Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sports Media Professionals Using Twitter to Create Their Brand Both On and Off Camera

October 15, 2013

Distinguished members of sports media are often seen as celebrities due to their constant interaction with and knowledge of professional athletes. They are the first ones to know which NFL player is out for the season and what play will make fans cringe for weeks. These qualities make sports media professionals people of interest to all types of sports fans. One way media professionals create and solidify their brand among fans is through Twitter.

Twitter allows media professionals to express their opinions freely, in an appropriate way of course, while offering the opportunity to build a relationship with sports fans. Although they are not allowed to be bias when reporting the news, the following two successful sports reporters make it clear who they support when the puck drops or the whistle is blown via Twitter.

Steve Levy and Linda Cohn are two influential sports reporters who use to Twitter to uphold their brand, both inside and outside of work. Below is a look at how each professional uses their own Twitter page in correspondence with their career.

Steve Levy, Co-Anchor Sportscenter ESPN

Followers of Levy can take three main facts regarding his personality through his tweets. The first is that he is a hockey fan. A huge hockey fan, who isn’t afraid to show his love for the sport. For example he tweeted “Not to fear…pucks on the way here on @Sportscenter” and “Watching slapshot for the thousandth time. #nevergetsold.” Additionally, Levy supports providing people with opportunities at ESPN, as he tweets about and retweets the ESPN Careers account frequently. This shows his support of the company he represents. Lastly, Levy shows his true personality via tweets including his interest in the show Sons of Anarchy and love of food with his “hard to beat a well-grilled hot dog… #neversteamed” tweet. Levy’s combination of work and play keeps his followers looking for more.

Linda Cohn, Co-Anchor Sportscenter, Radio Host ESPN, “Listen Closely” Podcast

Followers of Cohn are aware of the teams she loves, as she doesn’t hesitate when it comes to tweeting about the New York Giants, Rangers, Mets and Knicks. When she’s not tweeting important facts about injured players, breaking news stories and team logistics she is providing comments only a true fan would say. An example of this is her tweet “Hallelujah! Who needs running backs? #giants.” She also incorporates her favorite shows into the mix including the tweet “Now I know what all the fuss was about. Wow! #BreakingBad #Netflix.” The mix of professional and off the record tweets Cohn uses provides her with a unique brand, allowing followers to understand her opinion of sports and entertainment in a multifaceted way. 

As the world of social media continues to evolve, sports media professionals will continue to use the various outlets, such as Twitter, to expand on their brand. They have the way they are perceived by sports fans at the tip of their fingers. Do you have a favorite sports media professional you follow who solidifies their brand through Twitter? If so, we want to know! Need assistance with your social media strategies, we can help!

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

How to Make the Most Out of Your Internship

Author: Gina Mason/October 14, 2013

Despite common misconception, internships can be more than making copies, filing papers and going on mid-afternoon trips to Starbucks. The saying “you get out what you put in” applies to all internships and going that extra mile may not only help you figure out your path to your dream job, but it may also be lead you to landing that first job.

Although the work may seem mundane, internships are a great opportunity to gain news skills, meet new people and discover your interests. I did several internships before landing my first real job and each experience (good and bad) helped me figure out what I actually wanted to do with my life.

Now I don’t know about you, but as an undergrad I changed my mind about 50 times when it came to what I wanted to do when I “grew up.” I knew that I enjoyed writing and that I liked sports, but outside of those two very broad options, I had no idea! After four internships, lots of long hours and about 1000 cups of coffee, I realized that I not only loved public relations, but that I wanted to work in an industry that incorporated my passion for sports.  

To fully take advantage of an internship, you need to do more than just show up. To make each internship worth your while, you need to apply yourself, work hard and soak in as much information as possible. Here are a few tips that I used during my internships to make sure that I got that most out of each one.

The sooner the better

My philosophy is that it is never too soon to start interning. The sooner you try something, the sooner you will know for sure if it is something that you like to do. Try to take advantage of every semester and every break possible. Although it may stinks that you can’t be partying at the beach with your friends, it will pay off in the long run. The experience that you get while interning is invaluable and gives you the ability to sample different careers for a short amount of time. Not to mention the more internship and work experience that you have, the more attractive you will be to future employers. In this difficult job market, work experience is everything and one or two internships may make the difference between getting a job and not getting a job.

Take the initiative

Don’t just go through the motions to get things done and go home. Be a go-getter. If you finish a task, ask if there is anything else you can help with. Employers will recognize if you are eager to learn and may give you more responsibility, which will only give you more experience to put on a resume.

Ask questions

In my book, there is no such thing as a stupid question while interning.  People don’t expect you to come into an office and understand how to do everything right off the bat. This is a learning experience, so don’t be shy. If you don’t understand something, speak up and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I would rather ask a million questions and understand how to do something correctly rather than do something wrong and have to redo it later.

