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Cre8con 2019 Recap

On Friday, September 27th, I attended my very first Cre8con! This annual event is a conference that celebrates and explores creative work across all industries. Each year, a selection of keynote speakers gives a presentation on what inspires them in their work, the challenges they’ve faced, and their adventures in the creative field.

There were a lot of amazing speakers at the conference this year. Here my three favorites!

Schuyler Telleen

A 2-time Emmy award winner, member of the Screen Actors Guild and successful Production Designer and Graphic Designer, Schuyler captured the audience within seconds of hitting the stage. He walked into the spotlight visibly shaking, reading off notecards that he began to drop. His voice faltering, he looked out into the crowd and whispered: “I’m…I’m sorry. I can’t do this,” and ran off stage. The crowd, hoping to encourage Schuyler to come back, began cheering: “You can do it!” And suddenly, Schuyler came back onto the stage a different person. Laughing, he exclaimed: “And that was improv!” The crowd burst into applause and laughter.

Schuyler has an impressive resume. He’s worked on Portlandia, Shrill, American Vandal and Trinkets as a Production Designer. As a Graphic Designer, he’s worked on Mad Men, Veep, Parks and Recreation, and Glee. For Parks and Rec fans, you can thank Schuyler for the iconic “Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness.” Yeah. He MADE that. It blew my mind, too.

Ruth E. Carter

Ruth is an fierce, Academy Award-winning Costume Designer. This year, she won an Academy Award for her work on Black Panther. To make that win even cooler, she’s the first African-American woman to win in that category. She has had two additional Academy Award nominations for Spike Lee’s Malcolm X and Steven Spielberg’s Amistad, plus an Emmy nomination in 2016 for the reboot of Roots.

Ruth shared behind-the-scenes photos of work on the set of Black Panther, explaining the intricate process that comes along with costume design, and the satisfaction of watching it all come together on the big screen. Ruth’s main piece of advice about working in the creative industry was this: lead with your passions. Don’t let anyone treat you less than you deserve, and fight for what you love.

Photo by The Hollywood Reporter

Ken Davenport

Ken is a 2-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer who is well-known for his work on the popular Broadway show, Kinky Boots. He is one of the co-founders of TEDxBroadway, has been featured in Vanity Fair, and has even gotten a mention in Jay Leno’s monologue on The Tonight Show.

Ken was so inspiring. In his talk, he emphasized the importance of focusing on the things you do know how to do instead of what you don’t when it comes to creative projects and jobs. You will naturally be able to eliminate the things you don’t like/don’t want to become an expert in if you do this.

He encouraged the crowd to plan to do one thing every day to move a project along, whether you’re working on something personal or for your career. At the end of his talk, he left plenty of time for questions. A common question was simply how to get started, especially when you find yourself in a creative rut. Ken’s answer was to start doing something, anything, even if it’s not perfect or exactly what you hope to do. Often times, this can transform into something amazing.

Ken at The Tony Awards

Hook, Line and Sinker: How to Engage Your Audience

Whether you’re writing a blog entry or social media post, hooking your reader is crucial. Successful content catches the eye of its audience with just the first line, then continues to engage them. Here are a few tips to enhance your content.

Write a Killer Headline

Like the headline to this blog post, start with a title that builds an image in the reader’s mind, poses a question, or sparks interest. According to PRDaily, “A proven headline approach is to begin with a topical keyword phrase, followed by a colon—or dash—followed by a statement or question.” In addition, let your interest in the subject shine through. Use words that conjure up emotions and compel the reader to click.

Include Interesting Visuals

Pepper in a few visuals within the post to break up text. Readers will be more likely to continue reading if their eyes are drawn to engaging visuals. Use relevant infographics, bright photos, and shots of people. Fun fact: “Georgia Institute of Technology and Yahoo Labs researchers looked at 1.1 million photos on Instagram and found that pictures with human faces are 38 percent more likely to receive likes than photos with no faces. They’re also 32 percent more likely to attract comments.” –Georgia Tech  

As human beings, we are attracted to faces. Use that to your advantage with your content!

Use Outbound Links

Don’t just describe interesting people, products and studies…show the reader where they can find more information. Including external links boosts SEO. Plus, according to SEOProfessor.com, “If you provide backlinks to high authority pages, you build a search engine’s trust in your website that you are a legitimate player in your field, which will increase a search engine’s confidence when serving up your page as a result to their users.”

End with a Call to Action

Wrapping up your post with a phrase like: “What tips do you have? Tweet us!” encourages readers to connect with you and future content.

