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The Intersection of Relationships and Empathy in PR and Influencer Marketing

The nature of the job for public relations professional and influencer is to inform, drive and capitalize upon trends and insights, but the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the tumultuous political landscape in 2020 resulted in a re-evaluation of how we approach important conversations and relationships with media contacts, influencer partners and all of their respective audiences, and that is bleeding into how we march forward in 2021.

Understanding the intersection of new and continued relationships and cognitive empathy will drive success in 2021 across all marketing disciplines, especially within the public relations and influencer marketing world. Here are five important pillars that reflect what we learned and applied throughout the course of last year, and how it can help move brands forward:

  1. Build Solid Foundations for Trust

    Whether it’s in developing trust with new press contacts or influencer partners, the first step to truly building a solid foundation for trust is demonstrating an understanding of workload and being transparent surrounding your goals or those of your clients. This can be accomplished from the very beginning by developing a thought-out program brief outlining everything from content usage and timeline requirements or even priority storylines to help streamline any work that needs to be completed on the partners’ end. These first steps serve as a kicking off point for continued conversations and a mutual understanding that their time is valuable, ultimately gaining points and trust with any type of partner.
  2. Utilize Shared Experiences and Values

    While it can be difficult to break through to new contacts, what better way to get someone’s attention than to start up a conversation about a shared experience or value you may hold? Perhaps you recently saw an article pointing to a product or service you chose to try thanks to the very media contact you’re reaching out to, then mention that. Or maybe you saw the influencer you’re working to secure visited that donut shop you’ve been meaning to try—use that as a starting point for your potential relationship. Utilizing shared experiences and values is an approach that can humanize the person behind the email and show a media contact or influencer that you took the time to be thoughtful in your engagement with them.
  3. Prioritize Personalized Communications

    In 2020, it became blatantly clear that pitching products or generically conducting outreach to influencers just wasn’t enough anymore, not when there was so much noise to break through across all industries. On top of that, media newsrooms shrunk dramatically, making it more difficult, and even more important, to prioritize personalized communication. Dedicating time to researching each and every media contact and influencer, followed by tailored outreach, is a sure way to balance the messaging you’re trying to get across while also remaining human and showing that you’ve paid attention. An example would be to put yourself in the shoes of an influencer partner you’re trying to reach who you know just recently had a new baby. How would you approach communication with someone that likely has a lot on their plate but would benefit from a partnership with the brand you’re representing? Prioritize a hyper-personalized note that will mutually help you gain perspective on their current situation while also educating them on how you’re here to potentially help make their every day easier.
  4. Understand Transparency

    Openness, clear communication and accountability all factor into understanding transparency, and ensuring this pillar is a part of all relationships you curate is paramount. When it comes to any media or influencer relationship, being up front and clear about your goals, expectations and preferred outcomes helps guide conversations and educates both you and your contact. As it pertains to influencers, we found it was particularly important to be in tune with upcoming local and national events to appropriately communicate any needs to shift posting dates. Being empathetic and mindful of the larger cultural atmosphere ensures that both the brand and the partner do not risk coming off as tone deaf during a sensitive time.
  5. Develop Genuine Long-Term Humanized Relationships

    Once a solid foundation is built and trust has been established, development of that genuine long-term humanized relationship isn’t as difficult as it might seem. At the end of the day, behind every screen is a person, just like you, curious and happy to be asked about their day or their recommendation for a fun at-home activity they recently enjoyed. Staying in tune to what is happening in the media or influencer’s life can be a great way to do this, i.e. sending flowers for an engagement or sharing condolences on a recent loss. Authentic and continued empathy is the key to developing genuine long-term humanized relationships.

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that people like to be acknowledged for their work and capabilities, but through a humanized lens. Finding the right intersection between new and current relationships and cognitive empathy has the legs to make anyone a great communicator, not just a skilled public relations or influencer marketer. When we put people at the center of our business we are all better together and can prioritize a listening first approach to further foster unconventional ideas that will grow brands.

