Public Relations Society or America Northeast District

Spring-Summer 2016 PRXNE News

PRSA NED Conference 2016 News

PRXNE Conference News

Come to Boston and You Might End Up in Indianapolis!

As part of the PRXNE 2016 Conference in Boston, we will be raffling off one free registration to the PRSA International Conference in Indianapolis this fall!  This signature PRSA event offers amazing professional development opportunities, with thousands of colleagues and more than 150 industry experts from all career levels, sectors, work environments and industries.  They'll all gather in Indianapolis for three days of practical insight and networking from October 23-25, 2016.  

This year's keynotes include Marketing Maverick Scott Stratten;  Former White House Chief Information Officer (CIO) Theresa Payton and pioneering U.S. Astronaut and Navy Test Pilot Scott Kelly, just back from a record-setting year aboard the International Space Station.  

A couple of things.  First you must be present to win. (That means no sneaking out of the conference early! Not that you would....).  The raffle is for conference registration only.  The winner will be responsible for their own travel and lodging. Registration must be confirmed 30 days in advance of the conference, otherwise the prize will be passed to another individual whose name will be drawn as a back-up.  Finally, we ask that the winner report back via a blog post that can be shared through the district communication channels. Finally, the registration is non-transferable, not convertible and there is no cash value. 

    

PRXNE Sponsor Profile

Fast5: Q&A with 72Point.US’s Vice President of Strategy & Client Services Mindy GibsonMindy-HighRes.jpg

Bill Gates was right. Content is king.
 
It’s been 20 years since Bill Gates published his infamous “Content is King” essay on Microsoft’s website, accurately predicting “…content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” Today, content marketing firms like 72Point are engaging audiences, inspiring earned media and creating points of entry to businesses everywhere.  
 
We recently caught up with 72Point’s Vice President of Strategy & Client Services Mindy Gibson and asked her about the process of creating content and feeding the media beast.
 
Why should infographics be a part of my strategy? 
 It’s actually not about whether infographics should exclusively or specifically be included in your strategy. It’s about the broader category of visual assets – and the “why” is digital media demand. Each visual type - infographic, video, animation or interactive -contributes to digital news outlets’ success metrics, such as dwell time. Some outlets require stories be accompanied by videos because they enable pre-roll ad insertion. 
 
Visual assets help sell the content story of the story too, as it tells the story from multiple angles and can determine which outlets you’re pitching, and what your budget can support. We advise all our clients that integrating visuals increases the likelihood their story will get picked up, and the absence of visuals decreases their chances.
 
How can a PR poll be used to increase brand awareness? 
A PR survey is first and foremost about news generation, with earned media as its primary goal. A survey-supported news story is therefore no different in its role increasing brand awareness than any other type of earned media initiative.  The better the concept behind the story, the more media earned. Surveys have the advantage of being conversation starters. The more talk-ability, the more “legs” the story will have with other media outlets and, so importantly, as part of the social conversation. 
 
Are PR surveys only for earned media news generation or do they have paid media applications? 
While PR surveys have been traditionally used for earned media coverage, the basic principles can certainly be applied to creating paid media content.  The results of a compelling survey with reference to brand but not banging readers over the head with brand help branded content and other paid advertising feel less “branded” which is a good thing. One thing we’ve learned with the growth of paid media is that consumers do not want to be “sold to”.  They want to be informed, entertained and engaged but not sold. This is particularly true for younger consumers. Research is informative, and if done well, the results can be entertaining and engaging. We see our clients reaching to us more often for content to support paid media initiatives, and can track social media shares resulting directly from the story and assets and provide that information in our post-project coverage books but we don’t dissect it nor do we track the social media initiatives our clients control using the same content.
 
Is email still relevant in the age of social media? 
At the risk of giving my age away, I am not a millennial and so grew up in business before social media had business applications and long before it had any life application at all.  Without intended reference to any current political story, in a business setting, email is absolutely relevant. Email is how I communicate regularly with colleagues and clients of ALL ages and generations. It is still the most efficient, effective and private method of business communication – if anything is actually really private. I do not foresee myself IM’ing business communications. That said, the use of email for social communication is already irrelevant to younger adults and future business applications of email may not be far behind – whether I like it or not.
 
