the whole-y grail

the whole-y grail

the whole-y grail

Official blog of the warden ettinger group, a full-service, Phila., PA-based PR firm serving a diverse consumer, lifestyle + nonprofit clientele. Our culinary division, The Whole Enchilada PR, caters to restaurateurs, chefs + other food-related businesses, while "the word exchange" is aimed at clients seeking à la carte copywriting services.

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The Power of Infographs

March 19, 2014

I’ve never met an infographic that I didn’t like. Even clunky renditions with bad fonts and unbalanced graphics have the potential to concentrate complex issues into potent, bite-size snacks of information. Which, is exactly why I have become such a fan, and why you should become one too. The “content is king” manifesto is still holding court in the world of digital marketing; infographs are an eye-catching and effective way to get information out about your business and its products and services.

In fact, infographics provide a unique portal into the current media landscape: “With the overload of printed and digital media, infographics can be a powerful way to tell your company’s story,” says expert visual tool designer, Jonathan Pavoni, who founded Creatrix Marketing.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone out there in cyberspace has not yet discovered this must-have inbound marketing tool, but many people still either don’t  like them, or can’t envision how their business’ product or services would translate. For this crowd, I present Infographics 101, a link that once you get there, needs zero explanation.

Even an infographic lay[wo]man like me knows they’re easy to understand, fun to look at and people love sharing them—just take a look at my Pinterest page, where I often share my favorite, or most reliable, infographs. In this era of fast-paced content bombardment, a cleverly crafted, colorful and readable “instant” message has unrivaled ability to grab a customer or client’s attention.

Says Pavoni, “[They] force businesses to boil down their services and story. At the same time, they allow companies to show a bit of personality and have a little fun.” Highly saturated information in a single, eye-pleasing place allows writers of company blogs, eNewsletters, eBooks and white papers to catch their breath.

Inbound Marketing Infographic - Creatrix Marketing

Reasons to use infographics:

  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text
  • Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t
  • Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content—photos and videos—saw a 65% increase in engagement
  • Pinterest (visual content) generated more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined.
  • Infographs are popular on twitter (as are “inline” images, which generate nearly 90% more “favorites”)
  • Viewers spend 100% more time on pages with videos on them.
  • People love facts, figures and statistics
  • Viral potential is higher than for ordinary text content
  • Can be embedded into blog and websites via an embed code that automatically links from others’ to yours, driving traffic to your website as people “share” and “click.” This, in turn, can benefit SEO ranking (more people linking to your site can lead to a higher Google rank).
  • For consumers suffering from content overload, infographs deliver sharable, digestible content

At the end of the day, I have to agree with Pavoni: “It’s much easier to connect with potential customers when they can glean, right away, what your business is about, and what you can do for them.”

—@eatDEWwrite and @emilyKspring

TWE infographic

(Created by: Jonathan Pavoni, in collaboration with @kimettinger)

resolve to recharge—social media-style

December 19, 2013

if you don't like the news

→ Time flies when you’re having fun… especially fun online. Which, thanks to late October’s Community Manager Recharge aka CMRecharge, we’ve had more than we thought possible.

The two-day think-tank took place at WXPN’s Philly digs, and featured all kinds of worthwhile offerings from free notepads (new and vintage), stylus-pens, vintage buttons (@eatDEWwrite’s is proudly displayed above) and table decor; organic cookies, healthy local breakfast and lunch fare, giveaways and lots of business cards to keep the conversation going. Of course, what really made the event, was the well-rounded (and incredibly approachable, willing to help) lineup of speakers and agenda.

Not only did we pick up some rock-solid tips for increasing engagement and getting creative with messaging, we widened our circle of digitally-charged social media smartypants and came home with a copy of organizer, Ben Blakesley’s, Get Social: A Practical Guide to Using Social Media for Business. Now to find time to read it… 

A few extra-special moments to remember, included an engaging dialogue with Philadelphia Phillies’ Director of Marketing, Mike Harris (by the way, @mhgophils, you owe @eatDEWwrite a call about that offline vs. online experience…) who shared some of the in-house team’s creative engagement tactics; an everything you need to know about using Google Plus, including the difference between this under-utilized platform and its more popular counterparts.

This video by presenter Lynette Young (the ultimate Google Plus bada$$) is not from CMRecharge but since we were too captivated to stay on top of our note-taking, it’s a far better recanting of the Google Plus essentials than we’d be delivering otherwise. (Let’s face it, @lynetteradio is far more interesting to listen to than we are.)

