Admittedly, a lot of us are big BuzzFeed readers. It’s hard not to peruse the ridiculous lists or pass up a fun quiz to break up the day, and last week was no exception when we stumbled upon What Would The BuzzFeed Post About You Be Called?
We couldn’t help ourselves and had everyone in the office take it. Here’s what the team got.
Brooke: The Emotional Ode to Brooke Andersen That Will Make You Die Of Cute
Chelsey: The 53 Most Badass Pictures Of Chelsey Allodi That Will Make You Smile
Paul: 86 Magical Pictures That Prove Paul Balcerak Is Douchey
Ann Marie: 43 Extraordinarily Witty Things You Didn’t Know About Ann Marie That Will Make You a Worse Person
Scott: 13 Reasons Scott Battishill Won’t Eat At A Pot Luck — And You Won’t Believe Number 9
Colin: 8 Cringe-Worthy Things You Didn’t Know About Colin Bishop that Will Make You Feel Boring In Comparison
Maggie: 97 Unusually Anxious Photos of Maggie Samson That Will Make You Feel Young At Heart
Jennifer: 92 Amusing Things You Didn’t Know About Jennifer Carroll That Will Make You Feel Uncomfortable
Noelle: The 11 Most Adorable Facts About Noelle Ibrahim That Are Better Than A College Education
Shawn (ok, we might have done his for him): 25 Hello Kitty Crafts Pinned by Shawn Herron that Will Make You Feel Uncomfortable
What’s your BuzzFeed headline? Tweet us @CuratorPR
Like all good things, they must eventually come to an end. With a bittersweet finale to my internship at Curator, I can effectively say that it has been an exhilarating learning experience. On top of the amazing time I had with Curator, I will be leaving with a new perspective on the public relations industry as a whole, and what it takes to survive in it.
The biggest lesson I learned is to find what makes you excited and passionate, and to chase that interest. With some past experience in public relations, content creation and photography, this internship really made me stop to think about what I want to do. I always jumped at any opportunity I could get to work with Shawn, Curator’s Creative Director. But, at the same time I was responsible for a very different kind of work on the PR side of things, which at times made project management all the more important to balance. So, my advice to my peers in a similar phase of your career: give some thought to your passions and how that can translate into an area of work. Of course internships are designed to be a learning experience and aid that process, but it helps to begin with your basic interest or talents that you can build off of and develop.
Looking back on my four months with Curator, I‘m proud to have worked on a variety of projects, including writing press releases, pitching bloggers, shooting and editing a video, and photographing plants in a studio. Feels like I did it all. While every assignment was unique and interesting in its own respect, I found the days spent outside, “in the field” with clients, were some of the most fun I’ve had all summer.
It was an absolute pleasure working with Swanson’s Nursery. I should be so lucky to work with future clients who are interested and open to collaborating, and giving us as much creative freedom as we were able to play with. Not to mention, I am a budding gardener at home (pun intended). While I’m proud of all my client work from this summer, I would most like to share the projects I was involved in for Swanson’s Nursery.
The first project I was pulled in to help with was covering their exciting and thoughtful community art garden project at the Ballard Boys & Girls Club. The art garden build was part of Swanson’s “Grow with Us” Project, which is focused on helping communities make the best use of their outdoor spaces. With three days spent in the summer sun, I was able to photograph and film the transformation from start to finish.
The next, and my most favorite, project was working with Shawn on the photography for the Autumn Project Month Lookbook. I was most excited about this particular project because of the creative liberties I had throughout the process. I was able, within stylistic direction from Shawn, to really take the reigns and produce the photos that would capture the essence of a fashion look book, but for plants. Seeing the final product and actual lookbook – skillfully and tastefully crafted by Curator’s design intern, Maggie – is a very cool feeling and a wonderful reminder of the whole experience.
So, after a whirlwind summer, I’d like to say thank you to everyone on the Curator team who I had the privilege of getting to know. Thank you for taking me in and giving my work a shot! More than anything, I appreciate all of the help, guidance, and friendship everyone showed me during my time here.
