Better Internal Communications with the Meltwater Newsletter

Streamline internal communications across all university departments with the Meltwater newsletter.

The newsletter is a custom-branded email template built by Meltwater’s support team that can be populated with articles and sent out regularly; many clients have found it to be an amazing tool for internal communications. The best way to understand its capabilities is through real life examples, in this case an amalgamation of how the newsletter tool is used by a few different university clients.

Just like any company or organization, universities have many departments and internal stakeholders with diverse information needs. University departments like communications, the office of the president, alumni relations/development and athletics need to communicate with students, alumni, faculty/staff, parents and donors on a regular basis. Meltwater works with universities all over the world to help them communicate more effectively using the Meltwater News newsletter.

All recipient lists are managed in the platform and can be uploaded using .CSV files. Once the lists are created, articles can be sent to your newsletter one-by-one manually or they can stream in automatically from a search agent or archive folder before sending.

To give you a 360-degree look at how a university, or any other organization for that matter, could use the newsletter, let’s take a look at a few use cases by department.

 

The Office of the President

Just like the executive team in a business, the office of the president at many universities works to remain transparent and accessible to the university community. Effectively communicating important announcements and recent press on the university and its faculty goes a long way to help this.

The office of the president often collaborates with university communications to use Meltwater News to send out regular newsletters to students, faculty/staff and parents. Using the article editor feature, you can include internal articles that didn’t come through a search agent in the platform. Many universities also add a “Letter from the President” at the top of each newsletter to give it a personal touch and to explain monthly announcements.

 

University Athletics

The communications director for university athletics can use the Meltwater newsletter to increase alumni support and student attendance at games. A monthly newsletter not only reports wins/losses, provides links to buy tickets and reports outstanding athletic performance, but it also highlights the academic achievements of student athletes.

Meltwater’s support team can build a custom newsletter for the athletics department, which includes team logos and space for a student athlete of the month. The personal touches on the newsletter, along with other efforts, can help increase alumni donations to athletics as well as overall game attendance.

 

Alumni Relations & Development

Alumni support is a main focus for most universities. To support annual giving campaigns and regular alumni outreach by student callers, the alumni relations office can send out quarterly updates via email using the Meltwater newsletter.

Alumni quarterly newsletters often include important news on the university, faculty research, current students, successful alumni and athletics. It also mentions any current donation campaigns with links and information on upcoming class reunions.

 

The Meltwater newsletter is a tool that proactively gets information to important stakeholders both internal and external. All of the newsletters used by different university departments are usually part of a single shared Meltwater News account (along with other modules like media monitoring and media outreach). This means that you’ll have one Client Success rep who works with all university departments and can act consultatively to maintain and optimize your account. Regardless of your audience or message, the Meltwater newsletter is a great way to ensure open lines of communications with your university community.

If there are any other topics you’d like to see on the Meltwater Success Blog, or if you’d like to write a guest post, send me an email at chris.dotson@www.meltwater.com.

For more great content like this, click here to subscribe to the Success Blog.

Meltwater’s 15 Most Popular Social Media Blog Posts of 2013

As the year 2013 comes to a close, it’s fun to look back on our blog posts over the year to identify trends and determine which topics should be covered more frequently going forward. By the looks of Meltwater’s most popular social media blog posts, it’s clear that people have moved past talking about why social media is important, and are now wanting to discus how to use it effectively. It’s also clear that Facebook is still a hot topic for marketers who would like to reach the network’s 1.19 billion users, which I expect will continue to be a hot topic in 2014 as Facebook continues to refine its algorithm.

So, in case you missed any, here are Meltwater’s Top Social Media Blog Posts of 2013:

  1. 10 Easy Ways to Get More Facebook Likes for Your Business Page
  2. FAQ: What’s the Best Time to Post on Facebook?
  3. Social Media Marketing Strategy | Top 11 #SMMW13 Insights
  4. Roundtable Series: Building Brand Awareness
  5. How often should you post on Facebook?
  6. The New Social Listening – Big Data Lessons from SXSW and Beyond
  7. 6 Steps to Proving Your Worth: Social Marketing ROI
  8. A Social Media Campaign is More Than a Retweet
  9. Who’s on First? | Social Media Crisis Communications Strategy
  10. 7 Tips for a Successful Contest on Facebook
  11. 3 Reasons Your Company Should Like Other Pages on Facebook
  12. 4 Facebook Metrics Every Company Should be Measuring
  13. Social Conversations are the New Target Message | The 2nd C of Social Media Marketing
  14. Generating Leads on Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts
  15. Did You Know…? [Social Media Stats for 2013]

What to Expect on Meltwater’s Social Media Blog in 2014:

In 2014, we’ll continue to deliver informative and actionable blog posts on the more established social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, as well on emerging networks like Snapchat. Many will be detailed, tactical, how-to articles, while others will be more high-level and strategic to ensure that we cover all the bases. To make sure you don’t miss anything next year, subscribe to the social media blog!

If there’s anything specific you’d like to see covered, please comment below or tweet it to us @Meltwater!