PR Networking 101

Networking is the foundation of PR. From connecting with potential clients, to maintaining strong relationships with current ones, networking is essential. Building connections with fellow PR professionals is just as important.

Whether you are a seasoned PR rep or a recent college graduate, here are a four basic networking tips you should know!

1. Attend Events

Attending industry events is a great way to get your name out there and talk to people on the same career path. When attending these events, talk to as many people as you can*. Ask questions, swap business cards, and have a spiel about yourself and your career goals ready.

PR/Ad Networking Event Resources:

*You never know who might have a connection with a company you want to work for. Find out who works for who, and ask the people you meet to set up an email introduction with those companies.

2. Connect With Professionals On LinkedIn

Along with following businesses and firms you’re interested in on LinkedIn, connect with their employees. After attending a networking event or doing an interview (informational or official), connecting with the person you met is really important. It shows your commitment to keeping in contact with the rep and your overall interest in the position. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date, your resume down to one page*, and provide samples of your work.

*Simplify your resume so that it isn’t longer than one page. Long, overly-detailed resumes are off-putting to employers and may make it seem like you are including irrelevant info to fill up the page.

3. Build a Personal Brand On Social Media

Give fellow PR peeps and potential employers an idea of who you are. By building your personal brand on social media (website, Instagram, Twitter etc.), users get an idea of what’s important to you, your goals, and showcase what makes you unique.

4. Ask For Informational Interviews

Even if there are no open positions at a company you are hoping to work for, it doesn’t hurt to ask for an informational interview. By doing this, you can get a feel for the company (if the interview is at their firm), meet a rep, and get your name on their radar. Make sure to leave a physical copy of your resume with them, and follow up afterwards with a thank you email or handwritten note!

How To Grow Your Brand Through Instagram

 

“Instagram has over 800 million monthly active users and the platform is a great marketing tool if utilized effectively.”Forbes

Looking to expand your personal brand or business by using Instagram? Here are a few helpful tips.

Your Bio

Let’s start with the basics — your bio. It’s typically the first thing users see when they visit your Insta page. You want it to be short and sweet. While remaining eye-catching, simple and creative, you also want your bio to give a snapshot of you who you are. Brainstorm a few words associated with your company/brand, and that will help you come up with a phrase users will remember.

AM:PM PR’s Instagram bio: Creativity. Strategy. Socks with sandals. #ampmpr

Consistency

Keep your content consistent. Although it’s fun to experiment with filters, users will keep visiting your page if it follows a general theme. Choose one filter for the majority of your photos, and pay attention to how much white/blank space is present in each of your photos. A balance between the two is important. If you switch off between these two styles of photos or simply stick to just one, it will result in a overall more visually-appealing page.

It’s important to be regular with your posting schedule. Post every day and include a group of relevant hashtags under each photo. This will allow new users to discover your page, plus, unchanging hashtags will pool your content into Insta categories related to your field.

Examples of hashtags for a food blog/Instagram:

#foodblogger #food #foodie #foodphotography #instafood #foodstagram #foodlover #yummy #delicious #foodblog #foodies #healthyfood #instagood

AM:PM PR’s usual hashtags:

#agency #publicrelations #PR #pdx #branding #agencylife #portland #creative #art #portlandia #business #pragency #socialmedia #follow #brand #creativeagency #ampmpr #instafollow #instagood #creativity #media

Engage

Follow similar users. Not only will this increase your followers, (similar businesses will typically follow back) but you can also gather ideas for future content. Comment on other’s posts, reply to Insta stories and message people who reply to yours. You’ll grow an engaged fanbase in no time.

Connecting Your Website or Blog

If you are using Instagram to ultimately promote a larger businesses, website or blog, make sure to link your Insta appropriately.

When promoting new blog content on your Instagram page, here’s a few tricks:

  • Use call to action words. Examples: “New blog post is up! Click the link in my bio to check it out,” “You aren’t going to want to miss this week’s blog post! Visit the link in my bio to read.”
  • Use a platform like TapBio to immediately direct users to your latest blog post. “Rather than constantly changing your Instagram profile URL (to go with your latest post), you can easily add slides equipped with links to your Tap Bio corresponding to your latest Instagram posts. Tap Bio could be a powerful tool for social media stars, digital entrepreneurs or anyone trying to market themselves via Instagram.” – TechCrunch
  • Use Instagram stories to continue promoting your latest blog post through out the week. Use Insta stories to advertise new content instead of repetitive photos on your feed.

Highlights

A fairly new feature, Instagram highlights are an awesome way to display your archive of Insta stories. To organize them, divide the highlights into categories. Add a creative, consistent cover for each that compliments your theme colors for an extra touch. (See below for AM:PM’s highlights.)