If you like what you just saw, then you’ll appreciate this downloadable tip sheet, Seven Google+ Secrets to Grow Your Audience, available here. (Thank you, NMX 12 Days of Giveaways.)

There was so much great information packed into the event, that coming up with a list of key takeaways from pages upon pages of notes was no easy task. That said, the below tips, quotes and general rules of (SM) thumb compiled by @kimettinger should help YOU think of a few ways to bring new energy to YOUR—and your clients’—social campaigns in 2014. Just in case you missed the memo, social media is here to stay. And, getting better every day.

  • Before you begin a project or a campaign, think about what you want it to look like when it’s done. What do you want the final product/overall impact to be? More often than not, it’s best to work backwards from there… (Jeremiah Dew)
  • “Create something today that gives you an edge for tomorrow.” —Jeremiah Dew
  •  On Twitter, always be on the lookout for hashtags that are already popular and would interact well with your brand (i.e., Nyquil saw tons of people posting with the hashtag, #whycantisleepatnight and capitalized on it). Also, make sure to check out what’s trending every day for the same reason. (Annette Hernandez)
  •  “Flock to Unlock” promotions work well on Twitter
  • Nothing matters more than timeliness and empathy, and we become happier as we are grateful. Always remember it’s ok (and good) to say “I’m sorry,” and “thank you” goes a long way. (Dave Kerpen)
  • Remember, “Marketing started the game, but customer service will win it for the brand.”
  • Integration is extremely important (train employees in a company to get them more comfortable with social media, refresh the current program, drive participation by giving info to share and rewarding efforts, redefine roles, etc.) (Turner Roach)
  • SIMPLICITY generates positive results. (Michael Harris)

And, always keep in mind that sometimes the best way to be on top of your game, is to lay low for a day or two. Good things happen when you take the time to reflect, strategize and recharge.

customer service 2.0

September 16, 2013

→Thanks to social media, today’s consumers are able to directly interact online with most of the brands they use. As a result, the landscape of consumerism has drastically changed.  The way most people define a great brand experience, however, has not: customer service.

And since people love to share their positive—and horrid—thoughts about various services/products on platforms that are visible to the public, businesses are paying special attention—and even creating new divisions dedicated to—the concept of “Social Customer Service.” (←Click me; I’m a video.)

Pictured in the below chart are the top ten global brands with the best customer service on Facebook from socialbreakers.com:

chart

If after looking at this list you’re thinking that your business isn’t big enough to place a large amount of focus on social customer service, think again. No matter how big or small your company is, putting the customers first—wherever possible—could make or break you. Especially when you’re doing so in front of a constant live audience.

Here are four key ways in which your business can benefit from implementing an effective social customer service program:

Manage brand reputation: A bad customer service experience is probably the #1 reason why companies get “trash talked” by consumers. The bottom line is that people do not forget—or forgive—poor service. If you see a negative post about your brand online, nip it in the bud. Your response will not only be appreciated by the person you’re addressing, but everyone else will witness your strong customer service too. 

Customer endorsements of your product/service: While many people focus on the negative implications of bad reviews/comments, it’s important to keep in mind that customers sharing positive online experiences have the potential to drive business and build credibility for your brand. Share/leverage these posts! (Oh, and saying, er typing a simple “thank you” for a nice review can go a long way as well.)

People that receive social customer service are more likely to pull the trigger on purchases: Ever ditch the idea of buying something online because you had questions that you didn’t feel like working (i.e., calling/emailing the company) to find the answers to? Turns out people are more likely to purchase your product/service if they are able to interact with your brand from a location where they’re already hanging out (i.e., Facebook/Twitter).

Communicate with potential customers: In addition to responding to customer praise, complaints and questions, social customer service is a great way to spread the word about your company’s latest sales/promos, provide advice for purchasing decisions, share interesting facts about your product/service, etc.,

Interested in how specific brands are using social media as a customer service platform? If so, check out this Mashable article. Oh, and please leave a comment with brands you’ve noticed doing a great job with this task—global, national or local.

@kimettinger

Instagram video is diVine

July 11, 2013

Before bed last night, I read that Instagram videos are now embeddable. This morning, I decided it was time to create my first one. I opened the fridge to grab a yogurt and saw all the ingredients for a Caesar salad, so I put “food video” on my to-do list.