Mindy Gibson is a Boston University grad, and a strategic and creative media executive with domestic, multicultural and global content and communications experience in charge of strategy and client relations at 72Point.US. 
 
 

Paul-Larrabee-1233.jpgFAST 5: Q&A with Corning Place Communications Managing Director and Executive Vice President, Paul W. Larrabee, APR: Five Things to Know About Integrating Strategic Communications and Advocacy Campaigns

 
There has been significant debate in New York lately about the blurred lines that exist when the power of public relations and government affairs are combined to create an integrated strategic campaign.  As a result media relations specialists, political consultants and multi-tool lobbyists are all playing on the same field and intensified the spotlight on the public relations pro. 
 
We sat down this week with Paul Larrabee, APR, Corning Place Communications Managing Director and Executive Vice President, to learn more about integrating strategic communications and advocacy campaigns.
 
1. What is public affairs?
In state capitals from Albany to Sacramento, legislative bodies pass budgets and laws that have serious consequences for groups ranging big banks and insurance companies to not-for-profits and trade associations, and everything in between. These organizations frequently require the benefits of a campaign to elevate profile and identity, usually through the media and ultimately that touches legislators who will be ask to vote yea; or nay. The method of influencing these audiences and how it relates to government action is public affairs. 

2. How is public affairs different from public relations?
Public affairs and public relations are close tactical cousins – in essence two branches of the same strategic tree.  Both employ similar tactics like using earned media to advance a point of view, or employing social media to rally support for a cause and engage an audience. 
 
However one of the biggest differences is the element of time and the limitations of space. If you’re trying to help a client get a bill passed (or defeated), and the legislature is due to adjourn you must act decisively to meet your objective. Additionally, you’re competing against the merits of thousands of other bills – and the attention of a few coveted journalists dedicated to reporting state government and politics. 
 
 
3. What does an integrated communications and advocacy campaign look like?
An integrated campaign involves aligning a communications strategy with the government affairs staff and the legislative calendar. Corning Place Communications employs a unique branded strategy which it has dubbed: Affirmative, Layered and Sustained messaging. 
 
4. What are the components of the Affirmative, Layered and Sustained approach?
It’s something that we came up with to help our clients more easily understand our achievement-oriented method. Affirmative means, say what you’re for; rather than what you’re against. Layered: say it across various platforms including traditional channels, such as print and broadcast outlets, as well as through the geometrically expanding social media community that relies on video content. And, sustained means committing to a message and campaign duration that will put you in a position to achieve your goals. 
 
5. How is public affairs changing?
One of the main ways public affairs and public relations are changing is through the continuing downsizing of newsrooms across the country. With fewer reporters, on tighter deadlines, tasked with retaining readers and viewers, there is a trend to publish the entertaining or outrageous, rather than the meaningful.  Additionally, journalists are expected to write and file stories – and post social media teasers so quickly that the ability ask the additional question, or expand the complex thought can be is limited. These changes present significant challenges for the way public affairs firms execute campaigns and only agencies that learn to adapt will be able to continue to serve their clients in the future. 
 
Paul has led Corning Place Communications since 2011 following a 22-year career in state government. During that time, Paul served three Governors, an Attorney General and the state Assembly leadership as a senior communications strategist and spokesman. His appointments included positions such as First Deputy Commissioner for the Office of General Services (OGS) and Deputy Press Secretary to the Governor.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the State University of New York at Albany. 
 
Corning Place Communications is an award-winning full-service strategic communications and public affairs firm based in Albany, NY specializing in developing integrated strategies incorporating media relations, public affairs, strategic planning, social media management, crisis mitigation and organizational development to provide effective, achievement-oriented client services. CPC has been recognized by its peers in the Public Relations Society of America with the Empire Award for Communications Excellence in 2011, 2012 and 2014. 
 