Need more ideas/content inspo? Check out AM:PM’s Instagram page here!

PR Trend: Artificial Intelligence and Public Relations

What Is AI?

Artificial Intelligence: noun. A branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers, the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. -Merriam-Webster Dictionary

AI infiltrates our lives more than you may realize. For example, that voice to text feature on your phone, Google maps, and customization of your Facebook feed? Yep, it all stems from AI. But don’t worry, these robots aren’t evil. And they aren’t taking over the world…just your Instagram feed.

AI & PR

The majority of the media you consume is tailored to align with your thoughts and opinions. This data is collected and customized for you based on what you engage with. In the world of PR, this is extremely valuable information. According to Forbes, “With real-time data being used as an asset, professionals in the PR and media industries are able to provide their audience with content they want, rather than content they find annoying.” AI allows PR professionals to target niche audiences with specific content and advertisements. As a tool for marketing, AI is transforming the PR industry.

How Do PR Professionals Use AI?

According to PR Daily, “If you do something more than twice, it’s a good candidate for automation.” This means that AI could be useful for routine tasks like monitoring client media coverage, summarizing negative/positive articles and analyzing data. A major advantage to AI could be its ability to quickly track a potential crisis your brand may face. AI frees up time for PR professionals to focus on client projects that require human understanding and creativity. (Something AI bots will never fully grasp. 😉 )

“All these AI applications will help PR folks save a ton of time on longer projects, resulting in increased opportunities to focus on what really defines a PR agency: ideas.” –Big Fish Communications

Why Are People Concerned About AI?

As PR professionals and consumers of media, should AI in the business world concern us? John Bara, president and CMO of a leading predictive marketing technology company, says no: “Savvy PR professionals will understand that big data and AI can provide their readership with amazing, data-rich research on a myriad of topics. Companies should not fear big data and AI. Instead, they should embrace the trend and experiment.”

It is also not likely that AI will steal jobs. The core of the PR industry is forming relationships. The personal connections that agency’s and businesses form with their clients can never be replaced by AI. PR succeeds through the cultivation of authentic relationships.

Pat’s Picks: Top 3 Fave Brands

Today’s blog post highlights AM:PM PR Co-Founder Pat McCormick and his three favorite brands!

Apple

“Hi, my name is Pat and I’m an Applephile. I need to make that admission to explain why I have Apple’s marketing at the top of my list of faves. Apple infuses its brand in every element of its products and marketing – from ads to packaging, to the look, feel and function of its products. My latest Apple acquisition is my Apple Card. Like other Apple products, it’s clean, simple, minimal. It lives in the Apple universe with my Apple MacBook Pro, Apple iPad Pro, iPhone XS Max, Apple Watch, Apple HomePod, Apple TV and Apple Music. (Full disclosure: I’m an Apple stockholder.)

Disney

My second fave is Disney. Family and friends are familiar with my tradition of taking my grandchildren to Disneyland between their 9th and 10th birthdays. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy 9 great Disney stays with 9 amazing grandchildren. It’ll be awhile before I can take Haxton, who just turned 3 last week.
The Disney marketing that’s caught my eye recently is its upcoming launch of Disney+, the new streaming service. Disney’s D23 Expo, the annual gathering of the Official Disney Fan Club, was this past weekend and a number of new program announcements were released. The company made great use of its social media, digital tools and traditional media relations. Disney+ will to tap into the existing and future Disney media libraries as well as Pixar, the Marvel Universe, the Star Wars franchise and National Geographic. Cost will be $7.50/month, about half of a Netflix subscription. I’m also a Disney stockholder.
~

Portland Gear

Third fave is Portland Gear. The company and its founder, Marcus Harvey, have a great origin story. He leveraged Instagram to perfectly position his company and his personal commitment to our community, its sports teams, and great design. Portland Gear is my nominee for the best example of developing a brand from a great idea which resulted in significant success using Instagram.”

AM:PM PR’s Favorite Lunch Spots

At our office on Clinton Street (and near Divison Street), we are lucky enough to be surrounded by a wide range of yummy lunch spots in the neighborhood. Here are our faves!

Broder Cafe

The ultimate brunch spot. This hip little cafe is packed almost every single day, and for a good reason. Not only is the space cute, but the food is INCREDIBLE. This Scandinavian eatery specializes in Danish Pancakes (to die for) and delicious egg scrambles. The staff is so friendly, the drinks are good…you’ll never want to leave.

