EXPOSED! How To Go Evergreen.

A Manual to Making Your Story Timeless

As a public relations professional, I took notes, but as a person, I internalized his message. The presentation was about storytelling and how to craft the perfect content. The message was “why.”  It is a very humbling question to ask yourself why you do what you do.  

So, there I was intrigued; then out of nowhere, Jim Olson, founder, and president of Hangar 6 Strategic Storytelling mentioned evergreen content. This is just a term for stories that are “always relevant.” I don’t know about you, but in the past, I had always been taught to craft a very personal story that speaks to the emotions of another person. Of course, the concept of evergreen content blew my mind, so to make sure I fully grasped the term, I related it back to beauty. 

Beauty. What does that word mean to you? What comes to mind? Is it your partner, the Eiffel Tower, your dog, a supermodel, or maybe it’s your mom. Whatever beauty means to you and whoever you thought of, like me you should realize that you just created evergreen content. 

For a moment I want you to imagine that you own a multi-million dollar cosmetics company; diversity is your slogan and innovation is your bread and butter. How do you make that last? How do your company and its ideas remain relevant? The answer is, you get very comfortable with creating evergreen materials. 

Of course, in the digital age, we’re living in, creating material that is “timeless” seems almost impossible. With social media platforms become a breeding ground for the latest trend of “outrage culture,” how does one break through the chaos and remain relevant with an everlasting story? In my opinion, the answer is research. Yes, I know it sounds both simple and really inconvenient, but I promise if you ask most public relations professionals, marketers, or advertisers what they do before implementing any campaign, approach media, post a billboard, etc. they’ll say research.

Picture of a photo showing Google Analytics on it.
Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

 I just so happened to be reading Forbes the other day, with the hope of reading something inspiring, and I found this quote: “The common facts of today are the products of yesterday’s research,” said Duncan MacDonald. Nowadays we’re so lucky to have access to some amazing research tools, no longer do we have to search for a book on the shelf, the inconvenience related to research shrinks every day. 

I can’t recommend enough that everyone knows how to use Google or Bing.  I’m not saying that these search engines have all the answers, but if you ask the right questions they’ll get you close. Evergreen stories don’t just happen. They take a deeper level of thinking, which I’m sure if you’re reading this you’re already thinking deeper than the ocean. 

Some of the things I suggest you look for to get started are why you and other people care, now or in the future; and what is the best way to get your point across. Answering questions like these take your story from talking about the latest lip gloss that will soon be replaced by the newest lip gloss, to talking about the latest lip gloss and how it’s reshaping the beauty industry. Which one would you rather read?

So, the next time you’re thinking of writing a timeless evergreen story, take a moment to do your research. Because if you don’t know what you’re talking about and why it matters, how can you expect anyone else to? 

It’s Time To Get Honest About The Truth

After listening to the recent S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications conversation with NPR’s David Folkenflik, I can tell you true and honest media is more important than ever. In the first couple of minutes of Folkenflik’s opening statement, he brought up the question as to why media may choose to publish articles that may be far from the truth. This idea of dishonest media or fake news got me thinking of ethics, and whether or not the truth really matters.

WAER news director Chris Bolt was one of the mediators for the discussion with Folkenflik. Bolt, brought up a pretty important question – Why doesn’t the media focus on things that are less sexy? Like the environment, local elections, education policy, etc.  The two men were able to get to the conclusion, that at the end of the day, media gives people what they want.

In a recent poll by Gallup, nursing was ranked the number one most trusted profession with 82 percent of participants agreeing for the 16th year in a row. The highest ranking communications profession are newspaper reporters holding steady at 25 percent trustworthiness. Advertisers were ranked low at 18 percent and public relations practitioners did not make the list.

Let us take a detour for a moment and imagine a successful beauty campaign. What made it successful? Can you point out what appealed to you the most? The fact is most beauty campaigns are meticulously crafted, researched and tested before the public ever sees them. The reason for all of this painstaking work is not to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, but to create a connection and beneficial relationship. As Folkenflik said, “we are in a time of extremely short attention spans.” The task of creating a relationship within seconds is daunting and at times may be seen as jarring to the consumer, but who said love, at first sight, was easy?

As you might already know, I am currently studying public relations at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I have spent quite a bit of time and my money in efforts to become a public relations expert. I think we can all agree that education is very important, but so is your time and money, so here is the truth. Public relations no matter the industry, or position, focuses on building mutually beneficial relationships.

I know our society is in a time of media scrutiny and most people are finding it hard to trust anything, so I think this is a perfect time to remind anyone reading my blog of the six values held by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and me:

  1. Advocacy: We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.
  2. Honesty: We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.
  3. Expertise: We advance the profession through continued expert-level development, research, and education.
  4. Independence: We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.
  5. Loyalty: We are faithful to those we represent, while also honoring our obligation to serve the public interest.
  6. Fairness: We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression.

Signed PRSA Code of Ethics Form
PRSA Code of Ethics, Signed by Janet Diane White

I have proudly taken the pledge putting honesty at the top of my priorities for this blog and the rest of my career.

Next week, I will be returning to my regular content and am excited to describe the process of a new beauty product launch. In the meantime, please let me know what you think of this type of content in the comment box below.

Feeling the Surface of Beauty

Just in case you missed Newhouse’s conversation on Social Media & Democracy – Activism in the Digital Age featuring professors Biko Mandela Gray, Dwight Dewerth-Pallmeyer, and Tia C.M. Tyree. I will fill you in because the conversation got me thinking about how much social media shapes our perception of beauty as a society.

All three speakers spoke about how the pace of social media does not allow for critical thinking. After hearing this, I asked myself if I could imagine a world that would allow a person to make critical decisions, that could affect millions of people, while only having the single qualification of looking good. Unfortunately, as pointed out in some of the conversations being had about activism, the world has given power to people that offer a lot less.

Please do not get me wrong, I love a good looking person just as much as the next girl, but what really turns me on is an authentic person. This person would be similar to Dr. Gray in the fact that he was able to articulate complex injustices surrounding civic engagement, the #MeToo movement and even the ever eluded history of black people in America. His fluency and knowledge are concepts I believe our new age is missing.

To support my suspicion of a misinformed new age, Dr. Tyree, went on to talk about how smart smartphones are. Think about your phone, is there something it cannot do or at least give you the answer to? Don’t worry, I am having a tough time thinking of something too.

While we are on the topics of smartphones, social media and since my entire blog is focused on public relations within the beauty industry, let us talk about Instagram. I am sure you have heard that every picture posted on Instagram is fake. Not in the idea that whatever photographed does not exist, but instead the photo itself gives a false depiction of what is truly happening.

woman in makeup
Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

For example, take this photo of an absolutely gorgeous woman. Personally, I do not know who took this photo, why they took it, or how long it took to take, but what I do know is how it makes me feel. Feelings are a concept that comes up quite often in public relations because as Dr. Regina Luttrell mentions in her book, Social Media – How to Engage, Share, and Connect, our number one rule as an influencer is to ‘follow, listen and react.’ After listening to social experts and data, this photo of a happy person makes most people feel sad.

If you ask me to describe how this photo makes me feel, I would have to say, envious. Whether it is how she has managed to pull off a purple lip, or how big her smile is, the picture is perfect. Dr. Dewerth-Pallmeyer said the cure to this sort of picture envy could be to simply turn off the screen. As a millennial, I find it hard to turn off any screen before 1 a.m. Not just because I am waiting for the latest new Jeffree Star approved beauty product; I also often choose to use my smartphone to stay up-to-date on current events, on a wide range of topics because as Dr. Tyree put it “social media is the medium of the moment.”