Content

Marketers must focus on providing their audience with a lot of high-quality content instead of focusing on creating just a one-off piece. Different types of content appeal to different audiences, so you have to make sure you cater to a larger audience. There have been instances when a single piece of content has gotten a huge amount of attention and helped the brand to grow immensely, but that is only momentary. By creating quality content you can reap benefits for a longer period of time.

2. Focus on Multi-Channel Strategies

Facebook can help you get a lot of attention, but the audience it caters to is not multidimensional. To expand your reach, you need to think about leveraging other channels as well. So, by designing a comprehensive content marketing strategy that includes search marketing, Facebook marketing, Twitter marketing, Instagram marketing, etc., you can benefit a lot. Once you get started you can measure how each channel is contributing to the campaign and tweak your strategies accordingly.

3. Help Others and They Will Help You

Marketers often make the mistake of promoting their own content only. By sharing high-quality content from other sources or publishers, you can offer variety to your audiences and they will be more likely to come to your site when they need information. As the saying goes, “you get what you give,” there are chances where other publishers will also be willing to share your content or mention it on their blogs/websites which will help in increasing your reach.

4. Create Content That Your Audience Will Love

Who does not love instant success? But when it comes to content marketing you can never expect overnight success. The secret is to create content that your audience will love for years to come. With a long-term content discovery strategy, you can ensure more benefits. Once your audience is engaged you can move over to measuring the performance of your content and make adjustments accordingly to ensure better results.

5. Strategic Organization Aids Content Discovery

Content silos are harmful for your overall content marketing since it creates dead ends in your engagement path. Content silos form when you group content by date or type (blog posts, videos, etc.). It is a must that you organize your content by topic, since it makes content discovery easier.

While you can make your content discoverable by using search bars, internal links and a content recommendation engine; strategic organization helps users find the most relevant content quickly and easily. Moreover, organizing content by topic, persona or account helps you measure the performance and engagement level easily by using project management tools such as Trello, Workzone, Basecamp and others. This will help you identify which content performs the best, so you can leverage it further. For instance, if a blog post does extremely well, you can then make a video, slideshow and an infographic to get a better momentum.

6. Offer Variety

Do you focus on creating textual content only? Think again. In the modern day, people consume information on the go, so they might not have the luxury to read through all the extensive articles. By offering a mix of content in your feed you can help your audience consume information in the form they prefer the most. This means you need to repurpose your content and convert it into videos, slideshows, podcasts, infographics and other forms. This will help you leverage a variety of channels and reach out to a larger audience.

Create high-quality content and use various content discovery tools to reach out to your targeted audience and maximize your ROI.

Future of Content Discovery

Attention spans are becoming shorter, so people want quick access to relevant information. Therefore, brands need to focus on delivering personalized and focused content to ensure better engagement. By gearing towards this new search model and leveraging the content distribution platforms, brands can fulfill a user’s desire to access quality content within moments.

However, this is just the start for content discovery. Content discovery is still evolving and improving so it is still not ready to replace the generic search completely. A huge number of people still prefer the traditional way to discover their desired content. But with changing user preferences, traditional search will soon become outdated and will be replaced by the modern techniques of content discovery. Therefore, marketers must be prepared to adapt to the changes and satisfy the needs of the customer.


User preferences are changing quickly. Users now want to access relevant and useful information as quickly as possible. This is not possible with the traditional search model since the users need to scour through numerous sources to find relevant information. Thus the rise of content discovery! It helps users find content at the nick of a time.

As content discovery becomes even more popular, more platforms need to be explored and tested to evaluate how they can further benefit the businesses. Online marketers should start integrating content discovery into their content marketing strategies to make sure they can retain their customers and keep satisfying them for a longer period of time.


Author Bio

Pratik Dholakiya is the Co-Founder of E2M, a full service digital marketing agency and PRmention, a digital PR agency. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, Growth Hacking, Entrepreneurship and Digital PR. Pratik has spoken at NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, and other major events across Asia. As a passionate marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge on publications like Search Engine Land, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web and the Huffington Post to name a few. He has been named one of the top content marketing influencers by Onalytica three years in a row.



from Blogs

Why You Need to Embrace Customer Complaints – Listen to Your Customers

This post is an excerpt from the e-book, Listen: 5 Social Audiences Brands Can’t Afford to Ignore

Are you listening—REALLY listening—to your customers, even (perhaps especially) those that are upset?

