Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Wacky World Series

Author: Gina Mason

This year’s World Series has been exciting, tense and bizarre to say the least. Outside of the unruly “Boston Beards,” we have seen some of the most off-the-wall game-ending plays that resulted in some much needed baseball buzz. Between the controversial obstruction call on Saturday and the game-ending pickoff on Sunday, for the first time in a while people everywhere were talking about baseball. Whether you are an avid baseball fan or simply looking to discuss the plays around the water cooler, people everywhere tuned into this wacky series to see what was going to happen next.

It has been no secret that the MLB has struggled over the last few years getting people excited about the postseason, especially when big market teams like the New York Yankees are eliminated from the race. However after the strange series of events, the MLB reported that this year’s World Series averaged “13.4 million viewers through the first three games,” a statistic that is “15% higher than last year and the highest average since 2010.” Forbes also noted that nearly 16 million people tuned into Game 4 on Sunday which was most watched event on primetime, beating Sunday Night Football (a triumphant feat in itself). The statistics are even more impressive considering that Boston and St. Louis have more of a regional fan base and less of a hold on the national market.

The most interesting aspect of the obstruction play was that it not only generated buzz, but it also expanded the audience to a group of people who may not have watched baseball before (something that people pay millions of dollars to accomplish). To capture the attention of non-baseball fans and keep them engaged is something that is very difficult, but the odd series seemed to make that happen. People everywhere tuned into to the World Series to see how this toe-to-toe match was going to end and witnessed the Boston Red Sox emerge as victors.

The key to all of this attention was the obstruction call and how the MLB took advantage of the unexpected attention. As you all know the obstruction play was unintended, but it was an attention-grabber from the start. The MLB reported that there were 110,238 unique tweets that were sent out within the first five minutes of the obstruction play. Everyone from rapper Lil’ Wayne to NFL kicker Jay Feely to your average Joe shared their opinions on the play via social media. Whether you thought Will Middlebrooks intentionally tried to tripped up Allen Craig or not, the debacle grabbed people’s attention and got people talking. 

Shortly after grasping the attention of millions of Americans, the MLB capitalized on the buzz and kept the conversation going. Not only was the play discussed on every broadcast and in every newspaper in America, but the MLB amped up it’s activity on its social media sites to engage its audience. @MLB tweeted 15 times between 9pm and midnight after the obstruction call as details from the players and umpires emerged. The MLB continued to post over 15 tweets within the next 24 hours with statements and quotes from players/coaches/umpires about what happened in Game 3 keeping the fans completely engaged until the start of Game 4. Almost out of sheer luck, the MLB was able to cash in on an additional unusual game-ending play when pinch runner, Kolten Wong was picked off (something that has NEVER happened in a World Series game before). As if the MLB hit the lottery, they were able to recycle and repeat the tactics that were used for the obstruction call.

The MLB took full advantage of this “buzz” marketing scenario by capturing this electric series and turning this drama into not only revenue for the league, but increased viewership among the nation. I guess the old saying, “All press is good press” is very true in this case.

We would love to hear your comments on the World Series. What did you think of this year’s World Series and what was your opinion of the obstruction call?

As always, if you like what you read be social and share. 

 

 

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How to Save When Attending a Sporting Event

Have you ever wanted to attend a sporting event and look up tickets only to realize you’d have to make an extra fund just to cover the total cost? You are not alone. Ticket prices for professional and even collegiate sporting events have significantly increased over the years, especially as of late. Although some people can afford the price increases, several people cannot. Below are some tips on how to save money when attending sporting events. 

Get tickets last minute.

If you aren’t planning a family trip and aren’t planning to attend for a specific day, wait and buy your tickets as close to the day of the game as you can. The longer you wait, the cheaper you may be able to find tickets on various ticketing sites such as StubHub, SeatGeek and eBay.

Eat before you go.

If the game tickets weren’t enough, the “total game package” consisting of food, drinks and any souvenirs also will cost you. Although you probably can’t avoid buying that $4 bottle of water to quench your thirst after yelling for your team, eating before you attend games will significantly decrease your overall cost.

Find alternative parking.

