How to Use Influencers to Expand Outreach and Increase Impact

April 11th, 2017

A client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby  books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliffs Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

This Cliffs Notes installment is a Cision white paper on how to use influencers to expand outreach and increase impact. Enjoy.

The importance of influencers in a nutshell:

The Shelf, an influencer marketing program, finds that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from other people, even people they don’t know personally, over branded content.

Influencers can have a profound effect on the bottom line but they also:

  • Introduce your brand and its products or services to new target audiences
  • Offer educational resources and how-to tutorials
  • Show your products within a personal context, creating a “me, too” effect
  • Impact the message, a plus when combatting negative opinions, sentiment or reviews
  • Build long-term relationships, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty

Finding influencers

Identifying the people who can truly connect with your audience requires a comprehensive influencer database. (Note this is a cision database whitepaper and the cost of this influencer database will double the cost of your current cision media database. I’m planning to do a demo to see if it’s worth it so stay tuned.)

So if you don’t want to part with an extra few thousand dollars research, and use stats like Unique Views, Followers Fans, Klout, Kred, Traackr, BuzzSumo etc that will help you to consider at least these three things:

  • Relevance has to do with industry. Look for people who not only know your market but also enjoy talking about it. Location can also play a factor if you’re trying to grow reach and impact in a certain city or region.
  • Reach involves networks and platforms. You’re looking for either breadth (number of followers) or depth (a powerful niche). Both approaches work, but the choice depends on your brand’s goals and outcomes.
  • Resonance refers to social validation, i.e., engagement. 

Vetting influencers

This list of eight tips will help you vet influencers. When you reach out to influencers in the right way, everyone wins.

  1. Look at successful influencer programs. Study other people’s work. Take notes, and develop a program customized to your brand.
  2. Determine metrics for success.Establish metrics at the outset of an influencer program. It’s the only way to know if milestones and outcomes are being met. If the goal is brand awareness, determine the numbers that prove success. Also institute metrics for the outreach itself, just as you would when pitching a story or starting a new PR initiative.
  3. Document everything. Influencer outreach isn’t scalable without documented processes. Share them with the team. Revisit them regularly, too.
  4. Build a list. In this regard, influencer outreach is exactly like media relations. Use a database or tools like the ones mentioned earlier; gather contact information and other data; and keep track of who’s been contacted, when and where.
  5. Establish rapport. Form relationships with influencers. Learn what motivates them. If you know what makes them tick, outreach will be a piece of cake.
  6. Make the ask. The ask should be specific, like a call to action. Set expectations and goals at the beginning. Do you want influencers to promote, share, or create content? Give clear instructions, but don’t micro-manage.

Influencers should have full control over their content and behavior, the exception being sponsored content. In that case, they need to follow the guidelines given, typically a simple acknowledgement that they’re being compensated for the work.

  1. Measure your efforts. How are efforts faring? Are people joining the program? Sticking with it? Why or why not?
  2. Refine. Analyze the data gathered from interactions with influencers regularly. Let it guide next steps and improvements with outreach, as well as the overall program.

Relationship management:

To be successful with relationship management, consider these eight tips. They will help you define and implement the process.

  1. Stay in touch. Stay in regular contact so that they feel cared for and don’t think they’re a checkmark on a list.
  2. Ask for feedback. Ask them what they like about your influencer program and what they don’t. The more involved they are, the likelier it is that they’ll stay. Influencers can also act as beta testers for new products and services. The sneak peek will make them feel special, and it’ll give you all sorts of data to work with.
  3. Delegate the work. Influencer relations is time-consuming. Don’t go it alone. Integrate a software solution if you can afford it. It’s the only way the program can scale and be sustainable.
  4. Keep an updated list. The list of influencers needs to be updated just as the media relations one is.
  5. Document processes. As with outreach, document everything that’s being done to manage relationships. Swag? Emails? Social shares? Keep track of it. Also identify who’s in charge of what. Share that information with the team. It’ll keep everyone aimed toward the same goal and help with accountability.
  6. Monitor everything. Use alerts and social listening tools to track what’s being said about your brand. Also consider social sentiment tools to assess impact on brand reputation.
  7. Review the metrics. Metrics have a role to play in relationship management, too. How did influencers respond to free swag? The emails? How did their responses affect the overall program? There’s plenty of data to be had, so capture it and use it to improve programming, outreach and relationship management.
  8. Be ready to change. Influencer feedback and metrics have stories to tell. Listen to them. Let them guide the influencer programs you initiate as well as how you engage with influencers. Always be testing and refining.

