How your digital fingerprint can keep you from appearing on the 5 o’clock news

Raccoon cap with type2 cropped
By Roshanda Pratt

If you’ve read my guest posts here on The Publicity Hound’s Blog, you know I’m  a news hound. While I was snooping around recently, I was reminded of something I need to warn you about when it comes to the media. 

Nothing is really off limits.

In our digital world, it’s much easier for journalists, bloggers or anyone else to simply Google your name. Before Facebook pages and Twitter chats, the news media had to do some real digging to find out who you were.

Not the case nowadays. Today, journalists can type in your name and discover your Facebook page or any other social media handle. Social media has now become another “source” for information.

I’ve watched many local and even national news sources pull photos and information about a person from their social media profiles and credit Facebook. The days of playing detective are long gone. Now, you make it easy for them.

What Do Your Social Media Profiles Say About You? 

So here’s the question. Does your social media profile portray an accurate picture of you? Does your business profile look like a business profile or do you still have the surfer dude photo as your profile picture? Or the goofy photo of you when you were deer hunting with the guys?

I’m concerned about this because too often we’ve forgotten that our digital fingerprint is equally important. This friendly reminder isn’t just about making sure you have a profile photo.

It’s also about making sure what’s posted or tweeted or shared won’t come back to haunt you. Social media and press releases go together like hand and glove.

I sent a press release to a TV station for a client who was a financial expert. I was pitching him to share tips on finances along with a plug for his new book. The station booked him to be on the 5 o’clock news.

But to my surprise, when I assured the producer that my client was comfortable in front of the camera, she told me she already knew that. She had already searched for him online and found some clips of him on YouTube. Since that experience, I make it a point to include social media handles in press releases.

How to Make Yourself Ready for the Digital World

Google: When was the last time you Googled your name and also looked through all of Google’s images? Don’t do it now. Keep reading.

Studies show people are more likely to use Google to track down others. In this case, what you don’t know can hurt you. Know what’s out there so you’re not surprised.

Clean it up: Like the “Orbitz” commercial, got a potty mouth? Clean it. In this case, if you have a crabby social media profile or digital image, clean it up! Be clear, concise and real about who you are online. If you wouldn’t say it to your mom, then don’t say it online. What you do or don’t do could hinder your TV time.

Balance: Have a good selection of posts that offer an accurate portrayal of who you are. This helps give the media an idea of what you’re like personally—a glimpse into your life.

That glimpse is what we give people every day on social media. Social media is free space. Use it to your advantage to attract and not distract.

Managing your digital fingerprint helps you keep a handle on your message. How can you improve your digital fingerprint? Do you have some suggestions? Tweet me @RoshandaPratt or share in the Comments below.

5 Smart Ways to Improve Your Internal PR

By Mickie Kennedy

When we talk about PR, what comes to mind?

Typically, you’re probably thinking about how a company conveys itself to the public. Social media, press releases, newspaper stories, interviews. All those things that can paint your company in a positive light with the public. Any way that you can build your brand…externally.

stressed man with smiley woman

However, something that we don’t spend much time discussing, and something that many professionals and business owners fail to realize, is that PR efforts shouldn’t just be concentrated on the public. A successful business focuses their PR efforts internally as well.


Well, employee buy-in is crucial. If your staff is well-connected with your brand, then how can you truly service customers? Your employees are your front line brand ambassadors. That being said, you need to make sure you spend some time developing the right kind of culture through internal PR efforts.

Here are five things to get you started.


1. Know What Employees Are Talking About.

Keeping your ear to the tracks, so to speak, is crucial when it comes to internal PR. By listening to your employees, you will learn about:

  • Whether or not there is currently buy-in. Maybe they’re already on board with what you’re doing. Maybe not. This isn’t something you can afford to assume. Listen to your employees and assess their current level of brand engagement.
  • What issues are most important to them. Maybe you are focusing on internal PR, but if you don’t know what is important to your employees, your efforts may be misplaced and wasted.
  • What they’re unhappy with. It’s possible that your employees wish certain things would change. It’s also possible that they might actually be things that you could change. Listening and making those changes can increase employee connection with your mission.
  • Ideas you may not have thought of. All the good ideas aren’t always birthed in the PR department. Maybe one of your employees has a great idea for social media engagement. You’ll never know if you aren’t listening.


2. Make Sure Employees Aren’t the Last to Learn New Information.

Something big going down? About to put out a big release about a product or new direction the company is taking? Make sure your employees aren’t the last to know.

Consider getting them together and letting them know first. Nothing stinks worse than finding out after the fact. You could also issue a release internally and externally simultaneously.


3. Learn What Works and What Doesn’t. And Keep Going.

Your internal PR efforts shouldn’t have an end. In other words, it’s an ongoing process you should be learning from. As you try things, learn from them. Did that work? Did it backfire? Take note and move on accordingly. 


4. Use Your Staff in Your PR Content.

One way to integrate internal and external PR efforts is to get your staff involved. You can do this in a variety of ways:

  • Get quotes from them for press releases.
  • Use them in YouTube videos.
  • Place their photos on websites, Twitter, etc.

Their enthusiasm will grow by being more involved in a public light—and that enthusiasm will spread to the public, thus increasing the effectiveness of your external PR.


5. Use Social Networks Internally.

While social networks are great for marketing, they also offer many benefits internally. Social networks can bring employees closer together, and can break down the walls created by hierarchy and different departments. Choose a network and use it both formally and informally.

Have goals for internal PR? Discuss!

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13 smart reasons to use captions on YouTube videos

Caption from Welcome to The Publicity Hound's Website Video

I started using captions on my YouTube videos about a year ago when someone reminded me that it’s just one more place where Google can find keywords. That’s Reason Number 1 and it’s reason enough for me. (The screenshot above is my “Welcome to My Website” video.) 

Reason Number 2: It helps people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

I just found a Storify that explains 11 more very smart reasons to use YouTube captions. Most include not wanting to annoy other people who are within earshot while you’re watching videos. But I saw a few more reasons I hadn’t thought of.

—They eliminate the need for headphones if you want to turn off the volume.

—They help you better understand the video if it was made by someone who has a very heavy accent. This is a frequent problem when I go to YouTube searching for a “how to” video. I find a great one with step-by-step directions, but I have difficulty understanding the person who created it and speaks English as a second language.

—If a parent is watching videos while kids are present, it prevents the kids from hearing F bombs.

—It’s easier to understand a YouTube video if you have the volume turned off and you’re reading the captions while also watching TV and hearing THAT audio.

—They help those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Bottom Line: Captions expose your videos to a much bigger audience.

YouTube makes it fairly easy to create captions for your videos. You have three choices:

1. Let YouTube use voice recognition to automatically add captions. I’ve done this and it isn’t very effective because words and phrases end up being garbled. If you use this, make sure you edit the captions for accuracy.     

2. If you read a script while recording the video, simply upload the script. Easy!

3. If you didn’t use a script, transcribe it. This is what I usually do. Since most of my videos are under three minutes and I’m a fast typist, it only takes me a few more minutes to transcribe it. I like the way YouTube has this set up. You hit the transcribe button just once and the audio starts playing. When you stop typing, the audio starts again. No need to press “start” or “stop” buttons.

You can also add more than one track for captions. For example, provide one track for English captions and a second track for Spanish. (I guess that’s Reason Number 14.)

A hat tip to Publicity Hound Meryl K. Evans for pointing out the discussion on Storify over on Google+.  

Have I convinced you? Will you start including captions on your videos? What other reasons can you think of for doing so?