Where is the interest for Pinterest?


By: Donald Smith


Last week my PR communication professor brought up Pinterest while we were discussing potential strategies and tactics. Then I started thinking about how many times I have seen Pinterest on companies’ websites. After processing my thoughts I found I rarely see the social network. So, I began some light research on how useful of a communication tool it could be.

The answer… it could be a critical communication tool. Why are there not more companies on there? Granted the market is narrow, but we will get into everything in due time.

First, a Cision article found Pinterest ranked second among social networks in traffic referrals, second only to Facebook. Also, from the years 2011 to 2014 Pinterest and Facebook were the only two platforms to have growth all three years (Conlin, 2015). Another reason it is an effective tool is because it can host a multitude of content without the risk of overwhelming companies’ audiences. This is because the audience chooses what content they want to receive, which also gives companies’ content a longer shelf life. Some say half of the visits a pin receives occur after three months.

“Social Media,” by Cision

Next, although it is growing and can be useful, as stated earlier, the demographic who uses Pinterest is still narrow. An article from PRSay gives specific demographics on the app’s users. As of June 2014 the app had more than 70 million users, but 81 percent of the estimated 40 million monthly users in the US were female. Also, mothers share three times more than the average users (Snyder, 2015). Cision also had an article describing some of the demographics. The majority of daily active pinners are under 40 years old, but the median user is 40 years old. Another discovery was half of its users make $50,000 or greater per year. Also, Millennials use it as much as they use Instagram. As for categories the most pinned and browsed categories are Food & Drink, DIY & Crafts and Home Décor (Dougherty, 2015).

I list all of these demographics as a “heads up” because you need to know if your target market demographics are going to match up with those of the users.

Now, to give some tips on how to maximize the effect Pinterest will have as a communication tool in a companies’ strategic plan. These come from an article written in PR Daily by Gini Dietrich.

  • Think visually first
    • If the story cannot be told visually, then this is not where you need to be spending your time. I know this is harsh, but it is reality.
  • Avoid obvious sales promotion
    • Do not only have boards where you promote products you sell. Try and balance out your promotions with inspirational quotes or other activities.
  • Pin interesting happenings occurring in your industry.
    • Is something novel or rare occurring in your industry? If so then let people know.
  • Use visuals from events, publicity stunts and news conferences
    • There are plenty of images that can tell stories from events like these, make sure you use them.
  • Do not forget about videos
    • Yes, most of the content is still-images, but videos are even more engaging. So, use it, and most people still do not know you can pin videos.
  • Put the “pin it” button on all Web properties
    • Never let a “pinable” moment pass by you by putting the “pin it” button always in clickable reach. The toolbar is an effective spot for it.
  • Share articles, blog posts and stories
    • Do not be afraid of a little self-promotion. It also will help the person who wrote the piece get some exposure.
  • Share best practices
    • Help people by giving some solid advice. These could be the inspirational quote posts you need to balance out the other promotions.
  • Pin and re-pin pins from key journalists
    • By helping them get some traffic you could be starting a fruitful relationship.
  • Take advantage of trade shows and conferences
    • Same reason for using events, publicity stunts and news conferences.
  • Make descriptions with SEO in mind
    • Nobody searches for the phrase, “Simply beautiful.” So, do not describe it as such. Instead, say what the product in the image is (i.e. nail polish, decorating tools, etc.)

Thus, before getting into Pinterest make sure your companies’ story can be told visually, and the audience is a viable one.


Is going viral worth it?

By: Donald Smith


Over the past couple of months Donald Trump’s campaign has been vigorously active with its twitter campaign. Along with its tweets came its “unique” personality. In some of its tweets it used companies such as Tic Tac and Skittles as examples and both companies responded via Twitter.

“Viral Message,” by 5WPR

Now, with social media the whole world is watching, and more than likely you only get one chance to address a situation. This one chance is crucial because one could use it to gain a large amount of notoriety and gain exposure for the brand for free, which is great from a PR standpoint. People have started to label this occurrence as “breaking the internet.”

The phrase was first coined in 2014 by Kim Kardashian and Paper when the two published Kardashian’s nude photos in the magazine with the hashtag #BreakTheInternet. These photos caused a catastrophic uproar across all social media platforms gaining Paper large increases in followers across all platforms such as Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. However, this stunt did garner some backlash to both Kardashian and Paper. As seen in this Fox News article, many other celebrities were not fans of her photos and let her know.

Back to Tic Tac and Skittles, both had an opportunity to turn their occurrences into potential PR stunts and “break the internet.” However, neither did and decided to calmly address Trump’s campaign comments as positions they did not endorse. This action was well received and praised by PR professionals.

This brings to question whether or not going viral is a worthwhile tactic for future PR campaigns. According to Public Relations Society of America’s article it is not. This is because there is no way to control how much attention the stunt would receive, therefore making it unreliable. A better option would be to disperse content across multiple platforms so it reaches distinct target audiences and creates a ripple effect that will continue the connection and engagement of the content.