Influencer marketing is impactful. It grows brand awareness and reach. It can even boost the bottom line. But most of it all, it can make your brand a little more “human.” You can also read the free white paper here. 



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Cliffs Notes on Expanding Content’s Reach

January 31st, 2017

i-contentreachswissA client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliffs Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

This Cliffs Notes installment is a Cision white paper on the three stages of expanding your content’s reach: creation, distribution, and amplification. Enjoy:

Quality over quantity — give your audience relevant content

Three main factors determine if content will attract and retain target audiences

  • Voice: Articulates brand’s personality, culture and positioning
  • Tone: A subset of voice it depends on the target audience and content format
  • Relevance: Understand how and why your audience consumes content and what topics they are interested in

Content creation—must be useful and interesting to your target audience

  • Step 1: Establish goals, including what you want to accomplish and who you want to reach and try to tie to business objectives of sales, marketing and creative.
  • Step 2: Listen to your audience with monitoring tools and also research the audience’s demographics
  • Step 3: Provide value – what’s in it for them?
  • Step 4: Make it shareable with social shareable buttons and keywords (but not keyword stuffing)
  • Step 5: Include multimedia – photos, videos, infographics and other multimedia content

Content distribution

  • Use a distribution service
  • Cross channel promotion: Email distribution and social sharing
  • Internal communications: Communicate to sales and customer service
  • Utilize influencers: Identify by not only number of followers but also relevance of topics they cover. Build loyalty before asking them to share content and use custom tracking links to monitor
  • Integrate paid media: Sponsored content; promoted Facebook stories, Tweets or Instagram posts; customized ads on your new feed; or, for limited budgets, sponsoring or guest posting on an influential blog
  • Share on social
  • Collect subscribers: Set up an RSS feed, podcast, email newsletter or blog subscription form

Content amplification

  • Reuse and repurpose: Use chapters or subsets of the content or design infographics for statistics cited
  • Curate relevant content: Comment, offer insight, and point of view to content that is similar to yours
  • Measure effectiveness to determine which channels and strategies are working best

Conclusion: For a larger impact on business goals and to win over the most readers, use an integrated approach to write, distribute, promote and analyze good content.

Click here to sign up to download the entire Cision white paper




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Cliffs Notes on Value of PESO Model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned)

December 12th, 2016

A client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliff Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to under a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

 Below find Cliffs Notes on PR Pros Must Embrace the PESO Model (Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned) written by Gini Dietrich for

Gini argues that an integrated PESO model will help pr practitioners stop thinking of themselves as only brand enhancers and start thinking of themselves as business drivers.

pesoThe PESO model takes the four media types—paid, earned, shared and owned—and merges them together.

Paid Media. Social media advertising, sponsored content and email marketing

Earned Media. Publicity or media relations

Shared Media. Social media

Owned Media. Owned media is otherwise known as content. It is something you own, and it lives on your website or blog.

When your integrated PESO model is working at its best, it can help you establish authority/thought leadership.

Where to Start

The easiest place to start—because you can control the messaging is Owned Media.

Create an editorial calendar.

As you begin to fill in topics for your calendar, start with one large circle– your main topic — in the middle of the page.

Draw six or more medium-sized circles. These are your subtopics.

From those circles, you’ll draw several small circles on each, which will serve as your supportive base.

