Lessons from the Jeopardy Debacle

Answer: This beloved TV show has made severe missteps in the last few weeks.

Question: What is Jeopardy?

Fans of the game show Jeopardy, including me, have been eagerly watching to see who will be taking over as host for the beloved Alex Trebek, who died last fall. The show has had 14 guest hosts filling in as the producers determined who would take over.  These guest hosts were essentially trying out for the gig in public and fans were very vocal on their favorites. After much fanfare over choosing a host, the show announced that Mike Richards, the current executive producer would be the new host.

Richards had filled in as the first guest host and did a credible job. But fan perception was that the show needed to find someone quickly to do the show after Trebek’s death, and Richards was only hosting until the other guest hosts were sorted out. It was never made clear that he was trying out.

The outcry was swift and loud. Adding to the mess, it was discovered that Richards had some pretty ugly skeletons in his closet from comments he made years ago on his podcast “The Randumb Show”. Richards apologized for his careless words, but the damage was done. He agreed to step down as host (without ever starting) but will remain as executive producer. The show is now in damage control mode from several PR crises of its own creation.

Here are a few takeaway lessons:

  • Communicate your intention clearly to your audience. The show should have announced that Richards was a candidate for the job and taken away his role as producer. While he stated he was not involved in the selection, it appears that he just chose himself, and the guest hosts never had a shot at the job.
  • Be careful what you post online. Once you post something, it never really goes away. Richards found this out the hard way when he tried to delete the offensive material, only to discover it had been archived.
  • Review your posts before hitting send. It’s better to err on the side of caution on social media and not post something if it can even remotely be considered offensive. The internet has a long memory and while Richards apologized for the remarks he made many years ago, the damage was done.
  • Be sure to vet job candidates thoroughly. The show had months to do a deep dive into each of the candidates, but it appears (rightly or wrongly) that they didn’t really vet Richards at all, since he already worked on the show.

The show has enough fans that this won’t mark the end of the show. Fans will be willing to forgive one mistake, but the show will need to be extremely careful with its next hire.

Three Ways a Podcast Can Help Your Content Marketing

It seems like almost every business website nowadays has a blog. Amirite? And for good reason. Blogs act like your company’s very own magazine or newspaper. They provide a way for you to post company news, talk about new products or services, comment on recent events, or drop some knowledge on your current and/or potential customers to show off your smarts. And, even better, you’re also the editor and publisher. There are no style guides by which to abide, so you can write using your brilliant wit and hilarious slang [see above example: Amirite?] to brighten up your posts and give the reader an inside look into your company’s personality and culture. It’s a proven scientific fact that 100 percent of people prefer to do business with companies that they like on a personal level. Ok, there’s no science to back that up. But I certainly believe it to be the case. So then, why do so many companies overlook the podcast as another vehicle to get their two cents out there while showing how great/ fun/ likeable they are?

For some, the mere mention of the word “podcast” conjures up images of a professional, soundproofed studio replete with audio technicians, producers and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of high-tech recording equipment and editing software. And while it’s true that most top-end podcasts use similar setups, this is without a doubt the exception to the norm considering how the majority of podcasts are produced today. Over the last few years, smartphone apps and free online services like Anchor and Libsyn have made the recording, editing and distribution of podcasts both quick and easy.

So, since we’ve dispelled the “I can’t afford it” myth, let’s talk about three ways a podcast can help your content marketing.

  • Channeling All the Good Vibes

By starting a podcast, you’re creating a new owned media channel to reach out to your prospects. Sure, they might read your blog or scroll through your social channels in between tasks at work. And that’s good. But imagine if you had the opportunity to chat with them on their daily commute. The majority of podcast listeners consume content on their daily drives to and from work. Talk about a captive audience! This gives you the chance to add some color commentary to a point you discussed in your recent blog post, or go further in-depth about an issue you touched on in a social post. Wise buyers like to be well informed, and this additional channel lets you round out the messages you communicate on a regular basis.

