The Best PR Can’t Replace Real Leadership

By Andy See – Perspective Strategies | June 28, 2021

At its core, PR is all about reputation management with stakeholders. People and brands rightly expect PR professionals to help them connect with important stakeholders, build meaningful relationships and effectively communicate the right messages to them. 

However, many make the mistake that PR can help them solve a real leadership and business problem especially when it comes to a crisis. In fact, many think communication can substitute leadership.

The reality is, while PR can mitigate communication-based problems, it will never, ever be able to solve fundamental organizational and brand issues. It would be like taking pain killers without diagnosing and addressing the root cause of the medical condition. Resolving a problem or crisis requires real leadership and this often involves making tough decisions and most importantly, taking the necessary actions. 

Best PR
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Indeed, no amount of PR, no matter how great, can build on what isn’t really there in the first place. Embarking on a PR exercise to “put a positive spin” on things will only make things worse if brands and organizations are not already walking the talk. It is just a matter of time when “spin” will come back and haunt the brand or organization. 

Jumping on the bandwagon

For example, many organizations are eager to jump on the green and sustainable bandwagon to showcase their “purpose-driven” brand story. But how many actually mean it? A study in the UK by The Opinium Research found that 60% of communication professionals believe clients are too eager to jump on the bandwagon talking about the climate crisis but often don’t take meaningful action. 

In fact, at a recent interview with PR Week, Google’s global marketing VP, Marvin Chow, warned that brands should not fall into the “purpose parade” trap which will eventually create “purpose fatigue.” He was also quoted as saying that brands need to have a consistency of commitment and start with a core set of values. 

The fact is that communication without leadership is nothing but empty words. Important issues, such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) cannot be just all talk – it requires people and organizations to take real actions to make it work. Instead of superficial exercises, purposeful leadership must involve fundamental programmes and initiatives including reviewing the brand’s value chain, carbon footprint, sustainability practices, and many more.

“Spinning” stories about a cause without taking meaningful action is hollow. People will see through it eventually. This is a major reason why PR has gained a somewhat unsavoury reputation among some quarters, because there is this misconception that we are “spin masters” trying to cover up wrongs or incompetence by painting an unrealistic or even false picture of things.

That could not be further from the truth of what PR is about or what PR professionals with integrity stand for.

Authentic leadership

It is easy for people and brands to talk about having purpose, but it is not an easy journey to make it real. It takes guts and grit to manifest brand purpose and values into the real world, especially in bad times or during crises. And that requires authentic leadership, not just talk.

Of course, I may be oversimplifying by saying Communication is Leadership to make a point. It is true that communication is an integral part of leadership. But to think that communication can replace Leadership is a grave mistake. You can even say the two are symbiotic – one cannot exist without the other especially in today’s digital marketplace.

Another obvious example of this is when organizations and leaders talk about people being their greatest asset. Yet, it is often the case that the staff are often one of the first “costs” to be cut when things become a little more challenging than usual. But a company that truly values its people will base its decision on people’s well-being – especially during a crisis.

Indeed, it is during a crisis that a leader’s mettle is revealed. It takes a lot of leadership for companies to talk to stakeholders, including their staff, to explain the true situation and articulate a solution that truly values and honors their greatest assets. It is not just communicating either. Leadership must be demonstrated by accountability, responsibility and empathy to others. 

When leadership action is in place, PR and Communication can play a great role to clearly articulate these values. Good communication practices by trained professionals can help smoothen the communication process and mitigate any backlash that may arise from difficult situations.

Perhaps it is time communication professionals “PR our PR” and reclaim our reputation as behind the scenes supporters who help make GOOD leaders GREAT. We need to let stakeholders know that the world needs authentic leadership more than ever in these difficult and uncertain times, and there is no way PR can spin poor leadership. 

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

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The Hoyt Organization Announced as a 2021 Local Excellence Award Winner by UpCity!

For more than a decade, UpCity’s mission has been—and continues to be—to help businesses find B2B service providers they can trust. The UpCity Recommendability Rating was developed to determine a service provider’s credibility and recommendability, giving UpCity the confidence to recommend them to the more than 1.5 million businesses that visit their site. 

Each year, UpCity creates a list of excellence award winners, analyzes and scores more than 70,000 service providers based on their UpCity Recommendability Rating and acknowledges the top national and local providers with an UpCity Excellence Award. The results are in, and we won!

We are ecstatic to announce that The Hoyt Organization team has a excellence award winner. We have been recognized as one of the top B2B service providers of 2021 in the Los Angeles area by UpCity! 

The Hoyt Organization is a communications and public relations team that helps companies develop the right message for the right target audience. Through services such as public relations, media relations, crisis communications, digital and social media strategies, marketing and design, and more, the team at The Hoyt Organization helps companies ensure that trends, topical news, and current affairs in any industry are taken into consideration when developing the perfect message. 

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Thank you to UpCity for this prestigious award, and thank you to all of our clients who helped make it possible. We look forward to the opportunity to continue to create new and innovative ways for all of our clients to be successful!

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Public Relations Global Network Elects Alexandra Dinita as President

The Hoyt Organization is the Los Angeles partner agency of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN). THO has the capabilities of an international PR agency, while maintaining the hands-on, specialized services that have made us a top Los Angeles area public relations firm. We successfully service local, national and international companies.

(PRGN) announced the slate of new officers for one of the world’s largest networks of independent PR and communications agencies. The appointments were announced during PRGN’s recent bi-annual Spring member conference, held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following a vote from PRGN member agencies, Alexandra Dinița, general manager of Free Communication in Bucharest, Romania, stepped up to lead the worldwide network of 50 independently owned firms as its president for the next twelve months. 

As the 30th president of PRGN, Alexandra Dinița follows the footsteps of former president Robert Bauer, managing partner of accelent communications of Vienna, Austria, who assumes the duties of immediate past president and chair of PRGN’s Advisory Board.

“Taking the lead of a global agency network in a year when the world is hopefully coming out from under Covid-19 is a true challenge of leadership and I like challenges as well as the opportunities that come with this unique situation,” says President Alexandra Dinița, an architect by training who turned a communications professional and agency owner, also an avid athlete and a mother of a 12-year-old son. “A quick survey among our members recently showed the resilience of independent agencies who landed more than 170 new client contracts in the first three months of 2021. This shows the outstanding quality of member agencies in PRGN and an ability to collaborate and exchange knowledge globally, which sets our tight network apart. Approaching the 30-year anniversary of the Public Relations Global Network in 2022, I am committed to grow the special spirit and values that PRGN can offer to its members and their clients on all continents.”

Other PRGN officers elected by owners of member agencies include:

President-elect
David Fuscus
President and CEO
Xenophon Strategies, Inc.
Washington D.C., United States

Treasurer
Amanda Hill
Principal
Three Box Strategic Communications
Dallas, Texas

Secretary
Andy See Teong Leng
Principal Partner and Managing Director
Perspective Strategies
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Founded in 1992 by a group of visionary public relations leaders, with approximately 1,000 professionals in 54 locations, PRGN is one of the world’s largest international public relations networks.

PRGN partners are independent, local, owner-operated public relations and marketing communications firms that share expertise and resources, while providing broad-based comprehensive communications strategies to clients worldwide.

Companies or organizations interested in the services of PRGN’s local agency network can visit the Agency Directory or contact PRGN’s executive director Gábor Jelinek at gabor.jelinek@prgn.com for more information.

Independent agencies interested in joining the network can visit the member recruitment section of the PRGN website for more information or email its membership chair, David Wills, Senior Vice President of Media Profile at david.wills@mediaprofile.com 

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The New Chapters You Should Add to Your Crisis Communications Handbook After Covid-19

By Natalie Ghidotti – Ghidotti | April 12, 2021

Crisis communications as a public relations practice stands out not just in the execution of high level strategies at an amplified pace, but because every crisis communications scenario serves as a stress test for that organization. Whether that crisis plays out in the headlines or gets managed internally, everyone immediately recognizes what worked… and what didn’t. While few organizations could have fully prepared for this past year of Covid-19 and the pandemic response, as companies look forward, they should first look back and take some of those hard lessons learned to heart. If you haven’t taken that hard look inside your organization yet, here are a few new chapters you should consider adding to your crisis communication handbook.

crisis communications

Your Crisis Communications Response Must Be Mobile… All The Time

How mobile is your crisis communications team? Can you easily gather all the information you need, spin up a media response and secure any necessary approvals or review if your lead decision maker is stuck on an airplane? Or maybe, if we can tempt fate for a moment, your Internet service fails or there’s a power outage. That’s right. Kiss that cloud storage backup goodbye for a moment. Will you still have access to necessary assets, templates or be able to reach someone else who can post to your social media accounts? Remember Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” Many public relations practitioners have felt those words hang heavy over the past year and not just because of Covid-19. While it’s impossible to prepare for every possible eventuality, we can prepare so that roadblocks that hampered our work in the past do not derail our efforts in the future when they inevitably happen again. A crisis handbook will help.

So, what does this mean for your communications team and decision making leadership? It means you develop redundancies. If everything hinges on one person’s approval and they’re in the hospital having a heart attack, decide who can step in ahead of time instead of the heat of the moment. If you’ve experienced a power or communications outage that lasted more than two hours over the last year, maybe someone should consider an old fashioned landline at home versus their VoIP service or ensure your key communicators have an alternative power source for their smartphones. Set up emergency conference call numbers where key decision  makers can connect quickly versus playing phone tag and make sure everyone who needs it has that number saved on speed dial. And as for that cloud storage, ensure you have a download of everything you might need on you, whether you’re stuck at home during a pandemic or alongside the road in the middle of nowhere. As communicators, we love to focus on the message and the strategy, but now is the time to also develop your organization’s crisis communications infrastructure and put plans in place before the next crisis strikes.

Listen Before You Speak in a Crisis

While we must retain the ability to respond quickly in a crisis, a year of the Covid-19 pandemic also provided us with ample opportunities to listen. How are our peers and competitors responding to a situation impacting us all? What do our customers or clients expect? For example, it may not be appropriate for every tech company to weigh in on public health policy during a pandemic, but they could have a significant role in setting expectations for their employees and modeling appropriate responses for their customers. For many of us, the pandemic wasn’t the only crisis we faced this past year either. In a time where it may feel like a constant race to be the first one to Tweet on a given topic, we must remember the value of listening before we speak. 

Even in a crisis situation where a swift response is key, there is room to listen. What is a reporter really asking? Who is really covering the news? How are our customers responding on social media? What is the tenor of those conversations and how could our response impact those conversations, either positively or negatively? Listening gives us the room to develop perspective which can guide any and every following response. The last year has provided plenty of time to listen closely, but how we use that perspective still lies with us.

Align ALL of Your Communications, Not Just What You Say to Reporters

It goes without saying these days that a corporate statement on an issue is no longer the only way that organization can be seen as responding to a crisis or really any situation. Once again using Covid-19 as an example, your company can speak all day about following health and safety protocol to protect your employees, but if your leadership shows up on social media or the front page of a newspaper shaking hands, violating health guidelines at a dinner party or doing any one of a thousand other things people were asked to stop doing during the pandemic, all of your other work is immediately undermined. Same thing with your employees. If your company took a hard line on health safety and social distancing, but someone keeps posting photos of employees hanging out in the office without masks, no level of strategy could correct that perception. 

Now, more than ever, is the time to ensure your organization speaks with a single voice all of the time, not just in the midst of a crisis. That means taking steps to make sure your media relations and social media teams speak regularly, not just when something goes wrong. It means establishing clear internal communications channels so your staff understands social media protocols and what is or is not OK to share. It also means speaking with any member of your staff that engages with customers or the public to make sure they are just as aligned with your communications strategy and brand voice as the members of your public relations team are.

Learn to Prioritize During Crisis Communications

Finally, this past pandemic year reminded us that it is not only possible, but actually quite likely that you will have to deal with more than one crisis at a time. One may be larger than another or you could face a tsunami of challenges striking all at once. These are the moments when disciplined communications professionals rise to the challenge and lead organizations through a crisis. Even the most exceptional teams may be stretched thin when dealing with multiple crisis situations at once, but they get through by prioritizing one crisis at a time, managing the others and quickly working through the list. And the time to develop that discipline and hone those skills is before the next crisis strikes.

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SPAC Attack – What They Are, Why You Should Care and How Communications Plays a Role

By Brianne Miller – Landis Communications Inc. (LCI) 

You can’t swing a unicorn these days without bumping into a SPAC conversation (sorry, bad Silicon Valley joke). In days of yore (pre-COVID), the technology PR world would hum with conversations about IPOs, vesting schedules and year-long plans for going public. Like everything else, things are different today. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (Do I get bonus points for a bad joke and a Ferris Bueller quote in one paragraph?)

What is a SPAC?

A Special Purpose Acquisitions Company (SPAC) is a shell company specifically set up by investors to raise money through an IPO and eventually acquire another company.

For example, SPAC Hedosophia Holdings bought a large stake (49%) in Virgin Galactic before taking the company public in 2019. SPAC companies have no existing business functions at inception and have two years to complete an acquisition or return investments to funders.

Communications’ Role

A SPAC can accelerate a pace, but what it can’t do is build awareness – at least not without a little outside help. This is where strategic and professional communications come to the table. Not every SPAC has a spokesperson like Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic), so making noise about the product/service/company that will eventually be listed on an exchange is vital. For SPACs to fly (Virgin Galactic pun intended), they must make some noise. Early. Before the SPAC files its intent to list an acquired company.

Hiring a trusted communications partner to create and implement an outbound program can provide the runway needed to make sure a SPAC is spun.

A Little Advice on Choosing a Communications Firm if Considering a SPAC

  • Stories must be told. Find an integrated agency that will work with you efficiently to take one initiative and package that into content for media, social media, blogs, thought leadership and digital.
  • Foundations must be strong before shining a light on your company. Ask agencies you are considering about their work in messaging, media training, target market segmentation and positioning analysis.
  • Start early. It takes time to build that awareness leading into a financial event. The longer the runway, the smoother the take-off.
SPAC

How to Start the Process

  • Do your research. Ask contacts who have had successful experiences to refer you to an agency.
  • Check for chemistry. This relationship is a partnership. Make sure you feel confident and “click” with the team. 
  • Make sure you’ve got both PR (public relations) and IR (investor relations) functions covered. You’ll need both, and more than likely they’ll be two separate companies. It’s always a good idea to find resources that work well in a team environment.

This article first appeared in the blog series of Landis Communications Inc. (LCI), PRGN’s member agency in San Francisco, California.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

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How to Find Micro-Influencers That Match Your Brand

By Lauren Reed – Reed Public Relations 

Working with influencers is like braving the wild, wild west. Without any specific guidelines or code of ethics, each brand-influencer partnership is unique and can result in really great coverage, really awful coverage or something in between. 

With each passing year, influencer trends shift dramatically, too. The of-the-moment Instagram star is the micro-influencer, a social media personality with a small (1k – 50k) but highly engaged following. Every follower is part of a community and has chosen to be there. Followers are either highly interested in the topic the micro-influencer covers or strongly invested in the influencer’s life. Compare this to celebrity influencers with 1MM+ followers—the influencer-follower connection isn’t as strong.

 Micro-Influencers For Your Brand

Micro-influencers can cover niche topics (for example, see @jesskidding for Disney-focused content and a pastel aesthetic or @amillionlittlepages for endless book recommendations and reviews). They can also be regular people sharing a glimpse of their daily lives. Micro-influencers are cost-effective due to their smaller followings, but most importantly, they’re often easy to work with and willing to share content that suits both parties.

Guaranteed engagement, authentic content and trust amongst followers make micro-influencers an excellent choice for brand partnerships. So, how do you go about choosing the right micro-influencer for your brand?

Hashtags are the best method for influencer discovery. Start with general queries. For example, if you’re a Nashville restaurant looking for a micro-influencer to dine in and post about your food, start with #nashville. You can refine your search from there—for example, try #nashvillefood, #nashvillefoodie, #nashvilleeats, #nashvilledinner. Scroll through the populated images and develop a list of potential micro-influencers for your partnership.

Once you’ve found a few prospective micro-influencers, peruse their feed posts to discover others with similar interests. Scroll through comments and look for accounts that interact with your micro-influencer often. Influencers build real friendships on the platform, so by paying attention to the conversations occurring in the comments section, you’ll likely find additional micro-influencers that are good fits for your brand.

Once you’ve developed a list of micro-influencers with 10-15 options, consider the following criteria to find your perfect partnership.

Does the influencer’s authentic voice match your brand’s voice?

Start by reviewing your website and marketing collateral. Do you employ a casual, conversational tone, or are your marketing materials drowning in jargon? Do you select formal language or use a specific dialect?

Make sure the micro-influencer you partner with is comfortable using the style of language your brand employs. This is critical to ensure posts about your organization or product are a natural fit on the feed. Content that’s overtly “sales-y” leads to minimal engagement.

Does the influencer’s aesthetic match your brand’s aesthetic?

You can pull directly from your brand standards to determine your organization’s aesthetic. Do you use punchy, in-your-face colors and graphics? Or do you stick with a neutral palette? Influencers spend a lot of time and energy curating their feed’s aesthetic. You won’t have much luck asking an influencer who posts all black-and-white images to promote your brightly colored product.

Does the influencer’s following reach your target demographic?

Once you’ve narrowed the field to your top five, take a look at the micro-influencers’ followings. Read comments on feed posts to get a sense of who’s following along and why.

The micro-influencer’s age can be a good indicator of the type of follower he or she attracts. It will also help to review previous brand partnerships and the types of products this individual has successfully promoted.

Many industry leaders have predicted micro-influencers to be the top marketing trend for 2021. Stay ahead of the curve and diversify your influencer partnerships sooner rather than later. Don’t be surprised when your partnerships yield double or triple the expected dividends!