Continue that until you’ve exhausted all your ideas around that one topic. Then you would have several pieces of content that help extend your main piece and begin to showcase your expertise.

How Do I Use a PESO Model in My Business?

You have the content and you’ll use shared media to distribute it, paid media to amplify it, and earned media to rubber-stamp it.

Shared Media

Twitter: On the day your content is published, tweet the link four times (three hours apart). On day two, tweet it twice, and once on day three.

Facebook: Post your content there once a day, and then consider sponsored content as part of your paid media campaign.

Google+: While Google+ isn’t great for social networking, it’s incredible for search engine optimization. Post content in there once a day.

LinkedIn: Post once a day to your personal account, your company page, your showcase page and to the groups you belong to.

The Others: It’s important not to ignore StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest, Digg and some of the others. Test post in those spots just once a day and see what happens.

Paid Media

Paid media may be in the form of paid amplification (such as Outbrain or Sprinklr), sponsored content, native advertising, or sponsorships of influential blogs.

It also could take the form of sponsored content on Facebook or LinkedIn or sponsored tweets on Twitter.

You can start with a budget of as little as $5 a day. LinkedIn also often offers free advertising coupons to those who use the social network often. Take advantage of those!

While you don’t want to spend money to sponsor all your content, it’s a good idea to test it with one piece each month.

Earned Media

Now it’s time to build relationships with industry bloggers, journalists, and other influencers who may share your content.

On Twitter, create a list of bloggers and journalists you want to collaborate with. This will make it easy to follow them, share their work and start conversations with them.

Create a list of books and podcasts you want to review. Every author and podcaster needs reviews and ratings to gain more traction. They may be appreciative of the work you do there, and may be willing to do something for you in return.

On LinkedIn, create tags—such as “influencer,” “blogger,” “journalist” or “super cool kid”—so you can easily follow what they post and then share, share, share! This may lead to new relationships where you can ask them to share your content later.

On Feedly, create a list of bloggers to watch. Then any time they publish new content, share it with your own networks.

Eventually these influencers may share your content, include it in their own content or interview you for a piece they’re producing.

My personal addition: Don’t forget to distribute the news or content to your key list of editors via email (with a follow-up call if appropriate) and, for SEO, consider an online wire release.

What Should I Measure in a PESO Model?

For each media type, there are different metrics to track.

Paid Media. It depends on the tactics you use under this umbrella, but could include the following:

  • Social media marketing, such as Google AdWords
  • Landing pages and how many people download your content and go into your email marketing database
  • Increases in the qualified leads in your email marketing database
  • New fans or followers who come from reading your sponsored content
  • Leads and conversions

Earned Media

  • Influencer scoring: Does an influencer with 10,000 followers have the same score as someone with 1,000 followers? It could very well be that the person with 1,000 followers can incentivize purchase with 10 percent of his followers, while the person with 10,000 followers can incentivize purchase with only 1 percent.
  • How much Web traffic comes from a story about your organization?
  • An increase in new audiences

Shared Media.

You have to track the number of fans and followers, because sharp declines—or a trend of decreasing followers—will tell you something is wrong. But an increase, week after week, do not results make. The following do:

  • Track the effectiveness of brand ambassadors.
  • Assign points to things such as likes, retweets, shares, and comments.
  • Use unique URLs, coupons, discount codes, or even telephone numbers only in your social media efforts. This will tell you whether you’re getting results from these efforts.

Owned Media.

Unique visitors, time spent on the site, and bounce rate.

  • Email marketing
  • Track downloads and shares
  • Track the effectiveness of a community by whether they’re referring business to you.
  • Is it driving sales?

I hope this can serve as a helpful checklist.  Here is a link to the entire article which includes a couple of good infographics.

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Touch it Once, save two weeks of work

November 3rd, 2016

Greg Cooper, a photographer I was interviewing for a blog on AP photo captions introduced me to the Touch it Once (TIO) principle. It’s been an amazing productivity booster and time management tool, especially when it comes to email.  