  • Adding Personality to Your Brand

If one of the major benefits to writing your own blog is the chance it gives you to show off your personality, just think how much further you could take things with a podcast. Audio-based content lets your customers hear the enthusiasm and passion for your work in your voice, that even the best writers struggle to capture in a blog post.

  • Reach More People

By throwing your hat in the podcast ring, you’ll be reaching out to a new pool of potential customers that might have never heard of you before. Research shows over 57 million Americans listened to podcasts in the past month! And anyone worth their salt in the marketing world knows to never underestimate the power of reaching a prospect organically.

There you have it. I hope you’ll see that by starting a podcast, you’re opening up a new avenue for your content. There are opportunities to amplify the content you’ve already created in new and more colorful ways, while adding a new touchpoint for interested prospects to learn more and for existing customers to further deepen their loyalty for your brand.

So if you’re on the fence, thinking about how to get your podcast started or needing help creating a content calendar for future episode topics, we can help!

4 Tips for Banging Out a (Quality) Blog Post

So, you’ve been asked to contribute a blog post to your company’s content corral, and you’re not sure where to begin. Keep calm and read on; it’s easier than you think!

Blog posts are better when you write what you know

Have you ever heard the saying if you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life? The same principle applies here. If you write about a topic you know, it will organically be a more enjoyable read for your audience and easier to write for you. Pick issues where you have some level of expertise or passion. You’ll also want to be sure to include links to other pieces of content about your subject (preferably from other writers who also had a good handle on the matter) for an added layer of credibility and to help your SEO.

Write your blog post for a friend

But, my friends don’t care about the airspeed of an unladen swallow; they won’t read my blog post, you say. Understood, but you need to write the same way you speak. If you write your blog post with a friend in mind, you’re less likely to use jargon and other unnecessary “big words” that only complicate and bog down the content for your reader.

Pepper your post with some eye candy

Don’t forget to give your reader’s eyes a break. According to a study done by Neilsen Norman Group, your audience will only read twenty percent of what they see on your page. Because of that, we want to use visuals to keep their attention and provide them with something memorable to connect your content to. The best types of visuals include:

  • Infographics
  • Charts and Graphs
  • Custom Images

And, as a bonus, if you share your content on your socials and include your image, you’ll enjoy a thirty-seven percent higher engagement rate!

Tell your reader where they can go

This is a lot nicer than it sounds, promise. You’ll want to direct your audience on what their next steps should be, also known as a call to action or CTA. Do you want them to call you for more info, fill out a form field, read another blog post? It’s up to you, but now that you’ve got ‘em, don’t leave ‘em hangin’. This is your chance to create another touchpoint with your audience, be sure to keep that communication going.

Write on!

Millie Bobby Brown Hello GIF by Converse - Find & Share on GIPHY

So there you have it. With these quick tips, you’ll create such unique content for your company’s website your boss will ask you to make it a weekly occurrence! I kidd, I kidd! But hopefully, it’s a little less intimidating and a lot more doable. And, hey, if you are the boss, and you want to take the content creation off your employee’s plate, give O’Keeffe PR a call; we’d love to help you both out!

5 Reasons to Incorporate Video into Your Content Marketing

At O’Keeffe, we like to say that we specialize in helping our clients tell the right story, on the right channel, to the right audience, at the right time. And right now, it’s the right time to incorporate video into your marketing plans in order to stay relevant in the constantly evolving digital landscape. Here are five reasons we recommend adding video into the mix:

Video Improves SEO

Having video content on your webpage improves your SEO. In 2020, 93% of all online experiences began with a search engine. And 75% of those web searches didn’t go past the first page. According to market researcher Forrester, you’re 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of a Google search when you have a video on your website.

Video Increases Social Media Engagement

Videos on Facebook significantly outperform still images. They garner two times the number of clicks and have a 2-3 times higher clickthrough rate. Similarly on Twitter, Tweets with videos are 6x more likely to be retweeted than Tweets with photos and 3x more than Tweets with GIFs. Why is this important? Increased engagement can lead to greater brand awareness, and ultimately a sale.

