Fireside / June 2013

Happy Golden Anniversary to AMA Richmond

50thparty1On Wednesday, June 26th the Richmond chapter of the American Marketing Association celebrated a huge milestone – its 50th Anniversary – with a party at Hardywood Brewery in Richmond and Wireside was happy to join in on the festivities.

Hardywood is one of the many craft breweries that have popped up all over Richmond and is a great venue to grab a cold beverage on a hot summer day, while listening to music and visiting with friends.  They also host a weekly food truck round-up on Thursday nights that has a rotating cadre of 12-15 different food trucks and a weekly farmer’s market on Wednesday evenings.  It seems that you could go to Hardywood every day of the week for a different event!

At the AMA Richmond event, there was an outdoor tent set up for people brave enough to weather the afternoon thunderstorm, as well as a private bar set up inside where people could sample some of Hardywood’s brews.  They also had food catered from two local food trucks – Grate Gourmet Fusion Pizza and Boka Tako Truck.  The food was delicious – I highly recommend checking out where their food trucks are parked in Richmond, or heading to Hardywood on a Thursday evening – to try them out.

It was great to get to network with marketing and communications industry people and celebrate such a great organization.  For anyone looking to meet fellow marketers and work on career development, the AMA is offering a promotion waiving the $30 registration fee for new professional memberships.  Hurry up and sign up as the offer is only for a limited time.

PR & SEO – A New Partnership for the 21st Century

SEO_meets_PR-cropped

There has been a good deal of press lately about the relationship between Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and public relations (see Huffington Post article from last week).  Right on time, PRSA Richmond chapter held a morning panel on PR and SEO entitled, “PR + SEO: Let’s Get it On.”

Brian Forrester of Dynamic Web Solutions spoke first.  He said that measurable marketing is king – people expect results from their spend – and search marketing is in its Golden Age.  As more and more content is moving online, it is more important than ever that people be able to filter the authoritative content from the junk.  SEO promises to do this.  By ranking sites based on their number of backlinks (i.e., quality links from external sites) search engines filter results based on most important (or popular) content.   In other words,  in order to rank high on Google’s search engine, public relations and marketing professionals must get others to link back to their company/client sites.  But how do you get backlinks?  You can’t make someone link to your site.  The link between PR and SEO becomes more clear as SEO success is reliant on public relations professionals’ ability to promote content to a wider audience that can generate these backlinks.

And according to the next speaker, Shannon Lehey of Unboxed Technology, the trick is to create content that is of interest to others that they will naturally want to link to.  Remember, it isn’t enough to just put out content, you need to create content that is authoritative and will appeal to others.  In order to create good content, first work to create a clear content strategy with a cohesive brand voice.  A solid content strategy is like glue,  it ties everything in together.   And, by taking the time to know your brand and your audience, you can create content that others want to share, generate backlinks and increase SEO.

The third speaker was Ken Shafer, the SEO guru at Snagajob.  He offered some practical tips on how PR professionals can best measure SEO success.  He recommended two sites to measure new links – moz.com and ahrefs.com.  (Ken prefers ahrefs.com because it is updated in real-time.)  He suggested creating a spreadsheet with a column for PR that would pull in search engine traffic driven specifically through public relations-related activities (e.g., press releases, blog posts, etc.).  This way public relations is no longer seen as “fluff.”  Instead, public relations professionals will be armed with concrete, measurable data of how well  a campaign performed.

So, there you have it.  In the 21st century, SEO and public relations will be inextricably linked.  SEO will need public relations to push out and promote content for its success and PR will rely more on SEO to provide concrete ROI measurements for campaign success.

Powerful Presentations with Prezi

PowerPoint is so last century.  Presentations today need more than just a couple graphs on a page and basic animation.  They need movement, they need to come alive.  A presentation needs to be able to captivate an audience that is constantly bombarded with other attention grabbers – email, phone calls, another cute kitten video on YouTube.

Luckily, there is a company out there that can help.  Prezi is a start-up that allows users to create interactive presentations on the web.  Users can even upload old PowerPoints into one of their templates, make a couple of updates, and in a flash have a visually appealing, 3-dimensional, interactive, exciting presentation that will blow colleagues away.

Prezi

Like with many new technology start-ups, Prezi currently offers a free membership option.  The free option allows a user access to the online database of templates and much of the functionality of the paid versions, but all presentations are housed online and publicly available to anyone who visits the site.  An upgraded “Enjoy” membership, which costs only $59 per year, allows for presentations to be stored online privately so users can choose with whom they’d like to share it.

It’s about time to shake up the boardroom – why not try out Prezi today?

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