Everybody writes — especially the Walker Sands content team. That’s why we’ve spent the last few weeks delving into Ann Handley’s “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide for Creating Ridiculously Good Content.”
Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, is a veteran writer and editor. She has a lot to say about how to consistently create quality content, even when the muses don’t visit.
Here are just a few of the stand-out tips that have resonated with the content team so far:
It’s hard to believe it, but our fall interns are already halfway through their internship! We’ve got six awesome interns who are working across our PR, digital and content teams. Keep reading to get a glimpse into what a day in the life of an intern is like at Walker Sands.
B2B technology seemed daunting to me at first, but the key is to know who and what they can speak to. Making a media list of key contacts and pitching reporters eventually begins to click with practice. Reading is just as important as writing to make sure that my pitches are hitting the right targets. I’ve also enjoyed the chance to get to know clients almost as well as they know themselves. Studying up on the clients, different tech outlets and the archived Walker Sands examples were all good reads to fully immerse myself in the work.
The opportunity to work on both the PR and content teams has been a great learning experience for me. Doing so, I’ve learned about the interplay and collaboration between teams, and how to balance the demands of both. So far, my two biggest takeaways revolve around the importance of confidence and research. Starting out, pitching can be intimidating, so I’m working on believing and being bold in my ideas — something that I’m grateful Walker Sands pushes me to do. Since I’m new to the world of B2B tech, there’s a lot to learn about clients and their industries.
Over the last six weeks, red ink has been my best friend. Coming into this experience, I made writing my first priority and my team has gone above and beyond to help me hone my skills. I loved seeing the corrections and suggestions provided, but now it’s really rewarding to see that my writing needs less editing. I am so thankful to be in an environment that pushes me to grow with a team who is willing to help me learn and succeed. Hopefully, I can make my team proud.
I entered my internship with Walker Sands with nearly no experience in public relations, and no idea what B2B tech really meant. My supervisor and mentor have done an incredible job of pushing me to the next level without creating an overwhelming workload. A strong support system is built within the culture, and I’ve spoken to everyone from top executives to other interns, all who are genuinely interested in my experience here. The skills I’ve learned over the past six weeks with regards to writing, researching, and creativity, have been unmatched by any of my previous internships and employment opportunities. Over the next six weeks I would like to learn more about the holistic processes of our company and get more exposure to different departments within the company.
I started this internship with a background that consisted solely of in-house marketing and public relations experience, so I was a little concerned about whether I would be able to easily adapt to the agency lifestyle. As time progressed, I found myself surrounded by an extremely supportive and welcoming environment and I’ve learned so much about efficient team collaboration that my concerns have disappeared.
This internship has been more than an excellent learning experience, it has been an opportunity for me to grow, both professionally and personally. The guidance and honest feedback my manager has provided me with throughout this experience has helped me develop stronger writing and social media management skills. Thank you, Walker Sands, for providing me with invaluable insights and knowledge that I will not doubt use for the rest of my professional life!
PR, particularly in this digital age where attention spans are at an all-time low, is notably different than other types of writing. I have worked as a journalist before and know how they think, but writing pitches is a whole different animal. I have been at Walker Sands six weeks, and quickly noticed the value in quality, researched, and clever communication when it comes to pitching a story idea.
Like a journalist, it is important to be knowledgeable on a topic when crafting pitches. But almost more important is knowing who you are communicating with like the back of your hand. The intricacies of a successful agency’s communication style therefore reign supreme. Walker Sands does it far better than any media company I have been a part of.
Interested in learning more about our internship program? We’re currently accepting applications for winter 2017. Learn more here!
Happy Friday! This post will be an election free zone, so read on to find out what’s been happening in the tech world.
You can now transfer money on PayPal via Siri in 30 countries. This may not be the most secure feature, seeing as Siri can’t distinguish different voices. Thankfully, your phone has to be unlocked to access the feature, but that may not stop your sneaky friends from trying. This isn’t entirely new though, earlier this apps like Venmo, Square Cash and Mondo (a UK company) began incorporating this feature. With that being said, it’s probably going to be really obnoxious trying to yell, “HEY SIRI, SEND BOB FORTY BUCKS FOR PIZZA” at the top of your lungs in a crowded bar.
