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Shelley Pringle
Public relations, social media and content marketing professional at Polaris Marketing & PR. Wife, favourite auntie, dog lover, avid swimmer and reader.
Public relations, social media and content marketing professional at Polaris Marketing & PR. Wife, favourite auntie, dog lover, avid swimmer and reader.

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Interested in improving your business writing skills? Download a copy of Why Your Writing Sucks, an upbeat and unconventional new book by Marcia Ross.
Why Your Writing Sucks
When it comes to writing, lawyers are notoriously loquacious. Just ask Kate Erickson, a former lawyer turned human resources professional. 

“Lawyers are the first to admit their writing is ridiculously wordy,” Kate told me in a phone conversation. “If a comma is out of place in a legal document, there could be costly repercussions for a client.  Lawyers also want to protect their territory—if they replace legalese with plain language, clients won’t need them in every transaction.”

Erickson told me she recently improved her own business writing. It’s clearer, easier to follow, and more persuasive thanks to the new book, Why Your Writing Sucks, by Marcia Ross, a Toronto author, business writer and workshop leader.

Ross’ upbeat and unconventional book isn’t just for lawyers. It helps anyone who communicates via a keyboard be more succinct in their day-to-day writing.

While WYWS is short (the Kindle edition is just 164 pages) it packs a powerful punch delivering easy-to-understand suggestions for boosting your business writing skills. 

Read a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of how Why Your Writing Sucks teaches you to become a better communicator here:

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#writingtips   #writingadvice  

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In my never-ending quest to teach the world that "PR" does not stand for "press release," here's an opinion piece I wrote for MarketingProfs.

Ask Your PR Agency for a Story, Not a News Release
Public relations, or more precisely media relations, can be a tricky business. The art of getting earned media coverage for a product, service or business is not as easy as it sounds. 

And while the degree of difficulty varies from brand to brand, the secret to securing editorial is NOT a media release. While many marketers and owners typically ask for one, a news release is neither essential nor needed ... although it’s often helpful. 

A release is useful in aligning a client team on key messages, spokesperson quotes, and the language the public relations professional should use when talking about the announcement with media. However, unless your company is publicly traded, and the announcement is material, the release is not required.

There are other, more critical elements for a successful earned media campaign: the right spokesperson, useful media assets including visuals, and, most importantly, an interesting narrative or story.

It’s no secret what makes news. Journalists consider timeliness, proximity, conflict, eminence and prominence, consequence, impact, and human interest to evaluate a potential story. 

Yet sometimes these elements are difficult to find in brand marketing—or even non-existent. The trick is to dig deep to find the story, use seasonal opportunities to your advantage, or, when necessary, create a story of your own.

Read the full article here:

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#publicrelations   #contentmarketing  

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What would you add to this discussion about Instagram metrics for social influencer campaigns?
Measurement Metrics for Social Influencer Programs on Instagram
I like Instagram. The learning curve is a gentle incline for those of us over 40 and the younger set, including my 11-year old niece and her friends, are up-to-speed in a matter of minutes.

Even if you don’t have an eye for photography (like me), you’ll enjoy Instagram. It’s simple to follow friends and see what they’re up to. 

One of the greatest lures of Instagram is the absence of a bothersome algorithm that prevents you from seeing friends’ photos. As long as you check in regularly, you’ll see everything.

With so much going for it, it’s no surprise that earlier this summer eMarketer reported Instagram engagement on both organic posts and paid ads is breaking all records compared to other platforms. 

According to the article, social analytics company Shareablee found engagement for US brands on Instagram more than doubled in the first quarter of this year versus the same period in 2014. Twitter and Facebook lagged significantly behind the photo-sharing platform—engagement increased a mere 32% and 27% respectively.

We’re recommending Instagram to clients more often as part of influencer outreach programs for consumer brands—and at the same time trying to determine the best approach to measure and evaluate results. 

The Coalition of Public Relations Standards recommends using “shared” metrics as a way to evaluate paid, earned and owned media. This metric refers to the number of times a piece of content is shared via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google Plus.

Since Instagram isn’t typically used to share blog posts and other online content, we require different Instagram success metrics for the platform. 

Read the full article here:

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#Instagram   #influencermarketing  

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Find out how Ronda Rousey tackles media interview prep with focus, intelligence and practice.
Jab, Jab, Left Hook: Media Interview Prep Ronda Rousey Style
On receiving the Best Fighter ESPY (note the award was for best fighter, NOT best female fighter) and beating Floyd Mayweather in the process, undefeated UFC champion Ronda Rousey quipped, “I wonder how Mayweather feels being beat by a woman for once.”

It was a memorable sound bite, a reference to Mayweather’s long, disturbing history of domestic violence and a fitting comment for a woman who almost single-handedly elevated the popularity of women's fighting. 

I first noticed Rousey in the spring when she graced the cover of Sports Illustrated along with the headline, "the world's most dominant athlete." My Facebook feed buzzed with pictures of her scowling aggressively.

Although I'm not a fight fan and I had never heard of her, Rousey’s charisma caught my attention. Who is this woman, I wondered, and why does she look so angry? (If you’re not familiar with Rousey, you’ll find her story here: )

It wasn't until I read her recently released autobiography, My Fight/Your Fight, that I learned more about her and her instincts inside and outside the cage (including her approach to media interview preparation). 

