2013 is here. I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling that this year is going to be just as exciting and game-changing as the last.

But before we jump headfirst into 2013, I encourage you to take a look at our best public relations and marketing insights from 2012. Treat it as something to help shake off any remaining cobwebs and inspire new ideas for the New Year.

An Analysis of Social TV and the Second Screen

Social TV and the second screen were two of the biggest movements of 2012. Take a look at Social TV’s explosive growth and five ingredients for a successful and sustainable second screen experience.

One of the key differentiators for second screen providers is the depth of integration with the top shows on TV. It’s a difference-maker because of its power to attract scores of users that are passionate about the shows they watch.

PR, the Career I Can’t Explain

Public Relations professionals have a harder time than most explaining what they do to people outside of the industry. We lay out some possible reasons why.

The biggest challenge that comes with explaining our profession is that there is no all-encompassing job title for most people working in the industry. Turns out, it’s a constantly expanding list of responsibilities, skill sets and proficiencies that can’t be summarized in a one or two-word label.

A Crash Course on Social Content Planning

Creating a social media content plan? Take a look at our comprehensive guide to create a solid foundation, set a framework by constructing a reliable roadmap and execute by following an adaptable game plan.

Because of how much audiences evolve and differ from one another, the only way to ensure continued success is to be able to be flexible enough to change course – and not bring the whole content engine to a grinding halt in the process.

No, Real PR Is Not Like Samantha Jones’ PR

Contrary to how it’s portrayed by Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, PR calls for a lot of hard work and a lot less Hollywood glam. We provide a reality check.

This week, some of my colleagues are coming into work at 6 AM to monitor news for a worldwide client conference. This is to ensure that their client has the latest news in real-time. Samantha Jones would never do this!

The Newest Oldest Rule of PR: Engagement

After relaunching our brand in 2012, our Executive Creative Director Brooke Shepard explained how engagement, the cornerstone of our new brand, is simultaneously where we’re from and where we’re going.

As PR people, we’ve always been trained that our job was to convince someone else how to share a good story. Yesterday it was helping a journalist take an idea and make it his or her own, to reach his readers. Today we continue that approach, but instead of just getting journalists to share a good story, we’re also reaching anyone that can engage, which today, is truly, well, anyone.

The New ‘What’ and ‘How’ of Public Relations

Our GM Tim Fry recently co-authored a white paper on the The New World of Public Relations, and in it he outlines what PR is becoming and how communicators need to evolve to adapt according to 10 senior executives from top brands.

According to these leaders, any PR agency that does not have digital thoroughly integrated into everything they do probably lacks the kind of strategic savvy that clients need and expect. Their advice? Stop talking digital, and just be digital.

5 Skills I Didn’t Learn in a Communications Class

Don’t be fooled. You don’t have to be a communications major to land a job in communications. There are many useful, relevant skills that can be learned in other disciplines as well. We showcase a real example.

The best advice I can give to PR hopefuls, with communications degrees or without, is figure out what your individual skill set is and use it at every opportunity. I did, and the longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve found that my “non-PR” skills are, in fact, essential

What a Zombie Apocalypse and Modern PR Have in Common

Believe it or not, there are many similarities between zombies and today’s PR. It’s hard to explain this one so take a look and find out for yourself (if you dare).

Although it’s always important to provide an area of expertise to your team, there’s going to be occasions where a diversified skill-set can get you out of a bind, or perhaps allow you give additional insight. It only benefits your team if you specialize in more than one concentration. I see it this way: what’s better than being a deadeye gunslinger that never misses? A deadeye gunslinger, samurai sword master that never misses. That’s what.

Your Fingers Are Not Too Fat

The ability to write well and tell compelling stories is critical if you’re working in communications. And like any other skill, the only way to improve is to put in the necessary work. We provide 10 tips to help get you started.

A lot of people believe that writing is like playing a musical instrument. It’s just one of those talents you either have or you don’t. And many people who have the potential to be good writers shy away from it rather than put in the time and effort needed to get better.

Strong PR Work Culture Starts With Reflection

Due to the increasingly fast pace of the communications industry, it’s commonplace to hear something along the lines of, “Would love to, but I’m just too swamped. Just toooo swamped. Not a chance…but would love to.” Or maybe it’s you saying this. We challenge all comms pros to stop and reflect.