According to “Let’s say you have 5 tough emails in your inbox. They have meeting requests, require research, ask multiple questions… “you’ll take care of this later.” You re-read the email twice before taking action on the third time. If it takes you 2 minutes to re-read the email, that’s 20 minutes of re-work. Just 20 minutes of re-work a day, 5 days a week for a 48-week working year adds up to 80 hours. That’s 2 full 40 hour work weeks!”

In a nutshell, I use the four Ds with incoming email.  I immediately deal with it, delete it, delegate or drop it into my outlook tasks. For a visual guide, see asianefficency’s infographic below.  And start thinking of what to do with that extra two weeks.



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Cliffs Notes on Unleveling the Playing Field for More Coverage

May 19th, 2016

i-unlevel playing fieldA client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliff Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to under a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

Below, find a condensed version of Cision’s 71 ways to unlevel the playing field and secure more coverage.

Connect with journalists on social

Invest in future

Connect with journalists on LinkedIn with a personal message and like their posts with a genuine and valuable comment.

Follow media on Twitter and Facebook

Share links to reporters stories

Act now

Track journalist hashtags like #journchat  and #URGHARO

Tweet facts, statistics and quotes from your story

Keep track of trending Twitter topics and pounce if appropriate.

 Produce interesting content

Invest in future

Blog often

Guest blog

Publish white papers and ebooks

Email newsletters

Act now

Offer exclusives

Conduct surveys or opinion polls

Provide video or infographics

Use company analytics to determine which topics need to be promoted

Network and showcase at events

Invest in future

Exhibit and connect with reporters at tradeshows

Speak at events

Act now

Hold a conference and promote panelists with video meet and greets

Give back to the community in a genuine way

Remember traditional pitching tactics (this is PR 101 for the seasoned PR pro but helpful if you’re new to PR)

Invest for future

Use a media database

Search editorial calendars

Subscribe to HARO (Help a Reporter Out)

Take an editor out for coffee and listen don’t pitch

Act now

Pitch by email and phone but be concise and compelling and honor an editor’s request for no contact at all or via one method

Newsjack: Tie your story, if relevant, to a current event

Write a timely press release: It must answer the question “Why Now?”

Promote your coverage via social media

Highlight your brand

Invest in the future

Apply for awards

Set up a digital newsroom

Showcase your company’s work-life culture

Act now

Offer demos of products or services before they go public

Consider giveaways in return for coverage

Announce anniversaries if you can also manage a news hook

If you can check off the suggestions above, you’ll be in good shape, but for the complete list, see Cision’s tipsheet.


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Cliffs Notes on Implementing an Influencer Strategy

September 16th, 2015

i-influencersA client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, white papers and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliff Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

This week’s installment is a white paper on the implementation of an influencer strategy by Augure, a PR and influencer marketing software company:

Consumers have never been so connected. Today, most opinions relating to a decision to buy (or not) begin online with a Google search, review of forums, checking out a product test on a blog, or reading a tweet from a satisfied user.

In a global economy, it has become extremely difficult for a business to distinguish itself simply by the superior quality of its products.  It must also gain the preference of its customers.

There are three levels of influencers:

  • Top level: Celebrities: But they require a large budget and you have little control over them, so there’s the risk of a mess-up: This tweet from David Ferrer is a perfect example: he praised the qualities of the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone, but the tweet was sent from his iPhone! That’s the risk involved with “buying” influence
  • Middle level: Connected journalists, bloggers, leaders in the business world or in volunteering, activists, experts in their field, etc., who have credibility within the community of their specific field. These are the primary targets of PR and communication professionals
  • Bottom level: Consumers. But his category has taken on considerable importance with the advent of social networks. Consumers can become true ambassadors for your brand.

