Category Archives: Public Relations

Channeling Your Inner IMC

What is IMC?

In my own words, integrated marketing communications (IMC) is mixed strategic communication efforts meant to build meaningful and lasting relationships with customers.  Companies use IMC strategies to ensure a single message is consistent across all marketing channels that reach all audiences.  The problem is the assumption that each audience should hear the same message.  Instead, a different message should be crafted for each audience and then the appropriate channel to reach that audience should be chosen.

Artist by Verprikov

Concept art by Verprikov on DevianArt.com

Why should you care?

Think of your own personal IMC program on a smaller scale.  By integrating your existing social media portals, you can reach a larger audience.  Social media is a HUGE advantage when producing strategic communications online.  If you’re already established online via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and etc, then this process will be easier.  If you’re new to social media, it may take some time to grow a network.

Beginning your IMC program

Most of us don’t have access to a multi-million dollar budget so we’ll rely on free online resources.  The tools available online are our best bet at reaching an audience with a message about our product (artwork) or service and integrating that message throughout our online channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)  Below is a list of social media and digital marketing tips found Jay Baer’s blog.

  • Build credibility before you sell via social media
  • Clean up your landing pages (aka profile/home pages)
  • Create an open forum and ask for feedback (this helps build relationships)
  • Engage in other online communities to establish yourself
  • Offer valuable information your audience will appreciate
  • Avoid too much self-promotion
  • Demonstrate passion across all platforms

    by Krazyy1 at DeviantArt.com

    Still Life photo of a science beaker

Measuring Success

Believe it or not, there are free internet tools to help measure success!!  Some calculate how many unique (or new first-time site viewers) visitors to a blog, how long a visitor spends on a web site or on a specific page of a website and there are even tools that illustrate the amount of traffic from one of your platforms to another (how many people find the link to your online art gallery on your Facebook page and click through to it).  Below is a list of online measurement tools that I’ve used to track my own blog success.

  • Technorati– a blog search engine and directory that tracks the authority and influence of blogs
  • Google Analytics– illustrates how people find websites, how they spend time on them and how to enhance their experience
  • Google Adwords– identifies most searched and  most relevant keywords that allow search engines to find your sites
  • Crazy Egg–  provides visual data about your web site visitors
  • Google Alerts– collects all online articles mentioning your chosen keywords, it’s a way to monitor buzz

The Music of Macabre and Building a Brand

Musical Nightmares

This week has been all about the music for me.  Nine hours of sleep doesn’t cut it at this point of exhaustion.  In order to stay focused and keep my sanity, I listened to a lot of music.   Fortunately, I came across one of my all-time favorite childhood soundtracks: Walt Disney’s Fantasia.  Below is a video of Night on Bald Mountain. This scene from Fantasia captures a terrifying night in which Chernabog’s demons come out to play in the dark.  It is one of my absolute favorite songs from one of my childhood obsessions.  (I used to pretend that I was the wizard’s apprentice and ran around demanding the broom to do my chores.)

Musical Branding Trends

Masked Band Members

Slipknot Band Photo from Blastro

Since I was listening to so many different bands, I noticed how different they all look.  Some fit the “scene” look,  others wear masks or make-up, and a few are just  cartoon characters.  It got me thinking about branding and reputation for musicians.  Exactly how do they figure out what the best look will be for their market?  Or is it that they actually dress and act like they do in real life?  Maybe it’s a combination of both.

Music branding trends come and go, but there are a few that may just stick.  Mike Boris, svp/executive music producer at McCann Erickson says that social networking with advertising, marketing and public relations companies help build a foundation that a band can leap from.

“The biggest trend [in 2009] was the use of social networking: Artists are being discovered and in turn working with brands. Bands are also becoming popular well before they get a label deal. If a band has an online following of a few hundred thousand fans, it is like a focus group. With the whole music business changing, artists are looking to our industry more than ever, and beyond that 30-second spot, bands can synergize with our brands like never before. (Via Web films, behind the scene’s footage, additional songs, product giveaways, contests, etc.)”

Band Photo from MP3Lyrics.com

Hollywood Undead poses by a gate

Another trend that I’ve noticed has been the use of songs that aren’t on the Top 40 list for TV commercials.  A lot of my own favorite bands and songs have been featured in automotive commercials or spots for Apple products.  Commercials are a great way to get exposure.

