Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Use Social Media for Career Success

By Lila Brown,

There’s no avoiding it, Web 2.0/social media is here to stay. It’s not just about fun and games; instead, young professionals should utilize their online networking capabilities to profile their skills and talents through new platforms. Now is the time for young professionals to build meaningful contacts and leverage relationships for career success. It’s all about building a personal brand.

Those on the job search are using social media to find jobs, connect with industry leaders, and obtain job references. Job seekers can expand their online network by finding professional blogs and niche communities. Most career advisers agree that blogs are the perfect way to build a brand online.

RSS feeds allow subscribers to receive content updates in My Yahoo!, Google Reader, Newsgator, Bloglines, and other news readers. Improve job performance and knowledge by staying abreast of breaking news that is industry related. Demonstrate being on top of industry trends and changes. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn provide great tools for young professionals to establish better relationships with colleagues, clients, or other companies.

For the full article.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Case Study: Social Media Success with Blogging

The Problem
180 Urban Design is an architecture and design firm that specializes in New Urbanism design. The principal architects wanted to be recognized as leaders in New Urbanism, form-based codes, and LEED regulations. The company was having issues with low Google rankings which hurts business because people can’t find the company online. 180 wanted city planners and developers to know that they were building communities across the country. Awareness to the company’s projects were to be promoted through a podcasting blog.

The Strategy

As account manager, I developed a strategy that would position 180 as industry leaders by tagging search engine optimized (SEO) keywords to their blog posts, posting relevant articles from other industry leaders, promote the blog through other online communities, and pitch the blog to traditional and new media outlets. I knew podcasting would be great for other architects, but it takes grassroots marketing to promote a blog. You can’t just let it sit there in cyberspace, you have to interact with people who might be interested in your blog and find new and creative ways to not only get them to the blog, but make them stay there. I was determined to get the bounce rate under 50%. It was one of my secret goals. The bounce rate is when a user presses the back button-the lower the better. 180 Urban Design would become the go-to source for New Urbanism design.

The Tactics

Referring sites helped bring visitors to the blog. I registered the blog on Alltop, a blog search directory-one listing under architecture and another under design. I also posted relevant comments to other blogs and online articles like the New York Times Green Inc. blog, Facebook's New Urbanism groups, and Huffington Post’s Green section. When posting comments on these blogs, you shouldn’t just state, “Great post/article.” You have to share insight, ask questions, provide solutions, then the magic trick, leave your blog’s link. I also shared the podcasts on sites like Digg and Technorati. One of the main referring links came from Twitter. The Twitter profile 180Degree attracted more than 1,100 profiles in just two months. I had to search for not only architecture and design profiles, but for green profiles too. New Urbanism is all about green, walkable communities. Eventually, I started to attract my client’s target audience, city planners. Again, I listed the Twitter profile under a Twitter search directory, We Follow. I listed the 180Degree profile under architecture, design and urbanism. I posted tweets linking to the blog’s articles, other New Urbanism news stories, and other prominent architecture and design blogs.

In three short months, the New Urbanism Blog attracted more than 2,500 site visitors, from more than 50 countries from around the world. The client was very impressed by the blog’s appeal to the global architecture community. The client stated if I ever got a blog hit from Belize, please let him know; he would have to make a special vacation/trip to the country (smile).The average site visitor viewed the blog for approximately 2:05 minutes (think about how long you stay on a web page).The blog received 75 online subscribers and more than 300 comments. The page views were more than 4,550 with the average page views at 1.95 page views per visitor- that's nearly two page views per site visitor. The top landing page was the blog’s front page so site visitors could read more than five posts. I was impressed with this data. Most visitors were looking deep into the site by searching under the categories listed, visiting the "About 180" and "About New Urbanism" page, and going to older pages of blog posts.

The Solution
One of the firm’s principal architects was a great speaker on form-based codes. I posted and tweeted that he would be speaking around the country on what his company is doing with urban design. One subscriber posted a comment asking could we provide video of the workshop since he would not be able to attend. I immediately contacted the client and the organization he was speaking to and they loved the idea of sharing his insight through video to the blog. I immediately established a YouTube channel for the company. Once the videos were posted on YouTube, I provided link exchanges between the two platforms. One of the blog posts with a YouTube video helped the video go viral amongst the architecture and design community. 180 received praise for the insight and city planners immediately began contacting the company for help developing their downtown areas and residential communities. 180 Urban Design's social media success led to potential clients. Since one of the firm’s principal architect was such a great speaker, he secured another speaking engagement but this time for the Congress for New Urbanism’s annual conference.

Basically, the blog did exceedingly well compared to other architecture and design blogs of similar size. Benchmarking for site visitors is +475%; Page views +282%; Average time on site +90%.