How to recognize an influencer:

  1. Twitter followers, but it’s easy to buy followers on Twitter for very little money
  2. Post frequency, but you can automate RSS feeds and schedule posts
  3. Number of retweets, but many people retweet without looking at their tweet

It’s clear that digital influence can’t be measured based on a series of quantitative data. But influencers can be recognized by their ability to mobilize opinions of their followers within a given subject matter.

Three elements for detecting an influencer in a given field:

  • Exposure: the audience the influencer has built over time within his/her fields of research (the number of unique visitors to his blog or media where he writes, etc.)
  • Share of Voice: the level of participation of the influencer on the topic in question
  • Echo: the ease with which the influencer gets his opinion on the subjects in question to spread and be relayed (links to his blog articles, for example)

Influencer Strategy: Six Steps

1. Identify

Define the search topics: including the brand and products; competitors; targeted product category; current events within the industry; related, cross-connected subjects

Create specific lists for each channel: Twitter, blog, online media.  Each channel approach will be different

Categorize by subjects

2. Monitor

Become familiar with the subjects these influencers talk about

Learn the best channels to transmit your messages

Refine your initial list

How to monitor

Themed lists on Twitter

Follow their blog

3. Making contact

Use a personalized approach – no mass mailings!

Let them know you’re following them

Comment on and enrich their content

Stay up to date with events in the sector and arrange face to face meetings if possible

4. Attract attention of influencers to boost visibility

  • Brand content: industry articles and videos, white papers, questionnaires, product launch events; product trial; breakfast and informal events

5. Collaborate to build credibility

Create an influencer community

Indicators you’ve succeeded at attracting attention:

Active influencer participation

More mentions of your brand

Interest of new influencers

Co-creation of content with influencers:

  • Create a defined editorial style
  • Facilitate influencer participation
  • Associate your content with the influencer’s Google+ profile
  • Validate all modifications made to your content
  • Use every channel of social connection to distribute your content
  • Organize meetings
  • Hold a company event utilizing influencers:  But first, do a cross-check of influencers and events. Check the influencer’s profile to find out his/her last presentations and give get an idea about his/her capability as a speaker. Prepare a budget. Hold preliminary meetings. Promote the event and the participation of the influencers. Stream the event live online. Measure the coverage.
  • Encourage community participation: Influencers can encourage participation within your online communities, whether on blogs, your Facebook page or your own site, by recommending the services of the products you sell.

6. Improve the reputation of the brand using the recommendations of the influencers

From Influencers to Ambassadors

To get recommendations from influencers, you also need to put in place a brand ambassador program that encourages participation and also rewards it. This kind of program should be organized around the following guidelines:

  • Choose the ambassadors of your brand carefully. To sum it up, it’s better to have less ambassadors who are really passionate, than more ambassadors with a limited interest in your products.
  • The best way to recruit ambassadors is simply to ask
  • Don’t hesitate to show them your gratitude, whether by financial means or with material elements, such as membership in a small group of users who can test your products before everyone else.
  • Reward the “technological activity” of your brand’s ambassadors by offering them greater visibility through your channels.
  •  Think of influencers as members of your team. Let them participate in your product tests and launches and ask for their opinions in your next campaigns, etc.

Keep your ambassadors in mind while planning actions for your marketing strategy. An influencer attracts many followers online, and many of those are opinion leaders. Using influencers as a voice and a leader for your events can be the key to success, which will also strengthen relationships for future actions.

If you want to learn more, here’s the entire white paper:

Also, I’ve collected a few cool and basic tools to help you with identifying influencers:

Alltop – Blog RSS aggregator organized by topic. Lists feature top blogs in each category edited by Alltop staff. Price: Free.

Klout – Score-producing, public face that measures an individual’s ability to move their networks to action. Price: Website score generation free. Company engagement requires custom pricing.

