The Missing Piece In Digital Marketing – Please Don’t Stop The Music?

In all the talk today about the importance of content, it’s occurred to me that one area digital marketers are overlooking is music. Specifically, the valuable role a great (or hated) jingle can play. Some may make you want to tear your hair out, but you have to admit, sometimes the worst ones are the most memorable.

With the rising popularity of brief videos like 6 seconds on Vine, or 15 seconds on Instagram, we continue to focus on visual aspects – but music has always played an important role in helping folks recall your brand. Like other traditional advertising, digital marketers don’t have to spend big to incorporate music into our their content efforts. Even in the earlier days of social media, companies like Animoto understood this and made music a crucial element in its tool, allowing users to combine original or royalty-free music with slideshows to create cool videos. Yet even they don’t mention “make a jingle” as one of their suggested Top 5 Ways to Use Video for Business. Of course, nobody likes elevator music, so grab an intern with a guitar or an executive who sings on the side (you never know – one of our old clients is now a blues singing sensation!), write some funny lyrics and try adding them to your next video. I mean if the Hoff can sell “Thirsty for your Love” you can sell “I got the customer service blues,” right?!

And for inspiration, here are – for better or worse – some of the most memorable ad jingles our staff shared with me. What would you add to the list?

Empire Carpet

 
F-R-E-E Credit Report

 
Kay Jewelers 

 
Luna Flooring

 
1-800-54 Giant

 
Geico, who believe so strongly in the power of jingles that they feature “Music From Our Commercials” on their site.

http://www.geico.com/about/commercials/music/

 

That’s A Wrap! Now What?

mlp-countdown2Note: This is the second installment of our two part video production tips post. Read part one in Lights, Camera, Action, Oh My? 

So, you’ve finished your big video shoot and now you have an assemblage of footage that could benefit from editing. It’s important to understand that video editing is not just about trimming the footage; it’s also about creating flow and emotion, as well as making it entertaining. Editing a video that has good flow and some catchy music will make all that time you took shooting the video worth it. But first you’ll need to choose a video editor.

Video editors like Adobe Premier and Final Cut Pro are largely regarded as the most comprehensive video editing applications, but they are costly tools for beginners to learn on. Luckily there a number of free options available to everyone.

Mac users shouldn’t need to be reminded of iMovie, Apple’s movie editing software that is included on all new Macs. And Windows users can download Windows Live Movie Maker. Even YouTube has it’s own Video Editor. These tools all have pretty intuitive interfaces that allow you to easily trim video segments and drag-and-drop video segments along a timeline. They also provide the ability to add music tracks, text overlays and other simple effects.

Now that you have a video editor, here are some tips to help you polish your video into engaging content that everyone will want to watch:

  • Create a “rough cut.” Review all your footage and trim into usable segments, then organize chronologically.
  • Tell your story. Think about what you are trying to convey to the viewer and organize your segments to enhance that feeling. Don’t be afraid to try different things and to cut footage that just doesn’t fit.
  • Don’t make too many cuts. Try to use shots around 5 seconds each, this is roughly the time it take for the human eye to digest the picture. Any less time between cuts and your video may appear “strobe” like and this could make the viewer feel anxious. Longer shots could bore your viewer if there isn’t a good mix of interesting images and movement.
  • Add effects. Adding transitions and overlays can bump up the cool factor, but try not to overdo it. Use overlays to give viewers context and reminders, but only use them for the first 3-5 seconds of a clip. Adding transitions can enhance the beauty or feeling of your video, but keep it simple with cross-fades and forego the checkerboard wipes and twirling effects. Try different things, play it back a few times, and decide what effects are most appropriate for your audience.
  • Add intros and outros. Not only does adding title slides or credits make your video look professional, it’s a good way to set up the point of your video for viewers – and to spell out what you would like viewers to do after watching the video.
  • Use basic fonts. It is a much safer bet to stick with proven fonts like Times, Arial, Tahoma, Garamond, Helvetica, etc. Reason being, they are easier to read when watching a small video on a mobile device. This may sound contrary to flexing your creative side, but using decorative fonts can actually make your video look amateur rather than creative.
  • Add a music track. Adding an underlying music track can bring a completely different message to your viewer. Try different types of music to see how it impacts the mood of your video. Music tracks can also camouflage unintentional background noise in your footage. Before making your music selections, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with Creative Commons and Public Domain Music and Royalty Free Music.

