Monthly: July 2013

Velocity News

Intern Spotlight: Chase Dennies

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As a New Orleans native, Chase Dennies grew up attending many festivals and snapping pictures. Apart from being a talented photographer, Chase is also an amazing graphic designer and we are lucky to have him as an intern at Velocity. For our Intern Spotlight this week, Chase shares his passions and his favorite hangouts in New Orleans.

VA:Where are you from?

CD:I was born and raised in New Orleans, LA.

VA:What do you like the most about New Orleans?

CD:I like that there is always something to do in New Orleans.

VA:What are you most passionate about?

CD: I am very passionate about my family. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their love and support.

VA:What do you like about working at Velocity ?

CD: One of the things that I like about Velocity is the open creative environment that it offers. Second, is the collaboration between the designers and helping each other out on projects. The best is the fact that it is a full service agency, there’s a lot I can learn from other areas. If I want to learn things about post production I can just go downstairs and learn some things from the production team.

VA:What is Graphic Design for you?

CD: Graphic design has become a big part of my life. I enjoy learning new things about design every day. After your first typography class the entire world changes. You start to see the world as type. Other people may describe the new restaurant by saying its next to the dry cleaners but you describe it as the place that uses Comic Sans in their logo.

VA:What are some of your favorite hangout spots on the weekend ?

CD: On the weekends, I like to hangout at The Bulldog or just relax at home with my family.

VA: What is your social media of choice?

CD:  None.(Just Kidding!) I would have to say Facebook.

Velocity News

Thoughts on the 2013 NEXUS GYS

Upon arriving at the NEXUS Global Summit on Innovative Philanthropy and Social Innovation this past weekend, I found myself reflecting on a long held personal belief. I have always felt strongly that anyone can find a way to buy something for a dollar and sell it for two. This model equates to a business. However, I have never had any desire to simply create a business. I have worked on building companies. Certainly, companies buy and manufacture at a mark-up, sell ad space, and take transaction based revenue, but they also grow. Companies create jobs, offer careers for skilled individuals, bring opportunities for complementary products and services, and together create entire industry sectors.

Hence, companies doing well often scale up. They are rooted in innovation and routinely disrupt convention. They open offices around the globe and create more jobs and wealth, all while offering something useful to the world.

But, in case you haven’t noticed, the world is not doing well. There are inverse metrics all around us: record population increase accompanied by stagnant job growth, innovation with increased technology costs, and lower wages alongside food and gas price inflation.

So, companies doing well must now be given a larger mandate: to do good. These days, it is not sufficient to operate simply as a company. Those scaling up must use their power and influence for good, all while attempting to halt this seemingly incalculable downward spiral of our current world environment and outlook.

This sentiment is exactly what NEXUS Global Summit is all about. Doing good is not a luxury, nor is it a corporate goodwill budget line item. It is an absolute, immediate necessity, and bringing together scaling companies, thought leaders, and institutions from around the world, for four nine-hour days, is exactly how it’s going to get done.

Velocity News

Perfecting your Pitch: 6 Tips On Getting Your Story Published

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In the fast-paced, ever-evolving world of Public Relations, it takes a lot more than simply sending out a press release to obtain the right media coverage for your clients. Our digitized world is constantly stirring with important events  24/7, and having the right strategy paired with the right contacts is key. From my experience with Public Relations, these are the 6 essentials to getting your stories published.

  1. Peace out Press Release: In this digital age where consumers demand instant updates from news sources, press releases have lost their value due to the tedious time involved in developing, distributing, and following up. Get innovative with your pitches! Don’t get me wrong, there are some situations in which a press release can do you right, but choose wisely my friends.

  2. Socialite Status: It’s not called Personal Relations for nothing! Get out there- join advertising and marketing associations in your city, attend conferences & city-wide events to plump up that little black book of contacts.

  3. Extra, Extra, Read All About it! : Don’t think a journalist or blogger will pick up your story about Why Accountants have more fun? It’s all about how you pitch it to them. Did you know that accountants at Rothstein Kass don’t report to work until 10:00am, have personal concierge services for all home duties, and get paid for international travel during vacations? Paris, here I come!

  4. Do your research: Find out as much professional information about the person you are pitching your story to. Knowledge is power! If you are attempting to grab Barbara Walter’s attention to pick up your story, viciously research her previous work on the particular subject, relate back to it in your pitch, and give her finite reasons as to why the public needs to know more.

