#Build That Brand!: 15 Ways to Showcase Your Thought Leadership (Part 2)

Kimberly N. Alleyne


Brand Stamp

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about utilizing Twitter, LinkedIn, Shocase and Facebook to define and augment your brand as a thought leader. I added that you can also put your pen to paper in a major way by securing a Huffington Post column (or some other platform that you align with and that has readers who will appreciate your expertise). In Part 2 of this series, I’ll focus on ways to take your brand to new levels with the mighty pen — or keyboard.

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Want Engagement? Measurement Is A Must — Here Are 4 Ways to Do It

Measurement by William A. Clark. Flickr Creative Commons.

Measurement by William A. Clark. Flickr Creative Commons.

Kimberly N. Alleyne


The communications landscape is domineered and saturated by social and digital media, which makes realizing organic, sustained target audience engagement hard. There are approximately 1.4 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. Many of them struggle with finding strategies to realize audience engagement. Engagement among nonprofit target audiences is particularly is hard to spark  and measure because of limited human and financial resources. Compounding these challenges is that nonprofit communicators often find themselves competing for their audiences’ attention in a  environment where they are bombarded by messages from multiple communication channels.

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Krispy Kreme’s Alliteration Blunder

Kimberly N. Alleyne

There is nothing like a fresh, hot glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut (Bow down Dunkin’ Donuts). And if you’re a genuine fan, then you know well the happiness that flashing red light evokes.

Krispy Kreme and I go way back. Since I am always exceptionally satisfied with the product, and can’t recall a negative customer service experience, we’ve had a great relationship. So I was quite disappointed to read of a UK Krispy Kreme’s recent promotion snafu. The franchise ran a promo using the letters KKK in the text. It was intended, according to the franchise, to stand for Krispy Kreme Klub. The franchise swiftly removed the promo from its Facebook page after followers called them on it, and then issued an apology. Perhaps, it was an innocent oversight, or maybe it was a dumb oversight; maybe someone thought it would be a clever play (KKK does have international branches).

Krispy Kreme KKK Promo

I won’t speculate on the intent. However, there a lessons PR pros can learn from this alliteration accident:

1. Incidents such as this are reminders of the importance of diversity–and inclusion–of public relations, marketing and communication teams. The same goes for  newsrooms. In an age where one in five Americans will be foreign born by 2050, it’s critical that public relations practitioners be cognizant of the diverse audiences/publics they often speak to and engage.

Today’s practitioner must be adept at studying and accommodating the unique needs and sensitivities of population segments — there really is no excuse for the, “We didn’t know,” excuse anymore. Corporate, nonprofit and government teams that are responsible managing the face, voice and reputation of organizations must be comprised of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, races and ethnicities. No excuses.

2. Sometimes it is wise to get points of view of colleagues outside of the pr/marketing space. You might have spent hours thinking of the perfect phrase or wording, but that does not mean that more due diligence isn’t in order. Step outside the ego box and solicit opinions; you never know what you might be overlooking.

3. Market testing, though not always plausible, is valuable and worth the effort. Testing language and potential promo campaigns on a select audience can prevent crises.

Screenshot of Hull, England Krispy Kreme Facebook page

Screenshot of Hull, England Krispy Kreme Facebook page

A short round of applause to this UK Krispy Kreme for quickly removing the offensive promo and issuing an apology.

   “We do believe this was a completely unintentional oversight on the part of our longtime franchise   partners in the U.K.,” according to a statement by company spokesperson Lafeea Watson.

Polish Your Pitching Prowess with These Tips

Kimberly N. Alleyne


It’s no secret that journalists are doing more with less, primarily less time. That means they have less time to listen to or read pitches. So, what’s a PR pro to do? How does a PR pro make her/his pitch stand out and draw interest? Here are tools to enhance your pitching game and get your story at the front of the line.

1. Be familiar with the work of the journalist you’re pitching: This is particularly important if you don’t have an established relationship with the reporter you’re approaching. Knowing the topics that a journo typically covers and what she has covered recently can only increase your chances of success. Even more so if what you’re pitching has a close tie-in to a recent story the journalist wrote. So study the reporter’s work, get to know his style and the details he likes to include in his stories.