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

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Five Ways Communicators Should Prepare to Reopen After Covid-19

By Natalie Ghidotti – Ghidotti 

It’s been a long and challenging 12 months since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Many businesses have moved to remote work or a hybrid workplace model, while others were forced to shut their doors permanently. However, with vaccine rollouts across the United States on a fast track by the end of May, it’s getting easier to see a light at the end of the tunnel. For many employees following a long layoff, a return to normalcy will be anything but that so it’s important for organizations to be ready for potential challenges ahead when it comes to proper communications. If your business is one of many who might find cobwebs above your desk upon return to the office, you’ll definitely want to consider some of these practices for a smooth transition as you prepare to reopen after Covid-19.

Prepare to Reopen After Covid-19

Update Your Crisis Communication Plan

If the pandemic has taught communicators anything it’s the value in a well developed crisis communications plan. Those that had a plan in place before the initial spread of the virus were better prepared to adapt quickly and identify ways to keep their business on track, while others were left scrambling. That’s not to say they were prepared for a full-blown pandemic, but the direct punch was softened by the head start of a strategic plan. If you don’t have a crisis communications plan, now is the time to develop one to outline communication and response procedures for any dilemmas that may arise, because they will! This will help you prepare to reopen after Covid-19.

Who is the spokesperson for your organization? Who from your team needs to be included in the communications and approval process? What are your actions to address social media and mass media? These are all questions that should be answered in your crisis communications plan to avoid mistakes, missteps or miscommunication during the most difficult and sensitive times. 

Set the Right Tone 

Fear and uncertainty have been common feelings throughout the pandemic, and the move to reopen could present the same for many people. It’s important for leaders and other communicators to establish a tone of remaining confident and vigilant. Carefully think through communications to your team, customers, vendors and other partners to ensure consistent messaging on all fronts to limit further anxiety and prevent chaos. 

In The Ghidotti Podcast interview with executive coach and leadership strategist Elise Mitchell, she suggests following Dr. David Rock’s SCARF model for identifying ways to better communicate with your team. It lists five social triggers as the most common reasons people get upset and lack the capacity to communicate well. Understanding how to think and respond under moments of pressure with a consistent message as you lead your team through a return to work following months of remote or hybrid work will go a long way toward setting the right tone and creating confidence with members of your team. This will help you prepare to reopen after Covid-19.

Clearly Define Safety Protocols

Safety is the ultimate priority when it comes to reopening your business following the pandemic shutdown. From your team members and partners to customers and clients, a feeling of safety is necessary for anyone who enters your place of business and that means clearly defining safety protocols. Not every business will have the same regulations and anything you put in place is subject to change over time, but it still must be widely established before reopening. 

Communicate with your team before setting any safety measures in place. Those are the people that will be spending the most time in your facility, so it’s important to ensure every member of your team feels safe and confident about returning to the office. Whether it’s a parent that has grown accustomed to their child staying at home or a team member that discovered a love for remote work during the pandemic, not everyone will be clamoring for an office setting, so consider a brief survey or questionnaire that encourages employees to share their own expectations for a safe return.

Be Nimble 

Flexibility is one of the most crucial traits to have when reopening after Covid-19. Change has been the only constant throughout the pandemic and communicators must be nimble to adapt quickly to any other changes that are likely to occur. It’s impossible to predict the future, but by staying flexible, you’ll be able to change and deliver consistent communications at a moment’s notice. 

The ability to adapt quickly and efficiently is also necessary for your social media strategy. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other platform, one misguided post during your reopening can lead to a world of trouble for your brand. Implementing a positive brand voice and identity can go a long way toward establishing loyalty with your target audience, while preparation will have you ready for any potential crises that may arise.  

Focus on Your Customers

For some businesses, the pandemic provided much needed time to focus inward and implement new strategies and plans to ensure organizational success. While not forgetting any of the positive changes that were made during that time, reopening your business requires shifting your focus to your customers. This is the time to provide exceptional customer service and remind them of your commitment. Remember to look at your business through the eyes of your customer. How does your product or service answer a need or help them accomplish a goal? What are some creative ways you can help them rediscover your business after this time of dormancy? 

Maybe you host a grand reopening to gather loyal customers in the form of brand ambassadors to help spread the message. Or, perhaps you offer discounted prices to acknowledge that you understand the difficult year that everyone has endured. Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to put fresh eyes on your customer service strategy and listen to your clients to ensure that all of their needs are being met and you have their interests at heart.

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How to Successfully Host a Hybrid Event

By Keri McIntosh – The Castle Group 

Once upon a time, we only talked about “hybrid” in science class. Today, the word is ubiquitous. In any language, we’re referring that in-between world blending in-person and remote – in the classroom, office and, yes, events.  Ready or not, hybrid events are in your future; depending on where you are, maybe sooner than later.  Take a look at what’s coming, and how to successfully build hybrid into your events strategy.

Although virtual events are now commonplace and can be highly effective in reaching your target audience, nothing beats the face-to-face connection of in-person events. Organizers of virtual events and attendees alike are digitally drained. We’re hearing from both sets of constituents that they can’t wait to get back to in-person events.

It’s not a question of if they are coming; it’s a question of when they are coming, and in what form are they coming? This will depend on several circumstances, such as the speed of the vaccine rollout, safety thresholds of hosting organizations and hosting venues, and local market conditions.

Timelines may vary, but one thing is certain: hybrid events – a combination of virtual and in-person event experiences – are on the horizon.

While we don’t have a definitive roadmap, we are already beginning to see small in-person events, and the industry is optimistic that recovery will fully commence in Q3 and Q4 of 2021. Of course, live events will not immediately bounce back to pre-Covid conditions but will begin more slowly and will start as hybrid events.

Hybrid events are a unique event type that requires a different planning process from a fully virtual or fully in-person event. Here are a few key considerations for safely and successfully producing and operating a hybrid event:

Determine your audience mix

It’s important to understand the demographics of your audience and what percentage will be attending in-person vs. virtually. If necessary, poll your potential audience to determine the comfort level of attending in-person. Invite key groups that make sense to meet physically, such as local/regional participants or teams where in-person collaboration and team building is critical to business success. Initially, start with a smaller in-person audience (and a larger virtual audience) to provide a greater sense of safety and security and more personalized service. A smaller in-person group will allow you to ensure that you meet the proper capacity limits for your in-person guests. Remember, you’ll want to get it right the first time.

Define your strategy, format and timing

What content should be offered to both audiences and what should be unique to each group? Keep in mind that a virtual audience has a more limited attention span than an in-person audience. Find a mix that works for each. Perhaps general sessions are offered live to both audiences – in-person and streamed virtually – while breakouts are attended in-person but can be offered on-demand for the virtual audience.

Think tech

Planning for virtual events has made us embrace new technologies, and hybrid events will push us even further. Utilize technology to bridge the gap between your in-person and virtual audiences. For example, select a virtual platform that has a downloadable app so the in-person and online audiences can participate and interact together. Stream remote attendees to smaller live roundtable sessions. Build and update your platform/event website with important details and source a texting platform for real-time communications and polls.

Vet your live venue

When sourcing an in-person meeting destination and venue, safety and security should be paramount. Consult convention and visitors’ bureaus and travel partners for local updates and work closely with your hotel reps to ensure that the optimum health, safety and sanitation protocols, room layouts and capacity limits are met. Inquire as to what other groups are being hosted at the same time so that you can plan to avoid unnecessary interaction. Also, ensure the property has enough bandwidth for the technology you are utilizing such as the event app that may need to be downloaded by all attendees.

Enlist separate planning teams

In-person and virtual meetings have different logistical needs. In-person events will have food and beverage requirements and meeting room layouts, while virtual events will have platform specifications and production requirements to coordinate, to name just a few. Have a dedicated planning team in place for each that integrates as an overall group to ensure common goals are met and all audiences are informed and engaged.

Create a cohesive theme

There may be two separate audiences attending, but the entire meeting should have overarching goals and a central event identity. All event graphics and attendee communications should share a cohesive theme and brand.

Communications - Strategic Planning - Event Planning - The Hoyt Organinzation

Budget appropriately

Hybrid events are essentially two meetings wrapped into one that carry separate cost elements. When developing your event budget, make sure that the expenditures of both the virtual and in-person components are factored into the equation. The good news is that hotels are anxious to welcome back in-person events and are offering deals, discounts and incentives to encourage bookings. A hybrid event can also increase your sponsor dollars. See below!

Rethink your sponsorships

Hybrid events offer even more ways to showcase your sponsors. There are digital opportunities in the virtual setting and more traditional offerings such as signage and hosted events in-person. Get creative with your sponsor benefits and incorporate all available opportunities into your sponsor packages.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

A clear, transparent, and effective communications plan is critical to the success of your hybrid meeting. Stay aware and updated on local conditions and any changes in travel or hotel policies to keep all stakeholders (attendees, vendors, partners) informed. Publish all policies and procedures on your event website, distribute know-before-you-go communications and provide text updates as necessary during the event.

Stay nimble

Planners were flexible before Covid, but now we’re nimbler than ever. And as the landscape continues to shift and evolve, we must continue to move with it. From negotiating the most favorable cancellation terms and monitoring contract gateways to developing a solid emergency response plan for our programs, we must be able to adjust on our feet. The more adaptable and resilient we become, the more geared for success we will be.

As we look to the next normal, hybrid events will be our go-to. With strategy and careful planning, hybrid events can address the changing needs of your audience, broaden your reach, increase engagement—and maximize your ROI.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

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2021: Developing Winning PR Strategies for Architecture and Design Firms

In the current environment, architectural and design firms continue to invest in communications programs, but many are seeking to maximize and streamline that investment for speed and effectiveness.  The big questions: How can more be done with less? How can investment pay off faster?

A strong public relations program that combines media, social media and digital marketing is a powerful answer to both those questions. For you and your company, a strong PR program can be the cornerstone for how you reach new audiences and grow your practice. Here are a few “pro tips” for how you can achieve more – with less – in 2021.

Find At Least Three Uses for Your Content

If you’re not finding multiple uses for the content you generate, you should be. As a rule of thumb, The Hoyt Organization recommends finding three platforms where your content can be shared. Technology makes this fast and easy. For example, if you develop design case studies, be sure to publish them on your company’s website, share the link on your social media pages, highlight the case study in an e-blast, and share the information with trade media and reporters who cover your industry and your clients.  

Analyze Your Use of Social Media

There are about 2.5 billion global users of Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and new platforms are being introduced all the time. Architecture and design firms can be selective in which platforms they use. This will maximize effectiveness without wasting resources on social platforms that don’t support your goals. When it comes to design, Instagram and Facebook continue to be the strongest visual platforms. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is by far the strongest business-to-business platform and allows design firms to highlight thought leadership and industry expertise. Every channel allows you to showcase your projects, people and awards with high-res images and videos.

As with any platform, it can take a lot of time to create the content. Here are three tips to maximize your channels. For PR professionals who work with architects, a number of services are used to streamline and optimize your social presence:

  • Hootsuite is a great tool for planning ahead. You develop and schedule posts for an entire month and simultaneously manage multiple accounts.
  • Linktree optimizes your Instagram bio. With this service, you can place a URL in your bio section so users can access relevant links.
  • Sponsored and Boosted Posts and Ads on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn allow you to market your posts about specific projects, properties or thought leaders to target audiences not currently in your social media network. By geotargeting each campaign and investing a modest budget, posts can reach specific industries, professionals and geographies.

Increase your SEO with Blogs

Blogs are the best way to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) and help you achieve a higher ranking in Google search results. Research shows that organic search results are 8.5 times more likely to be clicked on than paid search results. Your blog can showcase new projects and top tier media placements. Also consider writing blogs about trends in the industry. The more often you post new content, the stronger your Google ranking will be.

Newsletter distributions

Using any number of email blast platforms like Constant Contact or MailChimp also improve the visibility of your company and keep your current clients engaged with your brand.  

Always use quality, high-resolution images

The architecture industry is very visual and great photography and renderings are a must for any project. These assets become essential to all marketing and public relations outreach. For major projects, high-quality video is needed for broadcast coverage. Headshots, professional photography and renderings are useful for print and digital media coverage. Make sure that you have quality renderings to share.

Submit projects for architecture and design awards

Different award competitions have a variety of categories ranging from contemporary interior design and renovation to best use of color and classic architecture.  Consider submitting to both local and national awards for the best chance at winning. Once you have won, the award should be showcased on your website, newsletter and social media pages.

Participate as a speaker

In many of today’s virtual speaking opportunities or hosted webinars there are opportunities for speaking. These are often sponsored by trade associations and media outlets that cover architecture, real estate and other design-related topics to showcase trends in the industry. Some digital conferences have virtual networking sessions before the event. You can also host your own webinar using services such as GoToWebinar. This platform allows you to choose your webinar topic, select relevant images for the landing page, and do a “practice run” before the live event.

Leverage national, local and trade media

Media relations is crucial to running a design and architecture firm given it provides a solid framework for consistent messaging for your firm overall, and positions your management as leaders in the industry. As a method to providing third-party credibility, it can the firm’s expansion in many ways.

Consider hiring a PR firm that specializes in your industry to get the best media coverage

The Hoyt Organization has more than 25 years of experience supporting architect and design firms with public relations, marketing and digital strategies. To learn more about our services, please visit https://www.hoytorg.com/.

Feel free to use these helpful public relations and marketing tips for your architecture and design firm.

The Hoyt Organization

The Five Crises to Watch for in 2021

By Michelle Lyng – Novitas Communications

There are five crises to watch for in 2021. It goes without saying that 2020 was a year we’d all rather forget. While the vaccine proliferation in many parts of the world offers a light at the end of the COVID tunnel, public relations professionals should keep five potential crises to watch in the back of their mind as we work to normalize again.

Vaccine rollout challenges

Government and healthcare clients are going to be under a microscope during the vaccine rollout process. Last year, the federal government, through Operation Warp Speed, worked with industry to obtain vaccine approvals in record time. Now all eyes are going to be on the states and healthcare providers to see that vaccines get into the right arms at the right time.

Not only will the public watch the operational rollout of the vaccines, but communication around the vaccine will be highly scrutinized. There will be an opportunity for brands to either be a hero or a villain in this process. The vaccine rollout is an opportunity to over-communicate around the distribution and the science around the vaccine. 

Greater regulation of all industries

While many in the public relations profession breathed a sigh of relief when President Donald Trump lost his re-election bid, the truth is that he did remove a lot of regulatory burden for companies. With a Democratic trifecta (control of the presidency, the U.S. House, and the U.S. Senate) in the United States and a global lurch to the left, companies can expect greater regulatory burden at a time when they can least afford it as they work to recover from COVID-related economic impacts. To put this in perspective, restaurants likely will not return to pre-COVID revenue for three or four years. 

Companies and industries should prepare to defend their business models among local, state and federal policymakers. For many organizations, effective advocacy can mean the difference between whether they survive or not.

Reopening missteps

A crises to watch is reopening challenges for organizations. There are two sides to this: with the customers they serve, and the employees within their organizations.  In both circumstances, the margin for error is narrow, and the opportunity for backlash is huge

For the most part, employers are going above and beyond to ensure a safe work environment, between work from home policies, makeshift physical barriers in every imaginable area of the office environment, Zoom meetings at desks instead of gatherings around conference room tables, and more. Despite these efforts, there is still the chance of an employee getting sick – or worse yet – an entire team of employees catching COVID. 

The decision to bring employees back to work is one of the most difficult leadership decisions that organizations will make, and leaders want nothing more than to have everything go according to plan.  Despite everyone’s best efforts, there are going to be some bad outcomes during the re-opening process. How organizations handle these crises will signal a great deal about their values and competency. 

Public-facing businesses have the additional challenge of creating a safe customer experience. Like businesses that operate in office environments, these companies are taking heroic measures to create a safe and inviting atmosphere. Nevertheless, companies will make mistakes and a small segment of the population dissatisfied with their customer experience could take advantage of this situation to tarnish the reputation of even the most responsible organizations.  

How companies respond to criticism in the public square about their reopening efforts will either reassure or alienate customers, employees, and other stakeholders. 

Continued misinformation around the science

Do we wear one mask, three masks, or no masks? Does the vaccine cause more harm than good? (It doesn’t – please get vaccinated.) The COVID is a crisis to watch and was born in an era of misinformation, and organizations will continue to face challenges from misinformation throughout the recovery process. Between foreign governments refusing transparency that could have benefitted the global community, to bad actors spreading intentional bad info online, there is a long list of troublemakers willing to create chaos.

Organizations must walk the tightrope of discerning what information sources are credible, and then implementing guidance from those sources. More and more, employees are looking to their workplace leadership to help them discern accurate information. Leaders must step forward and lead. Bad information can cost customers, employees, and, in some cases, it can cost lives.

COVID variants and their impact on normalization

Over the past few months, scientists have discovered several new strains of COVID with some being more contagious and, thus, potentially more deadly than the original. The new strains is the last crises to watch. Was the vaccine that people received effective against this variant? Is a new strain more deadly than others? Is a new variant more contagious than others? 

It can often take weeks or months to determine answers to these questions. In the meantime, other variants emerge while different ones subside. Just as organizations were looking for a return to some semblance of normal, it might be necessary to shift business models and workplace rules again. The necessity of remaining nimble and communicating with stakeholders is critical during times of great upheaval. Unfortunately, some organizations will not be able to sustain themselves through another course of shutdowns.

Despite the unknowns going into 2021 and even during the chaos of 2020, opportunities exist for organizations to shine and, even, thrive.