Pat’s Pick: The Lost Eggs and the Lefse potato crepes

Photo by Modern Guide to Portland

Dots

If aliens, Elvis and Marie Antoinette opened a diner, it might look like Dots. The walls are lined with black-and-white damask wallpaper, oil paintings of Elizabethan royalty, screenshots of Spock, and Warhol prints…Stepping into the red light of Dots is like going down Alice’s rabbit hole. It’s a ’50s-style diner with a killer bacon bleu cheeseburger…Come as you are.” -Willamette Week

A favorite of ours for many years, Dots is the best spot for some comfort food and greasy goodness. Its quirky, retro atmosphere attracts a fun crowd, and the food leaves you beyond full and happy.

Pat says: “It’s a stop for a quick lunch. I used to go there for daily specials, but I like their grilled cheese sandwich. For Happy Hour, the sandwich comes with a bowl of tomato soup and a salad – a perfect comfort meal.”

Pastini

Thank goodness there’s Pastini near our office — where else would we get our pasta fix? This lovely, classic-style Italian restaurant is one of our go-to team lunch spots. Whatever you order here, you’ll love it.

Pat’s Pick: Linguini Gorgonzola or Baked Ziti with Eggplant

Spielman Bagels and Coffee Roasters
Although still a fairly new spot (opened in 2011 on Division Street), Speilman quickly earned its place on our list of faves. According to their website,”the uniquely “Portland Style” bagel was made from a sourdough starter, mixed with milk and honey, and kettle-boiled to perfection. The soft, doughy center was the perfect contrast to the crunchy exterior, quickly becoming a local favorite.”
Their bagel sandwiches and bottomless house drinks are amazing.
Pat’s #1 Fave: “My FAVORITE neighborhood lunch spot is actually by our old office, ZELL’S CAFE, on SE 13th and Morrison. I bike there frequently for lunch. I like many of their breakfast items (I like to eat breakfast for lunch.) Favorites include their omelettes, their specials (especially ones featuring poblano sauce or roasted cauliflower) and their turkey melt sandwich with cheese and mushrooms.” -Pat McCormick

PR Trend: Influencer Marketing

“Influencer marketing” is the modern day equivalent to celebrity endorsements, a marketing tactic that’s been around for decades. These days, partnering with Instagram stars and YouTube phenomenons is a whole new way to advertise.

“Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising where they play the role of a potential buyer themselves, or they may be involved as third parties. These third parties can be spotted either within the supply chain (retailers, manufacturers, etc.) or among the so-called value-added influencers (such as journalists, academics, industry analysts, and professional advisers)” –Wikipedia

What’s the Difference?

The difference between celeb endorsements and influencer marketing is the idea that the campaign is a “collaboration” between the brand and the influencer. Everyone benefits from the deal. More of the brand’s products are purchased, while the influencer gains a few hundred new followers.

“YouTuber PewDiePie teamed up with the makers of a horror film set in the French catacombs under Paris, creating a series of videos in which he underwent challenges in the catacombs. It was pitch-perfect content for PewDiePie’s 27 million subscribers, and received nearly double the views as the movie’s trailer. Everybody won.” –Influencer Marketing

Another main difference between the two is the accessibility of influencers. These social media masters can be anyone– from a makeup guru to a gaming star on YouTube, there are more influencers populating the internet than ever before, and they’re often looking to be sponsored by brands.

YouTuber Zoella

Pros:

The benefit of this type of advertising is the humanization of a brand, which leads to an increase in sales. Influencers speak directly to their fans with their content, often personalizing their relationships with followers through interactions on social media. And what’s better than buying a product that your favorite YouTuber endorses? People want to buy products that are supported by the people they admire and trust.

  • “In a survey, 82% of consumers said they were highly likely to follow a micro-influencer recommendation on a product or service.
  • 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources.”

-HubSpot.

Another pro of influencer marketing is that it allows you to target the exact audience you are trying to reach. According to Grin, “This is the reason why most apparel brands prefer to collaborate with fashion influencers and beauty or skincare brands prefer to work with beauty influencers. Because it helps them reach an audience that’s likely to be interested in their offerings.”

Cons:

It’s important to find the right influencer to represent your brand. According to Brand24, “There are some rare cases when influencer marketing campaign backfired. Either the influencer profile didn’t suit the brand, the content was ill-prepared, or there was some other type of social media crisis.” If the wrong influencer is given temporary power over your brand and it goes wrong, this can be extremely detrimental to your business and its image as a whole.

There are pros and cons to everything, especially this new concept of influencer marketing. I’m curious to see it develop further in the world of PR and advertising.

