communication

What are you even doing?

By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Supervisor at TrizCom PR

I was in a new business meeting last year with two executives from a company out of Houston, Texas. No strangers to the power of PR, they had engaged a firm on retainer for the past year but just weren’t seeing the results they had hoped for the amount they were spending. One of the executives remarked that the only thing the firm had brought to them in the last month was an opportunity to write an editorial for placement in an industry publication. And they didn’t even offer to write it.

“What type of PR plan are they working from?” I asked. They both looked up. Then they looked at each other. Then they looked back at me. I had the answer I suspected. The company was completely clueless as to what the PR firm was working on. There was no plan submitted – monthly, quarterly or annually. No review of ideas, tactics or strategies delivered on a regular basis. No updates. Just a seat-of-the-pants dart board game in which once in a while they got a hit.

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Who does this? How are they getting away with it? At TrizCom PR, we want our clients to feel comfortable asking this question at any time: What are you even doing? But the way we operate, they never get the chance. We pride ourselves on developing strategic public relations and media outreach campaigns. The length of time they cover varies depending on the client and the type of industry they’re in, but everyone has an idea of what we’re working on together to achieve success.

At TrizCom, we’ve even patented an internal “Monday Morning Check-In” email that gets delivered to our client contacts before our weekly staff meeting at 10 a.m. Why do we do this? Because we want our clients to know what our shared pending items include. We’ll tell you if you have a press release that needs approval, an interview Wednesday at 2 p.m. and an editorial byline opportunity – if you can approve it before the two-week deadline. And we’ll even take the steps to write it, if necessary.

And how about measurement? Does your current firm hold themselves accountable for the results they produce? While there’s no such thing as guaranteeing coverage, we pride ourselves on performing without a safety net, so to speak. And just as you get a regularly updated PR Plan, you’ll get a regularly updated PR Clip Report. For me that means some of my busiest weeks occur at the end of every quarter. But it sure makes annual client retainer renewals easier to sign.

What are we even doing? That’s what we’re doing.

From Pound Sign to Hashtag: How Social Media is Changing Our Language

By Rebecca Ellis, TrizCom PR Intern

It’s no secret that technology has taken over our world. Practically everything that was once paper is now digital – I mean, we even refer to an entire generation as the “iGeneration.” This technological revolution has changed the face of communication so drastically that it is virtually unrecognizable from communication 30 years ago. Gone are the days of handwritten letters and snail mail (while romantic in Nicholas Sparks films, we can all admit they’re not entirely effective methods of communication).

In a world that relies heavily on instant gratification, trends begin and end so quickly that if your phone dies and you forgot a charger, you’ll probably miss it. One of the hottest trends right now is buzzwords. Every social media user has probably found themselves wondering the following questions at some point in their life: “So, saying that something is ‘lit’ doesn’t actually mean that it’s on fire?” “Why is it spelled ‘meme’ and not ‘meem’?” “Can we all just PLEASE agree on how ‘gif’ is pronounced?”

While buzzwords are temporary in definition, certain ones have stuck around courtesy of good ol’ Merriam Webster. Words that originated on Twitter are now officially a part of the English language, as terrifyingly awesome as that is.

If you think about it, nothing about this is new. Words have been added to the English language for as long as it has been in existence. It’s safe to assume that words like obnubilate and transpicuous did not originate with cavemen. The reason the whole phenomenon of integrating buzzwords from social media into our language seems so outlandish is because we get to witness it. We get to see firsthand a word’s transformation from a post gone viral, to a common trend, to a page in the dictionary.

Not only are new words being introduced, but words (and their meanings) are changing. Ask a 10-year-old what a pound sign is, and they’ll stare at you dumbfounded. Ask them what a hashtag is, and they’ll probably roll their eyes and sigh as they pull out their iPhone and open 12 new apps you’ve never heard of to show you an example. Even words such as “block,” “unfriend” and “viral” all existed pre-social media, and yet their meanings have been altered slightly to reflect the digital world we live in.

The English language is a complex, beautiful piece of art. It will continue to grow and change so long as the people speaking it continue to. And yes, it is slightly ridiculous to realize the word “selfie” is engrained in the dictionary for posterity. But the idea that anyone has the capability to create a word through the use of social media is pretty incredible. Oh, sorry. It’s “lit.