As brands look to navigate continued choppy waters, there are five things brands can do to effectively handle the upcoming year

  • Be the helper. There’s a Mr. Rogers quote that says something along the lines of during scary times, look for the helpers. There will always be people helping. Adopt that position for your stakeholders and your communities moving forward. If you can’t afford donations, offer manpower, connections, information, whatever resources you have. Not only is it the right thing to do, but the goodwill will pay off in spades.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. We cannot emphasize this enough. When brands don’t effectively communicate, it leaves an information vacuum that can be filled by people who don’t have the correct information or intentionally mislead. Leave no room for chaos due to silence.
  • Elevate the good. Everyone is tired of bad news and tumult. Find the beautiful and the good. Tell those stories, inspire your stakeholders, and uplift your communities. 
  • Lead. This may seem obvious, but we’re not talking about de facto leading due to position or rank within a company. Use your platform to support stakeholders in the way they need to be supported. For employees, that may mean taking inventory of mental health and providing resources, for example. Lead through action.
  • Seek to unify. We’re not talking about the Bruce Springsteen-style of unification where he bashes half of the population for months before getting in a Jeep on a country road to ask for unity. It’s time for brands to rise above petty politics and cheap political thrills and unite people around our shared humanity and decency. 

We hope that these five crises to watch can help you better prepare for what is to come.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

The Hoyt Organization

2020 – The Year of Crisis

By Philip Hauserman – The Castle Group

What a year. 

2020 might as well have been “the year of crisis.” Or maybe it was just one big 365-day crisis. It certainly felt like it, as The Castle Group’s crisis communications practice managed more than 100 crises for 57 clients in 19 states and two countries. Crisis communications is needed now more than ever.

As we reflect on 2020, we all spent the better part of nine months and counting making sense of – and living through – a global pandemic, a long overdue national reckoning around racial equity and social justice, and a contentious U.S. presidential election and persistent (daily, if not hourly) attacks on American democracy by a sitting U.S. president. (The latter of which, as of this writing, has led to a horrific assault by a mob of mostly white extremists on the U.S. Capitol, leaving five dead, and served as a painful reminder of how people are treated – or rather mistreated – because of the color of their skin). 

Let’s take look back at the three major areas of crisis that defined the year – along with examples of how these issues impacted, and continue to impact, reputation.

Covid-19

Covid-19 quickly upended our world as we know it. From Asia to Europe to the United States to well, everywhere, the virus became a public health crisis unlike anything in the last 100 years. Shutdown, lockdown, quarantine, and isolation became part of our daily lives. While some organizations acted quickly, implementing strict safety measures and mitigation efforts, others did not, failing to take the situation or the protocols seriously – or just flat out refusing to take the necessary steps to protect anything other than their bottom line.

  • Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen will forever be synonymous with the phrase “super-spreader,” thanks to an annual meeting in February which researchers believe ultimately led to as many as 300,000 Covid-19 cases worldwide
  • Tyson Foods plant was observed by the local Sheriff as having workers elbow to elbow, largely unmasked and either unaware of or not following proper Covid-19 protocols. Following a short closure, an executive order by President Trump reopened pork facilities, including this one, which recorded more than 1,000 Covid-19 infections among its employees a month later. The lack of initial safety protocols, and the company’s failure to act quickly to protect their workers, will not only hurt the local community, but also tarnish the Tyson brand for years to come. And to add insult to injury, seven plant managers in the same plant were recently terminated for allegedly betting on how many workers would be infected
  • Amazon – which all of us have come to rely on from home to serve our every need during the pandemic – wasn’t without its own failings. A leaked memo revealed that Amazon planned to discredit a warehouse worker who was fired after protesting coronavirus working conditions. Soon after, Vice published the leaked memo, which laid out the Amazon’s PR team plans to discredit the worker. Not exactly what you want Prime to do for you.  
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long the authoritative agency on public health in the United States, found itself in unfamiliar territory as a result of what some have perceived as a fragmented and sometimes inconsistent response to the virus, particularly given reports of political interference in science and in the interpretation of that science for the general public. The image of the very reputable and buttoned-up CDC has certainly taken a hit, and it will take time for the public to rebuild its full trust in the agency and the information it disseminates. And this is coming from a native Atlantan who has always been proud that the CDC is less than two miles from his doorstep.  
  • Higher education experienced its own set of crises due to Covid-19 – with numerous colleges and universities initially postponing … then cancelling … and then welcoming students back for virtual-only instruction or in a limited capacity for face-to-face. This cycle played out during the Spring semester and then again in the Fall, creating nightmarish financial, logistical, medical, and crisis communications challenges every step of the way (with severely understaffed and overtired communications teams). Tuition lawsuits were filed (and continue to be filed), claiming that tuition fees aren’t representative of the quality of education or experience students paid for, adding to the mounting financial pressures colleges and universities are facing during the pandemic. On campus, student behaviors and testing strategies have been erratic, students have been blamed for outbreaks, and faculty and staff are understandably scared and upset, with many feeling as though their health and safety have been completely ignored.
  • And throughout the pandemic, major college football persisted, showcasing what many have said all along – that the NCAA and big-time college athletics exploit student-athletes for monetary gain (or to prevent monetary ruin). In this case, one could argue, it was college athletics potentially at the expense of lives – student-athletes, coaches and trainers, officials, stadium workers, and all those who they come in contact with, including members of the community. Was it really worth it? Crisis communications would be helpful in this situation.

Racial Equity and Social Justice

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, and the sustained violence against Black Americans sparked nationwide protests and brought demands for racial equity to the forefront of the national conversation. Organizations everywhere were forced to finally – and very publicly – look inward, ask questions, and confront cultures and systems that propagated discrimination and historical oppression of Black people and other people of color – and they had to do so in significant and meaningful ways.

  • Major corporations – from Target to Nike to Disney – quickly jumped to condemn racism, hate speech and violence, pledging millions to social justice initiatives and committing to changing their own internal policies and procedures. Yet some organizations were met with public criticism and backlash to statements and pledges of support, most notably the National Football League for its years-long mismanagement of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem to bring attention to racial injustice. The NFL’s stance has evolved, but it has taken far too long for the league to publicly condemn racism and apologize for its past handling of the matter.  When Commissioner Roger Goodell finally did – on June 5, 2020 – the apology was perceived by some as insincere and lacking in action, particularly given how poorly the league, and NFL owners, treated Mr. Kaepernick, who has not played a game since 2014 and essentially became a pariah. Words are a start, but action is what is required. Only time will tell if commitments to change and company actions – DEI training, diversification of the workforce and leadership, and philanthropy, to name a few – endure beyond a social media post or CEO letter. Companies must continue to engage – authentically, consistently, compassionately, and directly – with the issue, employees and leadership, and customers. 
  • Similarly, independent and private schools – and to some extent colleges and universities – faced a reckoning of their own, as students and alumni across the country, emboldened by the power of social media, recounted experiences of racism and discrimination on Instagram pages using the hashtag “Black at” with the school name. School presidents and administrators struggled to respond, as the student and alumni experiences generally spanned decades and underscored a pervasive culture that treated Black students and students of color differently than their white counterparts. Community letters and social media posts condemning racism and extoling school values only made matters worse, with many schools having to apologize for initial apologies that lacked concrete actions and accountability measures: what changes will be made to create and maintain an anti-racist culture, how those changes will be made, and how and who will be held accountable for making sure those changes are implemented in a timely manner. 
  • While most of the world was trying to make sense of and come to terms with historical racism, one of the most influential industries in the world – social media – did not take meaningful action. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube condemned racism and violence – but they failed to curtail or thwart how their platforms are used to disseminate misinformation and hate speech. In the absence of substantive action from Facebook on this point, advertisers – including Microsoft, Starbucks, Target and Unilever, among others – pulled advertisements from the platform and many other brands decided to boycott or sharply reduce spending. While the action didn’t necessarily hurt Facebook’s revenues, it did cause a reputational nightmare that the company is still trying to wake up from. The company needed some crisis communications help.
crisis communications

Presidential Election and Politics

U.S. President Donald Trump is one of the most polarizing, narcissistic political figures in history, and his imprint and influence will unfortunately be felt for generations to come. Support and/or affiliation with President Trump and his administration’s relentless promotion of falsehoods and misinformation – particularly during this past election cycle – came at a cost for many leaders and their companies.

  • In July, Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue said that Americans are “[…] truly blessed to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder” and someone under whom the U.S. can “continue to prosper and grow” following the president’s executive order to improve Hispanic Americans’ access to educational and economic opportunities. Mr. Unanue’s remarks, which were intended to celebrate the order, instead led to an almost immediate backlash from the Latin American community and Goya consumers due to President Trump’s rhetoric and immigration policies. The largest Hispanic-owned food company found itself at the center of a social media firestorm, and the hashtags #BoycottGoya and #Goyaway were trending within hours. Politicians, public figures, and celebrities joined in the effort as well, creating a chorus of negativity around a brand previously beloved by so many. 
  • Just a few months later, home improvements retailer Home Depot found itself in a similar position following Founder Bernie Marcus’ OpEd on Fox News in support of the reelection of President Trump. Although Mr. Marcus retired in 2002 and the company says it doesn’t endorse presidential candidates, the damage was done, with #boycotthomedepot hashtags trending and Lowe’s invariably picking up more business, even for a short time. 
  • Sleeping apparel retailer MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s vocal and in-person support for President Trump has always raised eyebrows, but his claims of election fraud and monetary backing of the defense of Kenosha, Wisconsin, shooter Kyle Rittenhouse substantially elevated his profile – and renewed calls for a boycott of his company. More recently, even in light of the January 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol, he’s doubled down on his belief in election fraud and support for President Trump, reportedly offering a discount code, #FightForTrump, to his customers. Yes, the #boycottmypillow hashtag has returned – and now there is a #boycottmypillowadvertisers hashtag as well. That can’t be good for business.
  • Seemingly more innocent (or so they thought), The Gap tried to bridge the political divide in the country with a half-blue, half-red sweatshirt and a “The one thing we know, is that together, we can move forward together” advertising campaign the day after the election (the results of which were still unknown at the time). It didn’t work. The clothing brand quickly learned that it was not wise to try to use a chaotic and unsettling election as a marketing opportunity, and customers voiced their displeasure. The post was taken down within an hour. Yes, customers and employees want companies to take a stance on issues – particularly ones that align with their mission and values – but trying to take the middle road on a contentious election is clearly not a good strategy.

If there is any silver lining for companies and individuals that made missteps in 2020, it may be this: people generally have short memories, and most (me included) can’t remember half of what occurred in the last 12 months. But the Internet lives forever. And looking ahead to 2021 and beyond, consumers will be less passive in their purchases – and more passionate about buying from or working with companies that stand for more than just commerce.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

The Hoyt Organization

How PR Will Absorb the Social Sphere in the 2020s

By Natalie Ghidotti – Ghidotti 

Let this sink in for a moment. Facebook launched in 2004. Twitter became a word in 2006. Instagram? 2010. In roughly the time it takes to conceive a child and see them get a drivers’ license, the innovation of social media disrupted, overwhelmed, inspired and challenged public relations professionals around the world. Both as individuals and an industry as a whole, we’ve had to completely rethink communications and our role serving clients in that new social sphere.

social sphere

Social media and how we use it have come a long way. Just look at Facebook’s path from Ivy League university students to the ability to claim 2.7-billion monthly active users. That disruption and tidal wave of innovation is far from over, though. In so many ways, it has really only just begun and both public relations and digital marketing professionals are at the forefront. And now that we’ve finally closed the door on the dumpster fire that was 2020, the question remains as to how public relations will absorb the social sphere for the rest of this decade.

Rethinking How Companies Engage on Social Media

Some brands today make absolute magic on social media. That’s true for both global companies and incredibly clever small businesses. Most of them didn’t start that way and they won’t continue to thrive by repeating yesterday’s magic tomorrow.

Public relations practitioners need to constantly rethink how companies engage on social media. Influencer strategy offers a great example. It went from a polite ask for product or brand posts to the exchange of goods to high dollar contracts and legally required disclaimers today. That’s not the end of the journey, either. The goal of social media today revolves less around “followers” as it does “conversations” and for better or worse, several high profile examples in recent years have shown how a significant volume of low-profile chatter marshalled for a specific purpose can change minds, shape behaviors and engage millions of people in ways that would have been nearly impossible just a few decades ago.

Those in public relations are learning from that will explore new ways to leverage similar strategies for the brands they represent in the decade ahead.

Filling the Vacuums Left Behind by Traditional Media

Depending on who you speak with, the digital transformation of the news industry has been either kind or exceptionally cruel. While it is easier than ever before for small, agile teams of journalists to produce exceptionally high quality reporting across multiple channels, the transition continues to wreak havoc on traditional journalism business models.

As some news outlets innovate to thrive and new, digital only news platforms rocket to prominence, we see too many others dwindle and fold. Even if a company has an incredibly compelling story, it’s not uncommon to realize that there are no longer journalists or news outlets in their market telling those kinds of stories.

Enter the public relations and content marketing professional. Instead of relying on earned media alone for exposure, communications professionals increasingly leverage the evolving power of owned media. As we move through this current digital transformation, we’ll see more companies and industries creating their own branded digital publications to highlight the kind of stories they want to tell and leveraging social media as a primary channel to share that information.

Meeting Expectations for More Sophisticated Social Media Content

Yes, a low quality smartphone video of someone’s cat acting like a… well, cat, will always possess some power over social media users. However, the growing sophistication of those users, brands and social media platforms, as well as the increasingly low level of entry for high quality digital content production, will consistently raise user expectations for the quality of the content they consume. As those social media users gravitate to higher quality content, public relations and content marketing practitioners are best suited to engineer the kinds of content they want. Many agencies already have some internal content production capacity and we’ll see that grow over the next decade, both in quality and value.

User Migrations to New Social Media Platforms

The Facebook or Twitter of tomorrow does not exist today. Public relations professionals are always on the lookout for the next best thing so they can help their companies ride that initial wave of popularity from the start. Guessing which new platforms have staying power and which ones will die on the vine continues to be the challenge, though. Still, there’s no denying that we’ve seen massive migrations away from traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter to new platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and… enter your favorite new social media experiment here. Those migrating users also tend to be the younger, affluent and leading edge customers clients want to reach. We’re less than two decades into the social sphere generation and we can expect several other big waves of migration in the decade ahead.

Still Hedging Our Bets When it Comes to Social Media

Those who refuse to innovate and adapt to the new trends we see developing in social media communications will eventually fade away. That doesn’t mean social media will be the only game in town a decade from now. In fact, with renewed talk of regulation and legislative action to clamp down on the free reign that allowed Facebook and other social media platforms to soar, anyone who bets solely on social sphere going forward will most likely lose out.

As we continue to experiment and expand our social media practices, every public relations practitioner must continue to practice the fine art of not allowing themselves to get too distracted from the core principles of their business. Social media should remain part of an integrated communications strategy that incorporates media relations, community engagement, content marketing and more to ensure that we retain the skillsets necessary to help us and the organizations we work with weather every communications storm ahead. 

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

The Hoyt Organization

Companies Should Invest into PR & Digital in 2021 and Beyond

By C.L. Conroy – The Conroy Martinez Group

As we look forward to this new year of 2021, what do companies need to do to move their brand forward and increase the bottom line.

As members of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), we are all given this challenge by our clients regularly. Of course, the world is in a different place globally than we were in years past.

Now more than ever, reaching your target market on a consistent basis and cutting through the clutter to get their attention becomes paramount. There is an increased reliance on the internet, for sure, since many people remain working from home, minus the interactions or distractions of their co-workers in an office setting. They are reading even more on their phones and tablets, and they are working more hours as work time and down time blur. How can companies capitalize on this audience shift?

Companies can thrive by using the more powerful tools you have — Public Relations and Digital.
Listen to the needs of your target audience. Tell them how you can help.

Telling your story through PR and Digital media directly to your target audience is the most powerful strategy companies have. When companies are consistently communicating their story through the press, combined with featuring their stories as content on social media, there is an explosion of viewers that see your news.

For example, we represented a trade and logistics company that imported and exported luxury goods. When the pandemic broke and they realized there was a shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields and gloves for both people and healthcare staff on this side of the Atlantic, they quickly pivoted to importing the equipment from Europe and Asia and exporting to Canada and Latin America, filling an urgent need. When their story was told in a trade publication, it was posted on their social media platforms and they received calls from all over North America. By both PR and social media working together, it amplified their story and increased their business.

CSR Campaigns

Based on events of the past year, this public relations tactic becomes more important than ever to show your company cares about the community you serve through a CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility – campaign. This should have both a meaningful impact on the communities you reach and uphold the corporate mission. By aligning your brand with a cause or campaign, your company builds credibility and gets you into the headlines for the right reasons.

For example, a Foundation client recently wanted to ensure that the state of Florida could have as many of its population fill out the Census as possible. The Census provides federal funding for roads, education and healthcare, to name a few benefits, based on how many people live in the state. We created a CSR campaign with them, partnering with eight philanthropic and non-profit organizations around the state. We conducted an intensive Public Relations and Digital advertising campaign to reach the hard-to-reach population, securing Op Eds, Letters to the Editor, TV, radio and online interviews. The result was an increase of 200,000 more people who filled out the Census than in 2010; an increased awareness of the Foundations; and positioning of the leadership as thought leaders on this issue.

Get Creative, Try New Things and Invest into PR

While you want to keep the communications techniques that you know work for your company, get creative and try new things as well. Have you tried interactive campaigns or is your company using as much video as you can to help tell your story? Are you using the best and latest social platforms? Have you started a podcast that is interesting and entertaining? Embrace creative communications solutions to keep your existing audience and reach a newer one.

For example, we were launching a new app – for people to have packages of any size delivered while communicating directly with the driver – and needed to recruit drivers. In addition to reaching them through geotargeting digital advertising, we also hosted a breakfast in one of the key cities in partnership with a chamber of commerce to which drivers were invited to come by and get coffee and pastries to go. We took photos and posted on their social media platforms that this breakfast was going on and invited media to cover this new app launch, which they did. The result was a spike in driver recruitment from the social, digital and PR program.