  5. Say It Loud & Proud: Did your pitch not get picked up the first time? Neither did Abe Lincoln’s. Revisit your first attempt, make some edits, and try again. And Again. And Again. Reporters look for specific stories at precise times–persistence is key.

  6. Go Big or Go Home: Don’t sell your story short. There are over 100,000 professional journalists and bloggers in the Unites States alone, not to mention international press who have an influence around the world. The World is your oyster, go out there and capture it!

Velocity News

Intern Spotlight: Lillie Hart

 

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What do fashion, horses and New Orleans have in common?  They are all beloved by our Public Relations intern, Lillie Hart. Originally from Zephyrhills, FL, Lillie has lived most of her life in Durham, NC. She moved to New Orleans and became a Business Marketing and Legal Studies major at Tulane University. For our very first Intern Spotlight, we go one-on-one with Lillie.

VA:What brought you to New Orleans?

LH:My family is actually from New Orleans, so I’ve grown up coming here to visit family and then when I was looking for colleges I visited Tulane and loved it.

VA:What are you passionate about?

LH:I’ve always been really passionate about horses. I’ve been riding since I was 7 and competed in high school and I still ride for the Tulane team. I’m also passionate about shopping. I shop, like, a lot.

VA:What do you like about  being an intern at Velocity ?

LH:I really like that everyone is so young and excited about their work. Being so close in age is awesome because I feel like my ideas are valued, but at the same time I learn how to do something new or about something new every day.

VA:What is Public Relations for you?

LH:For me, PR is being a catalyst for really cool or important or interesting information to people who want to know about it. It’s about getting information or news to the right audience that not only helps the people you’re sharing information about, but also the people who want to know about it.

VA:What are your hobbies ?

LH:I’m a friend to the animals as well as a philanthropist…just kidding. Besides riding horses and shopping I spend a lot of time babysitting and have a really soft spot in my heart for little kids.

VA: What is your social platform of choice?

LH: Instagram, #handsdown.

Velocity News

Memoirs of an Ex-Crackberry

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Scrolling down the endless feed of Instagram photos on my iPhone, one selfie stands out. It’s a girl I know from college, she is taking the usual “mirror pic,” but there is something that makes this photo extra special. Her picture was not taken by an iPhone, but by what many years ago would be known as a “Blackberry Bold.”

Flashback to my freshman year of college: I remember getting my first Blackberry (Flip phones in 2008? Unheard of!). The Pearl was not the best model, but did serve its immediate purpose of placing calls and granting me access to the infamous BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). The Blackberry was my drug of choice. I remember the rush of excitement as I uttered the words “Add me on BBM,” the self-doubt that crawled in when someone would leave my message on R, and the feeling of impending doom when my parents flooded me with PINGS! after a night out.

From the Pearl all the way up to my last Bold, my passion for Blackberry models was evident. When I spot one from time to time, I become nostalgic. I remember how the clattering of keys would make anyone around me aware of my conversations. I remember how scrolling meant praying to God, that after much abuse, my sphere was still working. I remember scrambling for 3G reception so my BBMs could be sent. I remember declaring myself a “Crackberry” addict at some point, as well as using entire bags of rice in hopes of reviving my soaking wet Curve.

For better or worse, Blackberry no longer reigns as king of the smartphone world. Even though I know that going back to Blackberry now would be socially unacceptable, I must admit I am nostalgic about our romance. I miss typing away on its minuscule keyboard, I miss knowing when my messages had been read and being able to communicate with friends and family around the world. And no matter how cool and user-friendly the iPhone may be, no one can ever compare BBM to iMessage: there will never be something quite like it.

Do you have any memorable Blackberry memoirs? Share them with us! 

Velocity News

Caring is Sharing: 4 Tips To Getting Content Shared

Sharing Secrets - Little Girls

 

As a marketer, I am constantly immersing myself in blogs, articles and guides in order to keep up with the ever changing online landscape. As a social media director, I am always on the lookout for the holy grail of social: how does your content get shared by others? Bombarded with How-To’s and vague promises, I decided to ask a more relevant question: why do we share?

Sharing is not new, it’s human nature. Even before the days of Internet and social platforms, we shared relevant and important information through various mediums.The only thing that has changed is that we share more content, from more sources, with more people, more often. Still with me? The only way to understand the real reason why people share is to understand the underlying psychology.