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In our continuing series of examining Google Search Trends to gain insights into the top keywords queried in the USA, we present our findings for October 2022. Every day, we capture the top three keyword phrases in terms of search volume as reported by Google Trends (US Only). Each term has an estimated query volume attached to it, which we also record. The number scale tops out at 10,000,000+ with a lower limit of 200,000+ (sometimes 100,000+). After the conclusion of the month, we look at the phrases we collected along with their volumes to get an understanding of what drove queries for the month. Harvesting Search Queries in October 2022 Autumn 2022 is in full effect across the USA last month and we followed along, recording the top queried keyword phrases each day. Looking at our collection, we see interest in Halloween entertainment options, dreams of big lottery wins, and concerns about tech companies.  With the MLB playoffs, College and Pro Football games, and the NBA season starting up again, we collected a large number of keyword phrases related to sports. Lastly, the two events that best captured the moment in time that was October 2022: McDonalds introduced Happy Meals for adults and a gamer revealed his face. People showed their quest for knowledge of both these things via Google search and the AMP Agency team was there to witness it. The Day of The Dead Doodle We almost got through the whole month without seeing a keyword phrase queried more than 10 million times within a day.  On the last day of October, Google changed its logo and we got our top phrase of the month by query volume: Day of the Dead - 10/31/2022 - 10,000,000+ queries Clicks on the logo sent people to the results page for “Day of the Dead” as a celebration of a holiday  widely observed in Mexico. October 2022 Entertainment Options Thursday the 13th was the day to learn more about the films and TV shows that were made for frights. Halloween Ends - 10/13/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The Watcher - 10/13/2022 - 500,000+ queries Michael Myers is back for another installment of the Halloween movie series and home ownership is made scarier when letters arrive in the mail in the Netflix show, The Watcher. Yes, even scarier than the utility bills. Swifties were excited about a new album and Heidi Klum dressed as a worm. Taylor Swift - 10/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Heidi Klum - 10/31/2022 - 500,000+ queries Taylor Swift’s Midnights album was released on the 21st and Heidi Klum hosted her first Halloween party since 2019 and was dressed extremely realistically as a human-sized worm. It’s another great sign that things are getting back to a post-pandemic reality.  Powerball Fever In October, they kept drawing numbers and they kept finding no winners. With no winners, the jackpot kept getting larger and so did the search interest. Powerball - 10/25/2022 - 500,000+ queries Powerball - 10/27/2022 - 500,000+ queries Powerball - 10/29/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries There’s definitely a correlation to the size of the jackpot and the number of queries.  When there is a chance to win a billion dollars (or close to it, after taxes), “Powerball” makes the daily top 3 in Google Trends. Two Big Reveals The gaming YouTuber Dream decided to reveal his face after years of concealing it and McDonalds released a Happy Meal made for adults that feature collectables from the streetwear brand, Cactus Plant Flea Market: Dream face - 10/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Cactus Plant Flea Market - 10/3/2022 - 1,000,00+ queries Dream’s face reveal was a big deal.  According to People.com, the video where he showed his face for the first time on YouTube generated over 21.9 million views and 2.5 million likes in less than a day.  Happy Meals for Adults launched with figurines designed in collaboration with CPFM and clearly people were excited to learn more about them. Politics Here and Across The Pond In the US, debates between candidates running for Senate seats drove people to search. Warnock, Walker debate - 10/14/2022 - 200,000+ queries Fetterman - 10/25/2022 - 500,000+ queries We safely predict we’ll see more query volume for keyword phrases related to the midterm elections next month. Stay tuned. Search interest in UK politics continued in October with the appointment of a new Prime Minister. U.K. Prime Minister - 10/19/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Rishi Sunak - 10/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries After Liz Truss stepped down from the post, Rishi Sunak officially became the incumbent Prime Minister on October 25th, 2022. October 2022 Tech News There were three notable queries related to tech companies from our collection last month: Amazon Prime Day - 10/10/2022 - 200,000+ queries Meta stock - 10/26/2022 - 500,000+ queries Elon Musk - 10/26/2022 - 500,000+ queries There was another Amazon Prime Day in October 2022 although the search interest related to this one wasn’t as large as the one that occurred during the summer: Maybe one Prime Day per year is enough?   The other two tech-related keyword phrases were a bit more gloomy as Meta released its third quarter earnings on the 26th, which caused the stock of Facebook’s parent company to fall sharply. On the same day, Elon Musk finalized his purchase of Twitter. What will the future hold for either of these properties?  Whatever happens, people will be searching for answers. The Collegiate Gridiron Roundup Sports-related queries took up the majority of our collection from October 2022.  Here are the top college football keyword phrases: Georgia football - 10/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Alabama football - 10/8/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Tennessee football - 10/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Texas Longhorns football - 10/8/2022 - 200,000+ queries Alabama football - 10/15/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Clemson football - 10/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries Since these keyword phrases were all queried on Saturdays, the intent behind them is most definitely game related.  Just The Top NFL Queries If Saturdays are for college football, then Sundays are for the NFL.  And Mondays.  And Thursdays. Dallas Cowboys - 10/2/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Chiefs - 10/2/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Vikings - 10/2/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries 49ers - 10/3/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Tom Brady - 10/4/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Broncos - 10/6/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Packers - 10/9/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Bengals - 10/9/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Bears - 10/13/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Cowboys - 10/16/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Broncos - 10/17/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Christian McCaffrey - 10/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Saints - 10/20/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Dallas Cowboys - 10/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Steelers - 10/23/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Patriots - 10/24/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 10/27/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Tom Brady - 10/27/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Buffalo Bills - 10/30/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Eagles - 10/30/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Vikings - 10/30/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries There were more NFL related queries collected last month but we’re only publishing the phrases that were queried more than a million times during a 24 hour period.  This list is long enough! Major League Baseball Is Still Interesting The MLB playoff got a lot of attention from what was reported in Google Trends Aaron Judge - 10/4/2022 - 500,000+ queries Mets - 10/7/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Phillies - 10/7/2022 - 500,000+ queries Astros - 10/11/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Dodgers - 10/11/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Phillies - 10/14/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Yankees - 10/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Yankees - 10/16/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Phillies - 10/18/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Padres vs Phillies - 10/21/2022 - 500,000+ queries World Series - 10/28/2022 - 2,000,000+ queries Astros - 10/31/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The eventual winner of the World Series will be revealed in our next report - no spoilers! A New NBA Season The 2022-23 season kicked off in October. Before the games started, Draymond Green made headlines for getting into a fight with one of his teammates: Draymond Green - 10/5/2022 - 500,000+ queries Draymond Green - 10/7/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries The rest of the NBA-related queries had more to do with games than individual players. NBA - 10/18/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Lakers - 10/18/2022 - 500,000+ queries Suns - 10/19/2022 - 200,000+ queries Lakers - 10/21/2022 - 500,000+ queries The volume of NBA queries will pick up in March 2023 and will continue increasing in interest until the Finals in June. Is European Soccer’s Popularity Apparent To You? Finally, Keywords related to European football matches continue to appear in the top 3 of Google’s daily trends.  Here’s the full list of phrases. Man City vs Man United - 10/1/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Man City vs Copenhagen - 10/5/2022 - 200,000+ queries Chelsea vs Milan - 10/5/2022 - 200,000+ queries Arsenal vs Liverpool - 10/9/2022 - 500,000+ queries Barcelona vs Inter - 10/12/2022 - 500,000+ queries Rangers vs Liverpool - 10/12/2022 - 200,000+ queries Real Madrid vs Barcelona - 10/15/2022 - 1,000,000+ queries Manchester United - 10/19/2022 - 200,000+ queries Chelsea vs Man United - 10/22/2022 - 500,000+ queries The popularity of this non-American sport is quite apparent in search trends. The team at AMP Agency wonders when there will be more domestic coverage of these games.  Perhaps soon is likely the answer. Thanks for reading. If you liked this article, we utilize search trends data for all of our clients and we invite you to learn more about our SEO services.