In Summary

Invest into PR and digital. Why invest in PR and Digital in 2021 and beyond? Integrated campaigns using both PR and Digital are game changing for brands, especially looking forward to another challenging year. Companies that use an experienced PR firm will know how to maximize their budgets and create the most impact. Companies that market into challenging times are proven to be the ones that rebound the quickest. While many industries remain uncertain, find a way to expand your communications budget to give you the edge over your competition. Invest well in your PR and Digital strategy and implementation and your companies will see and feel the results of their marketing dollars.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

The Hoyt Organization

Social Media Series: How to Leverage Your Twitter Business Account

Are you feeling frustrated or uninspired with your organization’s activity on Twitter? This fast-paced, ever-changing platform can be tough to get the hang of, but by elevating your strategy, Twitter presence can be a key element in social media success.

Last year, Twitter.com ranked as the 7th most visited website in the world with 145 million monetizable daily active users. This number continues to grow as users turn to Twitter for information and discourse on current events like the United States political climate and updates on COVID-19. While sometimes it can feel like you’re shouting into the void, it’s essential to have quality and consistent content on your organization’s Twitter for potential customers to discover.

1. Engage with Your Audience (And Industry!)

Twitter is a great place to interact with your customers and organically start word-of-mouth conversations. What makes this platform special is that it has the most direct opportunity for dialogue between not only brands and customers, but all of the other players in a media cycle.

On LinkedIn and Facebook, your ability to interact with others through a brand channel is limited, whereas on Twitter you can engage directly, even replying back and forth with those who tag you or reach out to your organization. Whether it be answering questions, replying to concerns, or getting feedback on new products or initiatives, Twitter can help you start and continue that dialogue.

You’ll also find that all of the relevant industry voices, from competitors to journalists to thought leaders are on Twitter. This is the place to see what those in your industry are tweeting about and get a real-time snapshot of what is trending. You can even build relationships with journalists in your field and retweet relevant articles to share your organization’s opinions and industry knowledge. Above all, when you focus on being present and active in conversations where you can demonstrate your expertise, an improvement in your brand reputation and awareness will follow.

Twitter Business Account

2. Make Use of Twitter Tools and Tactics

There are several strategies and tools that are unique to Twitter. Twitter lists are a great social listening tool to make sure your business is in the know about what is changing in your industry. Each user can now create up to 1,000 Twitter lists, although you’ll want to limit yourself to a few key groups.

You can use lists to keep tabs on what your competitors are talking about. This may help monitor what is working and not working on those profiles, giving you a leg up in terms of strategy. The great thing is you can choose whether to make your list public or private. It may also be valuable to create lists of industry leaders, bloggers, and even loyal customers. This way you can foster those relationships by engaging with these key audiences consistently through retweets and mentions.

Many brands add value to customer relationships by hosting their own monthly Twitter chats. This is a fantastic way to interact with your audience and ask them questions about your brand or industry. Once you establish a date, time, and original hashtag for audiences to use, you’ll be ready to have more meaningful conversations with your Twitter business account.

Twitter Business Account

3. Optimize Your Content

To get the most of your 280-character limit, create multimedia tweets to differentiate your business from others. Tweets with images get 150% more retweets, so keep your content fresh with images and videos. Do your best to avoid the overused format of “text, CTA, link” by playing around with GIFs, emojis and original visual content.

Hashtags are an easy way to spread your content on any platform, but on your Twitter business account, you want to be careful about how many you use. Stick with one or two relevant hashtags per tweet so your posts don’t come across in a way that seems like spam or clickbait. Make use of hashtag research strategies and Twitter lists to see which hashtags your audience is already using and adopt them yourself to get more eyes on your content.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to up the frequency of your tweets. 92% of companies tweet more than once a day, 42% tweet one-to-five times a day, and 19% tweet six-to-10 times a day. Of course, avoid clogging your followers’ feeds with unnecessary content, but unlike other platforms, two to three tweets per day is not a crime. Experiment with time and you might find that a tweet in the morning, one at lunchtime, and another in the evening is quite effective.

Twitter Business Account

4. Monitor and Measure Results

Social listening on your Twitter business account can allow you to continuously shift your strategy to create the type of content your followers actually want by measuring results with the Twitter analytics menu. A general tip for Twitter is to focus less on vanity metrics, like impressions or follower count, and instead monitor the CTR on links and how many users are engaging with you out of your total audience number. This, again, will give you a better picture of which content is most popular with your audience.

As mentioned in our previous post, when using Twitter for business, setting up tools like Planoly that allow you to schedule your posts ahead of time is incredibly valuable. Especially if your organization is making full use of Twitter by posting several times a day.

Twitter Business Account

We hope these tips help you improve and make the best use of your Twitter business account. If you would like to learn more ways to reach your customers through Twitter, feel free to send us a message.

Check out the previous post in this series, How to Leverage Your Instagram Business Account, to make sure you’re developing a well-rounded social media presence!

Stay tuned for the next blog post in our social media series where we’ll discuss leveraging your organization’s Facebook account.

The Hoyt Organization

Season of Gratitude: What the THO Team is Grateful for This Holiday Season

As the end of the year approaches, we all begin to think about what is most important. We asked The Hoyt Organization team to share what they are most grateful for this holiday season.

“I am truly grateful for family… silly. Weird. Crazy. But they all belong to me.” -Leeza Hoyt

“I’m grateful for the 30+ years of Thanksgiving memories from two people who never let their children know how damn hard it was for a postal worker and part-time secretary to provide a home, food on the table and a college education. This year is filled with reminders of how many of us aren’t that lucky. Hopefully, the afterlife has WiFi so I can thank them now.” -Kent Barrett

“I am grateful for my rescue dog, Ruthie. She has been the highlight of 2020 for our family.” -Anne Milo Shanahan

“I am thankful for my precious dog, Foxy Mama. I am blessed to have a healthy and happy dog who loves me.” -Cinnamon Thompson

“I am thankful for the beach. I love riding my bike and taking walks along the coast to clear my mind!” -Kate Artmann

“I am grateful to my family for their endless love and support, even from across the country. I never take our video chats, laughs, and time together for granted.” -Carly Aronson

“I’m thankful for my son and all the adventures I’ve been able to take with him.  It’s been a blast being able to see the world again through a child’s eyes.” -Amy Mosher

The Hoyt Organization

2021 Predictions: The Future of Public Relations

The first public relations department was created in 1889 when industrialist George Westinghouse wanted to get coverage for one of his electricity projects. While most agree that public relations as a paid profession began in the early 1900s, there is no doubt that it is vastly different today, and it will continue to evolve, as we move forward.  So, what will PR look like in 2021? There are a number of things we can expect. Here’s a peek about the 2021 future of public relations.

PR professionals will continue to learn how to work in a pandemic

As a result, we expect to see a blend of an in-office and mobile workforce. Maintaining company culture will rely on daily or weekly video calls with staff and socially distancing in person events. Our own team meets every morning on Zoom to go over deliverables for each client. Those who thrive will remember to inject a bit of fun into the day. For example, we connect digitally by playing virtual games and by attending online conferences related to the PR industry. Thus, identifying new ways to communicate with your team will continue.

The communication sphere will continue to blur

The divide between marketing, public relations, social media and other elements will blend into a wide variety of mediums. These industries have always worked closely together to meet business goals but the division between them is narrowing – and in many cases disappearing.  At our company, it is common to be hired for a media relations program which includes social media or digital elements as part of the campaign. The omni-channel design is a one-trick pony and most companies want more.

Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices will continue

Social justice, ethical management and environmental protection have become key factors in appealing to consumers, most importantly millennials. According to Morgan Stanley, 86 percent of millennials are interested in sustainable investing, meaning strong ESG efforts can help build your brand toward that desired target audience. Companies should share their sustainability strategies throughout targeted marketing materials or by showcasing improvements in employee diversity, labor conditions and charitable work.

Technology will continue to evolve

As augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) become more common and less expensive technology adoption and use will increase. AR experiences like Snapchat and VR devices such as Google Cardboard are becoming increasingly popular technologies that we use to support our clients. Try using AR technology to showcase your new product and then share a blog or a video about the activity on your website.

future of public relations

Data will continue to be a huge driver in communications

Data is collected in a myriad of ways, ranging from content shared on Twitter to a completed survey on a recorded call. Today, agencies have at their fingertips data on everything from who is visiting their website, to specific demographics that can be reached on a variety of social channels. As a result, we have the ability to create very targeted, trackable programs more than ever before. This means adjustments can often be made in real time which leads to the right results faster.

Let’s hope 2021 shapes up to be a much better year than 2020. And remember, feel free to keep our forecast of future of public relations in mind when you are planning your next PR plan. Or, call us. We’ll take care of it for you.

The Hoyt Organization

Tips for Keeping Your Staff Engaged: The Importance of Professional Development Workshops

With many employees working remote – even if some people choose to come in the office – how do we encourage staff engagement and show that we’re supporting their professional advancement? Here at The Hoyt Organization, we developed a three-part workshop dedicated to exploring professional goals and creating positive synergy for the entire THO team. 

We began by hiring a professional corporate trainer who has worked with over 1,000 people over the past 17 years helping to make employees better equipped to succeed not only in the day-to-day functions of their jobs, but in life as well.  Our trainer led each of our three sessions that were designed to inspire employees to set goals for their professional ambitions as well as provide each employee a road map aimed at showing them the way. Each session included tips on how to select the right tools to achieving one’s goals and living a life of purpose. These workshops were held in the office with participants wearing masks and social distancing. A delicious lunch was delivered midway through each session creating an opportunity for connection, team bonding and laughter through this shared experience. 

Workshop 1: Goals vs. Reality  

Happiness is something everyone should attain. THO used a pie chart to score our level of contentment in several categories including career, friendship, romance and finances. Once problematic areas of our lives were recognized, we listed our five-year goals in order of priority and shared the information with the team. We also documented ways in which we could help improve teamwork.

Professional Development Workshops
Dedree Hoyt holds a personal vision board at THO’s 2020 Professional Development Workshop.

Workshop 2: Go Big and Go Hunting

Team building can help employees feel more comfortable and can lead to more effective communication. In this session, THO participated in a scavenger hunt to find popsicle sticks hidden around the office. We were challenged to work as a team to decode the clues concealed in each riddle. With this exercise, we witnessed how each worker approaches a task and how they work with a group.

In addition to the scavenger hunt, we sat down to create professional vision boards that are intended to represent aspirations for a purposeful life.

Tips for Keeping Your Staff Engaged
Kate Artmann (left), Carly Aronson (center) and Amy Mosher (right) create professional vision boards.

Workshop 3: The Cost of Success

The journey to success may not be easy but with resilience and hard work, anyone can achieve their dreams. For the last session, we measured our goals and discovered ways in which we can accomplish them. Each person had a chance to explain his or her vision boards from the previous session.

The Hoyt Organization

Why Construction Companies Need Public Relations

Why do construction companies need public relations? With so many construction companies out there, you have to find a way to make your company stand out. You want your company to be the first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear the word “construction.” That’s why it’s important to use public relations strategies to raise brand awareness. According to Taboola, brand awareness is “the very first step in the marketing funnel, and a crucial foundation to eventually acquire customers.” This will lead people to hire your company.

Brand Awareness

In order to raise brand awareness, The Hoyt Organization (THO) has created and distributed press releases announcing key events, company growth and employee movements. As a result, THO has secured media coverage in top trade media outlets, such as National Real Estate Investor, Real Estate Bisnow, California Builder & Engineer and Multi-Housing News. By securing placements in key publications, you can raise awareness about your brand and stand out from competitors.

Not only do you want people to recognize your company name, but you also want them to think about your company in a positive way. In a CMS Wire article, CORT Marketing Analyst Jake Taylor claims, “Brand awareness goes hand in hand with brand reputation — it doesn’t help if people know who you are for the wrong reasons.”

By developing a strong media relations program, you can build a positive brand. This entails positioning your company as a premier construction firm and raising the visibility of your company’s key leaders. THO has secured high-level thought leadership editorial opportunities for construction companies through strategic pitching in order to help build their reputation.

Social Media

In addition to engaging in media relations, you should establish a social media presence, as more than one in three online users go to social media when searching for information about a brand or product. You can share content about your company, participate in relevant discussions, and interact with prospective clients. THO has successfully increased the online presence of construction companies and expanded their reach through social media. By playing an active role on social media, you can raise awareness about your brand and create a positive brand image.

It is crucial that you build a positive brand before a public relations crisis occurs so that you are able to maintain your reputation. As stated in a previous blog post, crises happen during the lifetime of every organization. For this reason, it is important to be proactive and build a positive brand to ensure that a public relations crisis does not damage your reputation.

All in all, construction companies need public relations to increase their visibility and stand out from the competition. If you are interested in expanding your reach, feel free to send us a message. We are happy to help build your image and grow your company.

The Hoyt Organization

Social Media Series: How to Leverage Your Instagram Business Account

With social networks continuing to change the way people act and make decisions, business leaders need to determine how best to connect with their customers and shape their perceptions. Hootsuite claims, “If you’re not taking advantage of social, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach almost half the world’s population.” In this blog post, we will be sharing ways to leverage your Instagram business account to not only raise brand awareness but also increase engagement.

1. Optimize Your Bio

Your bio is one of the first things users see on your page. It is a snapshot that relays the most important information someone should know about you. It sets the brands tone by quickly highlighting who you are, what you do and how to get in touch with you. Strategic marketers may even include a call-to-action (CTA) to entice followers to focus their attention on the next action you want them to take. This CTA is generally a “link in bio” which is a clickable URL that your visitors will use to visit what is your most important online space. This could be your website, a product page, your blog post or podcast. By using a service like Linktree, you can put a URL in your bio so users can access relevant links. The Hoyt Organization, for example, uses Linktree to include links to agency blog posts. Crafting an Instagram bio may sound tedious, but it is crucial for establishing your brand presence.

2. Post Regularly

To keep your followers engaged, you should create a social media schedule.  Determining your social media schedule is critical for strategically planning the content you’ll create and share.  Whether that means you post once, twice, or even three times a week, you should be consistent. This will help your followers learn when to expect fresh content. The Hoyt Organization sticks to a regular posting schedule by highlighting an agency blog post every Wednesday. That way, The Hoyt Organization’s followers know when to expect a new blog post in their feed. If you only have time to post once a week, that is perfectly acceptable. Just make sure your post brings value to your followers and keeps them coming back to your page for more.

3. Share Quality Content

Posting quality content is equally as important as posting on a regular basis. You have to create posts that resonate with your target audience, as this will ensure that they interact with your content. For this reason, you should keep your target audience in mind when crafting posts. You should also create a visual aesthetic for your page with consistent colors and filters so that followers will recognize your brand. Tools like Planoly allow you to engage in “aesthetic planning,” which involves uploading photos and videos to see how they look in a particular order before actually posting them. You can learn more about what Planoly has to offer by reading our blog post,The Next “It” Tool: Planoly.

We hope these tips help you leverage your Instagram business account. If you would like to learn more ways to reach your customers through Instagram, feel free to send us a message.

Stay tuned for our next blog post on how to leverage your Twitter account.

The Hoyt Organization

Five Tips for Healthcare Public Relations Success

Competition for space in the healthcare sector – like many other markets – can be fierce. For those looking to expand their public relations efforts in this market, the key to building successful campaigns means keeping up with the best PR practices as well as tailoring strategies and tactics to fit each clients’ unique needs. Paying attention to the basics will ensure success and keep the program on track.

Here are our five tips you can use to generate awareness and build lasting relationships in the healthcare industry.

1. Know the Facts

When practicing public relations, it is essential to understand the industry that your client serves. As demonstrated by the arrival of COVID-19 in the healthcare market, it is a rapidly growing and often complicated field. As a result, its critical for a PR agency that serves healthcare clients to be aware of the regulations that affect the delivery and administration of healthcare as well as the impact that they will have on their clients.

How can this be accomplished? Clearly, there is an increasing demand for communications professionals to possess a greater understanding of industry trendsReading industry trade journals, blogs, and newsletters will keep the team current, and may even lead to additional opportunities for the client. A comprehensive understanding of the industry will help you produce effective messaging for each organization.

2. Keep it Simple

In many cases, the topics that healthcare industries address can be extremely complex. Ideally, creating a strong foundation of industry knowledge will allow you to avoid jargon and be as clear as possible in your messaging. When addressing the public, avoid using phrases that are extremely technical. It is vital to develop messaging that the everyday person can understand.

PR professionals in the healthcare industry should be prepared with supplementary information and additional communication resources to support messaging in alternative ways. Consider providing an infographic with a news release. Even though editors and reporters prefer a concise pitch, if you pique their interest, it is valuable to have backup data, photos and fact sheets already on hand.

3. Know Your Audience

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it is especially important in healthcare communication to take the time to understand not only your client’s target audience, but also each media outlet.

Understand the outlet’s tone, stance and audience before reaching out. Place the most relevant and important information at the top of your media materials, and make it easy to find essential information first.  

4. Make it Timely

In a healthcare industry that is rapidly evolving, especially in the current climate, PR professionals must ensure that their message is relevant and newsworthy. If your pitch isn’t an announcement about something recent that is impacting the current news cycle, then find a way to tie your message to an industry trend or current event. You can take this a step further by localizing your message in the region that will be impacted the most by your information.

Remember, an audience is much more receptive to a health-related story when they understand how it affects their daily lives. Even if a topic is trending nationally, or today even globally, it will make the greatest impact when connected to your audience on a local level. You can increase your impact by emphasizing emotional connections that show how your services have helped someone in a real way. Especially now, we can form meaningful connections with an audience and increase the effectiveness of a pitch by sharing compelling stories about a specific patient or family.

5. Make Use of Social Media

Social media looks different in healthcare PR than in more traditional consumer markets. Build a following through thought leadership, combined with authentic and consistent engagement with your audience, on social media platforms to expand your reach effectively.

Use social media as an opportunity to engage with the public, provide health information in a creative way and increase awareness of news and industry discoveries. As a tactic, social media allows healthcare organizations to strengthen key relationships by responding to patients publicly, highlighting programs and essential personnel in a positive manner, and position the entity as a part of their community.

Check out our previous work and contact us today to learn more about how we can help elevate your healthcare public relations strategy.

