Category Archives: Technology

How Tech Is Reshaping PR

How Technology Is Reshaping the PR Industry

Over the past decade, technology completely transformed the marketing and advertising industry, but it’s rarely discussed how it changed the PR industry. Back in the day, at the dawn of the internet, issuing press releases used to be the most common method of keeping your key publics, as well as the general public, informed about some important activities of your company, increasing exposure, and expanding your reach. Nowadays, there are more personal and direct ways to contact your target audience and let them know that you’re about to launch a new product or service, enhance your brand recognition, or improve your company image.

PR is key for Brand Marketing

Social media

There’s no doubt that social media platforms have changed the face of communication. If we bear in mind that Facebook has 2,01 billion monthly active users, or that Twitter boasts 328 million people who share their thoughts and ideas within its 140-character limit, it’s clear that together with Instagram and LinkedIn, these social networks enable companies to break the fourth wall and enter their audiences’ lives on a more profound level. Successful companies combine their PR, development of a visual brand and social media efforts in order to create an effective two-way communication channel with their target audiences.

Apart from using social media networks to announce new products and all kinds of events, you can also take advantage of your audience’s comments, suggestions, and frequently asked questions to create relatable content, and even improve your products’ functionalities thus meeting your audience’s needs.

Of course, the development of digital media doesn’t mean that you should stop paying attention to traditional marketing channels. There are certain demographics that can be reached almost exclusively through traditional media. That’s why it’s essential to employ a comprehensive media and PR strategy that will extend your reach, as well as, access all your potential customers.

Automation

As of late, marketing and sales can’t be imagined without the use of AI. According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, 75% of surveyed executives said that they would actively implement AI in their companies within the following three years. All kinds of automation tools make things much easier and improve customer experience. Chatbots are among them, and now many websites feature these little gadgets that help their customers solve some common issues or even pick a product they need. Since PR and customer service are closely related in the sense that bad customer service results in negative PR, while great customer service can do wonders for PR, it goes without saying that if you want to make your customers happy thus creating an impeccable reputation, you need to provide them with the latest technology tools. Luckily, modern chatbots can perfectly impersonate human interaction, which means that you can engage your customers in a friendly, personal chat and start building trust.

Analytics

One of the most frequent questions regarding PR is how to calculate its ROI. This is one of the biggest shortcomings of the traditional PR since it’s extremely difficult to identify which PR tactics are effective and which should be improved. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you establish whether a tactic manages to drive engagement and to what extent. Also, it’s worth mentioning that many marketers use Google Analytics in a superficial manner, that is only to keep track of monthly visitor count, and they fail to use its other, more complex features to the fullest. Google Analytics segments can make a big difference in the way you analyze the data you’ve collected and provide you with more detailed insight into various metrics.

Influencers

This is one of the most popular buzzwords of the moment, as almost all companies, both small startups, and the industry giants, believe that employing influencers is critical for their image and reputation. Influencer marketing is similar to celebrity endorsements, and the main difference between these two strategies lies in the fact that celebrities lend their names and a portion of their fame to brands, but this doesn’t imply that they have to be experts when it comes to the products they’re endorsing.

On the other hand, influencers try out, test, and research the products they recommend, and their followers are convinced that their expertise in a particular niche guarantees that the product they are promoting is of the best quality. A stunning 94% of marketers that participated in a recent research study said that they believed in the effectiveness of influencer marketing. This strategy is, undoubtedly, capable of being extremely beneficial for PR, and despite some controversies, it has been gaining momentum ever since its appearance.

Content

Content obviously rules. It’s indispensable in both marketing and PR, and creating a brand story is crucial for attracting your prospects and capturing their attention, as well as for improving your brand image. When we’re talking about content, it’s important to stress that it refers to any element of your interaction with your customers, and it includes blogging, advertisements, social media posts, press releases, white papers, emails, websites, and landing pages. Even details, such as email signatures, play an important role in creating a positive image and reputation.