Keith Green Photo.jpgFAST 5: Q&A with Guinness World Records’ VP of Marketing & Commercial Sales, Keith Green: Five Things to Know About Guinness World Records and Why They Joined PRSA

Keith Green (@KeithsTweets) is relatively new to his job as VP of Marketing & Commercial Sales at Guinness World Records, but that hasn’t stopped him from directing the company’s efforts to jump in feet-first and become involved with PRSA.

His background in entertainment and events seems to be a perfect match working for one of the world’s most fun and recognizable brands. He spent six years in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers, nine years in the NASCAR field as the Director of Public Relations for two different racetracks and eight years for Synergy, an award-winning events agency in New Jersey. Keith’s experience also includes several adjunct faculty positions, where he’s shared his sports marketing and PR experience with undergraduate and graduate students.

We caught up with Keith in advance of the PRSA Northeast District Conference where Guinness World Records will be the Platinum Sponsor.

Q: Your involvement with PRSA has spanned quite a few years. Tell us about your experience with the organization.

I’m a big believer in PRSA.  Membership is a great way to interact with like-minded people and learn from the best in the PR business. My career has advanced and my network has grown because of the local chapter events and the international conferences I’ve attended over the years. While it’s like most anything else- you get what you give- (Keith served on the PRSA-NY board for three years and received his APR certification four years ago) PRSA is a terrific organization and I’m bullish on its growth.

Q: Most everyone knows Guinness World Records through the book. What can you share about your role?

A: For our U.S. office (headquarters are in London, with offices in Japan, China and Dubai) I oversee our book marketing initiatives, as well as our commercial sales efforts. Our book, which is still a best-seller, launches every September (although it will be August 30 this year), and our marketing efforts are geared toward the readers (the kids) and those who buy it for them or influence them-teachers, moms and grandmothers. Although the 2017 book will be our 61st edition, the commercial side of our business is relatively new. Companies of all types work with us to have a judge oversee a record attempt and use our logo to pre-promote the attempt, post-event if the attempt is successful, as well as in promotional videos. Although our business is more than six decades old, we continue to evolve, which is extremely exciting.  

Q: You started at Guinness World Records about seven months ago. Why do you think it’s a good fit to be involved with PRSA and why are you doing it so quickly?

A:   Relationships are important to me. I know the organization and people well, so that’s critical. Because of those factors, I know that when we attend and activate at a conference that we will have the opportunity to show our creativity and add value for the attendees.  Working with PRSA also gives us the opportunity to connect with our various target audiences-those PR and marketing pros who work at agencies, brands, non-profits and educational institutions. That’s the beauty of record breaking- it works for just about any kind of business.

Q: How do your marketing and PR teams work together?

A: Nearly every day, a cool record is being broken somewhere across the globe. Since our PR team oversees our digital efforts, it’s critical that we communicate about what’s happening and how we can leverage some of those record attempts in a timely fashion from a marketing perspective. A great, recent example is Dude Perfect, which broke a series of amazing basketball records last month. The content and resulting video were amazing, and it helps us tell a story to an audience we might not reach as easily.

We also work together on two major events throughout the year- our Book Launch event in the late summer (August 30 this year) and Guinness World Records Day-where we encourage people all over the world to break records- on November 10.

Q: You’ve taught marketing and PR at a few universities. What would you tell someone graduating from college or a recent grad about breaking into the PR field?

A: I always tell my students, “If you can write well, you are ahead of 90% of the people in the workforce.”  It doesn’t matter if you are writing an email to a client, a speech for the president of your company, a blog post or a concise Tweet, writing is still a fundamental skill that many people lack. I believe social media and texting have further eroded that skill for many of us, not just the younger generations. 

karen.jpgGet Amazing Returns in 5 Easy Steps With PR and Social Media!