The Hoyt Organization

How to Create a Winning Real Estate Public Relations Strategy

Designing a public relations real estate campaign takes careful evaluation, strategic messaging and clear-cut path that will lead to success. When this is paired with management support, strong spokespersons and carefully crafted information, it will be a successful campaign.

The secret? – having a winning real estate public relations strategy will enable you to reach your long-term goals. No doubt that effectively planning that strategy will get the best results.

Here’s How It’s Done

Every strategic public relations plan requires identifying goals and objectives. You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you start creating PR and marketing materials. For instance, if you have a newly renovated office building your goal may center on increasing awareness of the upgraded space to attract your new tenants. This can be showcased in social media or funneled into your media relations program. Public relations itself is designed to lead to stronger relationships between a client and its target audience.

Do you know who your target audience is and what its interests are?

Do you know how to reach your audience effectively?

Let’s say you own several studio apartments in downtown Los Angeles. College students looking to save money or commute time might be interested in renting your space, and a social media campaign could be a good way to reach them. And if you understand the interests of your target audience, it is easier to craft key messages to gain their interest.

Key Messages and Effective PR Tactics

Your key messages should inform your target audience about your company. For example, key messages for a commercial broker association might be to include the year the organization was founded, the number of current members and the locations it serves.

Employing effective tactics, the tools of the plan, are crucial to implementing any strategy. Tactics can include branded collateral materials, pinpoint or broad-based marketing, targeted social media, results-oriented media relations, company branded e-newsletters and complementary advertising. Make sure your tactics work with the company’s brand. For example, a realistic tactic for a construction company could involve pitching a press release to trade publications covering the real estate industry rather than sending the document to a broad list of business media outlets.

An Integrated Public Relations Approach With THO

In today’s digital age, there are a variety of tools you can utilize when deciding on a public relations strategy that you can leverage for a PR plan. The key to a successful program is identifying what the strategy should be then following up with strong tactics that are implemented to reach the right audience in the right way. 

Still not sure what your next step is? Call us today @ 310-373-0103 or connect with us to discuss your public relations needs. We can craft a winning real estate public relations program just for you.

The Hoyt Organization

Public Relations Global Network Holds First Open Global Online Conference: The New World Ahead

By Public Relations Global Network (PRGN)

The Hoyt Organization is proud to be the Los Angeles area partner of Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), a network of 50 hand-selected public relations firms. Recently, PRGN hosted a lively panel discussion featuring agency leaders from around the world, discussing “The New World Ahead.” To learn more about this event, please read the press release published by PRGN below. 

Held in conjunction with the Network’s bi-annual Fall conference on October 16, this first-time virtual event was attended by nearly 200 communicators from around the world. Moderated by PRWeek magazine’s VP and Editorial Director Steve Barrett, the panel – titled “The New World Ahead” – looked at what the 2020s will bring for communications professionals around the world.

Panelists included PRGN agency principals Andy See, Perspective Strategies, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; David Fuscus, Xenophon Strategies, Washington D.C., USA; Lynn Erasmus, HWB Communications, Cape Town, South Africa; Natacha Clarac, Athenora Consulting, Brussels, Belgium; and Mark Paterson, Currie, Melbourne, Australia.

According to Andy See, PRGN APAC Regional Vice President and founder of PRGN member firm Perspective Strategies in Malaysia, “Today, the market requires the PR and communications industry to reboot and become ‘PR 4.0.’ PR 4.0 is where communication is no longer just two-way or even a dialogue. In fact, stories are co-created and there is no longer a clear distinction between the storyteller and the audience.” PRGN’s global panel was sponsored by global media intelligence company Meltwater.

PRGN Global Online Conference
PRGN President Robert Bauer

53rd PRGN Conference

The global panel was a public session held in conjunction with PRGN’s fall conference, which was opened by PRGN President Robert Bauer, managing partner of accelent communications of Vienna, Austria. The virtual event was attended by representatives from the 51 PRGN member agencies around the globe.

“In times like these, nothing’s better than thinking about the future from different angles,” said Bauer. “And nothing comes close to the variety of insights that is represented from within our membership.” Topics discussed among the members included new business development strategies, COVID-19 coping strategies, succession and acquisition strategies, digital solutions and services, virtual events, growth in the Asia-Pacific region and PR agency best practices.

Exclusive Leadership Webinar

As part of the conference, Ken Jacobs, agency consultant, coach, trainer and principal of Jacobs Consulting & Executive Coaching, conducted an exclusive webinar for PRGN members titled: “Leading leaders in uncertain times.”

Jacobs focused his presentation on the single most important job that agency owners and senior executives have: leading their own leaders in the agency with the right mindset and attitude to navigate through uncertain times. He also shared insights gained from interviews done recently with high-ranking leaders at large agencies across the U.S.

PRGN partners typically meet twice a year at member locations around the world to share knowledge and develop global business. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions, PRGN’s Spring 2020 and Autumn 2020 Global Conferences were both held virtually.

Future PRGN conferences are planned for Scottsdale, Arizona, USA and Singapore.

The Hoyt Organization

Expanding One of the Nation’s Top Four Residential Brokerage Firms into the West

From “For Sale” signs across NYC’s Upper Eastside to celebrity agents on TV’s famed “Million Dollar Listing,” the Douglas Elliman (DE) name is linked to highly sought-after agents and extremely coveted listings. Synonymous with real estate dominance on the East Coast, the residential brokerage firm wanted to head west and do the same. The firm tapped THO to join the team because of our deep experience in real estate public relations and make this happen.

The Challenge

THO needed to leverage Douglas Elliman’s East Coast reputation to firmly establish, and quickly grow, roots in the West. The goal: expand its reputation and recruit and retain the top agents in both Colorado and California to bring listings and clients to their roster.

The Solution

Attracting and retaining top talent in the industry became the primary focus of the THO-constructed public relations program. The plan was designed to elevate the brand using success stories, agent profiles, and firm-differentiating highlights, making it ‘the place to be’ for successful, results-driven agents.  

THO implemented a multi-pronged approach focusing on People, Property & Platform using the following strategies:   

  • Promote existing, significantly outstanding listings with historical, architectural, or celebrity notoriety;
  • Leverage senior level market expertise to establish DE executives as credible, knowledgeable and seasoned real estate experts;
  • Focus on highlighting the firm’s core value propositions, directly connecting the firm to agents possibly seeking a new home; and
  • Maximize community engagement at high-profile events like Jazz Aspen Snowmass, Evening on the Beach and other Elliman Arts initiatives to accentuate their community involvement.

Results

THO’s initial launch into the market resulted in more than 400 million impressions for Douglas Elliman in nationally prominent outlets such as The Wall St. Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, Forbes, Bloomberg Pursuits, Architectural Digest and more. This program solidified the firm’s reputation as one of the top brokerage firms in both local and national markets.

THO secured profiles and interviews which allowed Douglas Elliman agents to speak to both their actual listings, and their expertise in key neighborhoods. Beyond agent interviews and specific listings, THO promoted numerous notable properties and high-dollar Douglas Elliman transactions, one of which was the sale of a $90 million Holmby Hills estate, the second highest residential sale in LA at the time. THO also garnered significant coverage surrounding Douglas Elliman’s quarterly market reports for the Los Angeles and Aspen regions, guaranteeing the brokerage’s role as a top industry resource.

Takeaways

In well-established markets where numerous brokerages are entrenched in a high-stakes real estate scene, a newcomer could get lost in the shuffle. These few, but important steps can help ensure success:

  1. Develop a brand’s unified voice
  2. Engage and support internal and external company stakeholders
  3. Establish consistent methods for sharing market knowledge and expertise

The Hoyt Organization

The Hoyt Organization Wins Three 2020 Hermes Creative Awards

The 14th annual Hermes Creative Awards were recently held to recognize the messengers and creators involved in the concept and design of marketing communications programs. With over 300 categories and more than 6,000 global entrants, these awards have been an industry standard for more than 20 years. The Hoyt Organization was thrilled to be among the top winners, taking home three awards for its creative work.

The Hoyt Organization’s efforts for USC Lusk Center for Real Estate earned a Platinum Award for Online Placement. For THO’s work with Waterton on the grand reveal of The Flat-DTLA, THO received a Gold Award for Instagram Strategy. Finally, THO received an Honorable Mention for their work with CREW-LA (Commercial Real Estate Women – Los Angeles).

Hermes Creative Awards

Named consistently by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the leading integrated communications firms in the greater Los Angeles area, THO has also been named as one of the top firms nationally by O’Dwyers, a news source that covers the public relations and communications industry.

To date, THO has won more than 120 awards for programs that encompass public relations, social media, integrated communications programs and more.

The THO team was honored to support and tell the stories of such outstanding organizations. THO looks forward to more success in the rest of 2020 and beyond.

The Hoyt Organization

Six Tips: How SEO Can Power Your New Business Strategy

By David Landis – Landis Communications Inc. (LCI)

I’m often asked, “How do you generate new business leads?” There’s no silver bullet to answer that question, but if I had to pick one strategy it would be: the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Our marketing communications agency, Landis Communications Inc. in San Francisco, celebrates 30 years in business this October. For probably the past 15 years, at least 50% (yup, 50%) of our new business leads come through organic search (and mostly through Google, which still dominates search). 

Did you know that organic search results are 8.5 times more likely to be clicked on than paid search results?

We’re not a large agency (we’re about 10 people) and our inbound leads average about 1 a day. Of those, I’d say 30% are legitimate leads that seem like a good fit for our firm; and of those 30%, about half will make it to the proposal stage. We are lucky to win about 50% of the prospects for which we create proposals. So if you do the math, that translates to at least 1-2 client wins a month – more than enough to keep our business going strong.

So, what’s the secret sauce? Beyond keywords, which are critical, how do you leverage SEO for your business development efforts? Google will never tell the public exactly how they grade businesses for search (and they keep changing their algorithm all the time), but there are a number of tried and true practices that will help. And, we’ve got one great idea of what to look for in the future as well.

Here are six handy – and easy to implement – tips:

1. Content, content, content

It’s a proven fact that creating and refreshing content on your website is one of the best ways to rank higher in a Google organic search. We add new content to our site daily – yes, daily. It might be bragging about a new client, showcasing a great media placement for our clients, writing a new blog entry or more. Make sure you include quality backlinks, which also help search rankings. But also provide new content regularly – that translates to a higher score with Google.

2. Leverage your blog

Your blog is the easiest way to create new content. Write about what you know – your own business – which, as it turns out, happens to be a lot. Not only does this help your search results, but it also establishes you and your business as industry thought leaders. Again, don’t forget the legitimate backlinks and also include “Related Articles” at the end of your blog to help boost your Google standing

3. Be social

Your social channels can be another great source for content and can capture potential prospects looking for your business. But don’t make the mistake of “stand alone social.” Add your social buttons and content to your website – and conversely, make sure your social channels are re-directing readers/viewers back to your website.

4. Claim and Maximize Your Google My Business Listing

Here’s a dirty little secret: Playing to Google’s own strengths will help your organic search. You definitely want to claim your Google My Business listing and then ensure it’s fully-functioning with all your relevant information. Why? Those listings provide the information for the “pop-ups” that appear locally for searches – and they are also another part of the mix that Google uses in general to rate your business. With a good Google My Business listing, your chances of coming up higher in the local results increase.

5. Get Reviewed

Do reviews help search results? According to Leverage Marketing, “The short answer is yes. Google reviews do help improve search rankings and overall SEO results. While there are a lot of factors involved with search rankings, online customer reviews can be a strong signal to search engines that communicates trustworthiness and authority.” So make sure you proactively ask your customers and clients to review you, especially on Google.

6. The Future for SEO?

The future for SEO should be music to a PR pro’s ears. Why? It’s all about storytelling. According to the Search Engine Journal, “SEO is transforming. Understanding the user will be key to success. Getting them to stay on the page and explore the website will be the challenge. The interconnectivity of SEO, technology, human behavior, media, machine and mindset will change the game of SEO and online marketing. SEO professionals are now required to become storytellers and professional marketers that not only can develop a search strategy, but can also communicate and sell a brand online. The digital message must meet the user’s mindset and intent – and deliver what the searcher is seeking while building brand awareness in the long term. The future of SEO is in understanding the user’s intent and the deeper layers of wants and desires that drive behaviors.”

With these 6 tips for better search engine optimization results, you’ll be well on your way to embracing the flood of new business prospects coming your way.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

The Hoyt Organization

How Public Relations Strategy Enhances the Healthcare Industry

As COVID-19 continues to change the best practices of nearly every industry, healthcare professionals, in particular, are facing the fact that the world is looking to them for insight and expertise. Especially now, public relations can help healthcare organizations of all sizes solidify a reputation as that trusted source of guidance for patients and the media alike. 

Whether the goal is to develop or revamp brand strategy, prepare a crisis response plan, or outline messaging to these key audiences, public relations professionals are crucial to the complex picture of healthcare.  In this blog, we’ll discuss four essential roles that a PR agency can perform in the healthcare industry. 

  1. Targeted Communication

There is no shortage of competition for attention in the healthcare industry. Public relations strategy can help cut through the noise and fine-tune key messaging to ensure communication is efficient and succinct. Building a trusted brand requires a multi-faceted approach to media relations.  

This involves clearly determining key target audiences and the best way to reach them. Whether it be pitching a bylined article to trade publications to establish credibility or developing a social media campaign that enhances connection with patients, a public relations agency has the expertise to craft a targeted healthcare communication strategy that resonates.

2. Content Creation

A large part of getting your name into the public conversation is producing content that is relevant and valuable to the public. Every piece of content associated with an organization’s brand must be top quality. Not only does this help to facilitate conversation with stakeholders, but it helps with link building and SEO as well. In short, the more shareable your posts, podcasts, infographics, etc. are, the better.

Where does PR come into this process? PR professionals have more time to dedicate to crafting and perfecting this content. Content marketing can help you build brand awareness in a way that is immediately valuable to customers. This can take many shapes, including conducting interviews with healthcare experts or even writing ‘how to’ guides.

3. Counsel and Crisis Management

As we discussed in our previous blog post “5 Crisis Communication Tips for Public Relations Professionals,” crises are an inevitability for most organizations. Public relations professionals can fill the vital role of ensuring that healthcare organizations are prepared to respond and react with confidence. Experienced PR teams can help you retain awareness of developing trends, research regulatory advancements that may impact your brand and even notify you of negative reviews and the proper action to take.  

Public relations agencies can offer an alternative perspective during a crisis and support an organization by serving as a spokesperson or advisor. Of course, it is even more essential to be proactive and prepare crisis communication strategies ahead of time that address possible crises your brand may face. With the help of a public relations agency, you can rest easier knowing you have the tools in place to handle any situation and communicate effectively to the audiences that matter.

4. Enhance Business Growth

Through building a strong healthcare brand and spreading messaging and information that its audience demands, healthcare companies can attract new customers while maintaining positive relationships with existing and old customers. Public relations strategy can help you develop and own your story across every platform with consistency and authority.  Strengthening trust can enhance the brand, generate larger media coverage and increase demand, which will inevitably lead to larger revenue.

An experienced PR agency will be able to balance the sensitivity and appropriate protocol that will maintain your credibility in the healthcare sector with the storytelling that is essential to show your heart and commitment to serving the public.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your organization by developing an integrated strategic communications framework that supports your unique goals.

The Hoyt Organization

5 Crisis Communication Tips for Public Relations Professionals

It is often said that crises happen during the lifetime of every organization. For this reason, it is crucial for public relations professionals to be prepared to manage a crisis at a moment’s notice. Keep reading for five crisis communication tips for public relations professionals.

1. Assess Your Risk

In order to respond to a crisis quickly and effectively, public relations professionals should develop crisis communication strategies before a crisis occurs. Consider all possible crises your organization could face and develop messaging to be used in response.  This ensures that the crisis will be handled appropriately and the company’s reputation will remain intact. Develop a communication plan for each potential crisis.  This plan should be continuously updated so that it contains only the most relevant crisis communication information.

2. Decide on Communications Channels

Determine the channels that will best deliver your crisis messaging to your audience.  You can post on your corporate blog, on a press release, through social media or a combination.  Social media will require a dialogue with your audience whereas a press release or blog post will allow you to have more control around your message. 

3.  Respond Quickly

Having a crisis communication plan in place will allow public relations professionals to respond quickly.  If a company does not address the crisis in a reasonable amount of time, people will assume that the brand is either at fault or is not in control of its message.  Always provide truthful and consistent communications making sure to correct any false information.  Timely responses to the media will prevent the appearance of hiding something.  One principal that’s existed in PR for decades is that if you don’t tell your story, someone else will.  The ability to respond quickly and to put the crisis in context is only going to help an organization.  Stay calm and stick to the crisis communications script developed in Tip 1 and do not deviate from the plan. 

4. Put the Victims First

Not only should public relations professionals respond in a timely manner, but they should also acknowledge the pain, suffering and frustration of any victims. Even if the company did not cause the problem, it is still important that the company recognizes the people who were negatively impacted. However, if the company is at fault, it should take responsibility and apologize to those affected.

5. Be Transparent

When a crisis occurs, public relations professionals should be transparent. Under no circumstances should they engage in cover-up or deceit, as this type of bad behavior will always find its way to the headlines – eventually, further damaging the company’s reputation. For this reason, public relations professionals should always be upfront with the public.

We hope these tips help when dealing with a crisis! Let us know if there are any other strategies public relations professionals should use to effectively mitigate a crisis.

The Hoyt Organization

How the Pandemic is reshaping real estate communications: Don’t ‘zoom’ over your strategy

The other day a real estate broker told me he didn’t mind Zoom meetings at all. “You don’t have to stay for the whole meeting,” he explained.

That comment should give us all pause. When the pandemic struck, the knee-jerk reaction was to move meetings, presentations, pitches and all the daily communications of business online. But few have stopped to consider what might be lost in the process.

As McKinsey & Company cautioned in a white paper published in April, “commercial real estate must do more than merely adapt to coronavirus.”