Although sometimes it is not possible to find free or even inexpensive parking in a city where you’re attending a game, there are some ways around paying a lot for parking. One way is to be ready to walk. The farther away from a sports venue you go, the cheaper the parking tends to be. Another way is to get to the game early. Not only will arriving early allow for more open spaces in general, but it will also let you choose where you park therefore you won’t get stuck in an expensive garage. Additionally, allowing for extra time will give you more time to walk to the venue if you choose to park farther away.

Make it a special event.

Choose one game to go to and make a day out of it. By not attending games frequently you will save money, but also make more of an experience out of it when you do go. In addition, while not planning to attend several games go ahead and get some of those cherished souvenirs of your team. Next time you watch a game from your couch you can wear your beloved shirt and think back to the game you attended. Also, get to the game early and watch the teams warm up. It allows for you to get a different perspective from in-game play, that way you get the most for your money.

Just keep in mind, that game you were looking forward to watching live with your family will most likely set you back a few hundred dollars, however if you plan ahead it can be quite an unforgettable experience. For some, a once a year adventure is possible and worth it, while others are perfectly content watching the game on their own couch. Regardless of the way you choose to watch the game be aware of these tips and know all of your options.

As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share. 

Brands on Instagram

Author: Gina Mason – October 28, 2013

Someone once said, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and in today’s crazed social media world, it may also be worth a thousand “likes.”

The image-based application, Instagram, is quickly becoming one of the most popular social platforms around the world. According to a recent study done by MarketingProfs, in the last year Instagram has increased its users by 500% totaling over 100 million active users worldwide. However, Instagram is no longer limited to people posting random #ThrowbackThursday pics, #nofilter skylines or images of #foodporn. Now, many major brands are flocking to the social network to reach a broader audience in a different capacity.

Brands such as NIKE, Disney, McDonald’s and Starbucks are all utilizing the trending app to engage followers by posting images that embody the essence of their brands.  They are no longer simply selling a product; they are selling a lifestyle that helps them connect with followers to build brand loyalty.

Here are a few tips for brands when posting photos to Instagram:

Post interesting photos that define your brand

Instagram is a place where users go to find exciting photos and videos, not to simply view photos of a product on a shelf. Get creative! Select photos that reflect the heart of your brand and come up with a strategy of how you want to communicate with your target audience through the image or video. For example, NIKE’s Instagram account incorporates its products by showing people who personify its famous slogan, “JUST DO IT.” From professional athletes to regular people, NIKE displays photos that bring its mantra to life. Whether it is a photo of a runner crossing the finish line in NIKE shoes or Serena Williams celebrating in her NIKE shirt after a win, all of the athletes #justdoit.

Use #hashtags

Like Twitter, Instagram incorporates hash tags to enable users to see what is trending. Although there is no character limit on Instagram, it is still imperative for brands to tag their message which will ultimately broaden their reach to a larger audience. Starbucks incorporated this strategy by posting fall-inspired photos and using broad hash tags like #PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) #HelloFall and #pumpkin. Those keywords opened the door to anyone searching topics like fall or pumpkins who may not have been following the coffee powerhouse before.   

 Utilize the video feature

Instagram gives users the ability to bring their photos to life. The new video feature allows users to create videos that range from three to 15 seconds.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to posting videos for your brand, so think outside of the box and make sure each video is unique. To do something different, Disney recently posted a video of a blank white board that slowly built the signature phrase from the film, The Lion King “hakuna matata.” Although this was a very simple video which consisted of a white board and magnetic letters, it was a great way to promote its message, “it means no worries for the rest of your days.

Share your photos

Instagram has a great feature that enables users to share their photos across multiple platforms. So be sure to share your photos on your brand’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Also, ask your Facebook and Twitter followers to follow you on Instagram to continue to build your following. 

Instagram is a great platform to reach a larger audience and visually expand your brand. IT provides you with a creative outlet to connect with your followers on an alternative level.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram @IndraPRGroup to see photos of some of our fantastic clients and events. As always if you like what you read, be social and share.

Tips to Promote Online Events Using Social Media

By: MJ Pedone – October 24, 2013

Hosting an online event is an excellent way to call attention to your brand or company. But how do you standout so your event gets the attention and attendance it deserves?