I also secured traditional media placement for 180 Urban Design. The company has been featured in Period Homes, New Orleans Channel 4 WWL, The Kansas City Star, One KC Voice, Panama City Beach Daily, Midwest Construction Magazine, Midwest Contractor online magazine, Kansas City Small Business Monthly-architecture issue, and

Overall, 180 Urban Design’s Google search engine ranking increased from no listings within the first 1,000 results to be included amongst the top 10 results listed for keywords and phrases such as New Urbanism, form-based codes, walkable communities, urban design, architecture blog, sustainable design, revitalize downtown, green in the Midwest, smart dwelling, and LEED for homes.

It’s been tried, tested and proven: SOCIAL MEDIA CAN GENERATE NEW BUSINESS.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Young Professionals Use Ning to Network

By Lila Brown,

Some of the most popular resources young professionals use to communicate with each other include online social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace. While both sites engage more than 300 million users, it becomes increasingly difficult to build genuine relationships around a common interest. Kansas City’s young professionals engage with online communities through Ning, a social platform for creating your own social network. Ning lets members custom build their own social-networking platforms based around their passions and pastimes.

For the full article.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Media Coverage I Secured: 180º in KC Small Biz Monthly

This is an example of how researching a publication's editorial calendar can result in media coverage for your client. I was able to pitch this reporter months before the article on architecture was due in June 2009. I am so thankful for online media kits.

Targeted Pitches + Relevant Story Ideas = Successful Media Coverage for Clients

Design in the Works
by Kate Leibsle

Friday, June 5, 2009

Strike a perfect and healthy work-life balance

By Lila Brown,

Kansas City Young Professionals Examiner

Live to work or work to live? That is the question many young professionals face beginning a life free from school to entering a world of financial independence.

While young professionals are ready to take on the challenges of building a career, most realize it is still important to maintain a sociable lifestyle. Most are not quite ready to become workaholics.

Click here for the full article.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Get LinkedIn: Like Facebook for Professionals

Lila Brown on LinkedIn

Throwback Media Coverage

Here is a fall fashion story I wrote for Atlanta Woman Magazine as an intern. I accredited the article to our client, Belk.

Media Coverage I Secured

I secured this blog placement for the Kansas City Sports Commission who will be hosting this 2012 IceBreaker Hockey Tournament at the Sprint Center. I love reaching out to bloggers. Especially the ones who are truly passionate about their topic. This blogger was more than happy to help me develop this story. A true hockey fan who was really excited about the pitch.

By the way, if you are a hockey fan, check out this blog: The NHL in Kansas City.

Of Course iTwitter!

Yes, I am on Twitter. @EllaBeePR

I pride myself on being one of the first people to join Twitter (pre CNN, Ashton and Oprah).

I'm also on Twackle-Twitter Sports Bar. Go Red Sox!

We Follow, a Twitter profile directory. I am listed for PR, New Media and Sports.

Then, when I see a HOT Trending Topic, I participate in the online discussion through TweetChat.

I also tweet for most of my clients. I manage all those profiles through Hoot Suite.

If you haven't signed up for Twitter, you should probably start tweeting. It's a great way to communicate with people in your industry, your interested online communities and reaching out to your target audience.

Media Coverage I Secured: Thanks to HARO

Thanks to HARO (Help a Reporter Out), I was able to secure some traditional media coverage for a client although they only expected social media. There I go again, exceeding the clients expectations. When I see opportunities, I take the initiative to make things happen.

My Blog Work

Forever Young Diet and Lifestyle Blog

The Forever Young Diet Blog is about becoming the best, healthiest, happiest, you can be is more than just dieting; it's a lifestyle. The Forever Young Diet & Lifestyle offers advice the whole family can follow. James O'Keefe, MD, a respected cardiologist and medical professor, together with his wife, Joan O'Keefe, RD created The Forever Young Diet & Lifestyle.

My Blog Work

Burris Sports and Entertainment Blog

The Burris Sports and Entertainment Blog is about Bob Burris who launched Burris Sports Entertainment, a marketing consulting company. Burris specializes in working with non-profit organizations, college athletic programs and professional sports teams.

My Blog Work

The Grenk Blog

The Grenk Blog is about Grenk, a new line of remanufactured ink and toner cartridges designed to leave the smallest environmental footprint possible.

My Blog Work

The New Urbanism Blog

The New Urbanism Blog is about the design and regulation of walkable communities. Sometimes called New Urbanism, Smart Growth or Traditional Neighborhood Design, these are places that address the sensibilities of people who value community.

This blog has a great following with the online urban design and architecture community.

I've picked up a few tricks on how to increase search engine optimization (SEO) by experimenting with this blog.

About Lila Brown

Hi, my name is Lila Brown. I am a young public relations professional with experience in implementing social media marketing campaigns for small to mid-sized companies with social media and public relations. Recently, I started my own public relations company, Ella Bee Social Media & Public Relations.

Most recently, I was an account manager for a social media marketing firm in Kansas City. It is a full service public relations firm that specializes in social media tactics and strategies. In addition to working with JPRA, I have more than three years of public relations experience. Previously, I have worked as account support for Public Affairs PR, Bloomingdale’s, The Spizman Agency and Hope-Beckham Inc.