Are you a storyteller?

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter Brand/Content Marketing and all the other buzzwords are irrelevant. I just finished reading a great article from the Virgin website. But first an apology on behalf of the entire marketing industry... We’re sorry for all the buzzwords. Really. For years you’ve heard “content marketing” and “be your brand” and many other latest fads bandied about in meetings. In fact, at one previous employer, we had bingo sheets we’d take into the conference room to see how quickly we could achieve “product/end user integration,” “ROI” or anything else “at the end of the day.” But really, all those words boil down to what the article highlights: Be a Storyteller 12459read more >

How to Define “PR” in 2016

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter Sometimes I get scared that others in the industry don’t know what PR actually is or stands for. The textbook definition of PR is simply put as Public Relations, the way that you communicate (relate) with your audiences (publics). For 2016, I challenge you to think of PR differently than ever before. Banish words like “spin” or “promote” and instead think about PR as Performance, then Recognition. Meaning, your organization needs to perform, do something, before seeking recognition or media coverage. The articles that practitioners like myself get for your company is called earned media, the “earned” part is very important. PR Pros can help you identify recognition-worthy aspects of your company, but we can’t create it for you out of thin air. As you go about your business this year think about the cool things your company does, such as launching a product, breaking a world record or being the first to provide a service that adds value, and recognize that these are opportunities to communicate with your audiences. PR is more than just getting headlines, it’s telling the stories of your company. Make 2016 a year of action stories for your public relations team to tell. Doing this will help you build your organization’s credibility in 2016.read more >

6 Tips For Using Video to Tell Your Story

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer Producing and using video content effectively has been a popular conversation topic around the Sonnhalter office. I had the opportunity to attend a presentation on storytelling with video by Chris Miller, director of the Akron Digital Media Center and editor of the Akronist.com. I asked Chris if he would be willing to share some ways that video helps tell a story or some tips on using video, here’s what he said: Because we live in such a visual culture, video has become a crucial means to communicate a message. Make sure your video is short and to the point - under three minutes is ideal - and be sure to focus on your audience and your message. The more personal you can make your video, the more effectively it will reach your audience. We relate to personal stories about everyday people. Profile a client or end customer - tell their story in their own words. Keep mobile on your mind when creating your video. Many people may watch it using mobile devices. So, again, shorter is better. Also consider posting Vine and Instagram videos with succinct messages. A compelling story is much more important than technical aspects (like special effects). A well-told story will transcend a lack of resources. Use B-roll (supplementary footage that helps alleviate the "talking head" interviews) and plan out your video by listing shots and locations ahead of time. A little planning will save you a lot of time in the editing process. About Chris: Chris Miller is the director of the Akron Digital Media Center and Akronist.com, as well as a community investment officer at Akron Community Foundation. Chris has more than a decade of digital and print journalism experienceread more >

A Powerful Story

Today we have a post from Rachel Kerstetter, Sonnhalter’s PR Engineer. Working in public relations gives me the opportunity to tell stories. I get to tell stories about company histories, professional successes, how products came into being, etc. Stories are a powerful tool in getting messages across. I’ve been thinking about safety since June is National Safety Month and one powerful story stood out to me. Here’s the headline: Laborer Dies in Trench Collapse and Lives to Tell the Tale It compelled me to read further and it brought me to a more in-depth account of Eric Giguere’s story about how not focusing on safety cost him his life and the tough decisions that those around him had to make, which ultimately brought him back. That article is here. Basically his team had been working in an unsupported trench without incident for quite some time, then it unexpectedly collapsed and buried him. The people around him had to make tough decisions about how to dig him out and then administered CPR. One of Eric’s statements about safety stuck with me: “I’m a guy who got comfortable doing things the wrong way.” By not taking the proper safety precautions, they were saving time on the project. But the cost was great. Eric’s story is powerful and carries more weight than statistics can. It’s not a horror story to scare people into following the rules rather, it’s a lesson in consequences for taking short cuts and an example of tough decisions, made quickly in a time of crisis.read more >