Have you felt a chronic sense of anxiety over the last 100 days? Has the last 100 days felt like 300? Does a feeling of dread come over you every time you see another “Breaking News” alert? Well, we might have just the thing for you.
Come join us at am:pm PR this Thursday, April 20th at 4:00 pm to hear from some of the heroes fighting for us on the front lines of the movement. Come to listen, come to learn, come to support, come to help, or come for the feeling of solidarity.
A recent New York Times (NYT) article referred to this as the “political age of anxiety” in response to a poll taken by the American Psychological Association where nearly 60 percent of Americans said the current political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress and the level of stress is rising.
Dr. Stephen C. Hayes, a psychology professor interviewed by the NYT, advised Americans, “Use your anxiety to motivate you. Think about what you value most and take action.”
Hayes goes on to say that taking action gives you a sense you have some control over your environment. That perceived self-efficacy can relieve stress and help you feel empowered. Whether signing a petition, participating in a march, making a donation, joining a group, hosting an event or just taking the time to be a better person – action at any level can provide a sense of purpose and hope.
So, you could say this is a selfish effort. I admit, I wanted to be in a room of like-minded and inspiring people. I also wanted to meet my new heroes – the Nasty Women who created the “In Our America” you see multiplying everywhere, members of the ACLU who are fighting harder than ever to preserve and protect our civil liberties and those at the Immigration and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) who are working with those that feel most threatened right now.
Thankfully, representatives from each of these organizations have agreed to join us a for a panel discussion on just what the hell is happening right now, what they are doing about it and what you can do to help, if so inclined.
I hope you can join us for this group therapy session, but whether you are able to or not, here’s a list of videos, articles and sites that might give you the same feeling of hope and inspiration they give me:
“I can’t overstate how unprecedented the grassroots energy of this resistance is,” said Anna Galland, MoveOn’s executive director.
May 6th Speakeasy to Feature Marcus Harvey
Marcus Harvey surely hit a stroke of social media marketing genius when he snagged the @Portland handle on Instagram from its original owner, a man on the East Coast who used it to share the occasional photo of his daughter.
Recognizing Instagram’s increasing popularity among the millennial generation, Marcus then began systematically populating the account with popular imagery of Portland. He grew its following to 60,000 people before using it to launch his own Portland-themed clothing brand, Portland Gear. He generated $5,000 in sales from the account on its first day.
Please join us Wednesday, May 6th at 4 p.m. for our next Speakeasy featuring local Portland entrepreneur and clothing designer, Marcus Harvey.
Marcus will share tales from his experience developing a social media-based community centered around Portland, plus how he recognized the opportunity with Instagram and how he’s continued to use the account to successfully promote Portland Gear.
Marcus’s other project is Creative|35, a Portland apparel business offering private labeling for clothing brands and related creative services including design, production and marketing. Marcus graduated from the University of Oregon in 2012 with a degree in Digital Arts and Business, and is a 2008 graduate of Century High School in Hillsboro. Marcus’s story was featured by The Oregonian earlier this month.
U of O senior and Allen Hall PR Account Supervisor, Kati VanLoo, interviewed Pat McCormick for her blog – PR Parfait. We’re reposting and giving Kati two thumbs up.
By Kati VanLoo
Published March 11, 2015
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview AM:PM PR Partner Pat McCormick. A communication pro with over 40 years of experience in issue management, Pat knows the ins and outs of the public relations industry. Now he spends his days at the Portland agency with his daughter Allison McCormick and other team members navigating the PR needs of their clients. Here’s some insight he provided on the industry and advice for those of us just venturing out into the job market.
How did AM:PM PR come to be?
My daughter Allison worked for me at a PR agency in Salem for fifteen of the twenty years that I was there. In the final five years she was there, she helped with more consumer-facing PR. The young professionals were really having an impact on how everybody was communicating. It made it really clear how difficult the evolution is in our business. It personally excited me to be working at a time when there was so much change going on. When I could have retired, I talked to Allison about starting this business to continue to be a part of what’s changing.
How are young PR professionals impacting the industry?