Have some basic video editing tips of your own? We would love to hear them in the comments below.

5 Desk Exercises for Busy PR People

desk-exercises-300x199Between client deadlines, monitoring headlines – and everything in between – regular gym visits all too often slip down (or completely off) a PR person’s daily to-do list.

But this lack – or total absence – of activity is serious business: According to this infographic by Medical Billing & Coding, most of us spend more time on our behinds (9.3 hours per day) than in bed (7.7 hours a day), and this sedentary lifestyle (i.e. sitting for more than six hours a day) can increase your risk of death up to 40 percent.

Wait…what? Yes, simply put, the more you sit, the shorter your lifespan, which is a very scary prospect.

But the good news is there’s something we can do about it. Even if squeezing in an hour-long sweat session into your day isn’t feasible, there’s still hope for staying in shape. By incorporating short bursts of exercise into your day, it’s easy to increase your overall level of physical activity and help stave off things like obesity and cardiovascular disease.

This doesn’t have to involve sprinting around the office so you arrive sweaty to meetings, however; keep it simple and gradually work your way up to more movement as your body adapts.

Here are a few simple desk exercises to get you started.

  1. Chair Dips. Sit on the edge of your office chair (without wheels is best!) and place your hands on the edge of the seat, fingers facing your body. Slowly lift off the seat, and lower your body toward the floor, bending elbows into a 90-degree angle. Push yourself up, using your triceps.
  2. Plank. Work your entire core by positioning yourself, facing down, with both hands and toes on the floor (like the upper part of a push-up). Keep back straight, and pull your belly button upward to engage abs. Hold for one minute.
  3. Lunges & Squats. In the comfort of your cubicle, time yourself for 30-second sets that combine stationary lunges (alternating sides) with squats to wake up your entire lower body.
  4. Incline Pushups. Stand a few feet away from your desk, placing both hands on the edge. Carefully lower yourself so your chest is a few inches from the top of the desk, before pushing back up to engage your chest, arms and upper back.
  5. Pushouts.” Stretch your back and strengthen your biceps by sitting in your chair (a rolling one this time!) and grasping the edge of your desk. Slowly push back until your head is between your arms and you’re looking at the floor, and then pull yourself back in.

Perform three rounds of each exercise with 10 reps each (and just three one-minute segments of the plank) for a complete workout, or break it down and do one exercise at a time throughout the day.

What are you waiting for? Get off that heiney and on the road to better health!

The Perfect Pitch In PR – Not So Different Than Baseball?

With headquarters in Boston, the PerkettPR team is naturally composed of many sports fans. As we gear up to watch the Bruins win the Stanley Cup, keep an eye on the Red Sox and their unique manner of winning, and listen to the controversy over the New England Patriots‘ most recent player acquisition, we can’t help but think about how PR is often a lot like sports. It takes a team to win, but each player must be at their best and support each other. You’ve got to keep an eye on the ball, practice a lot, and analyze your plays in order to stay ahead of the competition. If your pitches aren’t quite right, you’ve got to recalibrate or sometimes pull the player. You’ve also got to deal with tough management decisions and sometimes you have to rebuild after a bad season where things didn’t quite work out the way you had planned.

In particular, we liken PR to baseball – how could we not with all those PR “pitches” – in the graphic below. What do you think – did we score?

ppr_pitch_tips_graphic

Life Lessons From Mom That Also Apply to a Career in PR

For some of us, “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” still rings true. Play nice, share with others, don’t interrupt, work hard; the list goes on.