Take an extra hour for lunch. Extend a deadline in order to allot time to nail down that idea that is swirling around but not quite ready to present to your client, decline that hour long weekly meeting that you don’t really need to be at, shut down your email for a couple hours and focus on one project. Then, watch the efficiency meter jump.

3 Reasons Why SEO Is Critical to Healthcare Marketing

As one of our key practice areas, we devote a lot of time and resources refining our knowledge and expertise tied to digital healthcare. Critical to any marketing plan for the industry is strong SEO. We explain why.

One can bet on a major search volume spike in the year ahead as more and more states prepare to launch their own individual health exchanges. Whether you work at a hospital, health insurance company or other health-related organization, get ready…the questions and inquiries will start flooding.

How to Maximize Your College Years to Land a Job in PR

For those of you still making your way through college, don’t squander the precious time you have left! Making the most of your time is critical, and we give you five tips on how to do that.

In a competitive but growing field, you need to have a network of advocates and mentors to help guide you through the job-search process. Making connections and fostering and leveraging mutually-beneficial relationships will prove invaluable throughout a career.

Time for PR to Push the Innovation Envelope

The traditional model of PR is out the window. As a result, public relations professionals need to make innovation and creativity a priority. We describe this evolution for you.

In today’s world, it’s not enough to just be a “doer”. You better be a doer and a creator.

Gamification: The Next Big Thing

Gaming continues to weave its way into traditional and non-traditional marketing strategies. Yet, like any other tactic, there’s a right way to incorporate it, and a wrong way. We outline tips for effective gamification.

The user sets the terms of engagement, not the brand. Just as consumers dictate how and when they consume online media content, they will decide precisely how to interact with your gamified experience.

Top 4 Industry Truths Digital Communicators Should Know

In 2012, we sent a team to attend the Seattle Interactive Conference. After absorbing oodles of information about convergence of online technology, creativity and emerging trends in the industry, the team came up with four key takeaways.

We are no longer longer storytellers. To gain our audiences attention, we must be story-makers — creating experiences that are interactive, non-linear and constantly engaging.

Storytelling Builds Connections

Storytelling is an intricate art. It requires many elements that work perfectly together in order to shine. Charlie Meredith-Hardy from Weber Shandwick London dropped by Seattle last year and showed us how to piece everything together.

Engaging storytelling challenges us to start with a purpose, climax with an action idea and ultimately issue a call-to-action.

To Be or Not To Be Proactive – There Is No Question

If you ask a PR pro what you must do to get ahead, chances are you’ll hear something along the lines of, “It’s all about being proactive.” We agree, and provide some tips on how to start being proactive yourself.

Networking is important in every industry because it gives you exposure to others and gives others exposure to you. But, you can’t wait for the next holiday or office party to start mingling; you must create the networking opportunity.

The Global Consumer’s Year of Anger and Action

Today’s global consumer has no patience for brands that don’t adapt to their needs. They expect the companies they have relationships with to step up and take action — and in a big way. We explain how this can be done.

Businesses need to show thoughtful strategic innovation and leadership in order to provide beneficial rewards for both consumers and the business environment. Because let’s be honest, the time has passed where companies can rely on the reputation of their brands to get them through the fury of this year’s of enraged consumers.

What Makes for Impactful Imagery?

Compelling imagery is now an essential element to all social media content mixes. Regardless if your channels include multimedia networks like Facebook or image-focused platforms like Pinterest. Before you start snapping and curating photos, take a look at our best practices.

From advertisements and art to online and print media, imagery is used in countless ways to spark emotion, incite action and leave a lasting effect on the audience.

Learning the Spokesperson Dance

In charge of  selecting a spokesperson for your company? Your client? Well, know that you don’t always have to look to the biggest names or most seasoned speakers. We tell a story about a spokesperson that excelled based on practice and discipline alone.

Before every interview, we had a phone debrief to run through potential questions and practice answers. We never took the softball questions for granted during those calls.

Have any of your own insights to add? Let us know in the comments!

Title image courtesy of Creative Tools.

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