2. Know the audience of the publication you’re pitching: This is an easy one. Don’t pitch the research findings of a new non-biodegradable material to a quilting magazine.

3. S&S: Short and Simple: Ideally, you should be able to summarize your pitch in one to two (short) paragraphs. One effect of the digisphere, is that folks do not appreciate reading as in decades past. Emailing/posting dissertation-esque material puts you at risk of losing a reader’s attention in milliseconds.

4. Get the basics right: Not much to say here. It’s inexcusable to misspell a reporter’s name, or worse use the wrong name altogether. Do your homework and get it right.

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This Is How Brian Williams Should Handle His Credibility Crisis

Kimberly N. Alleyne

For the last few months, NBC has been running a great tribute package to celebrate Brian Williams’s 10 year anniversary as the anchor of NBC Nightly News. Each time I see the tribute, I think, “I can’t believe it’s been 10 years.” I still remember watching the program when Tom Brokaw was the anchor. In the 10 years since Williams has taken the throne, he has greeted viewers each evening with qualities that take [broadcast] journalists far: likability, good reporting and trust. Now two of those elements are in question. He’s still likable, but can viewers trust him to deliver a truthful story? And what about his reporting? Is it accurate, or is he forgetful about what actually happened in the course of his reporting?
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Blogging to Build Your Brand | Podcast Interview with Benet Wilson

Blogging to Build Your Brand
Kimberly N. Alleyne

Image by Cristina, Flickr Creative Commons

Image by Cristina, Flickr Creative Commons

I spoke with blogging extraordinaire Benet J. Wilson to discuss her experience, best practices for blogging, tips, personal stories, and more. Though this interview focuses on building a nonprofit brand, the same rules apply for building a personal brand.

Wilson says, “It is a good idea for nonprofits to write a blog and be active on social media because it gives you a different reach. You need to plan it effectively – you need to make sure you have the right team overseeing it. And organize yourself in a way that it is not going to overtax you and your team. Start slowly, you don’t have to do everything all at once. But definitely do it and have fun with it!”

Listen to the podcast and take your blog to the next level!

Key highlights include:

  • Once you start a blog you have to keep it going. It is a beast that has to be fed.
  • Use pictures and videos, sometimes a blog post can be only pictures.
  • Videos do not have to be broadcast quality – sometimes short raw clips come across as more transparent.
  • Interview people – from your organization, the community, your industry.
  • Repurpose content.
  • You don’t have to blog every day. Pick people from your organization that have a strong voice and create a schedule.
  • Use your other social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram) to promote your blog. Focus on the platforms that your audience uses.
  • Don’t just throw information up there; you have to interact with your community. Social media, including your blog, is not only for broadcasting – you can use it to start conversations, testing, listening, polls, and more.
  • Share the space! Highlight great work from other related groups and organizations.

Do you blog to build your brand? What other tactics do you use to lift your brand profile? Let me know at Kimberly at kimberlynalleyne.com

Happy blogging!

#Great PR: National Wear Red Day

Kimberly N. Alleyne

American Heart Association Go Red for Women National Wear Red Day website.

American Heart Association Go Red for Women National Wear Red Day website.

Annually, one in three women die from heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association says 80 percent of those deaths are preventable, and uses a dynamic, ubiquitous public education campaign to spread awareness of this statistic and that heart disease can be prevented with lifestyle choices. Here are five ways the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day uses great PR:

1. There is an easy-to-digest public education component. The campaign makes the complex subject of heart disease and makes it simple.

2. The main call to action (CTA) is uber simple: wear red for one day. Everyone has something red in the closet. The other CTAs are worth noting, too, because they are diverse. For example, a Wear Red supporter can donate to the cause, host a Wear Red Day event, or volunteer.

3. Accessible resources. The website has a great bank of resources and tools that visitors can tap to learn more about heart disease, and ways to get involved. Great resources are key to see lasting behavior change beyond the end of a PR campaign.

4. Various engagement options. Not only can campaign supporters get involved by using their social media networks, but the campaign makes it easy to participate by taking stock of one’s heart health by adding exercise, offering free, heart-healthy recipes, and taking a  Go Red Heart Check-up. A campaign’s success increases when incorporates behaviors and habits that can be implemented long-term and beyond the life of the campaign.