For me, a lot of the advice I call upon in my adult life revolves around what my parents taught me. I use their advice in parenting, how I treat my loved ones – both family and friends – and everything in between. Much of their advice I even apply to my career as a PR executive. In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share my thoughts, and those of my teammates, on how Mom’s early lessons stick with us and still help us in our careers today.

momWhen I was young, I struggled with math. Words always came much easier to me. As the daughter of two parents who worked for a national newspaper, you could say it was in the blood. How could I get through this math monkey on my back and change my perspective? My mother taught me that we all have to do things we don’t want to do. We all have to tackle the hard things. Part of life is this yin and yang of easy and hard. So with the assistance of kind teachers, patient parents, and most importantly a change in me, I switched my thinking and began to use the mantra, “I will not give up.” I heeded my mother’s tough advice. She didn’t have a ton of sympathy, but rather told me over and over, “Keep at it, be tough, and do not give up.”

I am no longer tackling Pi or the Pythagorean Theorem, or cringing after being called up to write on the blackboard in math class  - but each day as a PR professional, I am still faced with challenges that call for mental toughness and confidence. This is when the parts of my job that are harder and grittier than others call for my mom’s good old “don’t give up” mantra. This mantra makes for happy clients, solid journalistic relationships and a constant quest for me to deliver top results while striving to do better.

My PerkettPR colleagues shared what they’ve learned from their mothers as well. Here’s a collection of the awesome advice that they still carry with them in their PR careers.

From Christine Perkett

My mother taught me not to undervalue myself – which comes in handy when negotiating as both employer and vendor. My grandmother taught me that men are like street cars — a new one will always come along. I say the same is true clients – not that I don’t appreciate the ones we have (I so do!), but that they come and go and that losing one is not the end of the world.

 From Susan Sweenie:

My mom taught me that even when dealing with someone tough or not interested, just kill them with kindness. 

From Crystal Monahan:

I’ve had the privilege of having two moms in my life – my actual mom and my stepmother. Although different in innumerable ways, they both share one admirable trait that I have tried to emulate in my life and career. They both possess a remarkable work ethic. They work dawn to dusk if necessary. They have held multiple jobs to provide for their families. Nothing is beneath them – if it needs to get done, they do it. They both understand that nothing in life comes free and great pride comes from a job well done.

I’ve always tried to do my best and work my hardest, and have always appreciated the sense of accomplishment at seeing the results of my efforts whether it’s completing monthly status reports on time, writing a solid press release, or seeing my clients in the media.

Whenever I’m feeling lazy, I think about my two moms and I know they’ve probably already accomplished more in a day than many people do in a week, and I’m inspired to get back to work.

From Susie Dougherty:

“Mind your manners…” Something my mom was a stickler about, much to my benefit. I think most of us (well, maybe not as many as I’d like to think) grow up to be mindful of the simple words and gestures that help make us respected adults. But with today’s email and social media – suddenly a lot of those manners have gone out the window. Thanks to my mom for somehow making those words stick –even as the Internet has fundamentally changed in so many ways how we communicate. I’m still using my manners behind my laptop or iPhone or tablet screen – and I know that stands out to clients, reporters and even my own colleagues.”

From Jennifer Hellickson:

My mom’s a big proponent of the Golden Rule – treat others as you’d like to be treated – and this goes a long way in PR. Going that extra mile for both our clients and our colleagues in the media means trying to not only think from their perspective, but also anticipate their needs, as well. This creates a better working environment for everyone and ultimately allows us, as PR professionals, to better serve the company’s mission.

From Heather Bliss :

Mom taught me so many amazing lessons, but one of the most valuable was to be a good listener and problem solver. She has an uncanny ability to be able to listen to ANYONE, and I mean anyone. Whether it’s a family member, friend, colleague or a stranger on the park bench next to her — if they have a problem my mom has the time and patience to listen and to try and help solve it. I learned how to translate some small part of this gift of hers to my work in PR to really listen to clients and understand the issues they face and try to problem solve solutions as my mother would with quickness and calm.

And, fellow PerkettPR staff member (and new mom herself) agrees:

Johanna Lucia adds:

My Mom always taught me the importance of being a good listener. She helped instill this very powerful life skill in me, and when it comes to PR– we need to hear our clients. Listening to our clients’ wants and needs is a vital part of our role and in helping develop effective PR strategies.

What inspirational mom lessons can you share with us? Do you have a favorite piece of advice learned in childhood that still remains a part of your work habit today? Please share your stories in the comments.