When Erin Pepper began her job as head of marketing and guest relations at Le Pain Quotidien, a chain of 200+ bakery cafes, she announced to the management team a controversial plan: “I want to triple the number of complaints we get from customers,” she proclaimed.

That idea was NOT met with universal acclaim. But Erin explained, “We all agree we are a very good organization. But we’re not perfect. And some of the areas where we’re not perfect may be because we don’t even know we’re deficient.”

Erin got a green light to add nudges for feedback to just about every customer touch point. Website. Email. Social. Signage in the restaurants. At every turn, Le Pain Quotidien nearly begged customers to let the company know everything about their visit.

And guess what happened? They got three times more complaints. Some of those complaints were about things the company hadn’t considered. They addressed those issues, and guess what happened next? The complaints went away.

What Erin Pepper understands is something true and profound, yet not part of the listening playbook for most companies: to get fewer complaints, you first must get more complaints. It’s a two-step process. I talk more about Erin and her successes in my book, Hug Your Haters.

It’s also important to understand that while complaints can be frustrating for businesses, they are mathematically rare. In fact, just five percent of unhappy customers complain in a form or fashion that the business can know about it, including phone, email, social, review sites, letters, and in-person gripes.

FIVE PERCENT! This means that the overwhelming majority of dissatisfied consumers stay silent and just stop giving you their money. The five percent that take the time to tell you what they’d like you to improve upon are doing your company a favor, and that should not be ignored.

Further, one of the most powerful research findings in the history of business is that when customers have a problem, and your organization successfully solves that issue, those customers spend MORE and become MORE loyal than customers that never had a problem at all. That is remarkable, and means that your unhappy customers are your MOST IMPORTANT customers.

But all of this starts with listening. You can’t use customer feedback to improve your operations without listening. You can’t satisfy unhappy customers and trigger increased loyalty without listening. And in an increasingly noisy world, we need to listen harder than ever. Here’s how:

The Basics: Free, DIY Searches

All companies should at a minimum be using a combination of Google alerts and simple social media listening software. Even free versions may be enough for small businesses. You need to find public, online references to your company and your products or services. Most mentions of your business in discussion boards and forums will show up in Google, but it may take a while. If there are particular forums where your business is more likely to be referenced, and there almost assuredly are, manually review them every day or two and check for mentions. The same is true for review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Glassdoor, Consumer Affairs, G2Crowd, TrustRadius, Spiceworks, or any of the hundreds of industry-specific rating platforms.

Do make sure to pay attention to discussion boards and forums. Many businesses ignore these online venues, assuming they are “not welcome” there, but in most cases the opposite is true.

Recognize that of all your customers, those that are most passionate about whatever you sell, are the ones that are spending their free time in a related online forum. That’s where the hard core customers hang out, and typically they would LOVE it if your company found a customer question or complaint there, and jumped in with an answer.

Sterling Ball runs Ernie Ball, a company that makes musical instruments and accessories, and also owns Big Poppa Smokers, an e-commerce portal for barbecue hobbyists. Sterling and his team have robust forums set up for both organizations, providing a perfect way to listen to devoted customers every day.

“I want to be close enough to my customers to smell them,” Sterling told me. “And that’s why we love discussion boards so much.”

Intermediate: Dedicated Customer Service and Reviews Software

At the next level, companies should consider software that find mentions across many venues and roll them together in a unified dashboard. These software packages find and analyze tweets, Facebook posts, Yelp reviews, and the like. They can be real timesavers, especially for small businesses that do not have personnel devoted entirely to customer service. There are many great options like Yext, ReviewTrackers, and more. Some of these platforms will also assist you in soliciting reviews from customers, and will provide great analysis tools to find issues that impact just one of your locations, or all of them.

Because these tools tend to be reviews-focused, they are most appropriate for B2C companies with physical locations.

Advanced: Comprehensive Listening Software

For bigger companies, dedicated listening and response software, such as Cision, is often required to monitor and locate as many mentions as possible, across a wide swath of channels in social media and beyond. This is especially important for businesses that have many physical locations, as the listening function is usually performed by a central team that then distributes key mentions to each location, as warranted.

Another reason software is important in the quest to find all customer feedback is that much of that feedback doesn’t mention the company specifically.