Producing quality content should be your first and foremost concern, not only because you want to educate and entertain your customers, but also as it’s a powerful weapon against negative brand advocates. You can count on the fact that you’ll have your fair share of PR and marketing rough patches, such as people sharing some negative experiences with your brand on social media, and that’s where awesome content will come to your rescue and save the day.

Sometimes negative customer experiences can’t be prevented, and if you think that ignoring bad comments and angry customers is an excellent PR strategy, you’re wrong. It’s important to handle such incidents in a professional manner and turn these potential PR disasters into triumphs, and that’s why a great narrative, paired with impressive communication skills, is a must.

Technology is of paramount importance to the PR industry, and it can be a game-changer in building and maintaining a positive public image.

 

Guest Blogger at something Different CompaniesGuest Blogger: Nate Vickrey is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also the executive editor at Bizzmark Blog and an author on TheNextWeb.


2017 Trends for Online Privacy

With the latest move to dismantle internet privacy protection guidelines, online privacy continues to remain exposed. Consumer advocates seem to have a tougher journey ahead as they need to create a stronger framework to debate it out. As much the telecommunication companies hold the consumer in their grip, internet companies equally enjoy the custody of consumer data which is highly sensitive.

Research by the SANS Institute found that 80 percent of data breaches originate from third parties. This doesn’t mean the entire chunk is neglectful towards internet privacy but signals the lack of confidence in the measures they take to maintain online privacy.

While it’s difficult to fight the telecom entities in terms of information required by them, we can certainly be more vigilant with our online behavior by deploying safer internet practices like incorporating data protection tools and private search engines.

The infographic below beautifully depicts the current trends and measures towards online privacy. Take a look –

J.R. Atkins Privacy Trends & Measures 2017


5 Ways Your Website Could Be Hurting Sales

website conversion helpIf you’re in the business of selling products or services online, your website can make or break your brand. While most companies stay on top of the marketing techniques that can help to drive more traffic to their site, they often forget to make improvements to the site itself. Here are five ways that your site might be hurting sales and how you can fix it.

1. You Have Unresolved Glitches

This sounds like a simple problem that any web administrator with an ounce of sense would avoid. However, many site admins don’t realize that their e-retail platform has a glitch because they don’t regularly check the platform for user friendliness. If customers run into a glitch, they’ll oftentimes abandon the purchase rather than contacting the administrator about the problem. Hence, it’s crucial that you’re regularly checking the site for any glitches or issues.

2. There’s Never Any Rush To Buy

If your site isn’t regularly running promotions that feature a deadline, such as “product X is 25% off until this Friday,” then you’re not creating time-sensitive reasons for customers to make purchases. Companies attach deadlines to their promo codes and sales for good reason; it gives the customer a reason to buy now instead of later. Don’t think of these promotions as sleazy. They’re actually quite common and a completely moral sales tactic.

3. The Tech Is Fine, But The Site Itself Is Hideous

Sure, any e-retailer needs to have a glitch-free storefront that runs smoothly and processes data and promo codes without error. But don’t think that design doesn’t matter. Customers like to be welcomed by a web design and graphics that are pleasing to the eyes. Good visuals can compel customers who are on the fence to finally make that purchase.

4. Zero Social Media Presence

As social media becomes more and more of an integral part of how our society communicates, retailers can’t afford not to have a strong social media presence. It’s common for consumers to look at a brand’s Twitter or Instagram before deciding to make a purchase. If your site doesn’t have any sort of social media presence, customers may actually find that to be odd and somewhat suspicious. Social media isn’t just good from a marketing perspective. Rather, it’s a good way to cement your brand as trustworthy and give a legitimacy to your brand’s entire presence online.

5. Contacting Customer Service Is A Nightmare

No one wants to receive a barrage of petty customer complaints or unnecessary questions. For this reason, many sites tend to bury their customer service contact form or information, theorizing that only customers with legitimate questions will take the time to seek out the contact info. While this idea is okay in theory, it can kill potential sales. When customers have a question that they need to ask before they feel confident making a purchase, they want to be able to contact customer service quickly and simply. This is why a customer service contact should always be plainly visible on your site.

