June 16th, 2014
Author: Guest
B2B Decision-Making: The Proof Is In the Influencers

Guest post from our U.S. partner Text100 and its Hypertext blog. Insights for this post were taken from the Text100 Influence Index: Paving the Path to AdvocacyAuthored by Rowan Benecke.


Text100 Influencers PostA major goal for B2B companies is reaching decision-makers to keep their product top-of-mind and ultimately result in sales. However, given the proliferation of content and general noise in the B2B industry, it’s hard to keep track of who is actually influencing buying decisions. Based on surveying more than 1,900 decision-makers, our Influence Index revealed the major influencers impacting business decision-makers and what they purchase.

In order to make the right choices regarding who to target to ensure your brand is part of the product buying conversation, decision makers (unsurprisingly) turn to sources they trust, who are highly influential in the decision-making process. Typically, these influencers fall into three main buckets:

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January 7th, 2014
Author: Guest
Even in the social media era, press releases still matter

press release

The death of the press release is a favourite topic for media and communications professionals. Recently, it flared up again when Alex Aiken, executive director of US government communications made the (bold?) declaration that, yes, the press release is dead. 

Aiken’s argument, as described by PR Week is that public relations pros should be content producers. Here’s the quote:

“You should not start with three pages of A4, but a tweet, an infographic or a video. If you are writing more than 200 words on any subject, you’re probably in the wrong place.”

I understand where Aiken is coming from. Social media has changed the way we get our messages out. I would argue no profession knows that better than journalists, who not only use Twitter and Facebook (and others) as a listening tool, but perhaps more importantly as a platform to project their content.  Read More

September 23rd, 2013
Author: Dianne Craig
How to write for an integrated marketing communications agency


integrated marketing

You’ll need heightened skills when writing for an integrated marketing communications agency

When I tell new friends I write for a marketing communications agency they sometimes say, “Oh, an ad agency?”, and I wonder how to best describe the scope of an integrated marketing communications agency in a few words. I say, “Full service: advertising, PR, digital, direct, promotions, branding, design – integrated communications.”

While most agencies specialize in one discipline such as advertising, public relations, or direct marketing, a full-service integrated communications agency is just that: full service. It offers a clear advantage by providing a much wider scope of services, designed to work synergistically together to meet clients’ objectives, and reach targets at every conceivable interface. Read More

September 9th, 2013
Author: Dianne Craig
On Words: September Grammar Tips
grammar tips

Good grammar can take you very far.

Allow myself to introduce…myself.” – Austin Powers.

I am a Senior Copywriter at StrategicAmpersand. Proper use of the word ‘myself’ (unlike what you see above!) is the first tip in this debut post of On Words, a new monthly feature of our blog. As you know, good grammar, whether spoken or written, is your calling card — affecting first and lasting impressions. Each month, you’ll find good grammar tips covering frequently misused words or punctuation. This refresher guide is designed to help you improve your communications.

Here are September’s grammar tips: Read More

August 28th, 2013
Author: Kara Merpaw
7 steps to becoming a successful PR professional
successful PR professional

Continued learning is critical to becoming a successful PR professional

Habits of successful PR professionals and how you can be just like them

Great public relations professionals stand out in any environment. Though special in their own ways, these individuals have a few things in common. They’ve already spent a lot of time refining their craft, but even these veterans continue to dedicate a significant amount of energy to learning and improving their skills. Every successful PR professional understands the ins and outs of their client’s business, market and competitors as well as they do (if not better). They recognize busy clients rely on them to be their eyes and ears. They know understanding a client’s business provides the insight needed to be successful at even the smallest task.

How to be like them:  Read More

July 4th, 2013
Author: Jennifer Rideout
How to Succeed in PR: 5 tips you won’t learn in school
how to succeed in PR

How to succeed in PR

On occasion, I’m asked to speak with public relations students on a variety of topics. These typically fall into standard categories: What to expect after graduation, what it is like is to work at an agency and – without fail – how to succeed in PR.

My experience with the latter question usually goes like this:

The stares. Oh my, the stares. Standing in front of a class full of eager PR students, inevitably I get them. The “teach us” stares. Then comes the question.

“How can I be successful in public relations?” 

OK, so after getting asked this question over and over again, I sat down with my StrategicAmpersand colleagues and we came up with five PR career tips you won’t learn in school.  Read More

May 22nd, 2013
Author: Jennifer Rideout
7 steps to social media listening success
Social media listening

Social media listening as a foundation for your social strategy

It’s true. Listening is the most important part of your social strategy. Social media listening is even more important than the content creation. So far, we’ve talked about the quality of followers being more important than the number of followers and provided a step-by-step process for identifying the right social media platforms for your brand. If you’re a B2B communications pro, you have your social media objectives laid out, have planned your launch and have your team in place.

But now what?

Now it’s time to listen. Simply put, listening should drive your B2B social media strategy. Here are few reasons;  listening will tell you when your customers and partners are upset; listening will tell you when your audience has unanswered questions about your product; listening will let you know how customers feel about your brand; and listening will even tell you when there’s a sales opportunity. If you aren’t listening to your audiences, how do you know what they want?   Read More

April 30th, 2013
Author: Mike Martin
Four reasons why former journalists work well in PR

Batman and the Joker; Superman and Lex Luthor; Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine — on the one side are the forces of light, truth and justice. On the other are villains and rogues. Many reporters and editors view the worlds of journalism and public relations through a similar lens. Journalists are the heroes trying to expose the truth while PR pros are the villains trying to shield or promote their clients. The two sides couldn’t possibly be more different.

I know this because I’m a former reporter and editor who moved from journalism to PR just over six years ago. When I began my journalism career in the late 1990s I viewed PR people as obstacles who were trying to prevent me from getting the “real” story. As time passed, I realized PR professionals could help by putting me in touch with knowledgeable sources in time to meet deadlines.

Eventually I decided it was time for a new challenge in my career and made the switch to PR.  Read More