 Karen Yankovich will be presenting at PRXNE16 on June 13. Her official title is “Digital Strategist”. Karen has built her multiple 6-figure business by learning how to blend high-touch relationship based marketing with practical online business savvy, and she brings that success to her clients as well. Her mission is to empower entrepreneurs to create great relationships so that clients and customers flow because of your expertise and influence; allowing her clients to build highly profitable businesses doing what you love, all while making an impact.

More and more, I realize how Social Media and PR can work together to support your overall business. If you do it right, of course!

Time is money, and social media is a big beast … I know. So, here are some tips for how you can leverage PR with your social media campaigns to get the most bang for your buck.

How to Rocket Your Marketing Efforts Into High Gear

1. Start by doing research on Twitter, industry-related websites (and more specifically, their blog post topics), and LinkedIn updates.

Find out:

  • Who is writing about what you are an expert in
  • Which reporters (online, TV, magazine) report on your niche
  • Who is talking about what you want to talk about

2. Connect with these people on Twitter. Create a Twitter list called “Media,” make it private, and add these names to the list. This will help you organize your connections, and allow you to keep tabs on their updates (which can give you plenty of ideas).

But first, make sure:

  • Your Twitter profile is professional
  • Your Twitter description is interesting and has strong keywords
  • You engage with a call to action somewhere in your profile

3. Connect with this same list on LinkedIn. In your connection request, be sure to mention, “I just read your article/saw your segment, I loved it, and would love to connect with you here on LinkedIn.” Stay personal, authentic, and real. Similarly to your Twitter list, you can tag connections on LinkedIn as “Media” to keep them organized.

Check to see if:

  • Your LinkedIn profile is rock solid, polished, and professional
  • Your summary and experience really speak to what you want to do and who you want to connect with
  • Your profile picture is up to date
  • You’ve posted a few updates recently that show up in your “Posts” section

Now that you’ve built your foundation, it’s time to make sure they know you exist!

4. Schedule a few times per week to dip into that Twitter list you created. Research who has tweeted what and see if there are tweets that are relevant to your expertise and niche.

With these tweets, it’s always great to:

  • Favorite them — it never hurts to give your contacts a good old ego boost
  • Retweet them — if you think something is interesting, share it
  • Reply to them — engagement can really grow your following on social media

5. Do the same on LinkedIn. Schedule a few times per week to research your connections. Sort them by the “Media” tag you created, and then go through that list of connections.

You are looking to:

  • See what they’ve shared recently
  • Comment on posts that are relevant to you
  • Like and share those posts through other networks

Why You Should Do This Sooner Rather Than Later

Do these five steps NOW to set the stage for reaching out to contacts as resources, prospects, or collaborators later on.

Make sure your name is recognizable to them as someone who adds value, is an expert, and is generous with sharing their content. This is where you begin to build the relationship — long before you ever contact them directly. It’s always better to make connections before you need to tap into them. That way, when you have an idea, a pitch, or a prospect, you’re approaching them as a warm contact.

No more cold emails, cold connections, or cold calls. This means the possibility of a successful outcome skyrockets. Your target contact is much more likely to respond favorably to your request.

These media contacts can be of huge value to you, because one nicely placed media shout-out can bring you tons of new business!

The best part? These five steps are all free and very easy to implement. It doesn’t take a huge chunk of time either, if you spread them out over a week or two. And when you put in the maintenance of a few minutes a day, a few times a week, you will be seeing the return very quickly.

Have questions on how best to get started, keep going, or who to target? Join me in my LinkedIn Group and I’ll be happy to answer ask any questions you may have!

 

Wendy Headshot.jpgFAST 5: Q&A with The Castle Group Principal & Co-Founder, Wendy Spivak: Five Things to Know About Events Management and Integrating Strategic Event Planning into PR campaigns

 
While public relations is a major piece of the communications puzzle, we don’t often hear how strategic corporate events management plays into the overall marketing plan and strategy.  We sat down with The Castle Group’s Wendy Spivak, to learn more about events management and integrating strategic event planning into PR campaigns.
 