When lunchtime rolled around I began to prep for the video (and wished I’d chosen a granola bar for breakfast since my Caesar dressing is yogurt-based; whoops). As I started to make the dressing—and shoot each step—I immediately was able to see how this app differs from Vine: videos are 15 seconds instead of 6, filters are available (different than the ones offered for photos), and so is video stabilization. I was especially happy about the stabilization feature, because with Vine, I’ve always had to hold my breath while filming to avoid shaking. The differentiating factor that I like the most, however, is the option to delete the last clip. In fact, I always wondered why Vine didn’t allow users to do so.

When I tried to embed the video below, it didn’t show up. Turns out many blogging platforms, including WordPress, don’t support iFrame code. Go figure. But if you click the image below, you’ll be able to view the video on Instagram.com:

@twegroup #caesar #salad #instavideo test… 🍋🍴👌

A post shared by Kim Ettinger (@kimettinger23) on

While the original video-sharing app does still have many loyal followers, it seems most critics are predicting that Twitter’s Vine will slip with the growing popularity of Instagram’s video. And some people feel pretty strongly about it, including the author of this BGR article, “Instagram is now completely crushing Vine”.

I don’t know if I’d agree with the word “crushing” just yet, but I do have to say that after my first Instagram video experience, Vine doesn’t seem as divine as it did just yesterday. Which platform do you prefer?

—@kimettinger

social media marketing to dos (+ don’ts)

March 15, 2013

Jeff Bullas recently wrote about 12 key principles of social media that we all should keep in mind as the marketing landscape continues to change. Below you’ll see our thoughts on the first six. To read the last six, click over to Mr. Bulla’s article and give him some love. (And, if you’re inclined, stop back here to let us know your approach to numbers 7-12.)

1. Share
Somewhere along the line we’ve heard the phrase “sharing is caring.” In social media speak, we interpret this as caring about your audiences’ time, and why they should care about what you have to say. If you don’t have an answer to this, rethink your message. On a higher level, if you want your audience to share your content, you need to prioritize quality over quantity. And, also about how that content will help, amuse, encourage, inform, etc., readers. We also advise reciprocating those shares by spending time reading links posted and shared by those you follow online. After all, you don’t want to be seen as self-centered by the people you are trying to win over.

2. Go Real-time
Timing is everything, especially on Twitter where the conversation is unfolding right in front of you (and everyone else). If you’re up on current events and tune into a variety of news, entertainment, sports, fashion and other information sources, you should easily be able to jump right in with a relevant post, comment, photo or link. It’s always a crummy feeling when you realize you missed covering a timely topic (aka National Pi Day) and an opportunity to show some social media savviness.

3. Educate, don’t sell
At the end of the day, we’re all trying to beef up our bottom line. However, if you’re constantly clogging up the Internet with the same sales message, you’re going to end up as white noise and turn off your audience. Instead share your knowledge and experience, and teach them something.

4. Entertain, don’t market
See number 3.

5. Go Multichannel
It’s important to grow your brand’s following across the web, which is why we encourage our clients to jump in where it makes the most sense (read: where their target audience is). And, even if the fit doesn’t feel right at first, once you get to know a platform, such as Pinterest, Instagram and Vine that rely more on visuals, you may ignite a whole new passion for social media—and your brand. It’s all about finding the right way to spin your content.

6. Give Information Away For Free
It’s important to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry; when you give out free advice via  content-rich websites, social streams, blogs, images, videos, ebooks, and images, you’re spotlighting your expertise and showing, not telling, people that they can trust you and the services you provide.

let’s get visual, visual

January 17, 2013

While as copywriters we’ll always stress that superior written content is a key component to the overall image and credibility of your brand, the surging power and viral nature of visual content reminds us that even seasoned wordsmiths occasionally need to ratchet back the word count and play a little game of show, not tell.

That doesn’t mean you have to shun your witty quips or skimp on necessary details, but gussying up your post with a visual detail is a must. Just ask the pros: Facebook posts that includes an album or picture receive 120-180% more engagement from fans than a text-based post.

If that caught your attention, check out Hubspot’s 19 Reasons You Should Include Visual Content in Your Marketing [Data]  Or, if you don’t feel like reading more, just hop on Pinterest or Instagram to see firsthand that like you, consumers want to see more and read less.

googly over google+ communities

January 4, 2013

→We’re not going lie. We were pretty P.O’d at Google+ when without warning, the platform shunned our attempt to alter our profile name because we’d exceeded the maximum (3) amount of allowed changes. (Puh-lease.)