Online customer service software company Conversocial partnered with New York University on research that found that more than one-third of all tweets to companies were about customer service issues, but that only three percent incorporated the company’s Twitter username with the @ symbol. This means that many mentions of your business online—on Twitter and beyond—may be indirect, making it crucial that you have a system that surfaces those complaints and comments.

Plus, we’re now seeing more and more customers interacting with businesses in other social platforms, like Instagram, Messenger, and even Snapchat.

A Great Addition: Proactive Feedback Solicitation

Don’t just wait for customers to complain. Gauge the satisfaction of all of them (or at least a relevant cross-section) by using first-party reviews and/or satisfaction surveys.

When we think of customer feedback online, we often immediately consider third-party sites like Google Reviews, Yelp, et al. But firstparty reviews (customer reviews located on your own website) are just as important, especially now that Google is using first-party review volume as an organic SEO ranking factor.

Create a program where you ask customers (honestly, don’t cherry pick only happy customers) for their feedback using an email survey or similar, and then encourage them to create a review for your business on your site and/or third-party destinations.

Praise is Overrated

In business and in life, praise is massively overrated. Every time a friend, family member, or customer tells you how great you are, it feels terrific, right? But it teaches us NOTHING. Because in almost every case, we already know what we’re good at, don’t we?

What makes us better marketers, and businesspeople, and parents, spouses, and friends is negative feedback. Criticism is the petri dish for improvement, which is why it’s so important to embrace complaints, rather than ignore them.

Want to learn more about how listening to the right audiences will boost your brand? Then, download our free ebook, Listen: 5 Social Audiences Brands Can’t Afford to Ignore. 

Jay Baer has created five multi-million dollar companies, and was recently inducted into the Word of Mouth Marketing Hall of Fame. He is the President of Convince & Convert, a consulting firm that helps the world’s most iconic brands like The United Nations, adidas, 3M, and Oracle turn their customers into volunteer marketers. A New York Times best-selling author of five books, Jay is the host of the acclaimed “Social Pros” podcast. He’s also an avid tequila collector, and a certified barbecue judge.

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from Blogs

Which IDX Vendors Include Sold Data?

Jim Klinge in San Diego ( asked me a question I’d like to pose to the Geek Estate community:

I’m looking for an IDX solution that includes solds.

We signed up with Boomtown to help facilitate our Zillow leads . It works as advertised – we can watch what listings our buyers are looking at.

But when it comes time to discuss comps/value, I then have to send them links to other websites because doesn’t have solds. We have had luck in getting them to use the website for searches, and I think it blows the momentum to then have to send them comps using Zillow or Redfin links.

I read through your IDX posts, but I need to investigate which IDX provider also includes solds. Unless you know?

What IDX vendors are you using? Do they have comps integrated?

PS: Have a question you’d like to open to the broader community? Shoot me an email (drew at geekestatelabs com).

The post Which IDX Vendors Include Sold Data? appeared first on GeekEstate Blog.

from GeekEstate Blog

Boost your productivity when burnout looms

If you write for a living, chances are you find yourself fatigued or burned out from time to time. Although some writers may be able to step away for a few hours or even days, your paycheck depends on your ability to keep pushing through. Do you know how to remain productive even when your brain feels like mush?

The worst thing you can do when you feel burned out is ignore it. This will either result in low-quality work or an emotional breakdown—and possibly both. You have to confront the issue head-on and acknowledge the problem. Try some of the following productivity tips that other talented writers use:

1. Set mini-checkpoints and goals

The human brain thrives when it sees an end in sight. That’s why long distance runners often get fatigued halfway through a race, then get a “second wind” when the race is almost over. It’s much easier to push through when you know the finish line is near.

Bringing the topic back to writing, you can trick your brain into staying focused by dividing your day up into sections. Instead of sitting down at 8 a.m. and planning on writing until 4 p.m., break your day up into hour-long segments. Write for an hour and then take a 10-minute break. Write for another hour and take another short break. When your mind knows that you only have to push through for a 60-minute block of time, you’re much more apt to stay on task.

[RELATED: Learn secrets and best practices to discover your brand's stories and write compelling copy.]

2. Tune out your surroundings

One problem many writers have is getting distracted. Between the internet and other external factors in your immediate surroundings, staying focused is hard for anyone. How well you’re able to tune these things out will dictate whether you’re capable of staying on task.