Use coworkers a resource

Have a conversation with the people around you. Get an understanding of the office dynamic, how employees grow within the company and what the industry expectations are. Ask coworkers about the pros and cons of their jobs. This will help you gauge if the job is something that you could see yourself doing for an extended period of time. During one of my internships, a coworker honestly told me “this job and this industry  is extremely demanding and if you want to work in it you better be sure you are ok with missing holidays, weddings and birthdays.” Although his advice it was a little shocking at first, it really made me think about my work/life balance and if that profession was right for me.

Stay positive

Maintaining a positive outlook is not only attractive to potential employers, but it also will help you get through boring tasks like organizing file cabinets. Just remember as unglamorous as things are at the bottom, everyone has to work their way up and pay their dues at some point. Just be grateful for the experience and keep in mind that even though the work may seem trivial, interns are an integral part in the workplace.

Make connections not contacts

During your internship develop relationships with people that you meet. Don’t just collect business card and expect to email people a year later when you are looking for a job. Make a personal connection and make yourself memorable. Send follow up emails frequently so your new contacts don’t’ forget about you. Develop these relationships, because you never know when you may need their help.

Build on your experiences

After your internship is over, take time to carefully evaluate the job that you did, the company that you worked for and the industry that you worked in. Ask yourself if you could see yourself doing that job or if you should refocus and move onto something else. If you didn’t like your internship, try something unrelated in a different field. It truly is all about finding something that you wouldn’t mind doing for the next 50 years.  As my father always told me, “if you don’t like what you do, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Internships are a great way to expand your horizon and try new things. Not only can you gain great work experience, but you may meet some great people along the way.

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

Breaking Bad’s Branding Success

By: Ben Okun

As the camera panned out, leaving the infamous Walter White laying bloodied on the floor of a meth lab, all I could think was, “Is Breaking Bad really gone for good?” Now I knew that this was the final episode, and that creator Vince Gilligan had made it clear that there would be no more Breaking Bad. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact arguably the greatest drama series of the last couple decades was actually coming to an end. Many people, myself included, “binge-watched” the first few seasons on Netflix, but as momentum built behind this powerhouse, more and more people caught up and began tuning in live Sunday nights on AMC. Breaking Bad’s brand has grown exponentially over the past couple of years and has reached a point where people literally obsess over the show. So how has Breaking Bad’s brand become so powerful? Here are four reasons why:

1. Use of Social Media

In today’s digital age, social media use is very important in establishing a brand, as it gives you access to the most people at any given time. People are always on social media and it is the easiest way to communicate with them directly to get your message across.

Almost all the cast members of Breaking Bad were extremely active on social media platforms, especially Twitter, which helped solidify Breaking Bad’s brand over the last season or so. One aspect of the cast’s Twitter use that was particularly refreshing was that they kept in character for their tweets. Actor Aaron Paul, who plays Jesse Pinkman on the show, would rarely tweet as if he was Aaron Paul. Paul would often tweet using dialect and slang that sounded as if Jesse Pinkman was talking to you. Paul would constantly use the words “bitch” and “yo” in his tweets, words commonly associated with his Pinkman character.

In the first episode of this last season, Walter White tells his DEA agent brother-in-law, Hank Schrader to “tread lightly” in his investigation. This iconic quote by Walt was the talk of discussion all week leading up to the next episode, so much so, that actor Dean Norris who plays Schrader tweeted out, “ Hey Twitter folk, I’ll tread however the f**k I want to tonight.”

These are just two of many examples of how the cast of Breaking Bad brought the show to life on social media, by directly interacting with fans and bringing certain nuances of the show to the forefront of the Twitterverse. This helped build a powerful brand, because users felt as though they were talking to Jesse Pinkman and Hank Schrader, not Hollywood actors and celebrities.

2. Consistent Message and Theme

As a brand, you always want to provide your users with a consistent message. This way, the brand will avoid any confusion and the users can directly identify with the brand because they know what they are getting and can expect certain things. Vince Gilligan and the entire production team did an incredible job of keeping the show consistent throughout its entire existence. I’m not even talking about consistently great shows every week, although Breaking Bad certainly did this.

I’m talking about specific delivery methods, camera angles, sequences and themes that really set this show apart from others and brought something unique to the table. Embedded in every episode, there were foreshadows, flash forwards, close-ups on certain objects and montage sequences, in which viewers would have no idea what any of them meant. However, viewers learned to accept and even embrace these ambiguous aspects of the show, because Gilligan did a masterful job of incorporating these aspects of the show later on where he saw fit.

For a few episodes, viewers were given a close-up of worn-out teddy bear in a pool, with strange music playing in the background. There was no way for anyone to possibly know why it was there, but because these kind of things had helped establish the overall brand, people expected to be filled in at some point and actually enjoyed guessing the context of these strange scenes. It turns out; the teddy bear had actually fallen from the sky from a plain crash that played a significant role in the show. Gilligan was always consistent in tying loose ends together while also keeping the audience guessing, with the expectation of eventually being filled in.