American Heart Association--Go Red Heart CheckUp. www.goredforwomen.org

American Heart Association–Go Red Heart CheckUp. http://www.goredforwomen.org

5. Milestones–Each year, the National Wear Red Day (the first Friday of February) campaign publishes various milestones and achievements. Those milestones add credibility and show the breadth and longevity of the campaign. They also add a level of excitement. Here are a few the AHA notes in the more than 10 years of the National Wear Red Day campaign:

  • Nearly 90% have made at least one healthy behavior change.
  • More than one-third has lost weight.
  • More than 50% have increased their exercise.
  • 6 out of 10 have changed their diets.
  • More than 40% have checked their cholesterol levels.
  • One third has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.
  • Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day
  • Death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.

Congratulations to the American Heart Association for a #Great PR Campaign, and for teaching the nation how to prevent one in three women from dying of heart disease and stroke each year. Learn more about Go Red for Women and National Wear Red Day here. Don’t forget to share the campaign on your social networks, and of course, wear red!

#Great tips: How to Increase Your Blog Post Shares

I am always hunting for tips and tricks to increase traffic to my blogs at The Harvest Magazine and Reporting on Disparities, and if you know me, I’m obsessed with infographics—visuals are always a great add. The following infographic from Canva is a jewel!  If you’re not familiar with Canva, make time to learn about it. It’s an easy-to-learn tool for creating graphics—you won’t believe how intuitive it is and you don’t need an iota of design competency. Trust me.

I think many of these tips are doable for my blog(s); I plan to try a few of them such as Socialoomph and Pinterest. Let me know what you think about these tips and which of them you might try, or are already incorporating in your publishing strategy. kimberly at kimberlynalleyne.com

By the way, I found this on Razor Social blog, which is written by Ian Cleary. Stop by for a visit, you’ll find other great blogging tips and tools.


#Great tips: Tips for Writing Headlines Journos Love

What would you add to this list from PR Daily? I’d add 1) Error free, 2) Write it for the right audience and 3) Simple, easy to understand. A short headline does not necessarily mean it is simple or easy to understand.

Peter Rukavina, Creative Commons Flickr

Peter Rukavina, Creative Commons Flickr

1. Keep it short. Headlines should convey your central message within 60 to 80 characters.

If you can’t do that, you haven’t refined your hook enough. Try using strong verbs, like the word “pioneer” in the second example above.

2. Be specific. A headline like, “2015 is best year yet” is insanely general. The best year for what? Why was it the best year?

This title may catch a journalist’s eye because they’re wondering what they heck you’re talking about, but it isn’t a great press release title.

3. Avoid braggadocio. Words like “awesome” and “magnificent” in the first example above add nothing to the press release.

In fact, they make it look more like a sales pitch. Stick to the facts.

4. Be interesting. “Rex Corp hires new CEO” isn’t very interesting, but “Rex Corp promotes janitor to CEO” is.

Pinpoint the most interesting aspect of your news item and highlight it in your headline.

5. Use interesting data. Data, numbers, records and percentages catch a journalist’s eye; include them in your press releases when you can.

Example: Medford Humane Society leads region in cat rescue

Example: Medford Humane Society rescued a record 5,423 cats this year

6. Avoid jargon. What does “10 KPWs decimate local podapoda crop 1,089” even mean?

Remember, you’re writing for a layperson who may have no knowledge of your industry, so keep it simple. Try something like: “Mutant insects destroy 50 percent of local organic food supply.”

7. Write it for the right journalist. If your news is intended for a specific industry, write your headline with the proper journalist in mind.

2015 Edelman Media Forecast

Kimberly N. Alleyne

2015 Edelman Media Forecast

2015 Edelman Media Forecast


How will corporate storytelling be different in 2015? This detailed infograpic from Edelman Media provides great insights and tips on how PR and Comms pros should tailor their strategies to ensure their messages are effective, and heard. A few key takeways: make content more shareable, integrate paid, owned and social media, and build relationships with journos.

See the infographic here: http://www.edelman.com/assets/uploads/2015/01/Media-Trends-Infographic-2014-XIV-5.pdf