The News Chair
  1. Preparing a Social Media Plan

    May 20, 2015 by Tiffany Whisner

    Social Media Calendar

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    Those of us who manage social media platforms and content — and those who don’t — know the news cycle never ends. Habitual phone-checking has become the norm, whether you’re browsing your social network feeds for the latest on Twitter or just because you’re bored.

    Therefore, there is a constant need for fresh, timely content on your brand’s social profiles. How can this be accomplished without being completely overwhelmed?

    Planning.

     

    Make time to manage social media

    I’m always a big proponent of planning — and having a social media editorial calendar as part of your social media strategy can save you valuable time and effort.

    Chris Mercier

    Chris Mercier

    “A social media editorial calendar includes promotional and helpful content that is both seasonal and timely for your company or organization,” said Coles VP Public Relations Chris Mercier. “It helps you organize your thoughts and writing projects into concise messages that support your brand and appeal to your audience.”

    Sure, creating a calendar can be time consuming on the front end, but then you’ve got a plan in place to guide you in your daily social media activities. You’ve already done research into appropriate topics and articles and when you want certain posts scheduled.

    “It basically gives your brand a blueprint of your outreach goals for the next month or so,” said Coles Senior Copywriter Christopher Lloyd.

    And it keeps your brand on track with your online strategy.

     

    Calendar contents and creation

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    “Most social media editorial calendars include specific messaging topics, verbiage and links,” Lloyd said. “This allows for posts that feel spontaneous and fresh but can be vetted beforehand by all parties with a stake.”

    Here are some items to include in a social media calendar:

    • Topic to highlight along with copy
    • Appropriate links and Web addresses
    • Headline for post
    • Related hashtags
    • Photos, videos or other visual content
    • Publish date and time

    Think through what events and initiatives your brand might be involved in, and make sure to develop content to promote them.

    Also, research national holidays and observances, and wrap some related social media content around those dates.

    “Editorial calendars are worth the planning time,” Mercier said. “They help you get organized and deliver valuable content to your customers.”

     

    Allow room for adjustment

    “Planning ahead helps avoid panic and can serve as a roadmap to determining the best fit for your content and help you organize your writing projects,” Mercier said.

    But just as planning and preparation saves time, leave a little breathing room for some social media flexibility.

    Lloyd mentioned a great example: Oreo’s social media messaging when a blackout shut down the 2013 Super Bowl. With some quick thinking and a bit of a shift from their social media strategy, Oreo’s brilliant tweet made major headlines.

    In addition, if you schedule posts too far in advance, you could get into some trouble. If breaking news happens or a tragedy occurs, your brand could look insensitive by running a scheduled post during a crisis.

    When produced and used the right way though, a social media editorial calendar saves you time and energy and helps you consistently publish high-quality content.

    “By putting in a little thought and strategy, it will help you stay true to your brand goals and audience,” Mercier said.

    And we’ll develop and distribute the content to get you noticed. Contact us today!

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  2. Access to Sports for One and All

    May 1, 2015 by Tiffany Whisner

    WindsurfingThrough our work with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads, I recently had the privilege to interview the program director of an organization called AccesSportAmerica.

    Founded in 1995, AccesSport is a unique organization promoting the physical and athletic potential of children and adults with disabilities through high-challenge sports and training.

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    It really was eye-opening to learn about all the ways this organization is making sports accessible — more than 2,000 children and adults join the programs offered each year, taking part in everything from adaptive windsurfing and canoeing to soccer, cycling and tennis.

    Here are some statistics:

    • Only 12% of adults with a disability meet the minimum physical activity recommendations of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days/week or 20 minutes of rigorous activity at least three days/week.
    • Physical inactivity among people with disabilities has been linked to an increase in the severity of disability and decreased involvement in the community.
    • Presently, there are approximately one billion persons with disabilities in the world, or 15% of the global population.
    • People with disabilities are less likely to engage in regular moderate physical activity than people without disabilities yet they have similar needs to promote their health and prevent unnecessary diseases.

    Read the full article written for INDATA here!

    And consider supporting this organization, which makes all the difference to their programs and staff.

    Cycling“My favorite part of working for AccesSport is the lifelong friendships I make with the athletes,” said Program Director Nate Berry. “It’s extremely rewarding to see them gain function, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. There is no greater feeling than seeing the confidence our athletes gain when they realize they are able to do something, either for the first time or that they haven’t accomplished in years. This feeling is contagious and is constantly spread throughout the AccesSport community, and I get just as much, if not more, out of being a part of it all as they do.”

     

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  3. Every Brand Needs a Guide

    April 24, 2015 by Christopher Lloyd

    Brand Guide

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    One of the things I most often turned to in my journalism career was a stylebook. These stylebooks act as a guide for writers and editors so their usage of language is consistent from story to story. The Associated Press guide is generally considered the standard.

    They cover everything from what job titles get capitalized — sorry, realtors, you’re not one of them! — to how to abbreviate Montana.

    Branding guidelines are their counterpart in the marketing sphere, but they cover so much more than just language. Also referred to as brand rules or style guides, branding guidelines are most critical in determining how a company’s image is represented visually and graphically.

     

    Consistency is key

    Tim Coulon

    Tim Coulon

    Coles Marketing Vice President, Creative Tim Coulon said branding guidelines act as safeguards so best practices are always followed when a company’s logo, imagery or other visual element is shared with the public.

    “Branding guidelines ensure a brand’s image is protected and portrayed consistently across all platforms — Web, brochures, print advertising, e-communications, billboards and other collateral,” he said.

    A brand style guide gives clear directions for how things should look and how they should be created.

     

    Guideline ingredients

    Branding guidelines can vary from just a page or two showing the company’s logo and acceptable palette of colors, to entire books laying out what language can be used in any sort of outreach to the marketplace and target audiences.

    Here are a few essential components for a brand style guide:

    • Logo – size and placement
    • Fonts
    • Colors
    • Web-specific elements

    Other items commonly addressed include the company boilerplate, how to label subsidiary entities, typography to be used in additional circumstances, letterhead, PowerPoint presentations, social media guidelines and even how to compose a voicemail message.

     

    Creating a new guideline

    When a new company is born, or an existing one is undergoing a rebranding effort, it’s a good policy to draft a new branding guideline with input from all key levels of leadership. That way everyone is on the same page regarding messaging and imagery. It’s a way to be proactive and not rely on fixing mistakes after the fact.

    “For a small business, it may be as simple as making sure the colors of your logo always come out right,” Coulon said. “Larger companies tend to have more involved branding guidelines, since they often use outside vendors and agencies for their outreach efforts. This way they can ensure brand continuity without having to reinvent the wheel each time.”

    And branding guidelines should evolve as the brand does, giving space and freedom for new colors to be established, websites to be redesigned and print materials to be updated.

    Need a branding guideline for your company? Coles Marketing has plenty of experience in creating a style guide to fit all your needs.

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