Technorati Authority – The original influence measure, Technorati’s authority score is a count of the unique sites that link to a given blog in the last six months. So comparing a list of blogs to one another, you can see which has the most unique websites connecting to it. Price: Free

TweetLevel – Edelman project that produces overall Twitter population list that can be filtered by influence, popularity, engagement and trust. Intended to measure a person’s importance on Twitter. Price: Free.

For more on tools, visit:

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Fairies’ Salute to Summer

August 22nd, 2015

264An amazing fairy house exhibition on the Cape is the perfect salute to summer.  It is housed at Highland Hall and Gardens, one of the early summer mansions to grace Cape Cod. Built as a summer escape compound in Falmouth by the Beebe family of Boston in 1878, it was saved from the wrecking ball in 1994  and lovingly restored, opening as a museum and historic site in late 2006.

“The Fairy Houses of Beebe Woods,” Highfield’s outdoor exhibition, features dwellings imagined and crafted by regional artists.

The rules? There weren’t many. In a proposal curator Sally Mavor sent to prospective artists, she described what she meant by a fairy house: a dwelling for “wee folk” that was out in the woods, and generally made of natural materials. The rest was up to them. Unconstrained by contrived guidelines, it’s clear that each piece tells a particular story.

Sheila Payne’s “Pipsissewa Place” features tiny ladders and stools propped around the main structure made of tree bark. Off to the side, a clothesline holds tiny clothespins with tiny garments. Built among a tree’s roots, Sue and Jean Beardsley’s piece, “Home of the Tooth Fairy,” features larger-than-life teeth dangling from branches popping out of the roof. The room inside is lined with gold coins.

In the mood to be inspired by fantasy?   Check these out. Fairy houses


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Cliffs Notes on Cool Online Tools

August 9th, 2015

i-toolA client expecting his first child lamented he wished there were Cliffs Notes for all the baby books stacked on his nightstand.  It got me thinking — I feel the same way about the amazing marketing webinars, blogs, podcasts, and newsletters out there.  So many great resources and so little time to review them! I decided I’d start producing my own version of Cliff Notes on some outstanding content.  I promise to condense it down to a five minute read, pulling out the golden nuggets so you don’t have to.

This week’s installment is on a recent one-hour webinar I listened to by Kellye Crane, Solo PR Pro founder, hosted by Cision, entitled Tool School.  It is an amazing round-up of 100 of the best PR tools. I’ve included a link to the webinar and the slideshare presentation.

Some are free and some cost money but the ones that cost she believes gives you the most bang for your buck.

First off, if you do have to spend money figure out what your hourly rate is or would be if you were in an agency and then figure out how much time the tool would save you. Then you can make a case for purchasing it – or not.

Secondly avoid the ”shiny new tools” and just focus on what could be most beneficial.

I won’t list them all, just a few of the ones I think are the coolest in each category, but try to checkout slideshare to see the entire list.  It’s worth it:

Productivity Tools

Rapportive: Pulls up the LinkedIn profile of whomever you’re emailing or receiving email from and displays it in the sidebar

Boomerang for Gmail: Allows you to schedule email for later delivery

Yesware: Tells you when someone has opened your email and clickthroughs

Evernote: Notes and clipper app on steroids that allows you to sync/capture info across platforms

Traditional PR

The two obvious/must-have ones: Cision/Vocus media database and HARO Help a reporter out to get emails of press inquiries and Talk Walker: They replace Google Alerts for monitoring alerts

Who shared my links: Enter a url to see how many times it was shared on social media and by which blogs and journalists

AP Stylebook Ask an Editor: Searchable Q and A for AP Stylebook.  Hey, this beats buying an updated copy.


SumAll: View all of your data from social media, google analytics, ads, email, etc in one dashboard

Social Crawlytics: Track your competitors most heavily shared posts

Visual (this is my favorite section so I went overboard)

Picmonkey: Easiest and most powerful imaging editing tool for non experts

Wordswag: Easily add text to iPhone photos

DaFont: Searchable archive of over 13,000 free fonts free images (I used an image from there for this blog.)