It is with a heavy heart to say goodbye, so I just won’t say it!
Thank you all for one of the most rewarding summers yet!
Posted in Uncategorized
Last night marked the 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and whether or not you laughed at Seth Meyers’ jokes, got teary-eyed during Billy Crystal’s tribute to Robin Williams (R.I.P. Robin) or chuckled at Gwen Stefani’s mispronunciation of the Colbert Report (Colberg anyone?), the real highlight of the show was following along on social media.
Big-time award shows like the Oscars and Emmys have become less conservative and more conversational in recent years, and this year’s Emmys was no exception. While the awards show didn’t have a big social media moment like the famous Oscar selfie with Ellen DeGeneres, the Emmys did step up its social media game with activations like the following:
Exclusive content: Leading up to the Emmys, fans were treated to rehearsal footage and backstage sneak peaks of preparation for the show, using the @LateNightSeth social handles.
Vine 360 Station: The Today Show’s Vine 360 cam gave celebs a chance to take a spin and show off their red carpet looks. The clips were posted on the show’s social media accounts. Check it out here.
Facebook Selfie Station: Facebook and NBC partnered to give famous faces the opportunity to stop by the station and capture a quick selfie while making their way down the red carpet. You can check out their selfies on the NBC Facebook page.
Facebook Mentions Box: You may have seen “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush lugging around the Facebook Mentions Box, a device allowing celebrities to answer questions from fans. Stars shook the box like a Magic 8-Ball and answered a random question using the device’s camera. Check out this example from Jason Biggs on the “Access Hollywood” Facebook page.
Twitter zipline camera: Twitter used the Emmys to debut a Twitter-branded zipline camera featuring red carpet and pre-show footage, used by “Access Hollywood” and posted on NBC’s official Vine and Twitter pages, giving fans a bird’s-eye view of glammed up stars.
Official Twitter correspondent: Twitter also brought on comedian Retta from “Parks and Recreation” to share snippets from the evening in 140 characters or less. You can check out her hilarious insights here and here.
Twitter GIFbooth: Twitter also created a GIFbooth to capture backstage moments and celeb reactions to the awards.
The increased incorporation of social media into awards shows like the Emmys has allowed fans more access than ever before to one of Hollywood’s biggest nights, from the rush of the red carpet to backstage musings. At any point in the evening, viewers had a chance to actively engage with the show in real-time, which is what social media is all about, right?
By the way, in case you missed the Emmys, here’s a short list of some of my favorite moments from the show:
Were there other buzz-worthy moments at the Emmys or on social media? Tweet us: @CuratorPR!
Another week, another Facebook update. This week, Facebook has declared war on click bait by announcing that it will be de-emphasized in the news feed algorithm, which determines what types of content users see.
This latest update came with two major changes, and to make sure your page’s content doesn’t get drowned out, you’re going to want to pay attention to both of them.
The definition of “click-bait” is a little debatable, but generally you’ll know it when you see it, and it refers to anything that hides what you really want to see in favor of a teaser-ish headline. Sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy have used this method of headline writing to drive a lot of traffic in recent years. Their success was so great, it inspired The Onion to launch a site dedicated to mocking them.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to avoid posting click bait: Don’t post it. If you’re having difficulty figuring out if your content qualifies as click bait, ask whether it’s deliberately withholding information in the headline in the hopes of generating a click. If so, it’s click bait.
The other thing you’ll want to focus on—and we say this so often anyway—is publishing quality content. Here’s Facebook on how it will determine that (emphasis mine):
“One way is to look at how long people spend reading an article away from Facebook. If people click on an article and spend time reading it, it suggests they clicked through to something valuable. If they click through to a link and then come straight back to Facebook, it suggests that they didn’t find something that they wanted. [...]