One of our mantras here at AMP is “Question Everything” - we’re practiced at examining our deeply held assumptions and asking - is there a better way? Still, in 2019, even with a relatively flexible work environment, we assumed that “work” meant the 9-5 in-office grind. We never stopped to ask ourselves… “why? And is this really the best model?” Then 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and out of necessity we realized there could be a different way to work. Sometimes it takes this level of disruption to jolt us out of our most deeply held assumptions.  But the jolt was effective. As other companies assumed a “return to normal” and continuously planned and pushed back office re-opening dates, AMP exited our four national office location leases. Instead of rushing back to “normal” we wanted to ask ourselves: was the old normal actually working for us anyway? And - what could a better way look like?  For us it was a design question, and the brief was to redesign the way we work. Like any design question, there were a wealth of exciting possibilities and major challenges to overcome. And we needed to start with the humans at the center. What did our clients need from us, and what did our employees need to deliver their best work to them?  The answer was not the status quo. Our people told us loud and clear that they did not want to head back into the office full time. Our employees, our clients, and loads of new research were telling us the benefits of the flexibility of remote work (No commuting! Better work/life integration! Higher productivity!). And as our pandemic-induced remote state chugged along, we also discovered some more surprising insights:   Virtual environments can make collaboration better Before 2020, workers were wasting an average of  9 minutes per meeting just setting up tech - that’s 30% of a half hour meeting, wasted. 40% of workers were wasting up to 30 minutes just searching for an open conference room. Conference calls with a mix of remote and in-person attendees left the people dialing in outside of the office at a disadvantage. At AMP, we were facing these types of pain points all the time, collaborating across four offices with clients all over the country. In this model, the tools meant to help us communicate like we were in person were actually making us feel farther away.  But something interesting happened when suddenly everyone was remote. Conference calls died out in favor of video, and these remote meetings acted as a great equalizer. We could all clearly see each other’s faces, no matter where we were zooming in from. Disembodied voices we’d been working across offices with for years became - perhaps paradoxically - more tangible humans. We met their kids, their pets, their roommates. Clients who we previously talked to on the phone and saw in person every few months became regular face-to-face virtual collaborators.  This new type of collaboration unlocked huge benefits. Employees felt more connected to their coworkers in other locations, and the work was thriving. Our client satisfaction metrics went up year over year. We took on global clients and expanded our teams outside of the US. Our business saw growth amidst a period of economic uncertainty. We saw that elements of remote work would be good for our people, our clients, and our business.     Virtual environments have higher intensity Our creativity and collaboration had been unlocked, but we also found the zoom fatigue was real. In the pre-pandemic days, we assumed burnout was directly related to long hours. But a look at our employee’s time-tracking told us that may no longer be the case - even employees not working overtime were feeling the fatigue. It turns out that without those built-in breaks chatting while troubleshooting tech and making coffee in the office kitchen, people’s days working remotely aren’t just more productive, they’re more intensive. With all remote all the time, a 40 hour workweek can start to feel like 50.  If the future of work had remote elements, our new model would need mechanisms in place to prevent burnout.    Career and life phase inform employee needs When the pandemic abated and parents were better able to get reliable school and childcare, AMP parents often preferred remote work. They could have breakfast with their kids without fear of missing the commuter rail. They could pop out to pick up a sick kid without sacrificing hours of their work day. Many, in the middle of their careers, had already built the skills and confidence that could transfer to a new environment. They were thriving in the remote workplace.  But employees at the beginning of their careers were disoriented. They were missing out on the mentorship and guidance you get from observing and interacting with more seasoned co-workers day-to-day, not to mention the camaraderie that comes from early office friendships.  We discovered that people were living in a multitude of personal situations that demanded different work environments in order to thrive.  We needed a model that could provide options for multiple ways of working depending on what employees needed to grow and do their best work.   Our Innovative Approach to Work: AMP Anywhere With these insights, we set out to design a new model based on radical flexibility. We concepted and pressure tested multiple models. And here’s what we’ve launched: a working model we call AMP Anywhere with three core tenets: You can work from anywhere, including from home or in an office – whatever works best for you. Compensation does not depend on or change based on where you live. Even if you’re not near an office location, you’ll have opportunities to collaborate in person on an ongoing basis. Two years after we exited our office leases, our workforce spans across 30+ markets internationally, and we’re reopening smaller flexible spaces in places with high employee concentration -  Boston and New York. This month we rolled out extensive guidelines for communication norms, travel policies, and collaboration opportunities built for a positive, equitable employee experience no matter how you work best, including deep-work focused “Flex Fridays” and events for AMPers to connect in-person with their co-workers across the globe.  Up next: Prototype. Test. Iterate.  We’re not done. We believe this is what the future of work looks like. But we also know that there will be a whole new set of assumptions we develop that we’ll need to break down. Unlike our old working model, the future of work is not static. It’s pliable. It’s evolving. As AMPers, we have a commitment to Question Everything. That means a commitment to continually innovate and improve around the ways we work to make our lives and work truly sing.    Welcome to the future of work. This is our first prototype.  – Greer Pearce, SVP, Brand & Innovation

