Author: Bonnie Harris

[caption id="attachment_13722" align="alignright" width="300"] Great advice to protect your business from security threats.[/caption] Security threats are rampant these past few years, with global ransomware predicted to exceed $5 billion before 2017 ends. Just last year’s breaches is devastating itself — 95% of the breached records were from the government, retail, and technology sector. These three sectors have our information in store that can be used against us. They can easily create fake accounts, make fraudulent purchases in our name, and more. It doesn’t stop there; it’s alarming that among the thousands of global organizations, only 38% of them have handled cyber-attacks well. What happened to the 62%? It’s one of the biggest dilemma faced by businesses worldwide. There’s an insufficient amount of statistics proving that this problem can be dealt with accordingly; cyber-attacks are continuously happening around the globe as you read this article. Billions of dollars have already been lost; and billions of dollars more will be lost if we cannot at least hamper these hackers from infiltrating businesses and stealing private information. As the world becomes more tech-savvy, it’s proving to be more difficult to protect data from hackers who want nothing but to do no good. Businesses should learn how to defend and protect themselves from these increasing cyber-crimes, especially those that happen due to the lack of information on the basics of web security. It’s more than just a complicated password or a premium firewall subscription — here are 8 ideas to protect your organization from security threats brought to us by the team behind Local SEO Search Inc.:

1. Get to know what you need to protect: data

If you haven’t noticed the rise of influencer marketing campaigns, you haven’t been paying attention. Influencer marketing is the cousin of celebrity endorsement — updated for today’s consumer. With traditional celebrity endorsements, you’d have a well-known person appear in your TV commercial or ad. With influencer marketing, you’re playing more to authenticity by getting well-known figures to integrate your product into their daily lives and share the result on social media, YouTube, and in blog posts. The end goal of both is the same — selling through social proof. But the difference is palpable — 92 percent of people trust an influencer over an ad or traditional celebrity endorsement. As a result, influencer campaigns are going to become more and more important in the coming years. Savvy marketers need to strategize a plan of action. If you’re not sure where to start, take a page out of the book of these three successful influencer campaigns and the lessons they teach us.

Glossier

Glossier is a beauty brand that’s seen exponential growth since its launch in 2014. Four years prior to its launch, the brand’s founder, Emily Weiss, began building a content site — Into the Gloss — which is a destination for reviews and profiles on all things beauty. The brand has used the power of their content platform to turn everyday people into influencers. Using the hashtag #ITGtopshelfie, Into the Gloss asks its audience to share a glimpse into their beauty cabinet or bag via a photo on Instagram. The best shares are turned into blog posts that highlight the person’s story and beauty picks. Regular people are elevated to celebrity status and each of their individual networks are tapped as a sphere of influence. Glossier also has influencer marketing campaigns with well-known individuals and these two approaches in tandem have been the main driver of their growth thus far. Takeaway: You don’t have to have a Kardashian on speed dial to create a successful influencer campaign. Certainly, the bigger following an influencer has the bigger the impact, but marketers know that targeted is better than broad. Sometimes putting your own audience members in the influencer seat can drive authentic connection that yields results.

Blue Apron

Blue Apron is a meal-in-a-box delivery service in an increasingly saturated market. Most of these services offer similar pricing and models, so Blue Apron needed a way to stand out. They started as most influencer campaigns do — with blogs and social media (nearly half of marketers using influencer campaigns use blogs and 87 percent create content on Facebook and Instagram). Posts of everyone from former contestants from The Bachelor to Olympians such as Michael Phelps cooking Blue Apron meals became so ubiquitous, that brand awareness couldn’t help but grow. And by providing each influencer with a unique promo code, Blue Apron created a low barrier to entry and the ability to track each influencer’s impact. Most recently, Blue Apron has started turning to podcasts to find their influencers. They not only sponsor the content, but get the hosts excited about the product and talking about it in their own unique way.   Takeaway: Influencer marketing campaigns aren’t one and done. Repetition is the key to memory so plan your campaign to build upon a customer journey. The more they see your product, the less they’ll be able to ignore it. Covering multiple channels at the right intervals will require the power of a marketing automation tool, so be sure to have the right one in place before embarking on your campaign.

I Am a Witness by Ad Council

How Hubspot began using Scrum to manage tasks...and everything got better Getting more done in less time. Those six words would make any manager brim with excitement. That’s also the key takeaway from Joel Traugott, a marketer at HubSpot, about his experience adopting Scrum into the software company’s work routine. He recently joined Ryn Melberg on The Guardian Podcast to discuss the many ways Scrum improved his workplace and how they used Scrum to manage tasks. Scrum is an “agile framework for completing complex projects.” Though originally intended to speed along software development projects, its creators quickly realized that it would be an effective tool for all sorts of team projects. There may be no industry for which that’s truer than content marketing. Joel would know. He’s a self-described data-driven digital marketing geek who has experience working for a number of agencies and SaaS companies. Joel had grown frustrated with the bloated editorial calendars that were bogging down team projects. The pre-Scrum workplace looked something like this: employees spent valuable time planning up to a year in advance just to see those plans fall apart down the line, multiple editors independently editing the same content, and unnecessarily long queue lines to get approval to write even simple blogs. It’s no surprise that projects were missing deadlines with this many inefficiencies. After three months of learning how to leverage Scrum, Joel became the “Scrum Master” — the leader of his HubSpot team’s renovated approach to content marketing. The changes they made may seem simple, but the benefits can’t be overstated. Using Scrum to manage tasks made a huge difference. The biggest change may have been the shortening of the editorial calendar to a more manageable and flexible 2-4 week time frame.

I’m speaking at the PRSA International Conference in Boston today on a topic I’m really passionate about. Personas have been a great tool in marketing for decades. In the modern communications world, personas are incredibly helpful but not often used. One area where they can add the most to a communications campaign is during the actual pitch process. Using personas for pitching is something that can boost what I call the “pitch to placement ratio” enormously. In this post, I’ll explain how to develop the five main types of media personas. In addition, I’ll provide a list of questions to help create pitch plans based on that information. My presentation is embedded below as well. [caption id="attachment_13635" align="alignright" width="300"] Creating personas for pitching takes some lurking.[/caption]

Let’s examine the problem.

Public relations people have been in effect communications “salespeople” for years. Their job has been to develop relationships with key media personnel, introduce story ideas and pitch their clients’ products, people and/or services as part of the story. Before the internet, social media and content marketing public relations played a key role in the ideation and development of media stories.  But all that has changed. Factors like the explosion of blogs and other media outlets, reporters that are either changing jobs more frequently or freelancing among multiple outlets and content marketing have all made finding story ideas and experts much easier for the media. Taking it to a deeper level, as consumers we’ve come to expect a certain “experience” online when we’re shopping. This experience is driving expectations in our professional lives as well, where 75% of us want a truly “self-directed” shopping journey. Add to that a journalist's natural independent, or what I call the “reporter factor.” The media has probably been the fastest to leap onto this self-directed idea, and have bypassed public relations altogether.

Stats to back it up:

  • Over 4 million blogs are posted…daily according to Worldometers
  • A Cision report said that 20% of journalists relied less on PR last year
  • Of those still working with communicators, the same study said that nearly 40% say we need to respect their pitching preferences more
With the proliferation of media, less perceived influence on story creation and development, and fewer relationships many have come to regard it as a numbers game. They’re taking the firehose approach, spraying that message as far and wide as they can. And following up endlessly with outlets that may or may not help drive really targeted reach. Even this little blog has countless emails per day – many of them not nearly related to what I write about.

Why use personas for pitching