5 Simple Steps to Better Internal PR

Internal PR is similar to the huddle, as the PR pro you must listen, share plans and collaborate.

In PR we spend a lot of time talking about how we communicate externally. We’ll go on and on about PR pitch strategy, PR measurement, media relations best practices, crisis communications and how they relate to our external audience – so much so that we often forget about our internal audience. When PR pros forget their internal audience, they have inadvertently failed with 50% their job.

Many of us fall into the same trap: we get busy and prioritize the external communications tactics that show our ROI, and we forget about the importance of internal communicating and relationships.

Internal PR has immense value that can help PR pros become more successful.

Who is your Internal PR Audience?

PR is a very public position within a company, and as such people are paying attention to you whether or not you’re paying attention to them. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that your internal audience is only your boss or CEO. In truth your internal audience is every employee across the organization. And, as with every marketing job, it’s important to know your audience.

Why is Internal PR Important?

By paying equal attention to your internal audience you will quickly show your value, become a trusted resource and become more knowledgeable and better informed within your company.  And knowing your company inside and out will, in turn, help you externally.

And, the best part: it isn’t very hard to master internal PR.

5 Simple Steps to Better Internal PR

  • 1 – Listen

“The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say.”

– Sam Walton, Wal-Mart

As communicators we often forget that listening is THE key to great communication. In order for our PR programs to be extraordinary, we must become extraordinary listeners within our companies. Always remember the wealth of knowledge held by those around you; if you’re not a curious person, become a curious person. Ask questions, seek input and get to know your co-workers – and not just your executive team, those in your department or the ones sitting nearby.  Get to know people from every corner of the organization.  Listen to what they have to say. You’ll learn something, you’ll become better connected, and you’ll find ways to take what you learn and apply it to your own work.

  • 2 – Share 

“Knowledge is like money: to be of value it must circulate, and in circulating it can increase in quantity and, hopefully, in value.”

Louis L’Amour

In PR, sharing should be consistent on two fronts: communicating about upcoming programs/releases and sharing PR successes.

Upcoming programs and releases: Before or at the time of a press release or campaign, let people know that the release is going to be made public. This can be as simple as a post on a corporate intranet or an email. A simple message letting co-workers know that  “the following press release is going out today” will win you quite a few friends. As you know, everyone hates it when their customers ask about a press release that they know nothing about, a quick share solves that problem in minutes.

Sharing PR successes: Most co-workers love to see the press and accolades your company receives, and it is your job to share them. This can be tricky at times: most will enjoy seeing great press, but no one wants a barrage of email every time your company is mentioned.

To keep people informed and cut down on your own email, I recommend a weekly or monthly newsletter with links. This can be as simple as an email from you, or an automated alert set up through your monitoring tool. With Meltwater News, for example, you can set up a newsletter that sends automatically: all you need to do is specify how often, who receives it and what articles to include. Start by sending these newsletters to all employees and offer the opportunity to opt out. Most will love the info and your department will increase its visibility.

  • 3 – Integrate

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

– Charles Darwin

If you know me or read this blog, this is the tip that likely has you saying, “Yes, we know, Marc. You believe that integration is the key to successful PR and marketing.”

It’s true. I do believe that the best way for a PR team (in-house or agency) to be successful is to integrate as much as possible. PR rarely works well when it operates in a silo.  Successful PR requires information, product, experts, other marketing (social media, advertising, etc) and the access to information that only comes through successful integration. Re-read steps one and two: listening and sharing will help you to better integrate within your company.

  • 4 – Learn

“In this great future, you can’t forget your past.”

– Bob Marley 

 

Even though it’s doubtful Mr. Marley had PR in mind when he wrote this lyric, it fits. Your future success in PR will be much stronger if you learn from your experiences, both good and bad.

About 10 years ago I started working for my first startup. I was hired by the founders and was fortunate enough to learn from their entrepreneurial ways. One day, I remember hearing one of them say, “fail fast and learn.” The concept was simple but also quite insightful, and I quickly realized that he was sharing a piece of his life’s philosophy: try things, don’t be afraid to fail, and if you do fail, recognize it quickly and learn from the experience.

  • 5 – Repeat

The biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Never consider internal PR or communication to be completed: think of it as a cycle that never ends. You listen, share, integrate, learn and repeat; it’s that simple. It may seem overwhelming to think of communication this way, as a project that never ends. But, in truth, if you follow these general steps, internal communications will begin to become a natural part of what you do everyday and you will hardly realize your communicating. This doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges, there will always be challenges; it means you’ll be very good at dealing with them when they arise.

So, there you have it: a few simple steps to mastering internal PR. Not too hard, right? If it seems overwhelming or is stressing you out take a deep breath and listen to another Marley’s classic, Three Little Birds…

“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

-Bob Marley

…it’s sure to put your mind at ease!

 

 

 

Beyoncé vs. Santa: Content Marketing 101

Hear that, Santa? Beyonce gave her fans a surprise early Christmas present and showed the world that understanding your target social community is the key to a good Content Marketing strategy.