“Another factor we will use to try and show fewer of these types of stories is to look at the ratio of people clicking on the content compared to people discussing and sharing it with their friends. If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them.“
In other words, make sure spend time reading your content, but also make sure they come back to talk about it on Facebook.
This one’s a little confusing if you’re not familiar with Facebook’s intricacies. No worries, because we’ve got screengrabs below.
Basically, there’s more than one way to post a link on Facebook, and Facebook is now saying that a link posted as a link will be given greater emphasis than links posted as status updates or photos. Here’s an example of each:
Now that you’re all ready to post links as links, you’ll want to take a look at two things on your website or blog to make sure your links are optimized.
1. Update your title tags. When Facebook pulls in a link, it uses the title tag from your web pages to title the links. Look above. See the part that says “The Curator News Feed: August 22, 2014”? That’s the title of the page we’re linking to. We wouldn’t want that to say, for instance, “Curator: A PR Agency,” or anything.
2. Make sure your images are Facebook-optimized. Link-preview images, like the Mo’ne Davis one above, can come out looking weird if you haven’t sized them right. Make sure you have at least one image on your page that is 1.91 times as wide as it is high (actual pixels don’t matter)—that’s the golden ratio.
Posted in Social Media
Pumpkin Spice Latte’s early return, the secret behind see-through food packaging, and one pretty awesome 13-year-old girl making history. We’ve got all that and more on this week’s Curator News Feed. As always, share with us what you’ve been reading or react to our post by tweeting us at @CuratorPR!
From the Archives: September Issue Covers, Vogue. Tis the season for the September Issues! I love this archive of Vogue’s covers starting as early as 1926. — Brooke
Starbucks Offers Pumpkin Spice Lattes Early, But There’s a Twist, NBC News Hard to imagine having a PSL in hand next week, but I would guess that many will be taking advantage of Starbucks’ early release of the fall favorite. Smart to see they are continuing to capitalize on the craze with a Twitter-based scavenger hunt this year. — Chelsey
What food companies do to make you clearly want their snacks, WSJ. You’ve probably seen a lot more see-through packaging pop up in stores during the last 10 years, but what’s interesting is that it’s also changed how food is made. It takes some tinkering sometimes to make sure food stays good-looking after it’s been shipped through varying environments and stages of abuse. — Paul
Mastering the dark arts: Facebook has been the key to Mother Jones’ growing popularity online, Nieman Lab. This is a bit of a long read, but if you have 10-15 minutes, you will find some terrific Facebook insights in here. — Paul
Stylist Who Spends Every Sunday Cutting Hair For Homeless: ‘Every Human Life Is Worth The Same’ During those weeks when the news seems saturated with sad stories and morbid headlines, it’s always uplifting to hear about those people out there that restore your faith in humanity. To me, this is one of those instances. — Chelsey
This Is How the Potato-Salad Kickstarter Guy Plans to Spend the Money, TIME. ICYMI, the potato salad guy wasn’t just trolling the world. He’s taking the $55,000 and creating a music festival where proceeds will go towards ending homelessness in Ohio. The event, aptly titled PotatoStock, will have relevant sponsors like Hellman’s and Idaho Potatoes. Clever. Maybe there is hope in this world after all!! But I have to admit I’m still baffled how he raised so much money under the guise of just makin’ some potato salad… more power to you, Zach Brown. – Megan
Now THIS Is What a ‘Sports Illustrated’ Cover Girl Should Look Like, Mic. Still cannot get over how cool this girl is, and now she’s gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated. So refreshing to see a female role model kicking ass in a boys’ sport! Go Mo’ne! Also see her baller quote here, thanks to Paul for sharing it! — Megan
How Ferguson Exposed Facebook’s Breaking News Problem, BuzzFeed. — Jennifer
Posted in Friday Links
For years in the marketing world we’ve talked about effective campaigns as those that have the ability to be disruptive. I read an article in the New York Times recently on marketing through Facebook that talked about, among other things, seeking to create a “thumbstopper,” which is an ad that is so arresting it stops the user from mindlessly scrolling through their feed. I get it. And I can appreciate the thinking. But, I disagree. The world we live in is deafening with marketing messages and people are being hit from a multitude of channels and grassroots executions. Creating something that stops someone in their digital or real world tracks can make sense on the surface. There is value in disruption, but only if the objective is an impression. If the objective is ultimately true, sustained engagement with a brand or a sale at the cash register—and, of course it always is—then the ultimate measure of effectiveness should not be disruption, but assimilation.