Wendy co-founded The Castle Group in 1996 and today leads the events side of the business. Prior to co-founding The Castle Group, Wendy was a senior corporate communications executive at Prism Health Group and the Mediplex Group, two successful healthcare companies. She has previously held communications and events positions at Framingham Union Hospital and Northern Telecomm. She was also an associate producer for WNEV-TV in Boston, which is today’s WHDH-TV Channel 7. Here are Wendy’s thoughts on events management and strategic event planning.
 
1. What is corporate events management? 
Event management is the process of creating a live, memorable experience that achieves desired business objectives. This could take the form of a product launch, employee celebration, sales or user group conference, executive retreat or educational forum or sales incentive program.
 
An event manager is like a general contractor, managing all the necessary components and details that go into the finished product. And like a general contractor, being on budget and on time is extremely important! Event components may include developing collateral for the event-- invitation, website, signage, registering guests, securing a venue, negotiating contracts, managing audio visual, handling catering and transportation needs, and providing speaker and/or sponsor support.
 
2. How is strategic events management different from PR?
Over the 20 years that Castle has been in business, the field of event management has grown and evolved into a highly analytical and strategic part of the marketing mix.  While PR works with third parties such as media and social channels to amplify a client message, events management creates an experience that relays a client story. Similar to PR, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the larger communications plan to best see how an event connects to the marketing efforts as a whole.  We look at a client’s needs and objectives and approach its event planning with a holistic lens, so that everything we do comes back to a measurable goal.
 
3. How can event and PR teams best work together and what are the strengths in having a PR team and an event team in house?
Integrating PR and events allows clients to receive focused and tailored deliverables that directly affect their business plans and values. Events and PR teams need to spend time looking at the larger themes, define tasks on each side and support each other. The integration of the teams fosters a greater understanding of client business goals and can help both disciplines reflect key messages, enabling each to showcase and highlight the other’s results. This is invaluable to clients as they receive two different professional skill sets packaged together, which ultimately amplifies their message throughout all relevant channels.
 
4. As a client, what are the top considerations when it comes to an event?
It’s crucial to start with the essentials: WHO (is the audience), WHAT (type of event), WHERE (will be held), WHEN (date and time), WHY (what is the purpose, what are the objectives) and HOW MUCH in terms of budget. Once these parameters are defined, it’s easier to approach other components. 
 
5. As Castle is celebrating its 20th anniversary, what’s your favorite industry memory from the last 20 years?
There have been so many memorable moments! Some of these include planning an incentive trip at an ancient castle in Spain, sailing regattas in the Caribbean, working with Boston TED Talks, a private showing of the Sistine Chapel, and more recently, our company retreat this past year in Stowe, VT. All of these memories stand out because they created spectacular moments for each guest. 
 
Wendy currently serves on the boards of The Family Reach Foundation, USO (United Service Organizations) Council and Courageous Sailing Advisory Council. She is a previous board member of the Courageous Sailing Center in Charlestown, committed to being involved in the community that is home to The Castle Group.  She is a member of West Point Society of New England, Society for Incentive Travel Excellence and Meeting Professionals International. Aside from leading and growing The Castle Group into a premier Boston public relations and events management firm, Wendy has executed powerful and meaningful events and conferences for companies such as Ocean Spray, Genzyme and TED Talks. 

About The Castle Group
Celebrating its 20th year in business, The Castle Group leverages its Boston connections and global reach to create communications strategies that deliver business results, with an emphasis on PR, events management, crisis communications and digital. With a client roster that includes Fortune 500, high-growth start-ups, privately held, higher education and health care clients, Castle is supremely skilled at navigating complex organizations and surfacing unique ways to powerfully deliver clients’ messages. A certified women-owned business, the firm is a member of the Public Relations Global Network, 50 exclusively selected affiliates representing the world's major media markets. Castle, its leadership and teams have won numerous industry, civic and professional awards, are devoted corporate citizens, and pride themselves on infusing an entrepreneurial spirit and scrappy attitude into every endeavor. Find Castle, its clients and their programs online, in person, in their communities and around the world. For more information, please visit thecastlegrp.com.
 

