In this episode Trevor Young and Dionne Lew explain why they set up a content-driven public communications firm, Zoetic Agency, and provide a glimpse into where they see the world of PR heading.

They discuss why they have placed social and content at the heart of their new agency rather than bolting them on as 'nice-to-haves', plus explain why client training and education is a key part of their business.

Trevor and Dionne chat about the roadblocks for brands in creating content. Many businesses struggle with a lack of time, producing bulk content is one way to address this.

They also discuss the power of live broadcasting in humanising organisations. Indeed, this episode of PR Leads was live streamed through Facebook and will continue to be so.

Too often businesses publish hackneyed content that looks similar to everyone else's. It is important to use an organisation's people to share ideas and insights and tell personal stories that are unique.

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Social media strategist Sally Falkow recently published an infographic entitled '15 Digital Skills for PR and Marketing'.

In this episode of PR Leads - part 2 of a conversation on this topic - Trevor Young and Dionne Lew discuss the remaining nine of Sally's list of skills, digging in with some detail as to why these new skill-sets are important for PR professionals, and in doing so provide context and examples from the trenches of modern public relations practice.

The nine remaining sigital skill-sets are:

  • Social advertising 
  • Influencer Relationships
  • Media Analysis 
  • Digital Media Relations
  • Basic Coding
  • Metrics
  • Google Analytics
  • Digital Dashboard
  • Report ROI

CHECK OUT PART ONE OF THIS EPISODE

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Social media strategist Sally Falkow recently published an infographic entitled '15 Digital Skills for PR and Marketing'.

In this episode of PR Leads - the first for 2017 - Trevor Young and Dionne Lew discuss the first six of Sally's list of skills, digging in with some detail as to why these new skill-sets are important for PR professionals, and in doing so provide context and examples from the trenches of modern public relations practice.

The six digital skill-set are:

  • Monitor social media
  • Keyword research
  • SEO
  • Visual literacy
  • Original image creation
  • Video

Dionne and Trevor cover skill-sets 7-15 inclusive in the next episode of PR Leads (#13).

 

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This is the final PR Leads episode for 2016. It's the time of year when plenty of people in the industry get on their prediction freak on: What's going to be the next big thing next year? 

Usually such predictions revolve around hot new technologies, but Dionne Lew and Trevor Young eschew all that in this episode, preferring to focus on the basics.

They kick off with content - a topic that has dominated previous PR Leads episodes because of the massive opportunity it provides in-house communicators.

When it comes to producing content for your organisation's owned media and social channels, both Dionne and Trevor agree brands are going to have to lift the bar.

 

There's just too much template stuff being churned out, almost by rote. It's not just a case of being targeted and useful to your audience; there's a bigger picture at play - content needs to adhere to a purpose that's unique to the organisation that produced it.

As Dionne advises: "Take a break, step back ... ask yourself why you're here; what's the purpose, what's the vision, what do you want to achieve." 

Trevor discusses his concept of 'respectful reminders', and why influence, reputation and trust will continue to be big-ticket items in the year ahead, while Dionne explains the potency of major premium content pieces (i.e. research) that will not only get noticed but also potentially create impact over the year as a result of being repurposed or 'chunked down' for different channels.

"It's about leveraging that key expertise that you have ... in ways that are going to resonate," says Dionne.

Dionne and Trevor's wish for 2017 (not necessarily a prediction) is that it becomes the year of human communications and the flight to quality in terms of more meaningful content being produced by brands.

Understand the new technologies that are emerging by all means, but don't be distracted by them; instead, focus on humanity, quality and thoughtfulness, and understand (and reflect in everything you do) your company's 'why'. 

 

Brands mentioned: Firebrand Talent, Buffer, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.

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Dionne Lew and Trevor Young discuss the importance of thought leadership in business and why it's critical PR teams work with senior executives and internal subject matter experts to ensure personal profiling efforts are executed with purpose and strategic intent. 

But what social and publishing tools should aspiring enterprise-based thought leaders use?

Traditionally writing for the company blog was the go-to option but other platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium continue to find favour because of their ease of use and built-in audience. Medium in particular is gaining traction with business and community leaders as a place to share ideas, insights and perspectives on big picture issues. Indeed, a number of companies are now also starting to use the platform to house their corporate blog (Basecamp is one such example).

And which of the plethora of social channels should aspiring thought leaders consider using?

Too often people are making judgements on outdated thinking when it comes to social media, which begs questions such as: Is the way we look at the different social channels still the same as a few years back? Are we missing out on opportunities becuase we continue to cling to those perceptions?

Dionne discusses how she has changed her opinion about Facebook for business, and highlights the new Facebook Workplace intiative.

She also explains how business leaders that are not active on social media are missing out on "those unexpected synergies and insights" that, she believes, can alter your thinking or the way you run your business.

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Content marketing is a massive opportunity for PR and communications professionals, but is also brings with it its own set of challenges. 