About 10 days ago, Beyoncé turned the music business on  its ear by releasing a full self-titled album on iTunes with no fanfare, no warning and no traditional PR plan.  This surprise album lit up social media like Christmas lights, with word spreading so furiously via Twitter that iTunes actually crashed from the download volume.

I did a little social listening to see how much chatter Beyoncé was garnering on social media, and as a benchmark I decided to compare her to December’s usual social media hero: Santa Claus.  Here’s the comparison over the past 10 days:

No, Beyoncé didn’t actually eclipse Santa’s mentions, but coming anywhere near his popularity during the Christmas season is astounding.

 

There have been a lot of articles written about the album’s success, and for good reason: it was the fastest-selling album ever on iTunes, with over 800,000 copies downloaded over the weekend.  It pissed off Target and Amazon so much that they’re refusing to stock it at all.  (Take note, Target and Amazon: Santa is still watching, and having a tantrum over an artist giving her fans something to be excited about isn’t the best way to impress the Big Guy.)  It raises the question as to whether an artist with Beyoncé’s popularity actually needs a record label or multiple distribution channels at all these days – things that Ani diFranco decided to forego, successfully, long ago.

For my purposes, it also illustrates that Beyoncé has a really firm grasp of Content Marketing.

Content Marketing is the new buzzword in marketing circles.  It’s my job title, and it’s one that I started to see in marketing about 18 months ago.  What Content Marketing is, at it’s core: putting structure and strategy around the content that we produce across our distribution channels, including social media and blogs.  Content Marketing is tied inexorably to social media marketing, as social marketing is really just a constant stream of content.  And social marketing is of course inexorably tied to community marketing, because the primary goal of a social marketing program – a dialogue marketing model – is earning word-of-mouth shares by exciting a social community with your content.  (For more on this, check out our social listening guide.)

Beyoncé chucked the traditional monologue marketing model (read: one-way announcement, static message) and, smartly, counted on her target social community (her fans) to start and continue the conversation for her.  And the way to do this is actually very simple:

Give the people what they want.

Good content marketing starts with understanding your target social community, and then engaging them with something that they’re going to find useful, entertaining or helpful in some way.  And what sort of content do Beyoncé’s fans want?  Well, hers.  And by counting on her fans to do her promotion,  Beyoncé let her fan community be a part of the actual album release – and that’s a really great way to spark engagement.  In general, people love good surprises, and they love exclusivity, and they love spreading good news, and this album hit all those notes.

The other thing Beyoncé’s fans want is a piece of Beyoncé, and she followed up her album release with a release party at Dave ‘n Busters, posting shots from it to her Instagram feed.  In this way she was able to keep her fans feeling engaged and important, and gave them a reason to continue talking about her and her album.

So, while Target and Amazon are digging in their heels and trying to create a financial backlash for Beyoncé by punishing her for taking it to the streets with an epic content marketing win, I think that Santa Claus is probably sitting back on his sleigh and adding a few extra trinkets for her stocking.  Nobody understands how to reward community better than Santa, and in this case it would seem that he has a pretty great student in Beyoncé.

 

Social Media Success Tip #10: The Meltwater Buzz Social Profile

The more you know about members of your online community, the better you can address their customer service concerns, spark interesting conversation with them and, ultimately, move them along the sales funnel. Meltwater Buzz provides in-depth social profiles for each member of your community to help you gain just this kind of insight. Each user’s social profile automatically pulls in data and posts from their Twitter, Facebook and blog properties. Social profiles also connect to the Community tab within Buzz, allowing you to segment and tag community members based on your needs. Keep reading for a quick overview of the Meltwater Buzz social profile and start getting to know your online community.

Twitter & Facebook Information

 

To see a social profile in Buzz, just click on a community member’s name or handle on the Listen or Engage tab. The Twitter and Facebook tabs (above), give you an overview of the community member on those channels. The Twitter tab includes profile information, follower numbers, recent posts, basic stats and more. The Facebook tab shows recent public posts along with basic information and a link to the profile.

Sentiment & Direct Engagement

 

The Conversations tab pulls together all of the conversations your brand has had with this user, including any times they’ve tweeted to your company’s handle or written on your Facebook Page. Retweet, reply or post any conversation on your Facebook wall by clicking on the “…” to the right of it. The Sentiment tab automatically measures the sentiment of this person’s posts regarding your brand. You can browse through the individual positive, neutral and negative posts and click on the magnifying glass to respond.

The social profiles in Meltwater Buzz pull together everything you need to get a snapshot of how a member of your community sees your brand. They can help you court an online influencer, check a customer’s history with your company online or reviewing an employee’s company-focused tweets. Look through the social profiles of community members often, and you may be surprised by the insights you uncover.

To learn how a social profile can help identify online influencers, read my previous post 3 Ways to Find Online Influencers.

If there are any other topics you’d like to see on the Meltwater Success Blog, or if you’d like to write a guest post, send me an email at chris.dotson@www.meltwater.com.

For more great content like this, click here to subscribe to the Success Blog.