This New App Puts 3D Scanning In The Hands Of Designers – Fast Company
The new 3D scanning app is a DIYer’s dream. After developing Structure Sensor in 2013, Occipital released the iPad App Canvas yesterday. By attaching the sensor and lense to an iPad, designers can take a full-room scan in minutes, and the scan can be made into a CAD file within two business days. Both the sensor and the lense with cost a mere $399, a scan to CAD conversion will run $29, but it’s okay because the app is free!
Recently the tech giant has come under fire for its “ethnic affinity” ad targeting. Erin Egan, Facebook’s vice president for US public policy and its chief privacy officer, wrote in a blog post this morning that they’re working to build tools that will disable targeted ads involving housing, employment and credit. Facebook does prohibit discriminatory ad practices and promises to take down any ads in violation of the policy. Executives have met with government officials as well as social groups like the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Brookings Institution and Upturn.
Walker Sands offers an awesome exchange program, which gives veteran employees the opportunity to visit an agency within the Public Relations Organisation International (PROI). The goal of the program is to immerse ourselves within different cultures to gain new ideas and inspiration for our work at Walker Sands.
I was chosen to visit a highly creative, award-winning agency called Slaeger Communications in Norway. So, in early October I ventured over to Oslo with a thick jacket and an open mind. Here’s a closer look at my week:
Slaeger works with a several large consumer brands such as Sony Mobile, Netflix and Nivea. The company conducts traditional media relations on top of large-scale creative campaigns. While our niche at Walker Sands is B2B tech, it was refreshing to watch some of the world’s most creative PR professionals at work, regardless of the industry at hand.
I sat in on several brainstorming meetings each day to learn about how Sleager approaches new projects and challenges. I was put to work during these meetings! I conducted research to help inform campaigns and offered my perspective on their ideas and processes.
Here are my three biggest takeaways from my daily meetings with Slaeger:
What happens when you put 2,000 public relations professions in a room together for three days? You end up with a lot of tweeting and networking.
Attendees had many opportunities to connect at PRSAICON on Oct. 23-25, and it wasn’t uncommon to trade business cards with a partner at a high-stakes New York agency while scooping hotel-catered pasta onto your plate. The conference featured keynotes from astronaut Captain Scott Kelly, former White House Chief Information Officer (CIO) Theresa Payton, Marketing Maverick Scott Stratten (whose book unMarketing resides in the Walker Sands library) and many more.
In between keynotes, breakout sessions, wandering through the vendor exhibits and stealing freebies, I uncovered a few takeaways that can easily be implemented by any PR pro.
- Stop sharing those cute memes to get easy likes on social media. Steve Radick, vice president and director of PR at Brunner, shared how to build content that has value beyond likes, comments and clicks. Although your metrics look fantastic when that photo of a bunny you tweeted gets 780 likes and 30 shares, it’s probably not going to do much good for your client in the long term. Radick challenged practitioners to change the strata by finding creative ways to tell your brand’s story and create content that benefits your audience instead.
- Cut the “crap” out of your business writing. Professionals, on average, spend 20.4 hours writing per week, so it better be good. Writer Josh Bernoff shared his best tips in Writing Without Bullshit to fix your toxic prose. Can’t tell if you’re using a passive voice? If you can add “by zombies” after the verb and the sentence makes sense, you need to edit. Also, delete those “fantastically” “iconic” words that “take your sentence to the next level”. If your adjectives are really measurable, they’re probably BS.
- Public relations isn’t about shouting, it’s about connecting with people. Sometimes it’s really easy to get caught up in pitches and media placements, but a lot of good can come out of PR. It’s a little harder to see the reward of it all in a B2B tech agency, but when it comes down to it, we’re solving some pretty big problems and making the tech space a better place.
At the end of the three days, my biggest takeaway is this: PR people work hard, have lots of fun and I can’t wait to join them in changing the world.