This is particularly the case for large organisations that are constantly being pitched content ideas from a cross-section of their agency roster, including PR firms, ad agencies, social media consultancies, digital marketing agencies ... even SEO companies are actively pitching content ideas!

Building on previous conversations around the future of social media, Dionne Lew and Trevor Young explore where content marketing is headed, from a PR and communications perspective. Some of the topics they touch on include: 
  • How content is in danger of becoming an "overwhelming pile of nothingness"
  • Why just producing content for content's sake is a mug's game 
  • The importance of having a strategy to guide your content efforts
  • Why motherhood statements shouldn't be considered 'content'
  • The amazing opportunity webinars provide PR teams
  • Creating content where the audience is versus having your own digital home base
  • Building a brand space on Medium.com 
  • Contextual content that serves the greater good (and why you can't go wrong being useful and helpful)
  • The importance of pushing the envelope and taking a risk with your content 
  • Using content to take people behind the velvet rope of your organisation
  • Creating your own philosophy around content marketing 
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Social media continues to evolve and disrupt in equal measure. But where is it heading, and what does that mean for public relations practitioners?

Co-host of PR Leads Dionne Lew recently delivered a seminar presentation on the future of social media, and in preparation she posted a video on Facebook asking:
Should we stop calling social media, 'social media' or just realise that it includes a whole lot more now than when it first erupted nearly 14 years ago?

Instant feedback provided to Dionne was that many people had been asking the same question. A lot of mixed views on whether channels like private messaging apps should be counted (hard to get metrics) but also a lot of overlap on the tags we need to lose (new, social, digital) it's all 'marketing' or 'it's all media'. 

In this episode of PR Leads, Dionne and Trevor Young aka 'The PR Warrior' delve into this broad topic; their chat includes the future of Twitter, 'dark social channels and the issue of privacy, and the growth of one-way broadcast of marketing messages on the main social platforms.

They also touch on the human limitation of time and capacity to consume the torrent of digital content they're confronted with on a daily basis, and how this is influencing their behaviour on social channels.
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Rita Zonius is the Head of Internal Digital Communications at ANZ Bank.


Rita chats with Dionne Lew and Trevor Young about her role at ANZ and how the bank is increasingly using digital and social media for its communications, with a skew to what's happening internally.

The conversation also touches on ANZ's Notable Women program and Blue Notes, a publication of ANZ's newsroom, featuring insights, opinion, research and news about the economy, financial services and investment.
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It's critical PR leaders keep themselves up to date with what's happening in the worlds of media, marketing and communications. That's easier said than done as these areas that are changing at alarming rates.

In part one of this episode of PR Leads, Dionne Lew and Trevor Young discuss why it's important PR professionals read widely in order to gain ideas and insights from a broad spectrum of information sources.

Being able to think strategically is critical for PR leaders today, to be able to 'join the dots' of a challenge or issue, cut through the noise and get to the heart of the matter creatively, aided by insight.

In part two of the podcast, Dionne and Trevor discuss the books, blogs and podcasts they regularly read or listen to, including: 
  • The Cluetrain Manifesto (Book)
  • Krista Tippett's On Being podcast
  • New Rules of Marketing & PR and Web Ink Now blog by David Meerman Scott 
  • Scott Monty's The Full Monty newsletter
  • Brand Newsroom podcast hosted by James Lush, Sarah Mitchell and Nic Hayes
  • Brand Storytelling with Rakhal Ebeli
  • Jay Baer's Convince and Convert blog (including Social Pros podcasts)
  • Inside PR and For Immediate Release (on the FIR Podcast Network)
  • Ian Cleary's Razor Social blog
  • Social Media Examiner blog
  • Optimize by Lee Odden (book)
  • Seth Godin (books and blogs)
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Publishing compelling content is a powerful way for any company or organisation to build public recognition for their brand, product, service or issue.

In an era where the public’s trust in business, government and media remains at worrying low levels, forward-thinking marketing and PR teams are turning to content as a means to not only differentiate their brand in the marketplace, but also better engage customers and stakeholders.

Now, you could say content creation has always figured highly in the PR professional's remit, and you'd be right. But today, we have the tools and the technology to tell our own stories and build our own audiences, versus simply relying on third-party media outlets.

While the ease of use and availability of online publishing platforms creates massive opportunities for brands and their comms teams, equally it presents challenges as well.
  • What sort of content should we be creating?
  • How much content should we be publishing?
  • What should we be creating content about?
  • How should we distribute our content?
  • What about social media? And where does media and influencer relations fit into the content equation?
In this broad-ranging discussion, Trevor Young and Dionne Lew focus on how PR can use content to build visibility, influence, reputation and trust for the brand they represent.

They chat about utility-based content versus thought leadership content, and why 'owned media' content is critical today when it comes to media relations.

Brands mentioned in this episode include Umpqua Bank, ANZ Bank, tech startup Buffer, paint manufacturer Farrow & Ball, Melbourne-based Mailguard and online wallet retailer, Bellroy.


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