Video Builds Trust

Video content helps to establish your brand’s voice and create a more trusting environment for viewers.  Users recognize that it takes a lot more effort to put together a video and are more likely to trust what is being said by the brand. It also helps to visually see someone as an ambassador for a brand, to hear their voice and see their personality.

Video Appeals to Consumers

Today, consumers are overloaded with content from brands. Video is the perfect tool to break away from the pack and reach today’s busy consumers. For most, life is too busy to have time to read long product descriptions or dig deep into your services. Video content is a way to cut out the demand for any reading and easily engage all types of audiences. In fact, 98% of consumers say they’ve watched a video to learn more about a product or service.

Video is the Wave of the Future

According to the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, video now accounts for 74% of all online traffic, and this trend toward video-based content consumption is expected to increase. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg concurs, and he has repeatedly stated that his company will be focusing on video for the future. Simply put, creating video content is a non-negotiable if you want your brand to maintain a forward-looking marketing strategy.

Ready, Set, Shoot!

Now that we’ve established that you should incorporate video into your content marketing, it’s time to get started. If you’re looking for more insight or ways to create a video that resonates with customers, reach out to us.

Media Interviews in the Time of COVID

COVID has brought about so many changes to our daily lives, both big and small.  One significant change that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon is that many of us, including the O’Keeffe team, are still working from home. So what do you when you have a media interview? BC, before COVID, you would head to the studio or have an interview on location. Many interviews are being conducted from living rooms, kitchens, or wherever your office is these days. You don’t have the benefit of professionals to set things up and keep it running smoothly. Here are some tips to keep in mind for your next remote interview.

Ask Questions

Ensure that you know how you are supposed to remote in and test the link before the interview. Check your sound and internet connection by having a dry run with a colleague or family member. You’ll want to make sure that you have the producer’s contact information if trouble should arise. If your interview is being conducted using your computer, don’t forget to turn off all sounds and notifications. Finally, as with all interviews, make sure that you are well prepared. Just because you are at home and perhaps more comfortable, you’ll want to be prepared to get in your key talking points.

Location, Location, Location

While you may not be the only one in your household during the day, you will want to find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted by other people or pets. Make sure that the room is well-lit, preferably from natural light, and has a clean, neutral background. It’s fine to have objects on the walls; make sure they aren’t distracting. You’ll want the audience to focus on what you’re saying, not on your surroundings. We’re all familiar with what a great room looks like and those that are epic fails; for a few examples of both, check out RoomRater on Twitter.

Dress the Part

Even though the interview might be taking place in your home, it’s still important to dress appropriately for the audience and your company’s brand persona. While it goes without saying that you should dress professionally, that includes below the waist, unless you want to go viral for something other than your message. We’re all familiar with examples where this wasn’t advice followed and even worse.

Call in the Professionals

One thing that hasn’t changed is the need to be prepared. A media training session will help ensure that you are prepared for various questions and will represent your company well. You’ll learn how to focus on your message and make sure that it comes through in your interview. This type of practice will make you feel more comfortable, and you’ll appear more confident when faced with the camera.

The O’Keeffe team has helped numerous clients over the years prepare for media interviews. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us before your next interview.

Dan O’Keeffe Featured on “Side Hustle City” Podcast

Dan O’Keeffe, CEO & President of O’Keeffe PR, appeared on an episode of “Side Hustle City,” a podcast that shares experiences, provides inspiration and lessons learned with listeners who are working hard to achieve their dreams.

In this episode, Dan shares his perspective on how you can become a successful marketer and grow your business, even if it’s a side hustle.

Communicating Through a Crisis

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. The coronavirus may be the most global and universal crisis business leaders have had to face in their careers, but it is far from the only one. Cyber attacks, the #MeToo movement, and account fraud scandals have forced many businesses – both big and small into crisis management mode.

In times like these you can see the that there are companies that are ready to communicate effectively during a crisis, and those that aren’t.