Public Relations Is Not “Spin”

A Brief History of Public Relations

In the 1920s, Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee coined the word “public relations” in America. Back then, PR was considered to be propaganda, as it was used to promote both sides of the First World War and other controversial efforts. During the second half of the 20th century, however, the concept of PR expanded as various principles were established and it developed into a legitimate profession. According to Wikipedia, “In the early 2000s, press release services began offering social media press releases. The Cluetrain Manifesto, which predicted the impact of social media in 1999, was controversial in its time. But by 2006, the effect of social media and new internet technologies became broadly accepted.”

PR’s Many Titles

PR has had many different titles since the turn of the century. To name a few: damage control, image/reputation management, publicity, and the most hated, “spin.” This a dated word that gives the profession a negative connotation, its roots stemming in PR’s past in propaganda. But this no longer aligns with PR’s role in society.

What Is “Spin?”

Spin (noun): a particular way of representing an event or situation to the public so that it will be understood in a way that you want it to be understood. –Cambridge Dictionary

AKA…a way to save face and alter a story in order to avoid a negative audience reaction.

Why PR Isn’t “Spin”

“Spin is too simple a term for the work PR practitioners do. Sure, they seek to influence, but also counsel, market, promote, and advocate for their brands and clients. Simply put, PR is much more than spin.”

PR Weekly

In our current political climate, unfortunately, “the only time the average person sees a public relations professional is when they are advising a politician or celebrity or apologizing for a corporate screw-up.” (e-releases) But PR is so much more than that. It is brand development and building an image that showcases personality, values and talent. It is connecting with your audience and giving back to the organizations that improve our lives. It is remaining accountable, transparent and honest when something doesn’t go to plan. It is engaging users and producing excellent content. It is building lasting relationships.

Sp*n is a gross word. Let’s get rid of it for good.

9 Things AM:PM PR Loves

Happy Monday!

What gets you up in the morning? What inspires you? For us here at AM:PM PR, it’s our location, our office, and our awesome team. We are so lucky to work in such a fun, buzzing neighborhood at our headquarters on Clinton Street. Here are 9 things we love about it.

 

1. Our Lego Models

Co-founder Pat McCormick is talented in many areas, one being his ability to piece together some impressive Lego sets. If you’ve walked by our office before, you’re probably familiar with the abundance of Lego displays on our window sills. While providing a fun distraction, I mean break, 😉 from our work from time to time, we also love to see kiddos stop and admire the models. It’s so cute to see them ooh and aah over the Disney Castle, Statue of Liberty, and most notable, Millennium Falcon model.

2. Nossa Familia Coffee

A two-minute walk from our office, Nossa Familia Coffee on Division Street is one of our favorite spots to chill and refuel. They’re deeply committed to ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship and social responsibility, plus their coffee and tea is so yummy!

3. Dogs, dogs, dogs

Clinton and Division Streets are dog central, and we’re dog people. If there’s ever a shortage of pups trotting by our office windows though, no worries–our pals at EENW next door have two sweet labradoodles that we love to cuddle. Their names are Nova & Echo!

4. Our Glass Whiteboards

Designed by 7/Apps founder Juan Fernandez and built by a local welder, the glass whiteboards that divide up our work spaces in the office are one of our most favorite things. Typically covered in sticky notes and doodles, our whiteboards are a great place for us to draw cartoons or map out a project.

5. New Seasons Market

Our favorite spot for a quick snack or lunch with friends during the work day. This cozy place doesn’t feel like your typical grocery store. The staff are friendly, the food is fresh, and the vibes are good. Plus, it’s a 30-second stroll from our office!

6. The Cyrk Building

We are privileged to work in the coolest building ever. 90% of our building’s power comes from solar panels on the roof, and the indoor temperature is controlled by an underground water-source heat pump. The Cyrk Building is eco-friendly, welcoming and bright with its many windows, and decked out in cool art.

7. Our Team

We are a family-owned PR agency with a passion for what we do. Our team is driven and inspired by each other, and that’s what results in our success. Long hours aren’t a problem for us — we are motivated by our client’s victories and willing to do whatever it takes. We are a close-knit team of creative, socks-with-sandals-wearing goofballs.

8. Fifty Licks Ice Cream

Fun fact! I’m an ice cream addict.

Fifty Licks, the ice cream shop across the street, is my favorite place in Portland. They have unique flavors (better than Salt & Straw, in my opinion) and a super cute space. I go quite often, and it was during one of my frequent stops there that I discovered AM:PM!

9. Our Clients

We work with clients we believe in and on projects we enjoy, and our goal is to build long-term relationships with the people we assist. We take our clients’ goals on as our own and love seeing them flourish.

 

-Sophie