If you stay on top of these five potential mishaps, you can create a site that is user-friendly and conducive to consistent sales.

Guest Blogger: Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who has worked in eCommerce for the last five years. She currently writes for Rakuten Super Logistics and recommends them for all your fulfillment


Mobile Road Map to Success by J.R. Atkins

J.R. Atkins Mobile Road Map to SuccessHow do you get a mobile app for your big idea or business? The solutions to this question is addressed in Mobile Road Map to Success by J.R. Atkins, MBA. “When I first developed this material I was working closely with entrepreneurs developing mobile apps and companies seeking to add mobile apps to their business lines. As I reflect on this content, a few years later, it’s still sound thinking and applicable today.”

One example of continued relevance is the dominance of iOS and Android operating systems over Blackberry, Microsoft, and Symbian.  Microsoft still is active on their platform but it just never took off with independent developers who dominate the mobile app development field.

Another example of relevant content is the mobile app development process represented by the flow chart below. I still run across people who say they have an idea for a mobile app but have not taken step one, which is creating a written description.

stepps to building a mobile app

A third example of continued relevance is the basic cost associated with mobile app development. I would have guessed that this would have changed but, since they are general categories, the price points still hold true.

How much money to build a mobile app

New log for SDC llcEven though time has passed and application development has improved, these are still reasonable guidelines to use in early planning. For more details and the rest of the story on Mobile Road Map to Success, check out the book on Amazon.

I look forward to seeing your comments and questions.


J.R. Atkins has been speaking, teaching and consulting on Social Media since 2008. He has a BA in Marketing from Texas A&M University, an MBA from The University of Phoenix, Dallas Campus and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. He has published 3 books: Success Simplified, Social Media 2.0 and Mobile Road Map to Success. His company, Something Different Companies, works with churches, individuals and companies to implement effective online communication strategies.


Major League Gaming, Coming to a City Near You

J.R. Atkins writes about major league gamingOn a recent trip to Atlanta, I had the opportunity to learn more about the industry of Major League Gaming. For the uninitiated, you can now be a professional gamer. All those hours in front of a screen playing Nintendo Wii and DS, Xbox, Play station and PSP, Game Boy, Atari and Pong could now equate to being a professional gamer with all the star power and perks of a rock star or professional athlete.

J.R. Atkins attends Final Round 18During the Delta flight to Atlanta, I watched a free video clip on my iPhone via the on plane Wi-Fi on Major League Gaming. (See related article in SKY) According to Wikipedia, “Major League Gaming (MLG), founded in 2002 by Sundance DiGiovanni and Mike Sepso, is a North American professional Electronic sports organization, headquartered in New York City. MLG has held official video game tournaments throughout the United States and Canada. Major League Gaming competitions have been broadcast on television, ESPN.com and other broadband sites. The company has also been involved in television production and game development. MLG’s aim is to elevate computer and console game tournaments to viable competitive and spectator events.” Although interesting, I simply watched another video on my flight and moved on with my life.

Game Stick at Final Round 18When I arrived at my hotel, I was surprised to see a group of motly dressed people with colored hair and baggy clothing reminiscent of pajamas, walking around with a gaming console they call a “stick.” Come to find out, the Final Round 18 Fighting Game Competition was being held at my hotel. Cool! I got to see firsthand what all the fuss and fanfare was all about. When my son was young, we played Mortal Combat at the pizza place and these people were still at it. The whole tournament was all about fighting games. You could watch people play in the lobby, in the main ballroom, in their hotel rooms, just about everywhere for 3 days and nights straight. Can you say “Cha-Ching?” Someone is making some serious cash here.

