Covfefe, Trump, and the importance of proofreading

Recently, our Commander in Chief sent out a confusing tweet that included a glaring typo. The internet took the tweet by storm and thus, “covfefe” was born.

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While The Donald is no stranger to Twitter typos, this one brought on a massive wave of reactions, ranging from jokes to anger. Teespring.com even bought the covfefe domain name in order to sell covfefe branded items! While the internet is defining the new term, us in the PR industry are studying this important lesson on proofreading.

Creating content is a big part of public relations, and copywriters must be diligent in their proofing processes. At Amplify Relations, our copywriters will often send their work to two or three people to read and revise for grammatical errors before the client ever sees the first draft. This helps us spot any errors that could be damaging to a brand.

But what if content is released with a mistake or typo? This is where crisis management comes into play. If a typo does slip through, it’s always wise to acknowledge the mistake, especially if your audience already has. If it’s a silly mistake, it’s okay to laugh along with your audience. This is what President Trump did, when after deleting the original “covfefe” tweet, he tweeted “Who can figure out the true meaning of “covfefe” ??? Enjoy!”

Another option is to apologize for the mistake and move on. Showing that your brand or public figure is human and can sometimes make mistakes will resonate with your audience.

Of course, the best form of crisis communications comes in crisis preparation. Your first line of defense should be copy editing for errors, comprehensiveness and clarity. As long as you are thoroughly proofreading, typos shouldn’t be a concern; but mistakes can still happen. Just take a deep breath, clear your head, and COVFEFE. You got this!

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What to Wear this Halloween: Advertising Agency Edition

Does your office get into the Halloween spirit when October rolls around? Whether you decide to throw a party, head to a haunted house, dress up for work, or just eat your weight in bite-sized candy bars, Halloween is the perfect time to celebrate all things spooky.

If you’re still stuck on what to wear on this ghostly holiday, don’t fret! Here is a complete list of costumes you can wear based on your role within an advertising agency:

Copywriter – Zombie
This is an easy one for copywriters, most the time they are already halfway to this look! Just give them 500 pages of copy to proofread and remove their caffeine; tada! You’ve got yourself a great zombie getup.

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PR Director – Superhero
While PR pros wear many hats, one that they don so often is the crisis manager. Who do you turn to when your brand or your client’s brand is in crisis? There is only one true hero who can turn this unfavorable press around and ensure the brand name is not tarnished. I mean, PR professionals are everyday superheroes regularly, am I right?

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Creative Director – Pirate
The Creative Director is the Captain of the art department ship. Along with his crew, the creative director works tirelessly to brave the rough waters of client art requests. While the creative director may not pillage and plunder like your average pirate, the two have one commonality: they are out-of-the-box thinkers.

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Graphic Designer – A “This is my Costume” t-shirt
The greatest tool in a graphic designer’s wheelhouse is their imagination. These creatives tend to stray from the norm. What’s the most obscure costume one could wear on Halloween? No costume at all! Of course, designers will also love the simplicity of this costume – less is always more.

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Account Executive – Prisoner
As the mantra goes, “the client is always right.” The Account Executive lives by this law daily, and aims to provide the client with the best possible work for their specific goals. Where her coworkers may have a little more creative freedom, the Account Exec. will ensure that anything leaving her desk is approved by her bible – the client’s brand book.

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Social Media Manager – Snapchat Filter
As the trendiest member of the marketing team, the Social Media Manager is hip to the latest crazes. Not only will the social media manager be able to use #nofilter on all her Halloween Instagram photos, she will also be among the most relevant costumes this year.

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HR – Referee
Human Resources are there to keep all employees in line. Much like a referee, the HR department mediates employee relations and makes sure everything is running smoothly on a day-to-day basis; and this holiday, they even get an obnoxious whistle to keep everyone well-ordered!

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Intern – Ghost
The intern is like the silent force that helps you get all your projects complete. While they don’t always get to do the most glamourous work, they help you with the nitty gritty details that are needed on any campaign. Plus, after about a semester with the company they effectively disappear (aka “ghost” you) in order to return to their normal studies.

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BONUS*

Client – Angel or Devil
All of our clients come to us as perfect angels; but every once in a while, that devilish side can make an appearance.  It’s up to you and your team to make sure their angelic side comes out. A happy client makes for a happy agency.

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I hope you were able to get some great costume ideas for Halloween this year. Do you have any to add to the list? Leave your ideas in the comments! Have a safe and happy Halloween.

Game of PR: What Game of Thrones Can Teach You About Public Relations

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Are you still feeling the adrenaline rush from last week’s episode of Game of Thrones? We might be breathing again after the epic ending of Battle of the Bastards, but we remain on the edge of our seats awaiting the season finale on Sunday, June 26.

The popular television series, Game of Thrones, based on best-selling novels by author George R. R. Martin tells the story of different individuals and their quest to take the Iron Throne. What you might not realize is that the characters in the show are not only proficient in gory battle tactics, deception, passion and regime, they are also wise in the ways of public relations.