“I increase my writing productivity tremendously by turning off social media and sometimes shutting down my Internet access all together,” writer Therese Walsh says. “I’ll then do a set of noise-cancelling headphones, listen to something meditative and without words, and begin writing.”

Depending on what factors distract you, your system may look a little different. The important thing is taking active steps to combat distractions.

3. Get out of the house

If you work from home, then you’re all too familiar with the distractions that tempt you on a daily basis. There’s TV, laundry, cooking, cleaning, video games and your comfy bed. While you may think you’re strong enough to fight off these different siren songs, you can easily slip into doing something you shouldn’t as soon as the first sign of writer’s fatigue sets in.

As soon as you notice yourself getting burned out, grab your laptop and go somewhere else—the local library, a coffee shop, a park or anywhere else that will provide you with a quick change of scenery. As soon as you arrive, get back to work. For most people, the simple act of running away from distractions will provide an immediate productivity boost.

4. Proofread later

Everyone has his or her own preferred method of writing. Some like to write a paragraph and then immediately proofread it. Others prefer to write a full page or chapter before going back over it. But here’s a suggestion: Write first, proofread later.

When you write without proofreading, something incredible happens. Instead of worrying about grammatical mistakes and problems with content structure, you’re free to just let the words flow freely. The act of writing without stopping should enable you to get more done without losing your focus. You’ll be amazed by how well it works.

5. Have someone hold you accountable

You have your own set of goals, but does anyone else know what those goals are? Sharing your goals with someone else will actually help hold you accountable.

Your accountability partner could be a roommate, friend, spouse, or co-worker—it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that you tell him or her your goals and that he or she checks in with you on a regular basis to make sure you’re staying on track. Just knowing someone else is watching will help.

Nobody likes feeling fatigued—especially when you have thousands of words waiting to be written. The good news is that you can overcome burnout and keep pushing through by relying on some of these tips and tricks.

What are you waiting for? Start using them today.

Larry Alton is a freelance writer who has been featured on The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and Techcrunch.

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from PR Daily News Feed

Is it Safe to Visit the United States?

usa safety
Last month, I wrote an article about why, despite what you see in the news, Europe is safe to visit. Someone asked (with a degree of snark) if I would I write a similar article about the U.S. too?

Well, it’s a valid question. As an American writing for a mostly American audience, I tend to write mostly about what’s beyond our shores. But I have thought about this question before – especially since 45% of the people who read this website are outside the US. So let’s turn the tables on my post and ask:

“Is the United States safe to visit?”

When most people ask me this question, I feel they are really asking me two things: (1) Does gun violence happen so often I should worry about being shot? and (2) Will everyone hate me because I’m a foreigner (or, especially, a non-white foreigner)?

These are valid concerns. After all, just like how we in the United States have a perception that the rest of the world is unsafe and unwelcoming, so too the rest of the world has that perception of the United States.

In their news, they hear about our mass shootings and gun violence, as well as reports of police brutality toward minorities and murders (or beatings) of Indian students confused for Muslims and wonder if they are welcome. They see the election of President Trump, the huge rise in deportations, the (yet still illegal) Muslim travel ban, heightened security measures at airports, and people being detained and go, “Maybe the United States isn’t the safe and welcoming country we thought it was. How are much are those flights to Europe, honey?”

The media cuts both ways.

I won’t deny the statistics: The US has the highest rate of death by guns in the developed world (outside of war zones, of course), we have nearly the highest incarceration rate in the world, hate crimes have gone up since the election, and we average roughly one mass shooting five out of every six days (and 90% of the mass shootings in the world happen here).

And when these incidents and attitudes are projected around the world in conjunction with our recent political strife, it creates the perception of the United States as a dangerous and unwelcoming place.

Already tourism has fallen and airline bookings are down.

But, just like Europe, the United States is safe to visit.

There’s no reason to avoid visiting here — even if the TSA makes it more of hassle and, well, our political landscape is less than ideal.

First, the United States is very big and very, very diverse. It’s larger than Europe (the sovereign states not the continent) and Australia. You can drive 15 hours here in still be in the same state. It’s huge. A lot of visitors fail to understand that. A Chicago friend told me how two visitors from France wanted to go to Disney for the weekend. They thought it was a short drive because in Europe a multi day drive gets you most of the way across the continent! Most visitors just don’t understand how vast the US is geographically until they arrive. Even I never got sense of just how big the country is until I drove across it. You can see it on a map but until you’ve spent a few days driving, that sense of size is hard to comprehend.