Young professionals come into the workplace now with a sense of the currency of what’s going on. There’s a type of reverse coaching that comes from young professionals today because there are ways they grew up communicating that are different from the way older practitioners communicate. This generation also comes into the workplace in a little bit of a different fashion than, say, the Baby Boomer generation. That generation’s young professionals came into the workplace with the notion of “keep your head down; keep quiet.” Young professionals will come in today thinking, “I can contribute today.” It’s energizing in the workplace.
How important are ethics in PR?
I think an important element of PR is adhering to the ethical standards of our business. We want to have credibility, and we want reporters to trust us. The longer you’re in the business, the more you value those standards to not only help guide what you do but also decide what lines those you’re working with may be crossing. Also, we are often called in to help organizational leadership identify how their decisions could impact significant stakeholders of their company. That means sometimes you’re telling a CEO something he doesn’t want to hear, but in order to live up to the standards of our business we have to do that to our best ability. If that means that we have to fire that client when they want to continue making unethical decisions, then we fire that client. There are no long-term benefits to crossing those lines.
What is one challenge you think many PR pros face?
Part of what I think is often overlooked as a significant component to what we do is listening. We have to listen in order to fully understand what they are asking; they may not know enough to know exactly what to ask for. So, we have to listen and help them figure out what it is that they need. It’s really easy to just jump to, “Oh, why don’t you just do that,” without truly understanding what their needs are. Don’t jump too quickly to a solution without fully understanding the problem.
What advice do you have for PR pros in training?
Building a network can’t start too soon. The best available tool right now is LinkedIn. Be hungry for every contact that you make to be a connection on LinkedIn. Include the people you are going to school with; there will be times later on when those connections will give you the opportunity to speak with someone through them. Capitalize on those connections.
What are you looking for in new hires who have just graduated?
Something we look for, which I always credit Kelli Matthews for being the one who helped make possible [at the University of Oregon], is a student who understands the digital platforms. Do they have an online portfolio, a blog, a Twitter feed? What do they like to post, and how active are they? I just like to know they have familiarity with those types of platforms.
Also, we look for the ability to write. Along with being able to write well, journalistic-ally speaking, it’s important to see if the person can identify what’s important and can be clear, concise, and to the point.
Networking and education event helps budding entrepreneurs prepare to sustain successful businesses
The first-ever International Cannabis Business Conference rolled into the Oregon Convention Center for a networking and business event featuring leaders in the industry, including acclaimed blogger Andrew Sullivan and Congressman Earl Blumenauer, among many others. Review the full list here.
The educational conference offers a series of panels featuring lawyers, investors, activists, politicians and successful business people offering expert advice for those looking to enter this blossoming industry. With Oregon legalizing marijuana this fall, the Pacific Northwest will become by default the center of a new industry that has the potential to make many budding entrepreneurs into glorified business folk. In the first two months of legal sales, Washington has reported sales exceeding $12 million (Colorado by comparison had $10 million in its first 4 months).
Whether you’re for legalization or against, it’s hard to dispute that the new industry would create more economic opportunity for those working up and down the supply chain – from hardware stores, to bakers, to artisans to urban farmers – to marketing and public relations firms too.
For information on the next conference check out: International Cannabis Conference.
Have a strategy and offer content with value to your audience
If you have a business or a brand, you must have a strong online presence. Public relations agencies are no different. Every business wants to stand out and show up on the first page of searches.
Businesses and brands face ever increasing competition to be noticed. With more than 1 billion active websites, consistent attention to Search engine optimization, or SEO, is key to raising visibility.
SEO is the process of affecting the rank of a website in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid search results. The earlier and more frequently a site appears in search results list, the more visitors it will receive.
Basically, SEO encourages keyword use to increase traffic based on what people search for. However, there is a drawback. Focusing on keywords can stifle creativity.
At AM:PM PR, we write about what we’d want to read. We want what we write to be interesting, authentic, and worth our reader’s time. It’s always a bonus if we write something others find worth sharing.
It’s a complicated balancing act. How do you safely walk the tightrope between entertaining readers and attracting potential new clients with strategic keywords planted throughout the copy?
- Be Subtle – While keywords are important to search, don’t litter your posts with them. In this post all focus keywords are in bold. Words and phrases like “public relations,” “search engine optimization,” and “SEO Tips” are all terms that could bring people to our site.