Based on a recent study, each share comes from different psychological factors that all tie into building and maintaining relationships. These include:

  • Bringing valuable and entertaining content to others
  • To define ourselves to others
  • To grow and nourish relationships
  • To promote causes and brands we care about

Another study argues that sharing comes from a deeper level of emotional responses. Researchers believe that the act of sharing could be sparked by evoking emotions such as:

  • Amusement
  • Shock
  • Inspiration
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Illumination
  • Controversial
  • Positive
  • Negative

Judging from these studies, we can conclude there is a certain science behind sharing content online. Another key take away is that there is a spectrum of emotions, whether positive or negative, that will incite users to click “share.” So now that we have an understanding as to why people share, how can you use this information to your favor ?

  1. Appeal to your audience’s motivations: they are following you for a reason and it’s not just to connect with you, but to connect with others who care and know about you.
  2. Establish trust with your users: no one shares content they don’t find credible.
  3. Keep the message simple: you can’t expect users to share content if they don’t understand it.
  4. Appeal to emotions: be true to your persona whether it be controversial, inspirational, or amusing.

Keep these tips in mind next time you make a post on any social platform. It’s not an exact science but they can certainly increase your chances of “getting shared.”

Velocity News

Will Social Media Kill The Search Engine?

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While most people in the U.S. still use traditional search engines such as Google to find their needs online, more users, especially younger users, are discovering websites through social networks.

According to a new study by Forrester Research, last year half of the internet users between the ages 18 to 23, and 43 percent of users ages 24-32 used social networks as their go-to internet discovery resource.

As social media and search marketing are becoming increasingly intertwined, it is important for marketers to learn the benefits of both methods. How does social media marketing compare to search marketing? Search Engine Marketing (SEM) still makes the biggest impact when it comes to lead generation. For many businesses lead generation is a top goal, and SEM is more effective at generating leads than social media. When it comes to local businesses, consumers are still more likely to rely on search engines over social media sites. In terms of visibility, SEM is what marketers rely on to get business exposure and increased ranking on search engines.

In terms of generating brand awareness and exposure, social media offers the most benefit to marketers. Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a powerful tool for marketers looking to increase their website traffic, but it can also be helpful in improving search rank by capitalizing on the recent trend toward social media optimization in search algorithms. Above all, social media is a valuable interactive marketing tool, and consumer engagement is becoming the most sought after prize in the online world.

Even though 54 percent of Americans still rely on traditional search to find the information they are looking for, this number is on the decline. As consumers are rapidly changing their behavior, marketers should not be prioritizing SEO and paid search efforts over engagement on social media.

The changes in search algorithms to incorporate social media are here to stay, it’s called social media optimization. The growing impact of social media on search rankings suggests marketers will have to embrace both SEM and SMM in order to stay ahead.

Velocity News

RIP Google Reader

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While it’s certainly not the first product Google has axed, the loss of the Reader service today has received more backlash than any previous cut from the tech giant’s team. For the past eight years, millions of loyal users have relied on Google Reader for their daily dose of internet news, all provided in one simple feed. As of midnight on July 1st, these fans will have to find a new RSS home for good.

So, if there were so many loyal fans, then why did Google put an end to Reader?

There are several clear reasons, and more will become apparent after the shutdown is complete and we get a better sense of what to expect for Google’s next move. What we know for sure is that the proliferation of social media platforms has been the biggest detractor from Reader’s user base. The decline can be traced back to 2006, the year which saw the rise of Twitter as well as the introduction of Facebook’s News Feed feature. Both immediately provided a syndicated, continuous feed bringing users personalized micro updates at speeds far faster than your standard online newspaper, and together they drew consumers away from the suddenly clunky and comparatively slow world of RSS.

Fast forward to 2013, and two of the tech world’s biggest stories are again focused around news feeds. Just as Google Reader lives out its final hours, we are hearing more and more about the impending launch of a new feature that will turn Facebook into an even more functional and powerful online newspaper. For now, those who are coping with the loss of Reader will have to find an alternative. Luckily, the fight to claim the empty throne of the RSS world is turning out well for consumers. With everyone from AOL to Digg vying for your usership, there’s no doubt that newly launched services will be stacked with attention-grabbing features.

If you’ve been a longtime Google Reader user, what service have you switched to? If you couldn’t care less about Google Reader’s departure, we want to know why.
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