A crisis doesn’t have to be cataclysmic, like communicating with employees and customers during a once-in-a-generation pandemic. Maybe it’s a workplace accident that highlights your safety protocols. Or a failure to deliver hundreds of products on time to various customers.

Managing Communications in a Crisis

Managing a company through a crisis is about relaying essential information to the right people, efficiently and effectively.

A crisis really multiplies when it catches the attention of the media. Whether that media is social, traditional or otherwise, it can put your problems under an unwanted spotlight.

Planning is Key

The point is to be ready, and to have a plan. Think about the ways in which your company might be susceptible to an unfortunate event. Then map out what might happen, what the ramifications might be and what the public might see or hear. In today’s fast-moving news world, you can expect that news of your crisis will spread quickly so you want to be in control of the message.

Three Basic Rules

The basic rules for crisis communications are simple:

  • Tell the truth.
  • Stay focused on those affected by the crisis.
  • Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know.

Think about the people who need to know what’s happening. People in your company deserve to know first.

Even if your company has managed to avoid the spotlight, you’ll want to be ready for a sudden increase in attention.

In all of these conversations, your goal is to be consistent. Work with one set of facts and statements and return to them often.

Navigating To the End

The goal is to offer as much information as you can, to do it quickly, and to the right audiences. This simplified plan helps you with the other job: solving the problem that created the crisis in the first place.

Finally, know when you need some expert help. When you’re faced with a communications challenge, contact us.

Effect of the Election on Social Media Marketing

It’s down to the final days before the election, and no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall to, we all are anxious for a conclusion. The election seems to be everywhere you turn, and unsurprisingly, that includes social media.

Elections provide their own set of challenges for marketers, even if your brand has nothing to do with the election. Here are three key takeaways for social media that we’ve identified that are particularly important during election season.

Increase in Political Noise

From billboards, to TV ads, to social media, it’s hard to avoid the election. Candidates both cause and experience a huge increase in digital activity as the big day gets closer.  While your brand may have nothing to do with such content, it is still taking up space that could otherwise be filled with your brand. Some of this content is candidate promotion, news stories, or simply conversations about the candidates. Social platform algorithms will favor this content, not just because people want political content, but because it’s the hot topic that everyone is talking about.

Decrease in Organic Performance

Along with this increase in political content comes a corresponding decrease in your brand’s social media performance. Not only are you competing with huge volumes of political content, but other brands are increasing their advertising budgets to rise above the noise. It’s going to be tough to compete in this crowded arena, but polls from the Pew Research Center suggest that 46% of social media users were already feeling exhausted by political posts on social media. And that was a year ago! If users are taking breaks from social media, whether for days, weeks, or months at a time, you can expect to see a dip in organic metrics (reach, engagement and followers).

Increase in Ad Cost

It’s the simple law of supply and demand; as demand for political ad space increases, the cost of those ad placements will increase. Combine this with some users taking a break from social media, and you are going to get much less for your ad dollars.

Home Stretch

The good news for all of us is that the end of the latest political season is coming to a close. In the meantime, you are going to want to level-set your expectations for social performance for the next couple of weeks. And take heart, once this is over, there will be an increased appetite for new and different content. That’s when your brand can make a statement. To learn more about improving your social media and metrics, connect with one of our experts.

Four Tips for Effective Virtual Brainstorms

Collaboration is critical to the creative process. And where collaboration often begins is with brainstorming…that moment when a project team puts their heads together to come up with a solution for the problem at hand. It takes planning to conduct a good brainstorming session. Without proper planning, it can be a colossal waste of time.

Now, imagine the kind of chaos that can come from brainstorming with people in various locations. Due to ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, many, including the O’Keeffe team, continue to operate remotely. We’ve had to adjust the ways we collaborate to ensure we can still meet the demands of the job.

So, how do you replicate the effectiveness of collaborating in person?

1. Distribute the Topic and Goal in Advance

Reviewing the topic and goal at the beginning of the meeting can cost valuable time and just sucks more air out of the room. By distributing the topic and goal in advance, your team will have an opportunity to prepare. Ask each individual to come to the session with a few ideas so you can jump right into the discussion.