But, like any other love-hate relationship, it usually only takes a little positivity to turn things around. And, we have to say that the platform’s recent introduction of “Communities” has us googly-eyed all over again.

Communities is a platform within Google+ where users can connect, much like a group works on LinkedIn or Facebook—but more sleek, user-friendly and fun. While engaging others on Google+ before was somewhat challenging, now it’s easier for members to connect with like-minded people with whom they can share their interests, causes and passions or learn information from and connect with the experts in their particular niche. (OK, we know it doesn’t sound so exciting, but this video will get you fired up; or, maybe we’re just geeks.)

If you’re thinking this is great for my hobbies, but wondering how Google+ Communities can help your business, this socialmediaexaminer.com article will tell you everything you need to know.

national moment of silence 12.21.12

December 21, 2012

Our hearts are very heavy, as we know yours are. There’s so little we can do to ease the pain of the families whose lives were shattered a week ago today. Please join us as we step away from our work, our computers and our holiday prep, to remember the families in Newtown, CT.

Moment of Silence for Sandy Hook Victims on Dec. 21

to blog or not to blog?

December 11, 2012

Last week we participated in a Vocus webinar, Marketing Metrics that Matter. While there was a vast amount of information and insight shared by presenter Gini Dietrich, one of the discussion points that stuck out the most was the benefits of blogging—a task we encourage all of our clients, regardless of niche, to add to their weekly digital marketing to-do list.

As we always anticipate, the response is luke warm. Why? Because the value of blogging is still unfamiliar territory for many business owners. And, because getting it right is also challenging. I know this because I am constantly swallowing down heaping doses of information about how to do it better. But, the one thing that I did have in my back pocket from the start, was an understanding that the only road to attaining stronger skills and insights (and to share them with our clients), was to start blogging (and reading).

So here’s what I know about why a blog works for a variety of businesses:

It demonstrates thought leadership

It can be used as an educational tool for readers and prospects who might want to know more about your products and services, but in a way that isn’t in-your-face sales hype. (Creating anecdotal “stories” that show, not tell, will help you win readers over.)

And, as these graphics below, taken from that webinar, will point to, a company blog can drive sales—niche depending, of course.

to blog or not to blog?

to blog or not to blog? graphic 2

wondering if social media works?

Why do we, as public relations, copywriting and social media specialists care so much about this?

Well, for starters, blogs are social media, and more importantly, because measuring brand awareness and the effectiveness of traditional PR is difficult (and not necessarily what those footing the PR bill want to hear) we are constantly in the hot seat regarding data-driven metrics. When we can prove that a well-written, relevant blog was widely read and repeatedly shared, and that this exposure led to new relationships and sales, we can stand tall in claiming that our efforts played a role.

how can you (social media) campaign like a pro?

December 3, 2012

→Almost weekly, I receive an email referencing the best or worst social media mistakes/campaigns. In my line of work, it’s impossible to resist clicking on the links to these stories or dumping them into my Instapaper account. Just like everyone else, my desire to master the art of social media messaging is pretty high.

Keeping up with the Joneses is exhausting; one of the ways that I attempt to, is through my daily Paper.li and LinkedIn Daily Digest, as well as reading just about everything I can related to this black hole of a topic. Inspiring, educational and even a bit humorous, these reads are also very humbling. It’s just not easy to stay confident that you’re doing social media right (especially when your clients are hell-bent on getting “likes” rather than focusing on who’s actively engaging on their page).

Circling back, perusing these thoughtfully compiled snippets of success or failure is educational and motivating. We can’t all measure ourselves against big companies with deep pockets, but we can harvest pieces of their online experiences, both good and bad. This article by David Moth and another by Jeff Bullas, has much to offer to those who are interested in doing social media better and curious about how the big guys go about it.  Another solid link to keep on your desktop—if you’re still with me—is The best social media advice for 2013. The writer had me at the cartoon, but the tips are a gold mine. My favorite is from Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image:

Read. A lot. Spend the majority of your time reading. Everything. Books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, everything. Read content out of your sphere of interest and read content that drills down into areas you are very passionate about. Reading inspires creativity and helps me create content.

(I just never thought I’d be reading so much about social media and content marketing. Neither did the pile of books on my nightstand or on my Kindle. Bah humbug.)

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