Managing Reputation is Important

When there’s not much you can do in the way of big name connections, you always have your online presence.  Managing your online reputation is more than just replying to comments, updating information, and talking about the location of your next gig.  It’s about engaging with your audiences, whether they be fans, industry leaders, or venue owners.  Below you’ll find a list of tips for managing your online brand and reputation.   Unless your band is one who wants a bad rep and plays the villain, these next few bullet points will be useful.

  • Let Someone Else Say It- If you can find a Tweet, blog, or article by someone else that captures what you’d like to say, link to it.  It’s better to align with a third party than to push all of your messages at people.  Pretty soon, they won’t listen anymore.
  • Unify Digital Properties- Link your MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Deliscious page and any other social networking sites together.  It’s an effective way to reach a broader audience, and it’s easier to update and monitor everything.
  • Leave Your Ego Behind- When hecklers and D-bags attack you with insults or threats, it’s best to either ignore and delete the messages or CALMLY respond without any hint that it affected you.  Remember that the internet is a free marketplace and anyone will be able to see your responses…
  • Know Your Audience- Your audience is made up of different segments.  It’s impossible to cater to all of them at one time, so we have to divide them up.  One group may not respond the same way as another group so it’s important to tailor messages according to characteristics of each group.
  • Don’t Wallow or Gloat- If you win a music competition or suck it at a tour opener, don’t obsess over it.  Airing dirty laundry or repeated self-praising will only cause people to lose respect for you.  Just keep it simple.

A Public Relations Digest for Artists

Artists can use the Internet to build a personal brand, carve out a niche, and to conduct business.  No matter the industry, everyone should incorporate public relations into their plans.  Social media is a great way for artists to connect to fans, fellow artists, and potential buyers.  Relying on mainstream media to increase popularity is about as productive as baking cupcakes by sunlight (not very productive).  Social networking sites like Delicious, Facebook, and Twitter can help artists create an online presence, get socially involved in the industry, and stay up-to-date on current news and trends.

"Public Relations" by fb 101

"Public Relations" by fb 101 can be found at DeviantArt.com

PR Rundown for Artists

Neil McKenzie’s post about PR for artists distinguishes between public relations and advertising.  The post lists public relations opportunities for artists to connect with their key publics and ways to monitor current PR efforts.  Below is an excerpt from his blog.

Some of the areas public relations address are:

  • Communication between you and your audience(s) and target customers
  • A bridge between you and the media
  • Setting up speaking engagements and involvement with public causes or charities
  • Positioning you as an expert in your particular field by being quoted and sought after
  • Building rapport with your stakeholders such as customers, employees, critics and the public
  • Refining your social media management and engagement
  • Developing third party endorsements for your art, company or organization
  • Crisis management (if you do things right you will probably not need this one – think BP and the Gulf oil spill)

Some examples of how you can use PR to tell what is going on in your world:

  • New projects, art or products you have developed or you are currently working on
  • Your shows, exhibits and where you will be
  • The hiring of new employees or opening a new studio or retail location
  • Awards or honors you have received.
  • Collaboration with other individuals or organizations
  • Community activities or groups that you are involved with
  • Panels and group discussions you participate in
  • Feature articles about you and your work
By Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Trust Agents cover

Pre-Campaign Considerations

Before jumping into your online branding campaign, take some time to do research.  Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents is the perfect book for anyone who is new to social media.  Most of us are familiar with social networking, but social media as a whole offer great opportunity to create an online presence while connecting to people.  I read Trust Agents last semester in my Media Relations and Publicity class because we were required to do a book review.  After I finished the book, I had a much broader view of social media, but I also had a much more focused understanding.  So if you’re  interested in my review, let me know and I’ll send it to you.  I’d recommend it to those who are new to social media or interested in building an online presence via public relations.

Macabre

Since this post is dedicated to PR efforts, I wanted to attempt to tie it into macabre.  Most macabre work can be described as shocking, taboo, or some other word that expresses an uncomfortable feeling.  This alone could be cause for publicity in mainstream media, but who wants to wait around for watermelon raindrops?  I know I’m not going to rely on some reporter to find me.  After conducting some research, it’s quite clear that most people are unaware of what macabre is.  I mean, the first few links when typing “macabre” into Google are from definition websites.  We need to band together and connect with people.  Macabre is something to talk about, it’s something to be proud of.  Maybe it’s time for some zombie picket signs to help us break out of movie and video game entertainment.  I say we push for an American macabre museum!!  Who’s with me?!

Zombie Vector by Mark Mandu

Zombie Vector by Mark Mandu