Based on what I learned, within the next 3 years we will probably see the following:

  • Gamer Celebrity Status like Justin Biber & Johnny Football
  • Million Dollar Signing Bonus for Gamers
  • Endorsements from games, clothing, theme parks and more
  • TV coverage by ESPN and major networks
  • Someone will suggest that gaming should be added to the Olympics
  • Stadium & Auditoriums Filled with fans to see gaming events
  • More Merchandise (coming to a Christmas near you)
  • “Fill out your bracket at work for the Championship rounds”
  • Vegas odds makers listing the likely top winners in gaming

What does this have to do with business? First, you can quit complaining about people who sit around and play games all day, it’s a profession now. Second, expect to see business applications for those with gaming skills on their resume. There could be a correlation between business intelligence, data management, coding and other workplace skills and gaming skills.

What social or business applications do you see in regards to professional gaming? I’d like to hear your thoughts.


What Airline has the best in flight WiFi?

Check out the following article on Quartz by  Zainab Mudallal 

Do you use Wi-Fi much when you fly? If so, more for work or entertainment?


 

Wi-Fi has become one of the most sought-after things on a flight, even more important to passengers than a reclining seat or extra legroom. The latest report from Routehappy, a website that compares airlines by in-flight amenities, finds that its availability is spreading fast.

The report, published today, analyzed flights scheduled to depart this coming Feb. 5—a “typical mid-week travel day”—and found that passengers have “some chance” (i.e. one-third or better) of getting Wi-Fi on almost one-quarter of the airline miles flown worldwide. On US domestic flights, there’s some chance of Wi-Fi on two-thirds of the airline miles—up from just 38% of them a year and a half ago.

On those flights that do have Wi-Fi, its performance varies. In the US, 35% of those flights had “good” Wi-Fi, meaning the equivalent of 3G connection speeds; 38% had “better” Wi-Fi, similar to 4G; and only 1% had the “best” quality, good enough for video streaming.

There were also big gaps between airlines. In the US, virtually all Virgin America flights had Wi-Fi, followed by Southwest and Delta.

See the rest of the article at: http://qz.com/331750/the-worlds-in-flight-wi-fi-offerings-ranked/


Creating Graphics for Business Growth by J.R. Atkins MBA

As someone delivering Social Media, Websites and Online Marketing, I find myself in need of creative graphics on a regular basis and I have found some resources you might what to check out.

1. JRA Visme ProjectVisme: Think of Visme as a perfect marriage between Microsoft PowerPoint and Adobe InDesign; ease of use meets professional design. Their clean graphic website will walk you through the three easy steps to create your first graphic image and includes a nice short video to help you get started. Use the Visme tool set to create:

  • Infographics
  • Presentations
  • Charts & Graphs
  • Web Banners
  • Animations
  • And more

The free version allows you to create 3 projects and is a great way to check it out. If you like it and want to upgrade, the Standard Plan is $4.50 per month and the Complete Plan is $14.25 per month, no too much when you consider the competition.  I’m hoping they will preformatted projects for cover images for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ as I am tasked to create these often. Below is a sample project I created in less than five minutes. Let me know how Visme works for you.

2. Fivver: If you are more into outsources than “DYI” then check out Fivver. You hire someone to do you graphic for you at very low prices, like $5.00. The prices goes up as you add requirements but you still can get graphics delivered in a few days for less than $50.00. Again, not to bad when you consider other alternatives. Here is a recent example from Fivver that ran me $5.00 and took 4 days to complete.

Social Mead posting by J.R. Atkins 

 

3. Design Class: Most class work in design requires the student to create projects for real companies. Most will have a digital portfolio to show you how their skills and talents are developing. Why not let your brand benefit from the bright minds of tomorrow’s professional designers. Just Google “InDesign Classes” in your area then contact the instructor about student projects with your organization.

This example Portfolio is from Ashley Denton at Texas State, San Marcos, TX

 Ashley Denton recommended by J.R. Atkins

Events Worth Considering

Travel with J.R. Atkins to Holy sites

 


What the heck does Snow Fall have to do with story telling?