- Be Creative – Sensibility with keywords can attract visitors, but creative, useful content is what keeps them coming back. Try writing your post first without worrying about keywords and then add them where they make sense. While headlines should contain focus keywords, you also need to grab attention with them.
- Be Mindful – Think like the reader you want to have. What do you want your audiences to think about you? What do you want to portray? Being mindful of how copy, relevant content, and keywords work together will help attract visitors and keep them coming back.
- Be Visual – Google likes images. Adding images and properly naming, sizing and tagged them will help your rank and make your content more attractive and memorable.
Paying more attention to SEO does take time, but it’s part of today’s cost of doing business.
Technology and the rise of social networks over the past decade have put practices used by communications professionals in a constant state of flux. It’s admittedly difficult for organizations to determine which tactics will elicit the greatest return on their marketing investment and it’s common for many small business owners to overlook opportunities that are actually within their budget.
Video is often overlooked due to what is perceived or imagined to be extraordinary costs. However, due to recent improvements and cost reductions in camera and software technology, you can now produce a slick video for a fraction of the price. When coupled with developments in e-newsletter and social media technology, your return on investment with video starts looking pretty good.
Benefits of Video
Video offers a way to put a personality or personal face on your business, which in turn allows you or your business to connect with prospective customers on a “real” level, if that makes sense.
You can use video to communicate directly to your target audience or to demonstrate: how to use a product, new ideas, your areas of expertise, or the practicality or application of a new product or idea.
When coupled with social media, a thoughtful and creative video can be shared among audiences through various social media channels – which can actually make it it one of the most measurable marketing tactics too. In Software Advice‘s recent B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Survey for 2012 video was shown to be one of the most successful ways to generate engagement through content.
Video is Popular
Some crazy facts:
- YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine.
- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
- 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
- 25% of global YouTube views come from mobile devices
Speed and Simplicity
Finally, video is easy for your end user: your target audience. Unlike a well-written essay that requires your target audience to spend 5-10 minutes of brain power to read and digest, a thoughtful video can get your messaging across in less than a minute.
Video doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time to produce, but it does have to be well planned and shot as thoughtfully as possible. Hiring a video producer will help to amplify online campaigns and may share insight and personal connections to your audience in a manner that is hard to reproduce otherwise.
Mikee Shattuck is a Portland, Oregon native with over 10 years of marketing and advertising experience. He offers quality and efficient video production service for an insanely affordable value. Mikee can be reached at: http://www.mikeeshattuck.com
Check out examples of Mikee’s work:
– by Cam Clark
One of the most prominent complaints I hear against social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter is that they actually make us less social. They suck you into interacting on a superficial, virtual basis rather than face-to-face.
There are arguments for and against this thought process, but for the past ten years one social network has been quietly and successfully nullifying these two assertions right under our noses by creating a network of people who meet virtually and congregate physically.
Meetup.com is one of the rare websites that actually encourages people to meet in real life. The website aims to help people create communities unified by a common interest, such as: politics, books, sports, movies, health, pets, jobs or other hobbies. Members just enter their ZIP code or their city and the topic they want to meet about, and the site helps them arrange a place and time to meet.
Meetup’s mission is “To revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.”
This under-recognized social networking site is the world’s largest network of local groups, with people getting together somewhere on the planet every 13 seconds. Meetup boasts an impressive 9 million visitors per month in 45,000 cities worldwide, and has 280,000 monthly Meetups on every topic imaginable. Sure, compared to Facebook numbers, 9 million is a drop in the bucket and the site could use a visual overhaul, but just because this site has been outshined by others does not mean you should ignore it.
I personally have made some great connections through this site, and in a very short time frame. I’ve pub-crawled with the “20 and 30 somethings in Portland,” happy-houred with the “Happy Hour Aficionados of Portland,” run with the “NoPo Run Club” and even sung my face off with the “Portland Karaoke Singles.” There is so much fun to be had.
If you don’t think you have time to check it out, do me a favor. Go to meetup.com, enter in a topic that interests you and your zip code, and just see what comes up. If you are unable to find anything interesting, come to one of our PR 3.0 meetings and I will buy you a beer. Or, maybe, just maybe, you will find a group of people that will forever change your life. Either way, what do you have to lose?