To be sure, communicating remotely is now a business necessity, but the content of our messaging needs to change along with the methods and the media we are use. How do you structure a zoom call to get as much attention as the toddler sharing the home office?  What elements should your press release contain to tap into editorial preferences for Covid stories? How can you make your social media stand out?  

These are challenges every one of us is facing due to Covid-19, but perhaps even more so for the real estate industry which has traditionally relied on face-to-face interaction. As a real estate professional, you’re probably used to attending networking events and coming away with a half dozen leads. Today, your digital self is likely to be far less charismatic.

Those traditions are perhaps the reason many real estate companies are still playing catch-up with digital communications. A KPMG Global Prop Tech Survey found that only 29 percent of the companies surveyed have a digital strategy in place across their organization. Another 19 percent have no strategy at all.

But like it or not, engaging with clients, employees, tenants, business partners or the press digitally is essential in today’s environment, and crafting the right messaging will create an impression of your company and your brand that is likely to last long after the crisis.

The McKinsey authors note that, because owners and operators have an obligation to protect the health and safety of tenants above all else, more businesses may be adopting “company-level brand (rather than property-level brand)” communications.

The very nature of digital communications is driving other changes as well. The digital space doesn’t allow for the same adjustments easily made in face-to-face meetings. More than ever, your strategy should be grounded in an understanding of your brand and your market. You have to know when it’s okay to communicate as if it’s business as usual and when to acknowledge the uncertainties of the crisis. And if your messaging recognizes today’s challenges, that acknowledgement also has to make a connection with your brand that is authentic and meaningful.

Today we have to approach communications with the same caution. We have to keep a close eye on what reporters are responding to, and we have to craft press releases to tap into those elements as much as possible. We need to monitor social media to make sure its engaging.

 Connecting with your audience is key. Sometimes, it may mean you forego the sales pitch for now and focus on making your clients feel you are there to help. It may mean providing information, resources or tools. Or it may mean picking up the phone just to check in, because if ever there was a time to build relationships that time is now.

The Hoyt Organization

5 Tips For A PR Intern During COVID-19

Excited to begin my Summer internship, I looked forward to meeting and learning from PR savvy individuals, attending morning meetings in the office, getting settled at my desk and occasionally chatting with my colleagues by the water dispenser as seen on TV shows and movies. This perceived image came to a halt as COVID-19 continued to invade major cities and new cases surged. As a result, here are 5 tips that I have learned from my experience as an intern during a global pandemic.      

Stay Connected

Communication played an important role throughout my internship. Zoom calls helped keep everyone in the loop during our daily morning meetings. This was a great touchpoint to ensure that the essential tasks were still completed.

Without Zoom, we might not have seen each other at all. Emails and phone calls just don’t cut it. The app also served as a fundamental tool for training and asking questions since working in public relations requires you to learn new programs.

Staying connected and making an extra effort to communicate effectively made me feel less alone as I was reminded that I could count on support from everyone.

Stay Focused

Working from home can certainly be challenging. For instance, making sure I had zero distractions and a clear workspace played a factor in helping me maintain focus and enhance my productivity. Working virtually can provide a variety of extra challenges like internet problems or interruptions from roommates. I learned early on that I needed to set boundaries for myself to be successful.

First, I made sure that my workspace was as private as possible to minimize distractions. Then I worked on staying as organized as possible by setting up a daily planner. I started every day by laying out my priorities and noting the questions I needed to find answers for.

This dedication to planning out each day ultimately helped me keep my focus and stay on schedule. Maintaining a personal system of organization is essential for any industry. e.

Take a Break

This sounds like an easy concept but is more difficult to put into practice. As an intern trying to pave my way into the public relations industry and make a name for myself, I would always try to complete all of my tasks at once. I wanted to go above and beyond by offering my assistance to others and take on more and more responsibility. However, because I aimed to achieve everything at once, I sometimes ended up overwhelmed and burnt out.

I wanted to prove to myself and others that I could work independently and finish assignments immediately but by doing so I was neither being efficient nor effective. Of course, it is encouraged to have goals and ambition, but we have to set realistic expectations and give ourselves a break.

Ultimately, I learned that it is okay to step away from my laptop and take some time for myself. Sometimes a quick break from the screen to stretch or grab a glass of water will even bring you a fresh perspective on the issue you’re tackling.

Be Flexible and Confident

During my internship, I learned that I needed to not only use the job skills I already had, but also learn and adapt to working remotely. Knowing I did not have the luxury to learn from others in-person meant I had to refine my technical skills to work more independently. I ended up finding that in many cases I had the knowledge and capability to accomplish more than I thought.

As my experience went on, my problem-solving skills and knowledge of PR strategies became stronger and I felt more confident. In the end, I think it may have been a blessing in disguise because I proved to myself and my coworkers what I can do. Although any new internship or job experience can be intimidating, it’s important to lead with confidence. You were chosen for a reason and your education and past experience have prepared you to succeed.

Now I know that I can move forward with an additional set of specific skills that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. I had the unique experience of seeing firsthand the changes that clients and everyday people are being forced to make with the growing prevalence of remote jobs.

Stay Positive

This internship experience has ultimately taught me the importance of staying positive. When I think back, the saying “This Too Shall Pass” comes to mind, and it is especially relevant in a time like this. We are all doing what we can to continue on in every facet of life during the global pandemic.

I took comfort in the fact that remote work is a learning curve for many. Maybe sometimes we have technical problems with Zoom or there is a miscommunication by email, but coming to work prepared to learn and adapt is what is most important.

From the beginning of my professional journey, I underestimated myself because I was concerned about making sure I made the right impression and making sure I was completing tasks when asked. The truth is that a global pandemic throws what is normal out the window. Many days it takes a toll, but I knew that I was sharing this experience with my colleagues and professionals in every industry. COVID-19 may have changed my expectations, but it did not take away from my overall positive internship experience at The Hoyt Organization.

 

The Hoyt Organization

What does a PR firm do in the digital age?

By Lynn Erasmus – HWB Communications

Digital PR is simply the evolution of what has until now been known as “traditional” PR.

It’s the opportunity to step away from the credibility crises that traditional PR practitioners have had to face so often in the past with new-age tools and tactics that are customisable, effective and measurable.

To a certain extent one can expect a gradual absorption of digital methodologies and practices in any agency that has its roots firmly established in traditional PR practice. Many agencies take their first steps by adding on social media management to their traditional offering and promptly hire a sharp young social media manager to do the job.

Box ticked. Clients can now depend on you to include digital in their scope of work; right?

Wrong. For too long, many traditional PR agencies have considered digital as the “add on”. While social media can be considered the core of what in traditional terms would be “word of mouth” and a powerful source of online reputation, there’s much more to digital PR than a well-planned content calendar.

The strategic mistake is to continue with a primary focus on traditional simply because there are still so many opportunities to continue along familiar routines of media relations, events, conferences and broadcast.

Or rather – used to be. That was before the Covid-19 pandemic changed not just the PR practitioner’s landscape, but the full spectrum of communications, PR, sales and marketing that was used the world over to build brands and turn fans into paying customers.

Make no mistake, traditional PR still has an important role to fulfil.

But for those still in transition, the first step is to consider Digital PR an urgent and necessary strategic business imperative. Digital becomes the priority, traditional remains an essential, but secondary support.

The principles of PR strategy remain unchanged – what needs to be seized upon is the opportunity to exponentially expand the scope of what can be achieved for clients. Understanding the integration of “traditional” and “digital” methodologies to offer clients true assimilation of all tools and tactics to maximise their campaigns is the key to success.

Aside from social media, the arsenal of tools is endless from video, podcasts, guest articles, blogs, influencers – micro or otherwise – and the potential of key keywords to pack a digital PR punch.

Strategic digital expertise is essential to support a substantial digital practice, so invest in senior, experienced resources. The right professional can train and assess which existing team members have the potential to make the change – because not all of them will – and identify gaps where specialist expertise is required.

Increasingly, relationships are being forged online. Establishing meaningful connections require substance, integrity and transparency from brands. So essential expertise to integrate into clients’ strategy is the understanding of how digital content adds value to the traditional brand narrative.

And not all of it need be limited to the earned space. Consider how digital paid spend can amplify what clients own to give campaigns extra impetus.

In digital PR, the importance of SEO cannot be overestimated. The strategy to achieve good SEO rankings is a balancing act between meeting the ever-changing requirements of search engines and providing your audiences with original and relevant content at times and on channels that grab their attention and compels them to share.

Lastly, aggressively pursuing exclusively digital PR business is the key to progress. Adding on to traditional clients’ business with some digital services is a good starting point, but to futureproof your PR business, it is essential to be prepared for the time when there will be no distinction between traditional and digital.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

The Hoyt Organization

How COVID-19 Changed Communication in the Healthcare Industry

As the global pandemic continues to greatly affect major cities, many industries are rapidly trying to adapt. The healthcare industry is no exception, as it forced to make revisions to its daily protocols. With those unprecedented changes, public relations professionals are also expected to modify the way they communicate on social media.

Virtual Care

In order to comply with the mandatory stay-at-home order and respect social distancing regulations, the healthcare industry is prioritizing virtual care as a way to respond to the virus. Patients and caregivers no longer need to come in contact and can avoid the risk of infection, as appointments are now held virtually. This effort is aimed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus while still caring for patients’ wellbeing.

Telehealth

Since the introduction of virtual care, Telehealth has become an essential tool that continues to be in high demand. This tool allows the healthcare industry to communicate and engage with patients in an online platform through a simple video call. Patients can get prescription refills and have medication delivered to their door. COVID-19 poses a higher risk toward the elderly community, so this new tool is crucial for them to stay connected with providers.

Virtual Support

Through this transition from in-person doctor visits to telehealth visits, it is apparent that there is a growing demand for healthcare assistance online. Virtual support such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, and other platforms have become essential tools for professionals and everyday individuals alike. The healthcare industry has since taken the opportunity to use these virtual platforms to host numerous support groups and events to help individuals stay healthy and live a more positive lifestyle.

PR

Public relations professionals are weighing in on the unexpected changes disturbing the healthcare industry due to the ongoing battle with COVID-19. As the healthcare industry continues to adapt to offering patients virtual care though telehealth and additional virtual support, public relations professionals are also adapting to this sudden change. Focusing on the fundamentals is crucial right now, as it allows them to remain true to the client’s overall branding. In this case, public relations professionals are reexamining and, in some cases, pausing major campaigns or announcements as appropriate during the global pandemic.

Social Media

Social media has always been an outlet for open communication, but public relations professionals have expanded its capabilities as a way for patients to stay in the loop. The healthcare industry is striving to provide online classes for individuals to engage with and better their lifestyles. Public relations professionals are helping these healthcare providers to promote and attract new engagement on their social media channels to help improve health and prevent diseases.

Without a doubt, the pandemic has quickly changed the course on how the healthcare industry functions and how public relations professionals manage social media to create new opportunities for the industry.

The Hoyt Organization

5 Tips for Improving a Business’s LinkedIn Page

A business’s LinkedIn page should serve as a marketing tool rather than a conventional “About Us” page. The key objective of a company page is to engage and interact with the audience while building brand awareness. Another key goal should be to retain current followers while building a strong follower count. 

Here are a few tips to enhance and maximize an individual’s LinkedIn company page to its fullest potential:

1. Use Visuals

It sounds straightforward, but visuals can determine the success of one’s company page. One of the first images visitors will see on an individual’s LinkedIn page is the banner image.

All posts should have eye-catching videos and lively photos. The use of videos can amplify your posts and attract a new following. For photos, it is best to use in-house photos instead of stock images as it provides a much more organic approach to the overall curated page. 

2. Engage with Short Posts

You have less than a couple of seconds to attract your followers to click on a post, so be sure to keep your updates short, simple, and straight to the point. The recommended characters are 150 or less. 

Utilize the word count to not only keep the posts from sounding dull but to keep them engaged. Ask stimulating questions and make updates personal by calling out to the audience. Always be sure to keep updates intriguing. 

3. Keep your Followers in the Loop

When uploading content, it is important to introduce the audience to articles written by others. This strategy helps provide a business’s feed with information that caters to the audience rather than a place for the company to talk about itself. So, remember to always link other articles and sources to the company’s posts to keep the intended audience engaged and interested.

4. Utilize Analytics Tool

As previously mentioned, a company page is meant to serve as a marketing tool so be sure to use the analytics tool provided to measure the success of one’s updates. However, make sure to use tracking links to further the page’s success.

By using this technique, it will allow an individual to see traffic from each update which can lead to new findings of inbound traffic. 

5. Limit the Use of Links

When added to a post, links can play a crucial role in attracting an audience. Posts with links tend to be more successful than those without, but be cautious when using links as it can easily be overdone. Be sure to use them sparingly so it will make the updates stand out. Stimulating posts featuring questions and personalized call-to-actions without links can also be engaging.

Key Takeaways

Always be mindful of utilizing a company page as a marketing tool and curate the page to fit the audience’s needs. Remember to maximize updates with thought-provoking content and an array of rich visuals. With these tips, have fun watching the follower count grow while exploring new opportunities to retain an individual’s or audience’s attention and loyalty.  

Conclusion

The Hoyt Organization is an industry leading thought leader in social media marketing and planning. We are located in the Los Angeles, California area, but serve clients nationally and internationally. No matter where you are, were are here to help you with any Public Relations related services you might need. Give us a call to discuss your PR questions.

The Hoyt Organization

It Takes More Than an Optimised Press Release to Hit the SEO Mark

By Lynn Erasmus – HWB Communications 

In today’s world, savvy PR pros need to be more than just good writers, they need to be knowledgeable about what constitutes optimised digital platforms and they must know how to manage the interaction between these platforms to maximise the chances of achieving the best possible SEO ranking.

Two of the critical factors underlying successful SEO are the same as that of a successful PR practitioner: credibility (building trust and relationships with stakeholders) and substance (delivering information that is credible and informative).

Search engines prioritise what is useful and substantial because their business model depends on presenting a relevant product offering to millions of consumers around the globe.

A search engine looks not only at the information (press releases tweets, blogs, video, audio) issued into the digital domain when it performs its ‘credibility checks’, it also reviews the issuer’s online profile and track record to determine where on the rankings they will land.

With a traditional media landscape shrinking by the day, PR practitioners need to look beyond the press release and redefine this core communication tool to view it as content that must be customised – as much as required – to meet the information needs of each channel and audience.

Keywords remain vital, so carefully considered head, body and long tail keywords can definitely put your content on the way to SEO success, but your platforms and in particular, social channels, will let you down if they are not properly optimised and up to date. They must be attractive, current and information on it must be highly shareable.

The presence of video, audio and visuals will contribute to the depth of the information you have to offer and it will improve the chances of audiences clicking through to your site or sharing your information with others.

The repurposed press release that is chopped and changed to suit a multitude of platforms is no longer good enough.

Practitioners should be spending more time in the realm of brand journalism to enable the creation of unique information pieces varying in tone, breadth and depth. If they do, those sometimes illusive keywords will spontaneously emerge without needing to be forced and mentions and backlinks are bound to follow.

The strategy to achieve good SEO rankings is a three-way balancing act between meeting the ever-changing requirements of search engines, ensuring that your platforms are optimised and providing your audiences with original, interesting and relevant content at times and on channels that grab their attention and compels them to share what they have learned.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

The Hoyt Organization

Female leadership and PR: What have they in common?

By Alessandra Malvermi – Sound Public Relations

The most recent research studies on leadership share the image of a future increasingly characterized by skills that have socially and historically belonged to the females. The old “command-economy” mentality by Henry Ford is now outdated and overtaken by the modern working organization, inspired by values such as active listening, empathy, sharing, delegation and inclusion. Organizations, economies and practically all relational systems are becoming increasingly complex and interconnected and require a new anti-fragile leadership style that does not merely withstand a shock but actually improves because of it, knows how to enhance diversity and draws from what exists in order to create better scenarios.

As a woman, entrepreneur and co-founder of Sound Public Relations, I take great interest in leadership issues and I believe public relations can play a leading role in spreading awareness for values and themes of gender diversity, as well as in inspiring and giving voice to generative leadership models.

In my role as co-founder and vice president of the Italian chapter of Global Women in PR – a global not-for-profit organization for women in senior positions in PR and communications – I am proud to have contributed to launching a training program that aims to stimulate the growth potential of female talent in the PR industry.

Here are some of the points that emerged from the masterclasses that I’ve had the pleasure of moderating.

Is female leadership different than male?

Several studies suggest that it is. Nevertheless, when investigating the relationship between gender and leadership styles, it becomes clear that both men and women can learn the behaviors, attributes and skills of the opposite sex. According to Gustav Jung, the psyche is a combination of complementary masculine and feminine principles (Anima and Animus). It is, therefore, a matter of enhancing one or the other of those principles as they seem more suitable to successfully manage the challenges organizations are facing while navigating through these uncertain times.

What are today’s biggest leadership challenges?

Today’s leaders are increasingly called upon to effectively guide so-called positive systems. Today’s companies are expected to have a systemic role in society and to know how to maintain co-evolutionary relationships not only with their peers in their industry sectors, but also with society as a whole. We are witnessing a transformation that, starting from technology, is impacting all systems – work, social relationships, family and environment. Leadership, too, is evolving and is turning increasingly inside-out. Today’s leaders must be willing to embark on a journey of discovery that goes beyond knowing how to do, and reaches knowing how to be, in order to fully and consciously express their potential and their uniqueness.

What is the main trait of a successful modern leader?

The evolution of leadership is increasingly linked to skills that have socially and historically belonged to women. Listening skills, understanding, delegation, empathy and inclusion should not be intended as traits intrinsic to individual identity, but rather as expressions more easily referable to the feminine sphere. The first fundamental characteristic shared by women in leadership positions is self-awareness. Knowing your values, needs and talents thoroughly – and knowing how to align them with your life and career goals – is in fact the essential trait of female leadership and of leadership of the future.