In honor of the season 6 finale this Sunday, here are 8 public relations tips as told by the characters of the Game of Thrones.

 

“Winter is coming” – Eddard Stark

Maybe one of the most famous lines of the series, ‘Winter is coming’ is repeated several times throughout each season and represents not only a change in weather but an imminent doom to come. This concept directly relates to crisis management. Not all crises in PR are forthcoming; but when you can predict the possibility of a crisis, you can better prepare yourself for when catastrophe is afoot.

“You know nothing, Jon Snow.” – Ygritte the Wildling

As the series has developed, we have seen the character Jon Snow grow into a humble, caring leader and great warrior. There was a time, however, when Snow knew nothing. He was always willing to learn, and just like the Game of PR, professionals should always be accepting of changes in the industry and be willing to learn all the time, especially when it seems as though you know nothing.

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” – Tyrion Lannister

You need to have the right tools for the right job. If a PR professional is to keep learning about their profession, they will need the right tools at their disposal in order to keep their edge. Educational resources like PRSA, Ragan, and Cision are always offering articles, webinars and conferences for PR professionals to continue to learn and succeed in the industry.

“There are no men like me, only me!” – Jaime Lannister

Original content is key. As Jaime says, there is only one Jaime Lannister. Find your and your client’s uniqueness in your market, whether big or small, and you will find your edge to creating interesting, one-of-a-kind content.

“People work together, when it suits them. They’re loyal, when it suits them. They love each other, when it suits them. And they kill each other, when it suits them.” – Orell the Wildling

The Game of PR is a give-and-take industry, not a give-me-what-I-want industry. As PR people, we must develop relationships with journalists rather than simply relying on them to help us when we need them to. When you foster a working relationship together, you will have a better chance at creating a win-win scenario in which both parties are helping to fulfil each others’ goals. Don’t solely work together “when it suits you;” work on establishing a partnership.

“Hold the door.” – Hodor

While Hodor will forever stay in our hearts as the holder of the door, his deed can teach us a lot about what it means to be a support system. Keeping in mind the give-and-take relationship, remember that your job as a PR professional is to help a reporter get the scoop on whatever story you’re pitching them. Your job doesn’t end after you send an email; you must follow up and check that they have all the information necessary. You stand in the doorway between a journalist and your client, and you must hold the door for each to see your pitch successfully published.

“I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.” – Daenerys Stormborn

You may not have a billion titles after your name, but you are important, and you’re a vital source for many journalists. Exude that confidence that Dany has when she gives her full title; your client is newsworthy, and you have to relay that to a journalist – but be careful not to be overly confident and overbearing. Find the happy medium.

“When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die.” – Cersei Lannister

Know that your pitch will not be picked up 100% of the time. That’s okay! In the Game of PR, your story either succeeds or it dies. The important take-away is to discover what works and what doesn’t so that you can learn from your downfalls and continue on to succeed down the road.

 

While PR is not all bloody battles and race to the top like Game of Thrones, there is a lot we can learn from the characters themselves. In the Game of PR, there are no winners and losers, but an ever-changing media landscape and new concepts to learn. Be sure to always play the game well, and tune in to the season finale on Sunday to glean some tips of your own.

The Essentials of Online Fundraising

iStock_000036916998_Large-300x300Raising money for a cause can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools. The medium of online fundraising is an ever growing area, and there are a few things to keep in mind when embarking on an online fundraising campaign.

The first essential component to an online fundraising campaign is to establish a goal. When donors and organizations have a clear goal in mind, it’s easier to raise funds to meet that goal. Goal setting also gives the organization a quantifiable metric to compare results. What gets measured can always be duplicated or improved, so the efforts for next time can be that much more effective.

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Make it Newsy: Finding Your Angle When Pitching News to the Media

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This article appeared on PR Daily on March 3

The media is unpredictable. A hot button issue one day will likely be old news the next. With these ever changing preferences, it can be difficult to latch on to what’s trending at any given time. This is exactly what PR professionals are doing on a daily basis. In order to obtain news placements for your clients, you have to know what’s currently in the news. So how do you make a press release, pitch, or story idea “newsy” Continue reading

A Letter to April: You Never Know Who You Will Inspire

While I was working as an intern at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort, I met a woman named April who was hosting an event during the Best in the West Rib Cookoff. April exemplified everything that was happy and successful. She was “goals.” I held on to that image of her long after she boarded her flight back to Tennessee, and every misstep in my career path, I would think about April and remember that with hard work, I would land myself the successful career that I wanted. I was recently promoted, and decided I needed to tell April of what she had done for me. Continue reading

The 6 steps to the perfect peel of a hard boiled egg

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with the art of peeling the hard boiled egg. I often boil my egg the night before, and anxiously await the next morning til I get a taste of my delicious creation – but I always come up short when it’s time to peel off the shell.

I’ve had a lot of ups and downs on my journey to the perfect peel, and for those of you like me, I hope these steps help you on your way.

Step 1: Document your struggle in a public forum (such as Snapchat, as I did). That way your friends will understand your struggle and feel empathy toward your situation.

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