Monthly Archives: March 2017

Choose Your Own Adventure: Joining Boards

There’s a million boards out there…professional ones, non-profit ones, company ones, it goes on forever. So, how do you figure out what is worth your time, and really who can use your help and expertise the most. Joining professional and non-profit boards have been some of the best experiences I’ve had since I graduated from college.

They make it easy (in my opinion) to be involved in college but it can be intimidating once you leave that happy, little bubble. I’ve met several professionals in advertising and public relations through groups like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the American Advertising Federation (AAF), plus it’s given me the opportunity to hear some fantastic speakers and expand my knowledge set. I also had the chance to serve on the board for the Akron Zoo’s Summer Safari event, the zoo’s biggest fundraiser annually. Plus, for fun I am on the board for a soccer supporters group called American Outlaws.

Everybody’s experiences are different and I think there are a few different ideas that can frame your decision:

  • Advocacy: Are you passionate about a particular civil right? Do you feel strongly about an issue in the current political landscape? Has your life been impacted by a disease or illness you want to help raise funds to cure? This is the perfect place to start. Find the nonprofits locally (or a local chapter) that has a board or committee that acts on their behalf. Help create a voice for that group locally – the passion of the board members will create excitement in the local chapter.
  • Skills: This leads me to the follow-up to advocacy – what can you offer? Do you love event planning? Writing? Organizing? Recruiting? I could go on forever. Think about what you do day-to-day or what kinds of skills you may have to easily offer to a board. For me it’s always been a communications play – social media, content and promotions. Remember! You don’t have to do what you do from day-to-day – just find a position or committee you are interested in and something you can offer of value.
  • Career: Every career has one (or 10) groups and clubs that you can join easily. Join a committee and help out to start, groups like these always need the additional support to keep the professional groups running. Plus, events like these help you create new professional bonds and even friendships.
  • Hobbies: What do you love to do? Do you love sports, crafting, running, food, beer, music? I could name 100 things – and they all have groups that love the same thing. These groups have boards and committees to help create and promote events – or just plain recruit. Plus, they are great ways to decompress from a long day and a way to find others that share your love of that coffee IPA.

So, there you have it! Take the leap and reach out to a non-profit or organization you have been looking to get involved in today. It’s not that scary, I promise!

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Stephanie and a group of the Summer Safari Volunteer Board.

Why Isn’t My Site on the First Page of Google?

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It’s the question anyone responsible for a school’s online presence dreads: “Why isn’t our site on the first page of Google?”

From page headlines and site navigation to social signals and relationships with other websites, there are hundreds of factors at play in Google’s search algorithm. Getting your site to the top of search rankings and keeping it there over time can be a long, frustrating, labor-intensive effort. And even if those efforts are successful, SEO focused on keywords that are too broad, too specific or out of sync with how target families search won’t drive an increase in site traffic, inquiries or applications.

The first step to increasing online visibility in a way that contributes to your school’s enrollment goals is defining the role your website plays in your larger communication strategy. From there, optimization efforts depend on:

  • Benchmarking your current site’s performance and identifying opportunities for improvement
  • Understanding the online behaviors and search habits of prospective families so you can hone in on the best keywords for your site
  • Following best practices for keyword use site content
  • Building reciprocal relationships with trusted websites
  • Establishing geographic cues that help Google place your site in the right location searches

Search engine optimization is not a one-time effort or a quick fix. It can take weeks – or even months – for search rankings to reflect your efforts. Understanding what organic search rankings can and can’t do for you in terms of site traffic and qualified inquiries can help you determine where best to invest your time and budget, and arm you to answer the inevitable, “Why isn’t our site on the first page of Google yet?” questions that are sure to follow an optimization project.

Want to know more about search ranking factors and how they impact your site traffic? Join True’s SEO experts on March 31 for a one-hour webinar. We’ll cover:

  • The role search plays in the potential student families’ decision-making process
  • SEO factors that do (and don’t) influence your site’s visibility in online search
  • Ways to identify “low hanging fruit” – the immediate improvements you can make to improve your site’s search ranking
  • How to set expectations for the time and effort needed to drive lasting improvement in your site’s online visibility

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Navigating the Influencer Triangle with the PESO Model

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Have you heard of Doug the Pug? Did you know Doug has 5.3 million Facebook friends and 2.3 million Instagram followers? Doug the Pug along with many others have become influencers in the world of social media and marketing. Chris Baldwin, our fearless leader at True, recently spoke at PRSA Akron on navigating the influencer triangle with paid, earned, shared and owned channels. Chris spoke about the importance of these influencers in marketing and created examples for the audience. According to the PESO model all aspects work in different ways but are all successful. Below are the examples he shared with the audience:

Paid media involves posting sponsored ads and posts on Facebook and Twitter, fan acquisition and lead generation. Chris discussed how Arizona Expedition used paid media by selecting five millennial social media influencers in different topics to do a five-day shoot around Arizona. The topics these millennials specialized in were golf, cooking and wine, photography and adventure sports. These millennials shared how they “Let Go” for Arizona Expedition’s “Let Yourself Go” project with great success.

Earned media includes publicity, media relations, influencer relations and partnerships. A good example of a company who uses earned media is Duck Brand Duct Tape. The brand has had many influencers because of its involvement with the community. Duct Brand Duct Tape has found many people who create DIY projects share them on blogs, websites and social media channels. Since they already had Duct Tape enthusiasts, Duct Brand Duct Tape created a Stuck at Prom Scholarship contest where teens created prom dresses out of the material. This created thousands of media stories for the company and also named Duck Brand Duct Tape the #1 selling brand in the world.

Shared media involves many one-to-one interviews and engaging with your customers, advocates, employees and partners to review the brand and company. Some companies that partake in shared media are Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Places, Yahoo! and Facebook reviews. Reviews are a huge aspect of shared media. Chris shared an example of a review on Amazon for the Three Wolf Moon T-shirt. This T-shirt had a 5-star rating and great reviews from an Amazon customer. This influencer was not paid but still had a strong effect on the product. From the review the T-shirt became the top selling item in Amazon’s clothing store and a virtual hit.

Owned media includes all of the communications channels within a company’s control such as the website, blog, social media and email. This contains content from the experts, employee stories, customer stories, user generated content, reviews and multimedia posts. Having a Facebook page and other sharing sites available for your company or brand helps with owned media. As a company, you get to control the conversation but it also has a personal touch.

Key Takeaways

  • Find the best way to influence your target audiences whether it is one of these four ways or a combination of all.
  • 2017 is the year of influencers and it is important for your company/ brand to find its influencers and create a bond with them.
  • As a company you must nudge your influencers to share information in a positive way. To achieve that you must help them out and ask them questions throughout the process and make sure the communication is clear.