What is the link between female leadership and PR?

Public relations, by definition, aims at building bridges of understanding and dialogue. Empathic communication is the basis of any effective and generative relationship. Systems are the result of relationships. Between us and reality there is always a relational component. The skills of female leadership are therefore particularly functional in cultivating co-evolutionary relationships and in promoting the creation of a positive and fertile climate for the development of ideas, projects, solutions, capable of bringing authentic value to customers and projects. Self-awareness, a key element of female leadership, also allows us to understand how recognizing one’s own values, needs, talents and even vulnerabilities is essential to be able to enter into more authentic relationships with others.

Whether you are a man or a woman, having the courage to be yourself is a powerful catalyst triggering transformative and generative processes. And then by its very nature PR can interpret these processes better than other disciplines of communication.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

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5 Coronavirus Self-Care Tips For A Public Relations Professional

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting everyone differently, sometimes adversely, and individuals in the public relations industry are not exempt from this. One area in particular where many are suffering is self-care. Whether it is working longer hours or spending days without seeing loved ones, the change at home and work can affect your overall health. Forty-five percent of adults in the United States reported to the Kaiser Family Foundation that their mental health has been suffering, as they have been worried and stressed due to the coronavirus. If your mental health has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, keep reading for the top five coronavirus self-care tips.

1. Stay active

Even though your gym may be closed, it is crucial to continue exercising on a regular basis. Not only is exercise important for your physical health, but it is also important for your mental health. According to the Help Guide, exercise can help lower feelings of stress and depression.

There are many ways to get your heart rate up. You could find an exercise video on YouTube or take a walk around the block. Getting some fresh air will improve your mood and help put things in perspective. Just make sure to wear your mask and abide by the six-foot rule!

2. Focus on what you can control

During this uncertain time, you may feel anxious that you are not in control. Things are constantly changing and you may be struggling to keep up. For this reason, it is important to focus on the things you can control. This will help you overcome anxious thoughts and be present in the moment.

3. Chat with friends and family

If you live by yourself and have started working remotely, you may be feeling isolated and alone. Even though you are advised not to see your family and friends in person, you can schedule a time to Facetime or Zoom each week. This will help you stay connected and maintain your relationships. It will also remind you that you have people in your corner.

4. Take a break from the news

Even though it is important to stay informed about COVID-19, you should limit your media intake. If you spend all day checking the news, you will likely experience psychological distress, which will have a negative impact on your mental health. Tell yourself that you will only check trusted news sources once or twice a day to stay up-to-date.

5. Learn something new

Instead of watching Netflix or looking at social media, try something new. There are many online resources and tutorials that can help you learn new skills. By learning how to play a new instrument or speak a new language, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Click here for LA Times’ 50 how-to tips with links to free online tutorials.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to engage in self-care during this difficult time. No matter what you do, make sure to listen to your needs and lean on family and friends for support. Remember, we are all in this together. Let us know if any of these tips worked for you!

The Hoyt Organization

Real Estate Communications: Add Color to Concrete

By Uwe Schmidt – Industrie-Contact AG

PR for real estate projects should always be focused on ensuring that clients sell properties. Our clients sell luxury properties as second homes abroad. In addition to traditional PR tools, we have used numerous tactics in past years to further improve the results of our work and help the sales process. For the moment, some of these tactics cannot be deployed due to social distancing amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. However, these tactics form the backbone of effective real estate communications and they are best kept in mind for post-Covid-19. Our agency Industrie-Contact is located in Hamburg from where we can operate throughout Germany, plus Austria and the German-speaking part of Switzerland if need be.

Here are some examples of our tried and tested tactics:

1. Organize and escort individual & group press trips

We offer planning of individual press trips for journalists and specialized bloggers. This is a proven method to guarantee a large volume of high-quality coverage in leading nationwide media (newspapers, news sites, blogs and social media) as well as in the trade press.

2. Trade show PR

ITB Berlin is the world’s leading trade show for the international tourism and second-home industry. Therefore, we participate at the ITB Berlin, highlighting our clients’ locations as top destinations for tourism and second homes. Exclusive press briefings and media events, as well as press conferences, secure a lot of touchpoints for the client.

3. Brokers events/tours

In addition, we organize broker events in Hamburg or any other city in Germany. We assess the broker landscape exactly according to our clients’ needs. For example, we book the Business Club Hamburg and arrange meetings for our clients with potential brokers. Afterwards we assess which brokers are likely to be a good fit. After the decision the client continues with a deeper in-depth introduction to the broker to make him or her 100% convinced and a true ambassador of the project.

We do the same in the German-speaking countries Austria and Switzerland. But in these countries, it makes sense to visit brokers one-on-one as they are spread around in the countries – sometimes also in smaller towns with high density of high net-worth individuals.

4. Brand collaborations

We often choose to collaborate with luxury brands. In such programs, these luxury brands host events at our clients’ properties. By doing so, the property will be featured in the brand’s catalogue as well as on its advertising images. The image of the selected luxury brand will swap over to the client’s image, thus it will be perceived as a luxurious hotspot worth visiting and investing in. By increasing media presence of the client, we aim to create images of high quality and increase awareness among a high-income target group. Trust and credibility are key!

5. Engagement Marketing

Using engagement marketing tactics creates direct touchpoints with clients. Destination branding events at the client’s resort such as MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), sports events and tournaments aim to reach face-to-face contact to potential buyers, journalists, bloggers and influencers. Engagement marketing supports the activation of target groups by turning the audience into participants.

6. Chances during Covid-19 Pandemic

Tourism and the second-home industry have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Although travel restrictions are about to be withdrawn, the future of many companies directly or indirectly involved in tourism is still uncertain. Therefore, we also recommend other tactics that do not require travel. For example, webinars and virtual tours are a good way to introduce fascinating properties to journalists and bloggers and grab their attention.

During these uncertain times, PR is more important than ever. PR generates trust and sales. Second-home resorts will very likely benefit from the pandemic at the end, as investors understand that a second home can also be a safe haven in crisis times. Thus, it is money well invested.

This article was originally published on the Public Relations Global Network, here.

The Hoyt Organization

Public Relations Global Network Elects Robert Bauer as President

Global communications group elects new officers during first virtual bi-annual meeting

As the Los Angeles area partner agency, The Hoyt Organization is pleased to announce the slate of new Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) officers for one of the world’s five largest networks of independent PR and communications agencies. The appointments were announced during PRGN’s recent bi-annual Spring meeting, held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the online video meeting – which replaced an in-person conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA – members elected Robert Bauer, managing partner of accelent communications of Vienna, Austria as PRGN’s 29th president. Bauer will lead the worldwide network of 51 independently owned firms for the next 12 months.

Former president Aaron Blank, CEO and president of Seattle-based The Fearey Group, assumes the duties of immediate past president and chair of the Advisory Board.

“I look forward to the challenges of the year ahead. Our proven ability to collaborate and exchange knowledge globally sets our tight network of 51 PRGN owner-operated member agencies from around the globe apart – especially in this new environment,” said President Bauer. “Our strong personal relationships built over the years within the network make us
more competitive and effective for clients than ever, especially as we extend and enhance these relationships by embracing new virtual forms of cooperation and communication. I am committed to prove our resilience, and I will work to preserve and grow the special spirit and values that PRGN can offer to its members and their clients on all continents.”
Other PRGN officers elected include:

• President-elect
Alexandra Dinita
General Manager
Free Communication
Bucharest, Romania

• Secretary
Andy See Teong Leng
Principal Partner and Managing Director
Perspective Strategies
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Founded in 1992 by a group of visionary public relations leaders, with approximately 1,000 professionals in 53 locations, PRGN is one of the world’s largest international public relations networks.

PRGN partners are independent, local, owner-operated public relations and marketing communications firms that share expertise and resources, while providing broad-based comprehensive communications strategies to clients
worldwide.

Companies or organizations interested in the services of PRGN’s local agency network can visit www.prgn.com or contact PRGN’s executive director Gábor Jelinek at gabor.jelinek@prgn.com for information.

Independent agencies interested in joining the network can visit the member recruitment section of the PRGN website for more information or email its membership chair, David Wills, Senior Vice President of Media Profile at david.wills@mediaprofile.com.

About Public Relations Global Network (PRGN)
Clients across six continents depend on the combined resources of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) to deliver targeted public relations campaigns in markets around the world. PRGN is one of the world’s largest international public relations networks measured by revenue. PRGN harnesses the resources of 51 independent public relations firms in 53 locations and more than 1,000 communications professionals to connect international companies and organizations with individual and culturally diverse markets globally. Visit PRGN online at www.prgn.com or on Twitter at @PRGN.

The Hoyt Organization

How to Be a Thought Leader in the Healthcare Space

During this pandemic, many professionals have stood out as thought leaders in the healthcare space to provide insight into the coronavirus. The entire world is looking for answers to the coronavirus and reporters are leaning toward doctors, researchers, and COVID-19 test suppliers for an explanation. Whether thought leaders focus on COVID-19 antibody tests or a new vaccine, their platform can help everyone through this difficult time. Below are some key tips for becoming a thought leader in the healthcare space.

Advocate for Something You Care About

To be a thought leader, you need to focus on a topic you know and understand. Thought leaders know the ins and outs of a particular topic and have a good foundation of research to support their claims. Stating facts while acknowledging your professional experience will help sustain your credibility.

Healthcare continuously evolves as professionals test new ideas and produce unique results. If you want to highlight your work and reach a larger audience, you can establish your brand by publishing a blog, book or podcast.

Be Creative and Publish

To stand out as a thought leader in the healthcare space, consider publishing a book, blog, or podcast about your topic of interest. Starting a blog is free when you use a website design platform like Wix or WordPress. You should make your blog posts about 1,600 words and keep your blog up-to-date by adding new content frequently. Writing a book is another option, and there are a variety of ways to publish in today’s digital age. Consider self-publishing an eBook or paperback using Kindle Direct Publishing. The program allows your book to be on Kindle stores worldwide within 24 to 48 hours.

Podcasts are an alternative to writing. Your audience can listen to your point-of-view on any digital device on a consistent basis. Spotify, Apple, and Google are websites that allow you to post your podcast online. Research shows that 80 percent of podcast listeners keep listening to a podcast after the first week. A successful podcast has a new episode at least once a week. It is also important to encourage listeners to subscribe to your show at the beginning or end of each episode. A microphone, microphone stand, and headphones are useful tools to produce quality audio recordings. Use Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to promote your work as well.

Stay Active on Social Media

Building your credibility is easy with a solid LinkedIn page. This social media platform helps you stay connected with colleagues and companies in your industry. You can highlight your professional experience by sharing your resume, work skills, and accomplishments. You can also promote your blog, book, or podcast on this platform while targeting health professionals with relevant hashtags. For instance, the hashtag #health has over two million LinkedIn followers. Include hashtags within your social media posts to reach individuals and companies that are interested in the topic. Although LinkedIn is a good source to build your professional network, Twitter and Facebook are platforms that can keep you connected with friends and supporters. Consider creating accounts on all three social media sites.

Turn to Other Experts to Get Your Message Out

Many people hire experts such as a healthcare public relations firms to reach their target audience. Public relations professionals can help you create and maintain your social media pages, connect you with reporters in the industry, develop your website, and implement a newsletter campaign. Find a public relations company, like The Hoyt Organization, that specializes in the healthcare industry, as they already have relationships with health reporters.

There are many ways to become a thought leader in the healthcare industry, but you have to identify which strategy works best for you.

The Hoyt Organization

What COVID-19 Taught Us About Communications

COVID-19 has been one of the longest news cycles we’ve experienced in recent times. An unprecedented event in our nation’s history, it is the driving force behind almost every communications and public relations campaign currently underway. Why? It’s changing everything. From where we work, to how we shop and of course, how we communicate. As a result, for those of us in public relations, our world has shifted dramatically. And it may never be the same. Here’s what COVID-19 taught us about communications.

1. The pandemic has shifted what people value.

Sweats have replaced business suits. With the stay at home order, no one is commuting. While the new normal is sure to be a blend of where we are now, and where we were, there will be a balance of what people truly want to see. That will impact how every company is perceived. Be ready. You’ll need to shift and adapt your message.

2. It isn’t about the experience anymore.

Events, conferences and networking events were all created to provide an experience. Now, with everything being moved to an on-line forum, these experiences have become one dimensional. Make sure that if your brand wants to host an event that its organized to provide value. It must be engaging and short – no one will sit on a zoom call for 8 hours a day.

3. Video chats and Skype calls are now not only expected, they are the norm.

In order to make these effective for your team, make sure they are trained in how to present on this type of platform, including lighting, dress and backgrounds.

4. We are having more intentional conversations.

Because we’re all at home, our conversations tend to be one-on-one, with very little office interruption and background clutter. The result? We are having more intentional conversations, which are much more beneficial.

5. Companies need to make sure they are owning their own narrative. 

It’s easy to get lost in the COVID-19 onslaught and lose sight of your brand. Many may actually pause, thinking this isn’t the time to launch a major new project or initiative. While that may be true, it isn’t good to go totally dormant. Shift the strategy, move into another channel and keep the company present. That way, when you do get ready to do the launch, it won’t be starting from ground zero.

There is no question that COVID-19 has changed how we communicate. As our country begins to move forward, some things will be changed forever, while others will, over time, fall by the wayside. Remember, though, this too shall pass.

THO has created a COVID-19 resource page for those who would like more information on how to move forward.

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Expand Your Monitoring, and Brand, With Social Listening Tools

This post is courtesy of Bob Brady at Xenophon Strategies, Inc. one of our Public Relations Global Network partners.

Possibly right now, more than ever, social listening is an important aspect of your brand and reputation, and even your clients’ brand and reputation.

As the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns still continue to affect our day-to-day lives, businesses, nonprofits, schools, shopping, entertainment habits and more, people are turning online to engage with one another and discuss the happenings of the world.

As a result, the coronavirus is even changing how we view and discuss brands as some of our favorite stores and restaurants are closed, and we rely more and more on the service of grocery store workers who have become essential in our ability to manage the pandemic.

Just thinking about the possibility of monitoring thousands or hundreds of thousands of discussions during these unique times, may make you wish you had more eyes and more time to manage the load, but that’s where social listening can play a major, and helpful, role.

Utilizing social listening tools for various social media channels will not only save you time, it will also give you key insights and a greater understanding into how people view your brand and the overall health of your brand that goes far beyond traditional monitoring.

More than that, social listening can provide you with quantitative and qualitative data that highlights potential opportunities to increase your communications, expand your target audience, gain new followers, support your customers, identify areas of weakness or potential issues, and more.

For example, social listening can help you track key words that customers use when posting about your company on virtually every online platform – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tik Tok, blogs, discussion boards or any other form of online content. Those key words can be your brand’s name, or any words that are associated with your brand.

Based on the results, you can start incorporating those key words into your own communications outreach – social media posts, blogs, press releases and more – to help increase readership and engagement, or even successes in pitching media.

Going a little further, social listening can also help you identify top influencers who could be key partners with your organization in the future. Finding these individuals can be accomplished in a matter of moments with a social listening tool, but developing a partnership with them could be influential to your brand long-term.

Through social listening, you can also identify potential issues, or even crises, that may exist around your brand or your industry. Through the use of a listening tool, one can hone in on negative discussions or perceptions of your brand, and this can give you greater clarity on areas in which your brand is susceptible to damage. Knowing these potential risks can help you develop a plan to prevent, minimize, or manage currently unknown and potential crises.

Of course, there is still work involved when implementing and using a social listening platform – it won’t do everything and anything for you, but it will help you cut down the amount of time that is currently required through the traditional monitoring approach.

Depending on your own needs, there is a variety of social listening tools out there. Each one provides their own benefits, but a few recommended ones that could help shape the future of your outreach include Sprout SocialHootsuiteKeyholeHubspot and Mention.

The Hoyt Organization

What if we turned the Covid-attitude into sustainable corporate behavior?

This post is courtesy of Stéphane Billiet at WE Agency, one of our Public Relations Global Network partners.

Companies and brands have never behaved as well as they are right now. For the past few weeks, we’ve seen a level of compassion and caring from brands that is “Hall of Fame” worthy.

While this avalanche of good deeds and good intentions might be viewed as excessive by some, I’ve been impressed by the genuine way which brands have communicated during Covid-19.

Usually deemed as opportunistic, and even cynical, corporate communication has managed to avoid the pitfall of societal exploitation. In fact, the media and social networks are full of relevant initiatives. These actions are not only useful and generous, but they also legitimize the ever-so-challenged concepts of corporate purpose, social utility and CSR commitments. The total crisis induced by Covid-19 exacerbates the quest for meaning. It also reveals the desire to speak up and share, as well as the thirst for social connection. Ironically, social distancing has promoted proximity, and not in a false or disingenuous way. Rather, it has served as a litmus test between companies and their audiences which extends beyond marketing.

When the market and society reconcile around a social consensus

The urgency makes it possible to unite the market and society around a credible social consensus. This crisis, due to its unprecedented nature, gives companies and brands the opportunity to truly reveal the best of themselves. This is good news as corporate reputation is built on facts. The question is, how will this corporate behavior that restores communication credentials can be sustainably maintained? The crisis, no matter how strong, is a paroxysmal moment. This one will leave permanent marks for sure, but what will happen, once the shock has passed?

The word has replaced the message

Many bet on a pre- and a post-Covid. However, it is more likely to be “with”. So, in our new normal, will communicators be able to continue with this genuine and compassionate communication rather than returning to its old demons: self-centeredness, boasting and shamelessness?

This crisis has seen many brands return to the primary purpose of communications: educate, unite and mobilize. It works even better as the crisis has changed the posture, modifying the conditions of expression and admissibility of speeches. Businesses and brands will certainly not save the world but they can give a hand where needed. It works because they are responsible without boasting too much, show solidarity with humility, and contribute to a common project. The word has replaced the message.