The most effective campaigns should create marketing that actually understands the customer’s pain point and delivers a helpful solution. The marketing should assimilate that brand into their consumer’s life.
The Real Housewives of Orange County are disruptive. They create a hell of a lot of talk value and it’s hard to change the channel when they’re on. But there’s nothing there beyond an impression. No value. It’s a car accident on the side of the road. Shock value is a short-term hit. Seeking disruption in marketing is the same thing. I believe it’s about developing programs that are creative enough to capture an individual’s attention, but lives in a place where they see immediate value so as to assimilate the brand into their lives. It’s what we hang our hat on at Curator.
Twitter has gone all Facebook on us and changed the way your timeline works. From now on, tweets that people you follow favorite can show up in your timeline.
It’s weird, because that feature ostensibly already exists in the form of retweets, but if it’s something that annoys you, there’s an easy way around it: Twitter Lists.
Lists may be the most underused and underrated Twitter feature. They’re phenomenal from a productivity standpoint. Once you’ve set them up and themed them—some of my most-used, for example, are Social Media, Mariners (news), Friends and (national/international) News—your X-thousand followers instantly turn into a couple dozen per list who are focused on a narrowly defined topic.
The upshot is that you spend less time mindlessly scrolling and looking for something to interact with. And the other upshot is of course that lists won’t show you randomly favorite tweets.
Posted in Social Media
I recently re-read a book called “Creating Personal Presence,” which is all about using body language and other social queues to help yourself get ahead in a professional environment. According to the author, Dianna Booher, personal presence is hard to define but easy to recognize. Whether you’re a seasoned public speaker or a novice business professional, this book has great tips for everyone. If you don’t have time to read the book, here are some of my favorite pointers:
The message starts in the listener’s head
Stand up straight, take a deep breath and inhale enough air so you can speak with power. What you have to say is only half the battle and the delivery is really key. People will react to your voice quality first, and your message second, so don’t let your voice give away any nerves you may have lingering. It’s like reading a child a bedtime story: it’s not the words that put them to sleep, but rather the melodic tone of your voice.
On commanding the floor
If you’re in a meeting with someone who tends to interrupt, take control of the floor early on. Speak with a firm voice and lay the groundwork of where you plan to go. You can say, “I’d like to point out three reasons why we should be recommending this course of action…” If the interrupter tries to barge in, use a firm voice and say, “Please let me finish with my two other reasons…” and go on.
Think like Russell Wilson
Strategic thinking has a great deal to do with personal presence. Russell Wilson said, “Why not us?” Similarly, this book encourages you to think, “why not?” Why not think about what others are doing and ask why can’t it be done differently? Don’t be a contrarian just for the sake of being one, but there are times when it is totally appropriate to think this way in order to streamline protocols, discover new opportunities and think outside the box.
I also especially like Booher’s “Rules for Clear Communication.” This goes for speaking and writing, and I couldn’t be more on board with these as a great refresher for any communications pro:
1. Strive for simple. Don’t use a long word when you could use a short one.
2. Use strong verbs and specific nouns to state your main ideas.
3. Use an active voice, not passive.
4. Be ready to state your case, but don’t come off as rehearsed.
5. Speak, and then listen.
These are just some of the gems the book has to offer. If you have any personal presence tips you’ve found useful, tweet us about them @CuratorPR!