Piktochart and DIY infographic tools

Social Media

Facebook Debugger: Such a cool tool: This will help if your FB tool is not expanding properly

ManageFlitter: Kelleye’s favorite tool for managing Twitter followers/following

BuzzSumo: Discover trending stories across all SM channels on a given topic


Anymeeting: Free web conferencing for up to 200 people

Project management

Asana: Very popular, free, robust project management tool

Trello: Uses “cards” to manage work/stay on track


theSkimm: Quick overview of the day’s news in your inbox every morning

LastPass: Secures and remembers passwords

 Other cool tools

JotNot: Turn your smart phone into a hi rez scanner

SurveyMonkey: Create and share your own online surveys quickly and easily

MileIQ:  Automatically remembers your drives for mileage reimbursement with these.

Have fun with these.

Image courtesy of khunaspix at


Webinar link:



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CliffsNotes on Money Well Spent: Tips for Showcasing PR’s Value by Shonali Burke

June 8th, 2015

CliffsNotes on Money Well Spent: Tips for Showcasing PR’s Value by Shonali Burke via Cision

i-measuring prI listened in on this 46 minute webinar and have compiled CliffNotes here for those who don’t have to the time to check it out.  I’ve timed reading my notes and it takes 2 minutes and 32 seconds.  So I save you over 43 minutes. But, if you can set aside an ¾ of an hour to listen, it is well worth it:

Key points:

  • In pr, our metrics are often poor, even though we work really hard.
  • We need to show value.
  • Now there’s a lot of excitement about SM platforms but measurement can be confusing.
  • We often put the cart before the horse in trying to make our metrics match up with programs already in place.
  • We must first stop and ask:
    • What are we trying to do?
    • Why is it important?
  • Every organization tries to do one or more of the following three things
    • Raise revenue
    • Lower costs
    • Increase customer satisfaction
  • First, about bad measurement:
    • Impressions should not be the be all end all and mean nothing if not put in context as to what they should accomplish
    • AVE (Advertising Equivalency) Advertising is paid, editorial is earned.  So, this isn’t an accurate measurement of PR’s value.
    • ROI: This is never measured properly so a better option is cost benefit
  • WTF (What’s the Formula) Ha, I know what you were thinking
  • Listen, Analyze, Implement, Improve
  • Case Study: Blue Key Initiative by UNHCR, a nonprofit for refugees worldwide
    • Goal was to increase awareness
    • Since refugees don’t have a key to their home, they designed the Blue Key program selling blue key pendants for $5.
    • Set a goal with the client to sell 6,000 by the end of the year
    • Fundraising was a lower priority of this program since it would only bring in 30K before costs.
    • Key priority was to drive traffic to the website and get people to opt in to newsletters and other communiqués, get them vested in the program
    • Since refugee population tended to integrate well after leaving camp, they were actually invisible and voiceless.
    • Challenge: to find a voice for them
    • Researched bloggers and influencers who would champion their cause
    • Used tracking links via Google URL builder to track traffic from SM networks to the site’s Home page; About page and Blue Key Sale page
    • For example: Inserted tracking link (verses a plain hyperlink) in a PR Web news release to see how many were driven to website via the release. Also did the same for FB, Twitter, newsletters etc, utilizing shortened URLs
    • Also set up a FB group for the champions so they could network and get to know each other
    • Stimulated conversation so champions would get to know each other, also incented champions to “do more” by keeping them informed about results (e.g. 16 % increase in traffic; 258 people tweeted #bluekey today, etc.
    • As a result, champions suggested and carried out 12-hour Tweetathons.


  • Use simple, solid cost effective metrics to measure results including:
  • Google analytics
  • Google spreadsheets
  • Your brain
  • Key goal in this case study was to get people to the web, and, secondly, online donations, both easy to measure with Google Analytics
  • Don’t get caught up in all the fancy tools. Just use what you need.  In this case e.g. hootsuite, tweetreach.