18 Months after the New York Times published a story about an avalanche in Stevens Pass, in Skykomish, Washington, viewers are still raving about how this story represents the future of story telling, of eBooks, of writing in the digital world.

If you have not seen it, you need to check it out. The “news article” combines well written prose, video clips, pictures and Google Earth type imagery to immerse the reader into the story. And, it works. You feel like you are there. The credit for this great example of modern journalism goes to John Branch.

Follow this link or Google NY Times Snow Fall and you will see all the supporting articles and blogs that have been written following the release of the original article on December  20, 2012. I hope I write an article this well that gets this much exposure and acclaim some day. John won a Pulitzer Prize for his work. Well done.

J.R. Atkins recommends the NY time article snow fall


Your Online Data Never Sleeps

It’s two sides to the same coin-“Your Online Data Never Sleeps.” On one side of the coin, your online data is working for you while you are asleep. And on the other side of the coin, your data is available for others to hack, copy and add negative comments while you are asleep. The following info-graphic offers a pictorial view from Domo of where your data may live online.

J.R. Atkins says your online data never sleeps

Your Online Data Never Sleeps


Gatesville, Nigeria and Tethering

GatesvilleAtkins Ranch in Gatesville TX

Yea, you might have seen some posts from me that I am spending a great deal of time at the Atkins Ranch in Gatesville, TX, about 35 miles east of Waco. It’s amazing what you can observe from outside of the Digital Life in Dallas. I still have my office in Frisco and I have opened a satellite office at the Ranch. Come see me when you are in the area.

Nigeria

Others of you might have seen a recent post about my trip to Africa with Compassion Creates Change Nigeria, a Dallas based non-profit working in Nigeria with Churches, NGO’s, Community Development Agencies and Business to:

  • Construct a Multi-Use School, Church and Community Center Raising 5k for Nigeria Mission Trip
  • Construct a Medical Clinic
  • Deliver Medical Supplies
  • Install Solar-power Based Electrification
  • Initiate Clean Water Projects
  • Provide Vocational Training
  • Deliver Compassionate Outreach

If you are able to contribute cash, products, services or just share the details on your social media, your efforts are greatly appreciated. Give at: http://www.gofundme.com/JRAtkins

TetheringJ.R. Atkins likes the Intelligence TV Show

I recall this term as the idea of connecting your Laptop to the internet via your cellphone. I’d like to expand the definition to address the way we tap into computer based information and knowledge. Today we have so many options to tether to our computer from smart phone and tablets to Google Glass. The progression of knowledge access looks something like this:

Main Frame-Personal Computer-Lap Top-Tablet-Smart Phone-Google Glass-Implant.

I know the implant is not in the consumer market yet, but it has to be in the military domain. Have you see the TV show Intelligence, it’s like a modern day bionic man, only better. Yet, all the information of the world is useless without human intelligence to create context and relationship. Here are a few business uses for Computer Information at your fingertips. Let me know what other applications you see coming.

  • Sales: Customer, Product and Service data
  • Service: Service Manuals, Customer Records, Diagnostics…
  • Decision Making: KPI’s, Industry, Competition…
  • Current News: Public, Company, Industry
  • Security: Early Warnings, Environmental Concerns,

Please share your thoughts on the blog, by email, phone or social media, “after all, I’m here to communicate with you.”

Events Worth Considering 

02-08-14 – Orpheus “From the Heart” Gala & Auction
02-11-14 – Business Link Lunch – Temple Chamber
02-12-14 – The DEC: Design for Non-Designers
02-18-14 – The Booming Business of Global Warming
02-19-14 – Marketing DFW Airport
02-23-14 – Southwest Car Wash Association Convention & Expo
02-25-14 – Last Tuesday Happy Hour at The Ritz Carlton
02-27-14 – Business After Hours – Temple Chamber
03-01-14 – Orpheus Chamber Singers – The Art of Imitation
 

 


Archives

Categories

%d bloggers like this: