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5 Best Practices from #RaganPRBest Practices Summit

By Nikki Parrotte (@nikki_parrotte)

Last week, I represented CRT/tanaka at Ragan’s PR Best Practices Summit at the Newseum in D.C. As can be expected from a Ragan event, the venue, the people and the presentations were excellent. (Thanks, @MarkRaganCEO!) Here are just a handful of the best practices as preached at the 2012 PR Best Practices Summit.

Don’t Even Try to Fake Core Values

The digital age has created an entirely new approach to marketing, dictated by relationships. As explained by Bob Garfield of NPR (@bobosphere), the curtain that had years ago obscured corporate activity from public view has been pulled back, leaving little to the imagination. This concept is what Bob calls the Human Element. No smart (or ethical) organization will attempt to fake core values in the era of utmost transparency.

Think Outside the Box for Blog Engagement

Southwest Airlines has done a stellar job of setting the benchmark for social media success with its award-winning corporate blog, Nuts About Southwest and recent employee blog, SWALife, as well as its Twitter, YouTube and Facebook pages. Over three million-strong, Southwest Airlines’ online community is certainly one aspiring social-savvy brands should try to emulate. Brooks Thomas of Southwest Airlines (@brooksethomas) shared one tactic for increasing engagement that Nuts About Southwest fans go, well, nuts about: SWA Stew. In the style of a “chat stew,” the SWA Stew offers a video round-up of the most popular posts of the week, reminding us that while reading a blog post is great, incorporating an interactive element makes it even greater.

Create a Brand Experience Through Advertising

Michael Litchfield of Doremus (@redwoodtiki) fired up the crowd with his bold and beautiful session title, “Advertising sucks and traditional media is dead.” To back it up, he shared with the group his secret for success in building a lasting and memorable brand experience with your advertising efforts: be any combination of provocative, entertaining, relevant, unexpected and remarkable. As explained by Michael, being provocative means only to provoke thought, entertaining to be funny and remarkable to be “remark-worthy.” This can be expanded to apply to not only advertising, but to any aspect of branding, marketing and public relations. His presentation displayed five out of five of these guidelines, leaving the crowd with a clear sense of the Doremus brand experience.

Stick a Gosh Darn Digit in Your Release Headline

The press release is not dead, according to Sarah Skerik of PR Newswire (@sarahskerik). I tend to agree. (Bring it on, Press Release Haters!) This said, far from the traditional release we once knew, today’s release has changed and evolved when it comes to format, structure, intended audience and shareability, thanks to social media. While it was good to hear what Sarah, the Press Release Guru, had to say about the tool, what may have been the most valuable tidbit from her presentation was all about the numbers. She shared with the group that the releases that find the most success include a number in the headline – not a spelled-out number (four, five, six, etc.), but a digit (4, 5, 6, etc.). This, as could Michael’s teachings, can be applied to blog posts and, I’d be willing to bet, award entries.

Be Live, Local, Personal and Social

Last, but not least, Patrick Stiegman of ESPN.com (@ESPN) set the stage for a successful modern day media platform by sharing ESPN’s strategy for engagement. A leading online media platform, ESPN.com is a great example of how to give consumers what they want, when they want it, where they want it. Offering multiple options for receiving sports news and updates, ESPN strives to be live, local, personal and social – a mantra we should all follow with the power of social media and mobile literally at our fingertips. On a somewhat unrelated note, Patrick also threw out a quite impressive statistic: 85 million Americans use TV and Internet simultaneously every day. Way to be ahead of the curve, ESPN.

There you have it – a quick and dirty list of the best practices preached at the 2012 PR Best Practices Summit. Summit attendees: what did you take away as the best practice from this year’s summit? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so tweet me @nikki_parrotte or shoot me an email at nparrotte@crt-tanaka.com.

Images courtesy of Enso Journey and Futurity.

About Nikki Parrotte:

Nikki serves as a senior account executive in PadillaCRT’s Washington, D.C. office, where her passion for creative solutions and meaningful connections makes her a valuable member of the agency’s consumer practice. She has diverse experience in strategic traditional and social media relations for a variety of industries and audiences from consumer packaged goods to home and housewares and tourism.

5 Comments on “5 Best Practices from #RaganPRBest Practices Summit

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  3.  by  Rachael Seda

    Great post Nikki. I love the Newseum! I think the first point is huge, now more than ever if you just say it and don’t actually do it, you’re going to get called out sooner than later. You would be better off just not saying you’re doing something good than lying about it. It all comes down to transparency and being genuine. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself!

  4.  by  Nikki Parrotte

    Thanks for the feedback, Rachael! Agreed on the point that transparency – and honesty – are no longer options for PR practitioners, or for brands in general (nor should they ever have been).

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