Posted in Public Relations
If you’ve been on social media or watched the news at all in the last couple of weeks, you’re no stranger to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that is truly defining the term “viral.” For those that are unfamiliar or still aren’t totally sure what these videos are all about, here’s the gist:
ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This is “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.” The ALS Association is the national non-profit organization behind the fight for finding a cure for the disease through research, education and public policy. In an effort to raise awareness and funds to support research for the disease, the Ice Bucket Challenge was born. “The challenge involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same, all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice.”
When I first saw the videos cropping up on my news feed, I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay too much attention. I figured it was an awareness campaign and knew it was for ALS, but didn’t bother to investigate what that disease is or what throwing ice on your head meant. I kept some tabs on this over the last couple of weeks as I saw more friends and family posting their videos, and began taking note of all the athletes, celebrities and brands also participating. It wasn’t until last week when I was nominated to do the challenge, and then try to explain it to my non-social-media-using friends that I needed to learn more. So, I did my research, made a donation (disclaimer: because I didn’t have the ice or time to complete it within 24 hours) and haven’t been able to stop tracking the conversation since! I’m truly fascinated by the momentum and think there are some key takeaways we PR/marketing pros can learn from it.
Awareness campaigns are meant for social. As a PR professional, I look at this campaign and am instantly jealous of whoever does PR for The ALS Association. With this campaign, the stories are practically writing themselves. That’s not to minimize the coordination and efforts on their end, but the nature of social media is really the secret ingredient behind the way this challenge has organically grown. It’s pretty cool.
Celebrities, they’re just like us. The celebrity and big brand involvement has been a huge part of the success of this campaign. From Justin Timberlake and Martha Stewart, to Oprah and Mark Zuckerberg (the list seriously goes on and on), public icons are doing the same challenge that your average Joe is doing in his backyard – and people love it. Their participation no doubt plays a role in validating to fans that this is an important issue and people should pay attention.
This brings me, however, to my big question/concern about the challenge.
Now you’re freezing, so what? This challenge is talked about as an awareness campaign, but the end goal has to be funding for the Association. By the sounds of what The ALS Association shared on there press room today, they’re doing amazing (up to $15.6 million in donations compared to $1.8 million during the same time period last year). Still, I’d be curious to know the stats on what portion of the people posting their Ice Bucket Challenge videos, celebrities and brands included, are taking the time to visit the ALS site or are making a donation. Stories like this Buzzfeed article prove that some people are missing it completely (or just embarrassing themselves).
If you are interested in learning more, I would encourage you to visit The ALS Association site (donate if you feel so inclined), but also check out the SportsCenter piece on Pete Frates and his fight against ALS. I caught it last night by accident and it helped me understand where this challenge started, and what it has the potential to do. It even inspired this blog post.
Posted in Social Media
This week on tap: a grocery store where everything is free, the fried calamari index, hacks to get more out of your day, a other interesting tidbits from the world wide web. Enjoy!
Evolution of the PR Man/Woman, Ketchum Blog. Good read for budding PR pros on the evolution of the PR man/woman as told by Ketchum Europe’s CEO. While it’s still true that lots of us came from a journalism background, it’s also valid that we need to be trend spotters, agents of chance, storytellers and data geeks. It’s a lot of hats to wear, but someone’s gotta do it! — Megan
Special Sauce for Measuring Food Trends: The Fried Calamari Index, NYTimes. What do kale and fried calamari have in common? — Brooke
Copenhagen is Opening a Grocery Store Where Everything is Free, Munchies/Vice. Once again, Denmark has a crazy and forward-thinking idea. The results remain to be seen, but regardless, I’m sure they’ll be of interest. — Maggie
7 Productivity Hacks that Successful People Use Every Day, LinkedIn. Some helpful hints to help manage productivity and save time. — Noelle
‘Literal Street Style’ Series Reinterprets Photography Trend With Random Objects, PSFK. This week needs more humor! Thanks, PSFK, for pointing out this awesome photo series on street style (literally) over at The Bold Italic. — Ann Marie
Bonus link thanks to Ann Marie: My Shopaholic Bunny.
Posted in Friday Links