Visit Syracuse Nikita Jankowski - Syracuse. Do Your Thing.jpgFast 5: Q&A with Visit Syracuse Communications Manager Nikita Jankowski on new destination brand, Syracuse. Do Your Thing

Visit Syracuse (formerly known as the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau) launched, Syracuse. Do Your Thing, a new destination brand for the Greater Syracuse Area in 2015. It was the first time the destination was given an official brand. The accredited tourism organization also unveiled a new logo, new name, new video, new song and a wonderful new outlook on regional tourism promotion.

“This is a game changer,” said Visit Syracuse Communication Manager Nikita Jankowski. “Our role is to attract more business to the area and economic growth through tourism. This brand will take us to the next level and build on our initiatives.”

In Syracuse, it’s all about the freedom to be you and do what you love. Be quirky, be fun, be fantastic, feel right at home - whether it’s being stopped at the country’s only upside down stoplight (thanks to the Irish); climbing the world’s largest indoor suspended ropes course (inside of Destiny USA, New York’s largest shopping, dining and entertainment center); getting down to a live band and finger-licking good BBQ (at the original Dinosaur Bar-B-Que); walking in the footsteps of hundreds of brave citizens that helped slaves escape to freedom - while fighting for women’s rights; scouting for Bald Eagles at Onondaga Lake Park or Peregrine Falcons downtown, experiencing the downtown urban renaissance or even uncovering the many Syracuse inventions that helped to shape America, Syracuse provides the platform for a refreshing and inviting adventure.

We sat down to ask five questions to Visit Syracuse Communication Manager Nikita Jankowski to learn more about the new branding campaign.

1.       Why did you brand the Greater Syracuse Area?

Destination branding gives a sense of place. It is the face of the region and helps strengthen the bond between the visitors and the destination. For example, tourists know that when they go to Las Vegas – what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas or when they visit New York State, they will usually end up saying I Love New York. We wanted to enhance that experience for Syracuse visitors. To do that, we had to reveal our strengths as a destination and were able to do so in those three words – Do Your Thing.

2.       What does Syracuse. Do Your Thing mean?

The message is about our area’s ability to take a traveler’s reason(s) for arriving here and customize it. We make their experience personal and emotional in such a powerful way that they leave with memories and a sense of connection to the area. We allow them to celebrate their passion, pursuit, hobby or relationships and while they are doing so, we celebrate it alongside them. Our brand promise sums it up nicely:

It’s time to rally your passion. Find life’s shining moments and celebrate them in a place where true colors never fade; a place where independent spirits and an energetic community come together in perfect harmony. Here is where you find your center. Reconnect the dots with the things that truly matter and make memories on historic streets. Do what makes you happy. Syracuse. Do Your Thing.

Visit Syracuse realizes it’s not just about the region; it’s also about the people and the stories they create, the passion they bring and the freedom they long for to be themselves. Do Your Thing is a bold, open-ended, action-based challenge to the over-used, under-effective tourism slogan, Something for Everyone.

3.      What obstacles did you face when creating the brand?

Visit Syracuse toiled over implementing the perfect brand for the region, a task seemingly made more difficult by the diversity of the destination. This diversity and its personalized appeal to our customers are in fact, our primary brand building blocks. The agency we hired to help brand Syracuse, BCF, eloquently captured it in three simple words, “Do Your Thing.”

4.       How did you come up with Do Your Thing?

There was quite a lot of research that went into our brand. Our customers told us what they wanted and now, our answer to them is Syracuse. Do Your Thing. The fact that Do Your Thing derived not from us, our partners or our stakeholders, but rather our customers, enables those words to speak with authority and power. Our job from here on is to personalize these words to create appeal, interest and intrigue with each individual customer we touch.

These words bleed Syracuse. Historically, Syracusans have always been free-spirited, passionate and done their thing their way. We just gave it a fitting tagline.

5.       Is the brand catching on?

Absolutely! This is not a destination message that promises “something for everyone”. This is not about selling and promoting things to see and do. It is all about communicating the freedom, empowerment and emotional connection created by the Syracuse regional experience.