And due to this size, there is a lot of cultural (and political) variation. While Americans do share common bonds and beliefs, it often feels like the US is really a collection of micro-countries. The culture of Alabama is different than the culture of NYC, which is different than the culture of Chicago, Hawaii, Alaska, middle-of-nowhere Wyoming, or Florida. Heck, southern Florida is a world away from the Florida Panhandle, and Austin is a blue (liberal) dot in the red (conservative) sea of Texas. Cuisine, slang, dress style, accents, attitude, how people walk – it’s all different from region to region and state to state.

Second, despite what you hear, crime in America is near a 20-year low. It’s been declining for many years. Here’s a visual representation of the article:

usa safety graph
Graph: 1

(And the recent uptick is mostly due to a increased violence in few cities. The broader nationwide trend is still down.)

For example, I live in NYC. Crime is down 50% over the last 15 years. I never worry about being robbed or mugged while in Manhattan. Sure, some of the other boroughs are still unsafe, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns throughout the city, but, overall, NYC is a lot safer than it used to be. Twenty years ago, you would never go through Central Park at night. Now, people go there regardless of the time of day.

Also, you have less of a chance of dying in a terrorist attack in the United States than dying by a bathtub.

I’m not saying there is nothing to worry about. There is crime (but most gun violence in the US is gang related, people killing friends, or suicides). Chicago, Philly, and Detroit have gang related crime problems. Racism is still a big problem. Police brutality is a problem. Mass shootings happen too often.

The United States is not perfect.

But, just as in Europe, the likelihood that something is going to happen to you is very slim. The media sensationalizes attacks throughout the world! When attacks happen in Paris, do you say, “Honey! Paris was attacked! Let’s not go to Lisbon”? No, because you know that these places are far apart and that an attack in one place doesn’t mean you can’t go somewhere else.

The United States is 9 million square miles and filled with dozens of climates, hundreds of cultures, thousand of cities and towns, and 321 million people. Problems in one state or city don’t mean you can’t visit another part of the country.

Not coming here because “Americans don’t like foreigners” ignores the fact only 26% of Americans voted for Trump, and there’s currently a huge debate between the right and left about so-called “sanctuary cities” (those that limit their cooperation with the federal government over immigration law enforcement). Remember that when the travel ban briefly went into effect, there were nationwide protests against it. It was never supported by a majority of the American people.

Not coming here because of what you read in the news is to say everyone is the same and not recognize the vast cultural differences in the country. It is like saying you won’t go to the Middle East because everyone there is a terrorist.

I know that as a white guy I can’t speak to what life is like here as a person of color. I’ve met many, many, many non-white travelers tell me how wonderful the found the United States and how welcoming everyone is, how people smile, say hello, and go out of the way to help but I don’t know what it’s like to travel around as a non-white person. I know there is systemic racism in the country, but just as people aren’t the government, so too we shouldn’t stereotype and say that all Americans are racist. Attitudes about immigrants, gays, Muslims, and everyone else vary a lot depending on where you are.

(But, rather than being some white guy talking abut race, here is a link to an article about traveling the U.S. when you aren’t white. It will give a better perceptive on the subject.)

What you see on TV is only a small, small, small sliver of the people who live in the country. Because remember if it bleeds, it leads and the stories that pain the United States as this violent place fits nicely into the existing narrative it has. (Just like the world being unsafe fits into the narrative we Americans have). The United States is not all filled with gun carrying, immigrant hating, racist, ignorant, fearful yokels.

Can I say there won’t be any gun violence while you’re here? No.

Can I say you won’t experience racism? No. (My friend’s Asian girlfriend was recently told to go back home.)

Can I say something bad won’t happen to you? No.

But all countries have their problems and the media hypes up everything. Americans, like people everywhere, are generally good people who are just trying to get through the day. They are people with friends and families and are welcoming towards strangers. We aren’t foreign haters – and we don’t live in Westworld where everyone is shooting everyone all the time.

Be safe. Be aware. Use your common sense.

But don’t skip this place I call home. It’s an often-overlooked destination that’s cheap to travel around and incredibly diverse (both culturally and geographically).

So, just like with Europe, ignore the news, book your flight, and come visit the United States!

Photo Credit: 1

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from Nomadic Matt's Travel Site