Measurement Smarts

  • Define your measurement universe
  • A small amount of research up front will save you a lot of time
  • Impressions mean nothing on their own
  • Context is everything
  • Begin at the end

Here’s the webinar link:

Listen if you can.  There’s a great Oxfam case study included as well. I promise this is not another boring metrics lecture.











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Five Tips to Win Over the Wire Service With Your Photo

April 21st, 2015

As a professional photographer, Greg Cooper has chronicled news stories and documented many momentous sports occasions, including: Stanley Cup championships; World Series finals; NCAA regionals; and numerous Boston Marathons. He has shot for many top national and regional media outlets including USA Today, Boston Globe, AP, Reuters and EPA.

His journalistic expertise is an asset for corporate clients who often rely on him to find and create the most newsworthy shots.  Here are five tips he shared for improving chances of getting your picture published with wire services and other outlets.  Wire services refer to these as “handouts.”


It’s true that timing is almost everything.  If it’s slow news day your chances are greater but, sometimes it’s out of your control when a major news event steals the limelight.  However, it is still crucial to research and avoid competing with a major planned event.  Also, adhere to the outlet’s schedule.  For example, USA Today prints one weekend edition to cover Friday through Sunday. So, if you want to be considered for placement in that edition, you must provide photography by Thursday.


Provide the wire service or daily media outlet with a media advisory or press releases a day in advance so they can line it up 24 hours before.  Then, when you call the day of the event, chances are they will already be aware of it.


Wire desks have become very saavy in terms of deciphering true news verses a pr pitch so make sure it is newsworthy.  Also, branding in your image must be very subtle.  For example, for a ground breaking, include a building with the company name in the background rather than a big banner or emblazoned tee shirt front and center.


If there are other guests in the photo make sure they are comfortable with the branding, since they may not be able to give a hint of endorsing a company or product.  And, if you are also using the images for social media, take care to either have releases for any participant to sign or a sign that informs people of how the photos will be used (e.g.  Social Media). SM can present a grey area between editorial and advertorial so it is important to protect yourself and your audience.


The AP Stylebook is pretty particular about their format but most other wire services, although possibly different, will usually accept the AP Style as long as all the facts are included. According to AP, the following information should be listed in numerical order in one sentence that wraps to the next, if necessary:

  1. Who’s in the photo from left to right
  2. What’s going on in the photo, literally, and wording should always be in the present tense
  3. City and state of the event/where picture is taken
  4. Attribution: Or as AP says “Action not seen.” This is background information related to the picture — the “why” of the picture For example # 2 might say “Fire Captain John Smith in front the Arco Building.”  #4, the attribution, might be “Two people died in the fire.”
  5. Day of week, and date: e.g.  Wednesday, March 25, 2015.  But if the event happened more than two weeks ago you don’t have to list the day of the week.

The second sentence should say why photo is important.

Here’s an example of an AP caption:

Vibram and Quabaug Announce Military Footwear Opportunity

Kevin Donahue, Quabaug CEO (left), describes the features of Vibram military boot soles to Congressman Jim McGovern at the Quabaug Factory in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, USA, on May 16, 2014.  Along with celebrating a 50 year sole making partnership between Vibram and Quabaug, the companies announced a recent DoD ruling mandating that first year recruits choose domestically manufactured athletic trainers; as well as a 1.2 million joint investment in innovation.  (Photo By: Greg M. Cooper / Vibram Quabaug)

You can buy the latest AP Stylebook here:

Of course for social media the above AP Style might very well not apply, especially if you already have introductory summaries on your SM pages.

“A picture says a thousand words.”  Hopefully these tips will make your handout a standout.

For more about Greg’s photography services contact him at 617-593-6800 or  Contact Tommasi PR at 603-893-5878 or visit


One Response to “Five Tips to Win Over the Wire Service With Your Photo”

  1. Amy Moore says:

    Great piece, Anne. You still do great work!

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