First step, create a landing page for the event, as well as an event on Facebook and Google+. Next, if appropriate, create a signup on Eventbrite and/or other ticketing site. Then, send out invitations to your newsletter subscribers. These are basic steps for getting people to sign up, but there is much more work to be done.

Getting the word out about any live or online event is all about timing. The reality is, everybody is so busy with their everyday life and at times are overwhelmed. You need to put it in front of them in a way that seems natural and makes sense for them.

Here are 5 ways for promoting virtual events, which can be used to promote live events as well.

1. Create an Event Hashtag. And Tweet Often. I’m a big believer in event-specific hashtags. Social media is also a great way to spread the word ahead of time. An easy idea is to send out separate tweets naming each speaker with their twitter handle (but not leading with the handle, as Twitter sometimes channels them just to that person). The great thing–if the speaker is Twitter-savvy, he/she will retweet it to probably a larger group of followers than you have.

2. Plan. Prepare all social update texts and images beforehand. I recommend sending status updates at least twice a day and start these updates at least two weeks in advance. Use images while posting about your event on Social networks because pictures attract a lot more visitors than just plain text updates.

3. Be Specific and Be Social. Spend the most time finding the right audience(s) and catering the message for them. Often times, people want things to appeal to everyone … but that doesn’t work. Find groups that would be most excited about the event and get them talking about it; they’ll invite their friends and spread the word.

Find clever ways of getting people to talk about the event such as asking questions, getting people to like, retweet/share, having interesting/humorous information, and so on. The more people interact, the more your message will be shared.

4. Ask for Help. One of the keys ways I have found in getting social media buzz is to get others to do the buzzing. Asking related (but non-competing) organizations to promote an event is painless and they’re often happy to do it. Just remember to return the favor since these can be valuable relationships for both companies.

5. Don’t Forget about LinkedIn. Post the event details and RSVP link (if applicable) on your company page. Ask all your colleagues and friends to like that update. Also, share that post in related groups as this will help your post get more exposure and will eventually increase the attendance. This will help you gain additional attendees.

A successful event will increase your company’s visibility while providing a valuable resource. The key to promoting an event is to be active and constantly engaging your audience. At Indra Public Relations, our Social Media Strategists does this work for our clients so that they can focus on other areas of their daily business.  Need help with an online social media event strategy? Feel free to contact us and if you like what you read, be social and share. 

The Power of the Podcast

October 23, 2013

Do you have an opinion that needs to be heard? A hobby that you are passionate about? An interest you share with thousands of people? In recent years, people, businesses and other brands have largely taken to social media and blogging platforms to market themselves and communicate with a mass audience. While this has been successful, an emerging medium is starting to take the industry by storm and is a great, alternative way to enhance and establish your brand. Podcasting can bring your brand to the next level and provide you with a powerful way to get your voice heard. Here are 5 reasons why everyone should implement a podcast into their branding strategy:

1. Low Cost and Easy to Execute

Creating your own podcast couldn’t be any easier! All you need is a computer with Internet connection and a microphone (and a camera if you want to create a video podcast). The microphone can be built-in to the computer or it can be an external one. Essentially, you do not need to make any additional purchases to get your podcast up and running, unless you seek a higher quality product. Once you have recorded your podcast, all you need to do is upload the file to your website (if you have one) or a third-party website that’s capable of displaying audio/video content. From there, visitors can download your podcast directly from where you posted it. Newer technology and apps have even made it possible to listen to podcasts on your smartphone, which enables immediate streaming for the listeners. It becomes even easier and more immediate once listeners actually subscribe to your podcast, as the podcast will be downloaded automatically every time you upload one. Since podcasts are delivered and downloaded over the Internet, it is a very simple and inexpensive means of communication for both the creator and consumer.