Read more here:

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Now that I have your attention with this photo of Ryan Gosling, be sure to check out Shane Snow's useful analysis on why GQ's emails are the best ever.

Spoiler: it's the subject line.

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#emailmarketing   #emailmarketingtips  

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Happy Canada Day!
What's Different About Canadians

Happy Canada Day! July 1st is the day we celebrate the founding of our great country 148 years ago—and friends gather in our backyard for our annual rib-fest. As you read this post, I’m either filling a cooler with beer, making some last minute butter tarts, or dancing to Rush as the day winds down.

If your nationality is something other than Canadian, there are some things you need to know to do business in our country.

You’ve heard of Target and its spectacular Canadian implosion, eh? 

In January, plagued by a falling dollar (colloquially called the loonie),  supply chain management problems, and a rapid expansion that moved across the country too quickly, Target scurried from Canada with its tail between its legs accompanied by a pre-tax company-wide loss of US $5.4 billion in its fourth quarter. 

If you want to avoid these kinds of problems (and who wouldn’t?), here’s a quick primer on what’s different about Canadians. Drawn from impeccable online sources, including BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Wikipedia and Tumblr, these facts and stats will astound you.

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#marketing   #canadaday  

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What approaches have helped you design high converting landing pages?
10  Things About Landing Page Design Your Boss Expects You to Know
A landing page is a webpage that encourages visitors to your site to download a digital offer (an eBook, tip sheet or white paper) or sign up for a free trial, a webinar or an e-newsletter—all in exchange for leaving their contact information.

While it sounds simple, high converting landing page design is definitely not as straightforward as it seems. 

The ultimate goal of a landing page is to generate qualified leads that eventually turn into customers. The first challenge is attracting a potential customer to your landing page. And the second, even bigger, challenge is convincing your visitor to share their email address and other personal information. 

There’s definitely a science (and a bit of an art) to designing high converting landing pages.

Read the full article here:

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#leadgeneration   #contentmarketing  

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Are there any grammar mistakes that turn you into a rabid dog?
10 Annoying Grammar Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Just About Anything
I’m not actually that good with grammar. I certainly don’t consider myself a stickler or anywhere near the level of an expert when it comes to the finer points of the English language. 

I often refer to Grammar Girl (or my handy Canadian Press Style Guide) to avoid common pitfalls of punctuation, capitalization and other grammatical fundamentals.

However, I do have several grammatical pet peeves that sometimes transform me into a rabid dog—and I’m not the only one.

If you want to avoid causing your readers to foam unpleasantly at the mouth, please take a moment to see if you’re guilty of these common writing errors.

Read the full post here:

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#writingadvice   #grammar  

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Find out how many brands are missing the mark when it comes to moms, while others are creating highly shareable content to engage this desirable consumer group.
Creating Contagious Content for Moms: What Brands Need to Know
If your brand targets moms, your social media strategy may need a major overhaul, according to a recent study conducted by Yummy Mummy Club (YMC) in Canada.

“Brands still think that pushing out stories about how great they are will resonate with moms,” +Erica Ehm, the founder of YMC, told me. Instead, she suggests brands share their message in a meaningful way. It may be a subtle difference, but it’s an important one.

Ehm launched YMC to create an online destination to help multitasking moms manage their busy lives with advice on parenting, pregnancy, fashion and more. Earlier this year, she conducted an online survey with 1,674 YMC members. While many of the findings are predictable, others are startling.

In the predictable category: moms are active on social media; 90% of those surveyed share content on social networks; and, most of the time, moms hang out online on Facebook (although half also visit YouTube, blogs, Pinterest, and Twitter at least weekly).

The startling results: less than 2 out of 10 (19%) of moms surveyed say they have had a meaningful interaction with a brand on social media.

“What we found with those 19% who did indicate they’d had a positive interaction, it was a customer service interaction,” Ehm said. “The upside is brands are managing relationships with current customers. But marketing isn’t just about keeping customers happy. It’s about getting new customers.”

While the YMC study is a dismal report card on brand’s online interaction with moms, some brands are creating contagious content (highly shareable videos, blog posts, tips and photos) for moms that allows these products to engage effectively on social media. 

Here are 10 examples of brands getting it right with moms in a number of ways. 

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#contentstrategy   #socialmediastrategy  

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If you're a marketer or business owner, learn the fine art of how to edit a news release with these 11 suggested steps.
The Marketer's Guide on How to Edit a News Release
You know the drill. Your corporate communications department or PR agency emails you the first draft of a press release and asks, “What do you think?” 

It might be an easy task.

If you’ve been working with one writer for a while, the release won’t require many revisions. Yet most of the time, it’s hard to know where to begin—especially if you don’t have a public relations background.

News releases are tricky to write … and to edit. 

Remember how you organized the essays you wrote in college? We structure news releases in the opposite way. Communications professionals write media releases as an inverted pyramid, with the most substantial information at the beginning, and other details following in order of diminishing importance. 

The “inverted pyramid” is how journalists report the news. Understanding this structure will make you a better news release editor. 

Here are 11 additional steps on how to edit a press release and ensure your next release achieves your objectives.

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#pr   #publicrelations  
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