PR Advanced 2015: Content Creation & Viral Marketing Session Recap

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to participate in my first speaking engagement at PR Advanced: Breaking Boundaries – Boston University Public Relations Student Society of America’s Regional Conference.

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Not only was this exciting because it is something I have always wanted to do, but I also had the privilege to speak with a fellow strategist at Jack Morton, and also one of the smartest people I know, Ben Grossman.
(Also, we were matching in our gingham button-ups – the strategy uniform at Jack… obviously. But seriously, total coincidence).

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Since the conference was about the integration of marketing and communications our session focused on content creation and viral marketing. Though our live presentation featured some fun viral videos, you can find our presentation here:

PR Advanced 2015: Content Creation & Viral Marketing from Brianna Vieira

During the course of our presentation, we set up the landscape for what viral marketing is and what it is not, analyzed viral campaigns from 2014 while giving key lessons and takeaways, and finally showed how content goes from the mind of a creative to its various platforms.
Here are 6 best practices in getting content to go viral we outlined in our presentation:
  1. Brand Value Trumps Virality: To be successful, content does not have to “go viral” in a traditional sense. Instead, brands should start by defining their business objective, then deciding how content, the way it’s created and how it’s distributed meets that objective.
  2. Content That Captures More Than Attention: While ‘viral’ content of the past has been focused on capturing the attention of users and their friends, today, content is capable of much more. Brands are getting ahead by creating content that captures more than a like, comment or share: they’re capturing leads.
  3. Value Proposition Prompts Pass-Along: Consumers pass along content to help it go viral when brands strike a chord with the value proposition of taking that action. In other words, “What’s in it for me?” For some content, simply sharing a funny or poignant piece of content that friends will want to talk about is enough. However, to grease the wheels, some brands find new ways to add value to consumers in exchange for their willingness to share content.
  4. Social Reach Through Social Causes: There are several ways to encourage pass-along and, thus, virality ranging from humor to shock value. One of the best ways to ensure share-ability to align with a social cause that an audience cares about.
  5. Partnerships Energize Content: Sometimes, content partners can speak to the value of brands in a way that is better or fresher than the way brands can represent themselves. In addition, sometimes these partners bring new audiences to brands which they would have never had access to before.
  6. Know Mechanic Nirvana: Sometimes, the technical mechanics of how an initiative works is as or more important than the creative idea itself. In an extraordinarily complicated media landscape filled with technicalities, it can pay off to have perfectly balanced initiative inner-workings.
Though I was a bit terrified at first and super tired from staying up too late finishing my presentation and practicing, it was an incredible first speaking experience. I know this is only the beginning of my speaking experiences and I can’t wait to see which one is next!


Send More Smiles

If you’re on this page it’s either because I directed you here from a letter I sent you, or a friend has directed you here from one of their letters. Either way, I hope the letter you received put a smile on your face!

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Looking back on last year, I’ve come to realize I spent way too much time focusing on and stressing about trivial things in life. I was blessed with a lot of opportunity in 2014 and had many friends, family members and other important people in my life help me along the way, but I never took the time to actually appreciate everything they did for me. I was too concerned about the next best thing, caring what people thought of me, and starring at social media comparing my life to everyone else’s lives rather than being present in my own.
This year, I want to take the time to let the people I care about most know how much they matter to me. Specifically, do something special to make them smile – everyone deserves that. That’s where this whole #sendmoresmiles idea comes from. As mentioned in my letters, I hope you all share your letters on instagram using the hashtag #sendmoresmiles to inspire others send more smiles to the ones they love.

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While work and school are important in life, it is not the only thing that makes up your life. I never really understood this completely until I began to look back and think about some of my favorite moments from last year, and most of them had nothing to do with work or school. This made me realize it’s time to start focusing on the little, beautiful things about life, specifically those special moments that I share with people – not my computer, phone, email, tv, social media, etc.
I recently read a book called, The Power of Small: Why Little Things Make All the Difference by Linda Kaplan Thaler that helped me realize all of this, too – a really great read about the importance of paying attention to the little things people do for you. Sometimes these types of books come off as preachy, but this tells stories of people who have done little things and how far their small actions have taken them. I’d recommend it to anyone whom relates to this blog post.

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Anyway, if this post leaves you with anything, I hope it reminds you not to discount the little things in life. Even if that little thing is just bringing a smile to someone’s face.

Remember, as one of my favorite songs says: You’re never fully dressed without a smile : )



“There’s no place like Jack”

I am so excited and proud to share some big news today….

I have a job!!!