In the end do not try and force viral content. If the opportunity arises only go viral if it is not out of the company’s culture. Otherwise back away and keep up the ripple. As they say, “Even the tiniest ripple may become a tidal wave.”

Rest in peace press release, or maybe not?

By: Donald Smith



The other day I was surfing the internet looking for a blog topic this week. In my search I started typing “Are pr,” and the first two suggestions were about whether or not the press release is dead. This left me in bewilderment because I believed press releases were still a staple in the foundation of public relations communication. However, it seems the industry is split on the death of the press release as well.

“Press Release,” by True Blue Communications

In a Forbes’ article it discusses the flaws in press releases. One flaw was the fact press releases are difficult to measure in their effectiveness. This is because there is no way to accurately record how many people saw the release. Also, even if they saw the release there is no guarantee they read it. Another flaw was press releases are essentially a one-way communication tool due to the lack in ability to communicate with the company’s customers. Instead, they are only given the opportunity to look at the message, not interact with it. Other flaws mentioned were Google no longer allows press releases to boost SEO, and can actually ding websites for the backlinks and duplicate content. The last flaw discussed in the article was journalist, who work for some of the largest news outlets, admitted they rarely have time to keep up with them.

On the notion journalists are not much of a fan about press releases, there is TechCrunch Editor Mike Butcher. In his blog he goes on a rant about how fed up with all of the press releases he receives. His main point was, “Mostly, ‘press releases’ are written in the way a PR’s client would write a news story. They are usually pretty rambling and designed to please the client (read: stroke their ego) rather than assist the journalist to get shit done, and fast. So, I think the press release format is DEAD.”

Those points hold ground for why the press release should be retired, but there are others who believe press releases still have some life in them.

Aly Saxe, founder and CEO of Iris, believes press releases are still effective. They just need a little re-strategizing. In an article she wrote for Bulldog Reporter she wrote about a story where the only media coverage she got was from knowing how to pitch to journalists directly. This means to personalize each pitch to fit the individual reporter. It does take time, but a higher success rate will be achieved because reporters can tell when they are part of a mass email.

Another person who believes press releases still hold relevance in today’s communication channels is Jill Rosenthal from inkhouse. In her blog she says press releases may have not be a main communication tactic anymore, but are still necessary. The reason is because it is difficult to get a message to stick in people’s minds. So, companies need to tell their stories in various ways to get the message to stick, and press releases can help in this aspect by being another communications avenue.

Therefore, press releases are not dead. They just need to be used with a stronger strategy and with more care.

Time Management is no Joke

By: Donald Smith


On the first day of my public relations communication class this semester my professor said our time management ability would be the make-it-or-break-it factor, meaning how well we can manage our time would determine whether or not we would pass the class. She

“Stress!” by Joyce Kay Hamilton

was not lying in the slightest.

In the classroom setting there are a multitude of assignments due on a weekly basis. A brief breakdown would be presentation due Monday, portfolio assignment due Tuesday, weekly blog due on Thursday and tweeting at least once a day. It does not seem bad when it is by itself, but along with those assignment come assignments from other classes as well. Also, because these assignments are for in-class clients, quality cannot be squandered.

In a previous blog I told you all I am in an internship as well this semester. Well, the in-class experience translates closely to the professional world. In the professional world you will be having to juggle multiple clients with multiple projects most if not all the time. In my internship my daily schedule is comprised of reporting on how effective the organization’s social media channels are, posting to all pages the organization has on Facebook, monitoring of multiple Twitter feeds, searching for stories to be shared, as well as leaving the office and doing live coverage of events held by the organization. The kicker is that I am allowed 15 hours a week. So, time management has become my best friend this semester.

My professor and I are not the first to recognize this. Ashley Warren from MMI in an article about time management said, “If there is one thing I have learned working in public relations agency work, is that time management is an essential skill if you want to be successful. In the article she also states that one account executive could work with up to 30 clients, all deserving the same amount of attention and consideration.

So, if you want to work in the public relations industry, start being best friends with time management. Also, here are some tips from Cision:

  1. Prioritize

Not all the tasks given are treated equally. Create an ordered list of tasks you need to complete with the most important at the top and least, but still pertinent, important at the bottom. This way there will always be a starting point.

  1. Communicate as you delegate

Stay on top of communicating with the person helping you so all tasks get done on time. Never give out a task and not talk till the deadline.

  1. No Procrastination

No one works better under pressure. Start tasks early and use “down-time” in order to get ahead of other tasks.

  1. Don’t say how busy you are

Everyone is busy. Instead of telling people how busy you are, fix it.

  1. Clean up your inbox

Take 30 minutes at the end of the day to clean out your inbox. This will save time and there is not better feeling than opening an empty inbox in the morning.

  1. Make a to-do list

This point is similar to the first, but the to-do list will be a further broken down version of your prioritized list. By breaking down all tasks it will give you a better idea of how much work needs to be done.