We travel all around the world and the feedback has been phenomenal! This message of customization, exploration and freedom resonates across all of our market segments and types of visitors. It also creates traction with our residents and businesses. It manages to connect with our past heritage as a center for social progress while also engaging our future by encouraging individuality and uniqueness. That’s why we now own the trademark for Do Your Thing.

Nikita Jankowski leads Visit Syracuse’s public relations and communications initiatives. Nikita’s role includes hosting and generating content for travel trade professionals and media representatives to encourage travel to the Greater Syracuse area; contributing to $863,000,000 of annual direct visitor spending. Nikita started her professional career as a television news reporter for ABC, FOX and CBS affiliates throughout New York State and Maine. Nikita graduated from the historic Tuskegee University, with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Concentration: English/Communications). She serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Relations Society of America of Central New York (PRSA-CNY), a member of PRSA’s Travel & Tourism section and is on the Advisory Committee of Social Media Breakfast (SMB) Syracuse; a national initiative for teaching, sharing and learning about industry best practices.

Fast5: Q&A with 72Point.US’s Vice President of Strategy & Client Services Mindy Gibson: Bill Gates was right. Content is king.It’s been 20 years since Bill Gates published his infamous “Content is King” essay on Microsoft’s website, accurately predicting “…content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” Today, content marketing firms like 72Point are engaging audiences, inspiring earned media and creating points of entry to businesses everywhere.  We recently caught up with 72Point’s Vice President of Strategy & Client Services Mindy Gibson and asked her about the process of creating content and feeding the media beast.Why should infographics be a part of my strategy?  It’s actually not about whether infographics should exclusively or specifically be included in your strategy. It’s about the broader category of visual assets – and the “why” is digital media demand. Each visual type - infographic, video, animation or interactive -contributes to digital news outlets’ success metrics, such as dwell time. Some outlets require stories be accompanied by videos because they enable pre-roll ad insertion. Visual assets help sell the content story of the story too, as it tells the story from multiple angles and can determine which outlets you’re pitching, and what your budget can support. We advise all our clients that integrating visuals increases the likelihood their story will get picked up, and the absence of visuals decreases their chances.How can a PR poll be used to increase brand awareness? A PR survey is first and foremost about news generation, with earned media as its primary goal. A survey-supported news story is therefore no different in its role increasing brand awareness than any other type of earned media initiative.  The better the concept behind the story, the more media earned. Surveys have the advantage of being conversation starters. The more talk-ability, the more “legs” the story will have with other media outlets and, so importantly, as part of the social conversation. Are PR surveys only for earned media news generation or do they have paid media applications? While PR surveys have been traditionally used for earned media coverage, the basic principles can certainly be applied to creating paid media content.  The results of a compelling survey with reference to brand but not banging readers over the head with brand help branded content and other paid advertising feel less “branded” which is a good thing. One thing we’ve learned with the growth of paid media is that consumers do not want to be “sold to”.  They want to be informed, entertained and engaged but not sold. This is particularly true for younger consumers. Research is informative, and if done well, the results can be entertaining and engaging. We see our clients reaching to us more often for content to support paid media initiatives, and can track social media shares resulting directly from the story and assets and provide that information in our post-project coverage books but we don’t dissect it nor do we track the social media initiatives our clients control using the same content.Is email still relevant in the age of social media? At the risk of giving my age away, I am not a millennial and so grew up in business before social media had business applications and long before it had any life application at all.  Without intended reference to any current political story, in a business setting, email is absolutely relevant. Email is how I communicate regularly with colleagues and clients of ALL ages and generations. It is still the most efficient, effective and private method of business communication – if anything is actually really private. I do not foresee myself IM’ing business communications. That said, the use of email for social communication is already irrelevant to younger adults and future business applications of email may not be far behind – whether I like it or not.Mindy Gibson is a Boston University grad, and a strategic and creative media executive with domestic, multicultural and global content and communications experience in charge of strategy and client relations at 72Point.US.