2. Set a Time Limit

Be respectful of the team members’ time. With many working from home, it’s easy to unknowingly encroach on personal time or obligations that come from working remotely. Also, keep in mind that teams aren’t always in the same time zone. So, while running a little long might not be a problem for you, it can interrupt someone else’s dinner.

3. Stay Focused

Appoint a facilitator who can establish and maintain focus on the topic at hand. It can be difficult for teams to stay on track for an extended period of time. One topic can lead to another, and the next thing you know your hour is up and you have accomplished very little.

4. Follow Up

It’s important that you don’t let your brainstorm session become a waste of time and energy. It’s essential that you turn those ideas from the brainstorm into actions. The facilitator should follow up with participants to remind them of ideas generated and any “to do” lists for the team to turn those ideas into reality. The O’Keeffe team creates a Google Doc to house all of the information from our meetings so participants can add to the conversation.

Effective virtual brainstorms can be conducted; they just take a little extra time and preparation. Hopefully, these tips can help you get started and stay on track. How is your team navigating brainstorms in the age of Zoom meetings? Let us know!

O’Keeffe PR launches Brand Steward Services; led by former P&G NA Regulatory and Technical External Relations Manager

New service helps organizations evaluate product and business risks and develop action plans to mitigate risks; advises on interaction with government agencies.

O’Keeffe PR, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based content marketing and public relations agency, announces that Rick Hackman, former leader of The Procter & Gamble Company’s (PG) North America Regulatory and Technical External Relations Organization, has joined the O’Keeffe team to launch its Brand Steward Services division.

Brand Steward Services leverages Hackman’s 33 years of experience at P&G to advise companies and organizations in diverse industries on how to identify and assess business risks related to products and services, how to create plans to mitigate risks, and how to interact with government agencies in managing risk and crisis situations, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Enhanced by Hackman’s expertise, O’Keeffe can guide organizations in addressing top threats to their brands, training key personnel, providing scenario planning, and developing respected external stakeholders who will stand by an organization in times of need. 

“The potential for damage to brands seems to lurk around every corner in today’s hyper-social and visualized world. Rick brings an unparalleled mix of experience, wisdom and clarity that can help brands navigate and overcome obstacles that otherwise could sink an organization’s future,” said Dan O’Keeffe, O’Keeffe PR’s CEO and founder. “We’re excited to have Rick join our team and now raise the bar globally for quality and longevity to enterprises and brands.”

During his time with P&G, Hackman led key interactions with critical regulatory agencies, developed trusting relationships with key external stakeholders to build and protect the business, and led crisis preparedness and business continuity planning (BCP) for P&G’s North American organization. Hackman was instrumental in helping to resolve important product safety issues and challenges across a variety of P&G brands. At O’Keeffe, Hackman will help organizations evaluate their product and business risks, develop action plans to mitigate identified risks and develop business-building relationships with professional and technical thought leaders.

Hackman joining O’Keeffe broadens O’Keeffe’s services to include:

  • Guidance for new product launches
  • Reputation management
  • Interactions with government agencies
  • Crisis preparedness and management
  • Risk communication
  • Stakeholder outreach and development
  • Scenario planning
  • Corporate governance
  • Product stewardship
  • Advisory board development
  • Media Relations and internal communications.

About O’Keeffe PR

O’Keeffe PR is a public relations and content marketing agency focused on helping its clients tell the right story, on the right channel, to the right audience, at the right time. Founded nearly two decades, O’Keeffe specializes in both B2C and B2B outreach, with clients ranging from technical organizations to nonprofits to retail, restaurants, and CPG organizations. From media placements to social media engagement, O’Keeffe delivers outcomes that extend beyond the limitations of traditional PR methods and works to become a seamless extension of its clients’ marketing teams. With the right mix of strategy and outreach, O’Keeffe can drive awareness and create opportunities for prospects to convert to customers and even advocates. O’Keeffe aims to be the best partner in storytelling by providing best-in-class strategy and services to its clients.