2. No Limits on Creative Space

Unlike radio and television formats that have strict schedules, time constraints and FCC regulations, podcasts can be posted whenever and however you desire. You can make a podcast once or twice week and as long or as short as you want; it doesn’t matter! Your podcast content and habits should be whatever makes the most sense for your brand and audience. There are no sets of rules or regulations that explain exactly what a podcast has to be, which is why you can take a podcast in whatever direction fits best for your brand. Podcasts are a completely open media platform that covers thousands of different topics and genres. Podcasts cover everything from music and sports, to business and food. If you can think of a topic, there is probably already a podcast about it. This does not mean that you can’t create a podcast for a topic that is already covered, because you have unlimited creative freedom to make it work. You are the sole designer of your podcast and ultimately hold the most power in creating your brand. 

3. Convenient and Accessible to Users

We’ve already talked about how a podcast subscriber receives your content automatically every time a new episode is produced, but this cannot be emphasized enough. In this day and age, convenience and accessibility are two of the most important factors in evaluating consumer products. Compared to other media formats where users must search for the content they desire, podcasts conveniently come directly to consumers. People who listen to a podcast are there because they want to be there, which creates a loyal fan base. Once a podcast is downloaded, you do not have to be connected to the Internet to listen to it. As a result, people can listen to your podcast while they are commuting to work, at the gym, walking their dog or wherever they might be. The listeners are literally bringing your brand with them wherever they go, with no extra weight or cost. Additionally, people can pause, rewind, fast-forward and re-listen to your podcast as many times as they want. Podcasts allow people to carry your brand in their back pocket and consume on the go, an increasing trend in today’s tech-savvy world. 

4. A “Real” Voice Carries More Weight

How many times have you read a book or blog and then heard the author speak, changing your entire perspective of the written work? Whether it was a good change or not, why not cut out that middle step altogether and speak directly to your audience? Hearing a voice is a lot more intimate and personal than just reading a blog or post on social media, and listeners will begin to associate the voice with the brand. Podcast audiences are very loyal because the people feel as though the brand is speaking and interacting directly with them. As the producer, you can convey your personality in a way that written words cannot. You can emphasize things with the tone of your voice or with actions, which written words would be unable to accomplish. Hearing a “real” voice speak about or convey a brand is just that more powerful and influential. There is less confusion among your audience and you have more of a say in how your brand is perceived. Even if you are worried that your audience might lose or miss something by just listening to or viewing your podcast, you can provide a written transcript to go along with the podcast to ensure that the audience has everything they need to know. Attaching a voice to your brand not only gives it added personality but also connects with and establishes a more loyal fan base.

5. Can Offer Quality Information

By creating a podcast, you immediately become an industry authority within your niche. Since you are reaching an audience that wants to be listening to your podcast, you become a go-to person for that area of interest. If people didn’t think you offered quality information, they wouldn’t subscribe and continue to tune in. Your brand’s credibility can skyrocket and you can build a following more easily if you are a recognized figure in the community. Just think about every time you see a person on television or hear them on the radio. Regardless of what they say, you probably consider them an authority figure in the field they are discussing because they are on a public platform. In a podcast, it is your job to make sure you’re content is up to par and credible within your genre. But the podcast platform alone elevates your brand to a new level or respect and creates a passionate following among listeners.

The beauty of creating a podcast is that it can be for fun or part of your business. Either way, it is a fantastic tool in generating a loyal and focused audience, while establishing and enhancing your brand. For the five reasons stated above, I believe all brands should consider creating a podcast. Aside from the obvious branding advantages, podcasts are an enjoyable and easy way to share your thoughts with the world.

As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

What is PR?

As a public relations professional, you probably get asked this question quite frequently and instead of replying with the snide, eye-roll provoking comment that you’re most likely thinking about, reply with any of the phrases below. When it comes to PR there are a few key points that should be included in every one of your definitions. Knowing and relaying these essential components of PR will aid in the clarification of the field.

PR involves building and maintaining symbiotic relationships between organizations or individuals and the public. Additionally, it is important to build the same relationships between your PR firm and its clients. The key word in this phrase is relationship. Relationships are crucial in PR because they are the basis of the system in which the field exists. Without positive relationships, PR firms would have no clients and without clients PR firms would not function.

PR uses strategic communication to create, execute and analyze public relations campaigns. The main goal of public relations campaigns is to effectively get an organization’s message across to the public. Although the message is simply given to the public, and they are to interpret it as they wish, it is ideal that the message be seen in a positive light.