These strange and symbolic scenes at first seemed out of place, but eventually became a huge part of the show in which a viewer knew that something significant was taking place, and became increasingly excited from an otherwise obscure scene. Successful brands always have a clear and consistent message that plays into the users expectations and keeps them coming back for more.

3. Visibility

One aspect of branding that seems rather obvious, but may be the most difficult to execute, is being visible and available to the public. Whether this is through a PR campaign or strategic marketing, it is essential to get your name out there; otherwise, you will never get noticed. You could be a social media expert and have the clearest, most consistent message, but if nobody actually sees your content, it is almost impossible to build a brand.

Aside from just airing episodes every Sunday night, Breaking Bad did a number of things to gain more publicity and be more visible. Immediately following every episode from this past mini-season, there would be an after-show called “Talking Bad.” Each week, the host would sit down and talk with different actors and producers from Breaking Bad, as well as other television enthusiasts, about the previously aired episode and everything else surrounding the show. They would also field questions from an in-studio audience and respond to comments and other ideas from social media. Talking Bad was a huge success and served as an additional outlet for super-fans to digest as much content as they possibly could.

The entire Breaking Bad cast also appeared together on Conan, leading up to the final episodes. This was so refreshing to the viewers who are used to the built up tension on the show, and got to see the cast joke around a bit and relax.

Lastly and most importantly, all five seasons were made available on Netflix. As I mentioned, viewers were able to “binge watch” at their leisure and have a whole library of episodes at their fingertips. Breaking Bad was just a click away, and boy did users take advantage. Since it was so readily accessible, the show built a legion of followers very quickly. It was not hard to find or watch Breaking Bad, and this visibility was a huge factor in the show’s branding success.

 4. Aware of the Competition

Whether it’s Burger King vs. McDonalds, or Coca Cola vs. Pepsi, there will usually be competition between large, successful brands. As a result, it is important to keep track of what that competitor is doing, so you are able to distinguish and solidify your own brand. There will usually be some overlap between competing brands, but there will always be fundamental differences that set them apart.

With all the critical acclaim and Emmy Awards that Breaking Bad has garnered, there was no real competition in the drama genre during its five-year run. Fair or not, critics and fans began comparing Breaking Bad to the only other drama in recent memory that stacked up… The Sopranos. As Breaking Bad gained more and more steam, the comparisons became stronger and stronger.

Simply put, both shows were centered on family men who were heavily involved in illegal activities and violence to ultimately provide for their families. As the shows grew darker and darker, the main characters, Walter White and Tony Soprano, grew darker as well. In both cases, fans found themselves rooting for an antihero, someone who in real life, you would never, ever want to associate yourself with.

The similarities in both shows were unquestioned; a family man gradually transforming into a criminal mastermind and villain. However, Breaking Bad solidified its brand and distinguished itself from The Sopranos in the finale. The Sopranos finale was heavily criticized, as it let so many stones unturned and questions unanswered. There was zero closure and fans were greatly disappointed. Breaking Bad learned from the Soprano’s mistake and gave its fans a fitting, beautiful ending, which tied every loose end together and gave complete closure to an epic series. Fans were satisfied, knowing there was a definitive “ending.”

Purposefully or not, Vince Gilligan and his staff followed the path of The Sopranos, but left a major fork in the road at the most crucial point; the finale. Gilligan gave the fans what they wanted, which was the right move to make to such a loyal fanbase. Brands can learn from their competition and even mimic some minor techniques, so long as there is a definitive and obvious difference that makes a brand unique.

Conclusion

For those of you who have seen Breaking Bad, I hope you were nodding along throughout this blog, as you’re probably aware of everything I said. For those who haven’t seen the show, I’m sure you have at least heard of Breaking Bad, given the immense success and show’s powerful brand. If you don’t fall into either category, you must have been living under a rock! Just kidding. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Breaking Bad watch it! Not only is it an amazing show, but it incorporates essential branding techniques that every brand should follow.

At Indra Public Relations, we are here to advance your brand. http://www.indrapr.com 

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

 

 

Digital Autograph Signing on Social Media

Digital Autograph Signing on Social Media

Author: Gina Mason/October 7, 2013

The game of soccer is growing at an exponential rate in the U.S. and even though Americans are a little late to the soccer party, “it’s better late than never.” With NBC Sports now broadcasting the Barclays Premiere League, a promising future for Team U.S.A in next year’s World Cup and the FIFA video game craze, soccer is slowly, but surely becoming a prominent sport in the United States. Although Major League Soccer (MLS) has struggled to break into the big four of U.S. sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL), it has gained some momentum in the last few years. By signing big name international stars like David Beckham, catapulting American born players like Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey into the spotlight and using unique social media tactics, the MLS is on its way to reaching its goal of scoring more American viewership.