After I graduate I will be working at Jack Morton Worldwide as a Junior Associate Strategist. I’m so overjoyed by this opportunity and for what the future holds. All of my hard work for the past four years has paid off immensely and allowed me to take advantage of an amazing opportunity.
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While a lot of people have told me how lucky I am to be in this position, I have to admit that it was not luck at all, but rather the result of hard work. I truly believe that if you work hard, opportunity will come knocking at your door. Though my journey to get to this point was not easy – I sacrificed many nights going out with friends, jam-packed my semesters with classes and internships, joined more activities than any college student should – the reason I’m at this point is because I had a fire inside of me to keep moving forward and a passion for learning as much as I could along the way.
What I’m trying to say in all of this is that if you are hardworking, passionate and motivated, your efforts will be noticed and you will be rewarded for your hard work – it’s hard to tell when it will happen and it might not always be right away, but as long as you don’t give up you’ll get there.
I would have never guessed I would be in the position I am right now, and there were times when I felt as if I would never get a job. I’ve made mistakes, been rejected from internships, struggled to find internships and been told I didn’t have enough experience. However, all that did not stop me, and it shouldn’t stop you.
Ultimately, I like to believe that only you can make your own success in life. So, if you know what you want, chase after it and don’t let anything get in your way – I promise it will pay off in the long run.



Words for Wednesday: Make Your Own Decisions

Over the past couple of weeks I have been struggling with making a big decision in my life. I will admit, I know I am being very vague with details in this post, but I think it is important to share some lessons I’ve learned through being faced with making a choice in life.
With any big decision there comes a lot of mixed emotions; anxiety, fear of regret, but also excitement for what lies ahead. When you get down to the root of it though, tough choices are hard to make because ultimately, neither option seems to be outright better than the other one. If you there was a choice that was better than the other one, there would be no hard decision to be made. So, how do you make a decision? For me, it has been a lot of asking for guidance, opinions, thoughts and predictions about where my choices will leave me.
However, I’ve realized that even after listening to all of my peers’, professors’ and family’s advice, I’m never completely satisfied or closer to making a decision with their input. Why? Because I haven’t been digging inside of myself to figure out what is really important to me.
I had this revelation after stumbling upon an old TED Talk about making hard choices. In the TED talk below, Philosopher Ruth Chang explains that the “secret to making hard choices comes from the reasons we create ourselves.” Through her talk, she offers a “powerful new framework” for understanding who we truly are.

After listening to Chang’s TED talk and thinking about the advice I have been given, I realized that even though big life decisions seem complicated on the outside, it really just comes down to deciding what is right for you.
 A way to understand is what is right for you is to think about what makes you happy. The one piece of advice I have been continuously left with by whomever I ask is this:

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While it seems obvious, I can tell you from firsthand experience it’s difficult to try and evaluate what specifically makes you happy. The nice part is, your gut is usually able to distinguish pretty easily what makes you happy. Although there is no set formula, if you listen to your gut and don’t look to other people for the answers, you’re likely to make a good decision.
I know, I should follow my own advice and just make a decision… To be continued…



Do’s and Don’ts of Business Cards

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As a PR practitioner, you are your most important client. Having business cards is an essential tool for marketing yourself for your career. It is a simple, inexpensive way to connect with influential people you meet, such as future employers.
All it takes is discovering a simple way to give people your contact information all at once. Simply handing out business cards after meeting with influential people in the industry, or after an event, can lead to furthering a conversation and, hopefully, furthering your career.
That being said, I am in dire need of new business cards. What will I look for in new business cards? Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow when creating your business cards:

Business Card Do’s:

– Include important contact information. Your business card should include your full name, email address, website/portfolio (if you have one), and phone number(s). In public relations, it is also common to include links to your professional networking accounts, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
– Keep it simple. There is no need to include everything on your card. While it might be tempting to list out all of your skills or accomplishments, those things are best saved for your résumé or website.
– Make your information clear. When formatting your business card, use one or two readable fonts. Using too many fonts makes for an ugly business card. Choose simple, classic fonts to make sure your information is clear and easy to read. Also, make sure you don’t cluster all of your information on the center of the card. It is more appealing to the eye to see a balance of text.
– Be creative. Recently, creative business cards have become a way for people to express themselves and tell other people more about themselves than just the given information on the card. Let employers see another side of you. This tactic is a good way to make an impression. For example, someone in the music industry may have their information on a business card that looks like a cassette tape, just as the image above shows. Would you be more likely to remember and call someone who handed you a plain white business card or a business card designed to mimic a tape? I think the answer speaks for itself.
– Write notes on the back. Want someone to remember something specific that’s not on your card? Write a note on the back before handing over your card. This tactic is used a lot in sales and marketing to convince people to buy a product. If you had a special conversation with someone, leaving a quick note might inspire future contact.

Business Card Don’ts:

– Be over-the-top. Even though creativity is a style choice for business cards, make sure that it makes sense. Don’t just add designs and patterns that have nothing to do with what represents you. It might be strange, but think of yourself as a brand. You want to make sure your business card is an accurate representation of what you are selling.
 Include too much information. As stated above, keeping it simple is best. If people want to know more, they’ll contact you.
– Keep outdated cards. If your contact information changes, don’t just scratch out the phone number or email address. It looks tacky and unprofessional. Instead, order new ones, or if you are in a time crunch, make your own.
– Forget to carry your cards with you. Whenever you are going to an event, whether it is a conference, interview, lecture or anything else where you might be meeting important people in the industry, bring your business cards. Since they are small enough, you can stick 10-20 business cards in your wallet or bag. That way you are always prepared!
How can you get your own business cards? There are several websites that offer free cards, for example, Vistaprint.com. But be sure to remember these tips when creating your own cards!
Do you have any other sites you use for business cards? Share them in the comments below!