Category Archives: thought leadership

c21 Heads to SouthWiRED

SouthWiRED view

A room with a view from the SouthWiRED conference.

Last week, three c21er’s (Telleen, Lauren and Meigan) attended SouthWiRED at Atlantic Station. Formally known as Digital Atlanta and now in its fifth year, SouthWiRED is described as “one of the Southeast’s largest and longest-running digital conferences starring the country’s top innovators and fueled by a killer agenda of top-notch content, unparalleled networking and cross collaboration.”

SouthWiRED signFor five days, more than 200 conference participants attended sessions taught by industry leaders from entertainment to finance on topics including social media content, social media advertising, analytics, user experience, video marketing and more!

Meigan said, “To me, their tagline was the best description – Five Days. Lightbulb Moments. Sometimes we left sessions with a confirmation that c21 provides cutting-edge concepts to our clients, and other times we had fantastic ‘lightbulb moments’ on how we can enhance the services we already provide.”

Next week, the team will share some of their favorite takeaways from the conference.


What makes a great news story?

One of communications 21®’s core capabilities is media relations.  For more than 20 years, we’ve helped B2B and B2C clients make headlines.  So, it’s not surprising that clients and prospects come to us frequently and ask, “Can you get us in the news?”  The answer is usually, “Of course, as long as you have a compelling story to tell.”  But don’t worry if you’re unsure, c21 team members are experts at uncovering media-rich narratives.  Here are the elements we look for to develop great pitches and press releases:

  • New – Your company should have something current and fresh to share with your target audiences.  Do you have a new product launch, a new spin on an old way of doing something, or a late-breaking development?
  • Timely – Make sure your news is presented to the media in a timely manner.  For example, if your company reduced its carbon footprint this year, holding that information until closer to Earth Day (April 21) will give the story relevancy and timeliness.
  • Local – The rise of hyperlocal news has made this element more important than ever.  Your story should be relevant to your locale; and remember, even national media outlets like to see how a piece of news impacts a particular community.
  • Human Interest – You might have a great piece of news, but you’ll increase your chances of coverage if you can put a human face to the story.
  • Conflict/Controversy – This component often needs some finessing, but if done right, you can position your piece of news as a long-fought victory or a beat-the-odds scenario.
  • Odd – That’s right, an unusual piece of news often makes headlines.  Does your organization do something out-of-the-ordinary or quirky?

This list is a classic, textbook means of garnering coverage that every public relations student learns in college.  However, in today’s increasingly social world, I would add the following component:

  • Shareable – Your news must be worthy enough to be shared on social media platforms.  The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that six in 10 Americans consume news via the Internet; moreover, 44 percent of consumers like to read news that is “shareable.”

So, now that I let you in on some little PR secrets, here’s a video of c21’s recent media relations successes:

Anna Ruth Williams–          Anna Ruth Williams, senior account manager

Branding and Positioning = Blogging

A study called “Harnessing the Power of Blogs,” sponsored research by BuzzLogic and conducted by JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company, recently was released.

The coverage about the study, posted on ClickZ, claims blogs influence buying/purchasing more than social sites. But, after careful review, I believe the correct statement should be advertisements on blogs influence buying/purchasing more than advertisements on social sites. Regardless, there are some great stats on blog use and response to advertisements on blogs.

And, according to the story, a blog “plays a greater role than social networks, likely because bloggers establish themselves as an authority on a topic, particularly in niche areas, and create a relationship with the consumer.”

The point? Blogging is quickly becoming the new “executive positioning” and “thought leadership” tactic. Many clients want to be viewed as leaders in their respective industries or have their executives positioned as thought leaders, but shy away from blogs potentially due to the interactive or two-way feedback mechanism, but is that really so scary? Really … what’s your reason NOT to blog?