The MLS in particular has been very proactive with their digital initiatives to get fans more involved and I found one of their recent campaigns to be extremely interesting. Two weeks ago, the MLS hosted a unique and somewhat unusual social event on Google+ with top ranking player and Portland Timers midfielder, Darlington Nagbe. The league held its first “digital signing” in which Nagbe answered fan’s questions via video call and signed autographs for fans on a tablet. The digital autographs were then emailed directly to fans as a PDF and formatted for fans to share their autographed photo with their social media followers.

This concept is extremely intriguing to me. I really like the creativity of the MLS and the fact that they are utilizing social media to reach a broader audience who may not follow soccer. Also from a league PR perspective, I think that digital signings are a creative way to give back to fans in both a unique and cost effective way. If I have learned anything from my previous experience working with the Yankees, I found that fans generally appreciate anything that is free. Whether it is a t-shirt, a poster, a bobble head or a keychain you really can’t lose with free sports paraphilia and even the smallest gestures are usually well received. So to have the ability of getting something signed digitally and emailed to you is the ultimate convenience for the fan, the athlete and the league. Digital signings also present future opportunities for leagues, players or charities to profit by charging a signing fee for fans to get personalized digital autographs. 

Whether we like it or not, we are living in a digital age and digital content is the future.  So maybe, the MLS is onto something groundbreaking and digital signing are the future as well. However while this is very forward thinking, this also raises a lot of questions.

-How will this affect the memorabilia market?

-Will these digital autographs have the same value to fans?

-Does this open the door to more counterfeit autographs?

-Will athletes be in favor of doing digital signings since it will be more convenient for them and will eliminate people profiting from their autographs on sites like eBay?

I think that digital signings can complement the MLS’ efforts to gain recognition and create buzz for the league and its players. However, I feel that once the MLS and its digital signings gets big, the idea of digital signings may lose its fan appeal. I am particularly interested to see how digital signings develop over the next couple years and if this method catches on to other sports leagues.

 What are your thoughts on digital signings and do you think this is the future for sports?

I welcome all comments and would love to hear your opinions. As always, if you like what your read be social and share.

Check out the video of the digital signing with Darlington Nagbe here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr37evTDuLk

Social Media Making All The Difference In Public Relations

 

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Author: Kelsey Clark – October 3, 2013

Do you know what a tweet is? What about a Facebook invitation? Or possibly a YouTube channel? I sure hope so, but if not you should start doing some quick research, as you are already behind. Tweeting, using Facebook and tuning into YouTube are three of several social media resources public relations professionals are using to leverage their clients’ exposure.

Although Twitter is the simplest way to get a client’s message across, in terms of the least amount of characters, other beneficial resources to utilize are Facebook and YouTube. The following are three simple tips to follow in order to get the most out of these three particular social media outlets from a public relations stand point.

1. Tweet at least once every day at the same time

Tweeting provides instant gratification. It allows consumers to engage only in what they like or are interested in learning more about. Followers will see new tweets every few seconds, therefore are consistently bombarded with new information. Tweeting at the same time each day allows a relationship to be built between your firm’s client and a consumer. The consumer will become accustom to seeing the tweets from the client at a certain time each day and will, in turn, expect messages from those particular accounts they choose to follow. Additionally, using the program HootSuite allows clients to schedule tweets to be sent out at specific times on certain days, which makes it easier to follow the same tweet routine each day.

2. Use Facebook to promote events

Although Facebook can also be effective in promoting any client’s messages, it is extremely effective in promoting events. It is easy to create an event on Facebook and invite several people to attend. When creating an event on Facebook it is important to include all of the details. For example, the date, time, location and specifics of the event are the minimal requirements needed to establish a successful event on Facebook. After inviting certain people to the event those people can share the event with other people if the event isn’t private because their Facebook friends will see they are attending. 

3. Create a YouTube channel and post frequently

As a PR agency, it is important to establish and maintain a YouTube channel to show the public what your agency accomplishes. Posting videos to your channel on a regular basis will allow your viewers to expect a video either each week or each month depending on what your agency chooses. Videos can consist of testimonials from clients, clips from clients’ events created by your agency, among others. Anyone who watches the videos or subscribes to your channel will learn about your agency’s clients with each upload.

As the world of PR continues to evolve, social media is here to stay. If you are behind in the times, it is never too late.  Here at Indra Public Relations, we specialize in social media and assist our clients with all of the PR strategies.  If we can assist with any of your communication needs, please feel free to contact us.  www.indrapr.com

Do you have a social media strategy that you would like to share? Well, we want to hear it!  As always, we welcome all comments and feedback and if you like what you read be social and share.