Some people believe PR is a “spin” of the truth to be seen in a more favorable way, however this is not the case. To deter people from believing this it’s important to state what PR professionals do. PR professionals take an ethical approach in relaying certain messages to specific audiences. This involves the facts and the telling of facts. That is all.

PR would not be successful without research, as it is a necessary component that is used throughout all aspects of the field. It is also used to allow for complete knowledge of an organization prior to, during and following the public relations campaign process. Research is used to discover facts to support with all day-to-day PR tasks.

Analysis is critical in PR. Analyzing target audiences involves extensive research, but can produce significant results, especially in terms of solidifying relationships. Additionally, analysis is important in evaluating public relations campaigns. The success of a campaign will be measured using both pre and post research. PR professionals are then able to analyze the results.

PR is used to promote, not advertise. Although it may seem like PR professionals attempt to advertise for their clients, what they are really doing is promoting. Promoting differs from advertising because it uses the positive and interesting information regarding an organization to gauge interest from target audiences. Advertising is more general, as it tries to appeal to a wider audience and the ultimate goal is to engage consumers into buying into a product or cause.

If for some reason these phrases don’t work for you, simply remind the person who gives you a hard time for being in PR that…“You couldn’t do what I do, and I couldn’t do what you do.”

If you need help building your brand or bringing awareness to a cause, let us assist you as our relationships with the top tier media outlets, run deep. As always, we welcome all comments and feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.

TV Tips

By: MJ Pedone 

Working closely with our clients that are of the celebrity status, I have listed below some key tips to think about when being interviewed on TV.

 Never wing it

Plan your answers with key messages and make sure to think about the audience and their expectations beforehand. In any interview, you’re really speaking via the interviewer so know your audience.

Shaping your message

The real difference between talking to the media and talking directly to an audience, of course, comes down to control. For a speech, you pick and choose your points and timing. But for interviews, reporters will throw out the questions.

That doesn’t mean you lean back and remain passive. The idea is to get out the message you want while still responding to questions and ceding control to the reporter. At the outset, it helps to personalize the experience. Always break the ice with reporters by asking something about them — where they grew up, what their interests are, what kind of stories they have covered. Showing an interest in them makes you more likable.

Once you’ve accomplished that, here are six tips to help you master the art of getting out your preferred message.

1. Set goals for your interview. Use the OSTA rule which is: objective, strategy, tactics and audience. Everything communicated should have an OSTA plan of attack. Plan to hammer home your key messages. For interviews, keep answers — especially for TV or radio — to about 25 to 40 seconds each. 

2. Nothing is 100% off the record. Once notes are made, editors, publishers and lawyers can review them. This goes for all appearances, not just interviews. Whatever you say — anywhere — can follow you around endlessly and perhaps disastrously. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so politely.

3. Watch your body language. Even in positive interview situations, interviewees sometimes look tense or stiff, which can have a big impact on credibility.  Before on-camera interviews, speak into the mirror and deliver information on yourself.  Watch your hand language as well.  Don’t cross your arms. Be positive and genuine while being convincing.

4. Stay on track with your message. Interviewers usually can only use what you say against you. If the interview goes off track, stop it. You can ask for a break, a glass of water, a visit to the restroom. It doesn’t matter if the excuse seems lame — they will use footage of you on-camera, not off.

5. Learn how to “bridge.” This technique allows you to deflect any attempts to derail your message. “Bridging” creates a transition so that you can move from one subject to the message you want to communicate. First answer the direct question, then transition to your message. I suggest such bridging phrases as: 

  • “Before we get off that topic, let me just add…”
  • “Let me put that in perspective.”
  • “It’s important to remember that…”

6. Prepare take-aways. Always plan the points or facts you want the interviewer or audience to walk away thinking about. You might identify these points as the building blocks of your presentation. If someone else prepares your material, discuss the take-away points first. Narrow the focus. Then, to get listeners to remember you, deliver those points passionately and succinctly through analogies and re-creating experiences. (this is if you have the time)

Finally, it’s not over when it’s over. Make sure to track the results and get reviews of your performance.  Be smart and brave enough to make the necessary improvements, so you do even better next time.

As always, I welcome any comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.