We are all neighbors in the global village

By confronting society with its fragilities, the pandemic reminds us that we are all neighbors in the global village. For better or worse. The best, from companies and brands, is the solidarity they show towards their neighbors, whether local, regional or global. For example Royal Canin France, located near Montpellier, helps the Local Health Agency in Occitanie and the Nîmes Hospital, Coca Cola France is demonstrating responsibility by helping bars and restaurants get through the crisis by supporting the initiative #JaimeMonBistrot (#ILoveMyBistrot) which consists of keeping establishments’ cash flow by pre-ordering drinks. Endeavors make neighbors. These surges of generosity can only last for so long. Still, basing communication on good-neighborly relations is not only possible but also profitable. Covid-19 prevents large gatherings, of course, but relational communication formats have a future, whether physical or digital: tutorials online, pop-up stores in town, open doors at the factory, informal meetings with its community in real life… When the donation of masks is no longer necessary, it is the gift of an authentic relationship that companies and brands must continue to offer.

Ecosystemic neighborhood

If communication is about creating the conditions of fruitful and long-lasting relationships and, ultimately, obtaining social acceptability, then, for a company or a brand, it comes down to being a good neighbor: close, yet not intrusive, thoughtful yet not indiscreet, helpful yet not pushy. Proximity is not promiscuity: good neighborly relations require good manners!

Neighborhood is not only geographic, it is also ecosystemic. It is now an established fact that we live in a vulnerable world where everyone – every stakeholder – must take care of each other at the risk of causing devastating disasters. Good relations between neighbors imply that all stakeholders act in the interest of the common destiny to which they all belong. Now that the concept of “community” is the way to craft more and more relational communication strategies, one shall bring the concepts of neighborhood and corporate sociability into the communicators’ vocabulary.

Neighborhood is not only ethics (who would trust a dishonest neighbor?), but also a meaningful social dynamic, a reassuring, stimulating and even joyful co-existence… as long as the neighbor has a good sense of humor and a taste for entertainment! In this global pandemic, companies and brands were able to adopt the right attitude because they behaved like good neighbors. Let’s hope it lasts!

The Hoyt Organization

How to Work From Home While Watching Your Kids

Working from home has its challenges, especially if you have young children. You may find it difficult to concentrate or complete a project in a timely manner. Keep reading to find out how you can work from home while still keeping an eye on the kids! 

1. Communicate

Before you begin working from home, make sure your employer knows that your children will be at home with you. It is more than likely that your work will get interrupted at some point, so it is best to make sure your boss is aware of the situation. Not only should you have a conversation with your employer, but you should also have a conversation with your children. They need to understand that even though you are home, there is still work to be done. You can even reward them for good behavior if they are respecting your space. 

2. Plan Activities

It is important to plan activities for younger children in order to keep them occupied while you’re working. You could set up puzzles, games, or even virtual playdates with their friends before beginning the work day. If you have extra time, you could even create an activity jar. That way, they won’t run out of things to do. Make sure not to include activities that require a lot of effort or supervision on your end. 

3. Split the Work

If you have a partner who is also working from home, you could split the work. For example, you could keep an eye on the children in the morning and your partner could watch the children in the afternoon. This ensures that you and your partner will have time to focus only on work. 

4. Create Physical Boundaries when Working from Home

Even though you need to keep an eye on your children throughout the day, find a space with a door that can be closed. This will allow you to handle work emergencies without interruptions. If you don’t have a private space in your home, you could always step outside to take a phone call or send an email. It might be helpful to get some fresh air, not to mention some peace and quiet! 

By doing these four things, you will be able to be productive and watch the kids at the same time. Let us know if you have any other working from home tips!

By Kate Artmann

The Hoyt Organization

How to Network While Social Distancing

This post is courtesy of Annelise Krafft at HMA Public Relations, one of our Public Relations Global Network partners.

As the world continues to social distance in an attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve, networking and professional relationships can feel impossible to maintain.

Although our new normal doesn’t encourage face-to-face interactions, there are still ways to build and maintain connections in your business network, according to Forbes Magazine.

Here are three ways to network while social distancing.

Strengthen Existing Connections

Now more than ever, reach out to people in your immediate circle. Anything from following up on a request to simply saying hi will go a long way. Now is also a great time to reach out to those you have fallen out of touch with.

Embrace Emotional Bonds

In these unprecedented times, and it’s impossible to continue with business as usual. Everyone is dealing with emotions of anxiety and uncertainty related to COVID-19, and now is a great time to grow emotional bonds between colleagues by having raw conversations with those in your network.

Call Instead of Emailing

Hoping on the phone feels a lot more personal than sending an email or a text.  Much like an open-door policy, encourage and welcome calls at any time. Better yet, set up a video chat to talk face-to-face.

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CA SB50 Dies in the Senate – Again

One of the most talked about bills in California is Senate Bill 50 (SB 50) (CA SB50). Central to some much needed housing policy reform, SB 50 is Sen. Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) upzoning response to California’s housing crisis. SB 50 would override local restrictions on density and allow four-to-five-story multifamily developments to be built near “high quality” transit hubs. In early 2020, SB 50 died – for the second time. 

The bill defines a “high quality” transit hub as any served by rail and bus with frequent headways, including 6-to-15 minute headways during rush hour. 

CA SB50 would apply to multifamily developments within a quarter-mile radius of a bus stop, and a half-mile radius of a rail stop. 

California needs to build 3.5 million homes by 2025 to end housing shortage. California loses $140B annually due to the housing shortage; more than $90B in missing construction investment and more than $50B in missing consumption which has been crowded out by housing costs. 

Upzoning (noun) – the practice of changing zoning in an area to allow for greater density and increased commercial use. (this is meant to be used as a sub head or stand-alone text box)

Despite opposition, the bill has passed through two committees in 2019, but was struck down at the Senate Appropriations Committee in mid-May 2019. This would have been the bill’s last hurdle before moving along to the Senate floor. At the heart of the debate is the premise of single-family zoning and expansion of density restrictions, which have historically been under the jurisdiction of local communities. Currently, 80 percent of California cities restrict building anything besides single-family homes, with few exceptions. 

A similar bill, SB 4 is also making legislative progress. SB 4 differs in that it focuses on allowing for strategic infill for development of affordable workforce housing. To qualify, the property must be located in a city of 50,000 residents within a half mile of a rail line or ferry terminal. The city must also have produced fewer housing units than jobs and failed to have met all of its Regional Housing Needs Allocation goals. 

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Communication at the workplace: a global future challenge

Recently I saw an article in a tabloid paper saying people spend 25 years of their life sleeping and 19 years at work. This means the second biggest identifiable span in our lives is spent either working, being at work or thinking about work. A daunting thought.

If work consumes so much of our lives, the question of how we connect with the organization we work for seems quite an important one. Are we satisfied or pleased enough with our work and our employer at the end of the day? Can we create opportunities for self-development or for learning something new? The answers to these questions reflect a lot on our relationship with the organization we work for.

Smart employers have realized that if they want to make this relationship stronger and make it one that offers sustainable benefits both for them and their employees, they have to invest in it and carry out well-planned and designed internal communication.

Does it matter what I do?

Such well-planned internal communication should reach all who come together under the same roof, providing guidance on internal values and on how to operate toward common goals.

At many companies, the internal communication department fosters relationships between employees, between employees and their managers and between managers themselves. Open and clear internal communication is one of the most important foundations of business success. If employees know what and how they add to the company’s success and can be proud knowing what their individual share is in the joint achievements, their performance is affected directly. And their performance affects the company’s overall success.

Knowing that feedback or suggestion you have offered is listened to and appreciated makes you feel valued. Successful completion of a project to which you have contributed intensively shows that your individual success and the company’s success go hand in hand. If employees feel like part of the team through their own contributions and achievements, their sense of belonging strengthens.

To make these causes and effects between individual contribution and joint achievements visible within the organization, internal communication is now an indispensable element to companies’ sustained success. Providing opportunities for employees’ personal development, as well as increasing their competences, move the organization ahead as a learning and developing organization.

Transparency is key

Accurate communication is possible primarily through transparency. An organization gains its employees’ trust only as long as it is transparent to them. Employees feel safe when they meet clear objectives and see that common values and principles are reflected in every job and every process. Transparent corporate culture can be built in many ways, from small celebrations on special occasions to an open exchange of ideas before making important decisions in the company’s life.

The two most important factors for success are sincere and continuous communication. If the flow of communication is frequently interrupted, it can create the notion that employees are not valued. Sincerity is essential because humans feel sincerity first before they start to believe.

Communication to create culture

Creating a distinct corporate culture and encouraging employees to adopt this culture are primary tasks for the internal communications team.
Culture has traditionally been communicated through channels such as meetings, the intranet, e-mails and internal signage. These methods are useful for some organizational messages but not for all. For example, a company with sustainability as a core part of its culture may do better reinforcing that message by providing employees the opportunity to plant a garden or volunteer with an environmental charity.

Creative, imaginative and motivating ideas may be the key to successful internal communications.

By Gözde İvgin – Aristo Communications | February 17, 2020

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What is Public Relations?

Even though I’ve worked in this field for more than 30 years, family members and friends still ask me, “What IS public relations?” And with good reason.

It’s not an easy industry to define. Webster’s says: “public relations is the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution. Alsothe degree of understanding and goodwill achieved.”

Well, “yes, and. . .”

Public relations is so much more. The over-arching goal is, yes, to help a brand or institution’s publics better understand its purpose with the goal of engendering customer loyalty. But that takes many forms.

It could be getting a very visible influencer to wear your client’s clothing; or to secure the Mayor of your town to cut the ribbon for your organization’s new facility; or to capture the attention of venture capitalists in Silicon Valley who then will help fund your startup; or to insert your client into a trending news conversation; and yes, sometimes, it’s also to get on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Or maybe it’s all of the above?

In truth, public relations must be tailored to each individual organization or client. You start first with the goal. What is it I want to achieve for this business? Then you clarify the strategy – namely, how do I get there? Then, you identify the target audiences (who are you trying to reach?). And then you think about how those target audiences obtain information and make decisions: is it through influencers, word of mouth, traditional media, social media platforms – or even digital marketing? Then you figure out the tactics that support such a campaign.

So, public relations for Old Navy (a former client) might include hosting a Betsy Ross look-alike contest to help sell American flag T-shirts around Flag Day; or it might mean “crowning” newborns at a San Francisco hospital (another client) on the day that Prince Archie was born; or it might mean a video of a coyote and a badger making friends and going viral on the Internet, in support of the work that (client) Peninsula Open Space Trust continues to do.

In truth, public relations is all the ways that you work to create a positive public reputation for your business.

How do you define public relations? The post What is Public Relations? appeared first on Landis PR

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Five PR trends that will shape 2020

There are supposedly as many trends to watch as experts you ask. There are about 1,000 PR professionals working at member agencies in PRGN. For your convenience, here we present only the five most important trends that will shape the year 2020.

1. Placing results of PR activities into a purchasing funnel

PR experts will increasingly use the effects of their own actions as a tool to change the thinking and actions of specific stakeholders. Many PR specialists still treat a media article as a result of their actions. The best PR specialists see something more in it: another tool.Because the work does not end with the article. A good article can be used in a well-crafted purchase path. After all, the role of PR does not end with building awareness and interest. It extends, for example, to customer experience after the purchase.

Clever specialists will, therefore, treat say a product review as a way to educate consumers on the use of the product to help build an after-purchase experience. In today’s world, almost every product involves some new technology. Many consumers need to be educated on how to deal with such technology. Few people read manuals. Therefore, press articles can help build, for example, the ability to use the product and provide a better user experience.

2. Research and analysis

PR specialists will know more. Never before has the world rushed so fast. A journalist doesn’t have time to get involved in irrelevant matters. What counts are hard facts, figures, specific or expert knowledge. Unfortunately, not all clients are able to provide such value to the media – or even to their agencies. Lack of compelling content becomes visible through non-interesting press releases, and comments and opinions on them. Lack of specifics and true insights can kill an otherwise great subject.Therefore, PR pros will have to rely increasingly on research and analysis carried out by themselves and their teams. This way communication teams will become self-sufficient when it comes to content generation and they will have ammunition, which has been lacking for years.

And as this trend continues, PR agencies and teams will soon become their own think tanks. Developing such in-house knowledge base will soon pay off for those taking this path: knowledge-based communication, using specific numbers and insights will translate into better communications results and more power to change perceptions – the real goal of every PR activity.

3. Story building

We all love Hollywood movies. The key to the success of directors and screenwriters is their ability to build a good story. The one that grabs your heart and sticks in your memory. Often for all of our lives.Exactly the same principles will be followed by the smartest of PR specialists. Facts and figures from research will only enhance the effect, as they will prove the well-written thesis.

The stories will be strategic. Long-term strategies will be based on them. Individual activities will have to tell some or all of the story. Non-stop. Consistently.

4. Relationships with people

What PR specialists are really great at is building and maintaining relationships with people. Over the last 10-15 years, business has been shaken by the world of online and social media and for many managers it has meant a distance from direct contact with people (read clients, consumers, partners and stakeholders).Therefore, many companies will notice the lack of personal relationships that affect their business success. PR specialists will be hired increasingly to rectify this problem.

5. Even more audio

Furthermore, a renaissance of direct meetings and voice calls awaits us, while the use of audio-based technologies and formats will spread. There is no point in writing about voice calls in communication apps. It is rather obvious. However, what will weigh more and more in the arsenal of PR specialists are podcasts. Why? Because it is a tool that is an edutainment on demand. Hitting through podcasters or creating your own podcasts will be a strong trend of 2020.

This was my compilation of the most important trends for the year ahead. Leave a comment and let me know if you agree or disagree. What other trends do you see in 2020?

By Mariusz Pleban – OneMulti | February 10, 2020

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6 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Did you know that February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month? Your self-esteem, or how you perceive yourself, is always changing. As you go through life, there will be times when your self-esteem is high and others when it is low. If you’re feeling like your self-esteem could use a boost, check out the six tips below!

1. Avoid negative self-talk

We tend to spend so much time thinking about our flaws that we forget about our strengths. This way of thinking can have a negative impact on our self-esteem. So next time you start having negative thoughts, take a moment and recognize what you’re doing. Challenge these beliefs by finding evidence against them. This will alter your way of thinking and make you view yourself in a positive light.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

People do not always show their true selves on social media. So when you’re looking at your Instagram feed, try not to compare yourself to others. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair states, “You’re comparing yourself with a fantasy, and that will lead to either excessive striving or disappointment.” When you catch yourself wishing you were someone else, take a step back and think about everything you have accomplished. Remember, the successes of others don’t take away from your own.

3. Accept your flaws

No one’s perfect. We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves. To prevent these flaws from having a negative impact on your self-esteem, you should separate your flaws into two categories: flaws that can be worked on and flaws that can’t be worked on. Once you’ve learned to accept yourself for who you are, you will start to find peace within yourself and spend more time focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses.

4. Set manageable goals

Blair suggests setting short- to mid-term goals for yourself. This will help you feel a sense of accomplishment once you’ve done what you’ve set out to do. If you set lofty goals, you may be unable to achieve them, and this will have a negative impact on your self-esteem.

5. Practice self-care

It is very important to have a self-care routine. Even if you are extremely busy, you should take a few minutes out of your day to engage in activities that promote peace and well-being. This may include taking a walk, reading a good book, or cooking a healthy meal. In addition, you should take care of your physical health by getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating the right foods, and engaging in daily hygiene. Having a self-care routine will have a significant effect on your self-esteem.

6. Exercise

Not only is exercise good for your physical health, but it is also good for your mental health. When you engage in physical activity, your body releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling. You don’t necessarily have to do an hour-long workout to feel better. You can take a walk around the block or get up and dance to improve your well-being. 

Building self-esteem takes time, so be patient with yourself. As long as you try your best, that’s all that matters. Let us know if any of these tips worked for you!  

By Kate Artmann

The Hoyt Organization

Five Ways to Stay Organized at Work

Organization is the key to productivity at work. If you’re unorganized, you will have difficulty concentrating and finding the items you need. Another downside to being disorganized is lack of creativity. In order to be efficient in the workplace, we encourage you to try the tips below.

1. Make Sure Your Desk is Clean

Many studies have shown that you will have trouble focusing if your desk is cluttered. According to a report by OfficeMax, 77 percent of adults say clutter negatively impacts their productivity. For this reason, you should get rid of unnecessary clutter and only keep the items you need. You should also go through old documents to see if you need to hold onto them. After you’ve decided which documents you’d like to keep, put them in a designated folder so you can refer to them at a later time.

2. Organize Your Inbox

Create folders in your email to store important information. This will help you stay organized and find emails more easily. If you don’t have time to respond to an email right away, you could flag it so you can come back to it later. You can also leave it on unread so it stays at the top of your inbox.

3. Write it Down

Writing things down makes a lasting impression on your memory. So instead of typing notes on your computer, you should consider keeping a notebook. That way, you will be able to remember things more easily. Not only will the act of writing help your memory, but it will also unclutter your brain. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says, “[…] if you can get stuff out of your brain and out there into the world — something called externalizing your memory — it frees up your brain to be uncluttered and to think about the things you really want to think about.”

4. Avoid Multitasking

When juggling multiple tasks, your attention is divided. This prevents you from giving 100 percent. It also takes longer to complete tasks if you’re working on more than one task at a time. So, try to complete one task before moving on to another, as this will make you more efficient. 

5. Take Breaks

It is important to take several breaks throughout the day in order to stay productive and be creative. Even if you have a lot going on, you should still make time for yourself every couple of hours, as this will positively impact on your work. You can do something as simple as stepping outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air or walking around the office. If you skip your break because you feel like you don’t have the time, you will be less efficient. For more tips on how to feel good at work, check out the health and wellness blog.

As long as you make an effort to be more organized, you will not only see a difference in your work, but you will also notice a difference in yourself. Let us know if these tips worked or if you have any other tips you’d like to share!

By Kate Artmann

The Hoyt Organization

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