What is Google’s new update? Google has rolled a new change in the way they present their search results on mobile devices for brand keyword queries. The engine is now prioritizing the site name for brand name queries of a company instead of the contents of the home page’s title tag. For example, before this change, a query of the company name, “rover”, would show the contents of home page’s title tag in Google’s mobile search results: With this change, a query of “rover” on mobile now presents a result with the site name in search results along with the favicon and URL: Currently, site names are available for mobile Google Search results in English, French, Japanese, and German, with more languages to follow in the coming months.   Why is Google using only site names?  Google strives to make it easier for users to find the specific website that is associated with the brand name they are searching for. By using only site names in search results, Google believes it becomes a lot easier to find the specific brand being searched.  These types of keywords are seen as being navigational in nature; that is, a keyword that has the intent of getting a person to the brand’s home page.  This update does not affect results for non-branded or expanded branded keyword queries.  Keeping the company Rover as our example, If one were to search “dog walking” or “rover dog walking”, the title tag’s content will appear as the link text for the home page: How Can You Optimize Your Home Page? Because of this change, AMP Agency recommends brands to add their desired website name using structured data on their site’s home page so it appears properly in Google mobile search results. Specifically, we recommend the use of WebSite schema markup on the home page as depicted in the example below: This implementation allows Google to recognize the “name” property as the site name of the website and provide accurate results on result pages.    The use of structured data is also beneficial for websites with alternate names, like acronyms and shortened names. The Website schema markup allows for these variations to be added to the home page as well.   How can Google understand your site name? Beyond Website schema markup, Google Search does use a number of other sources to determine the site name for a search result including on-page, off-page, and meta data information.   With the addition of schema markup, brands should ensure the headings (H1, H2, etc.), Title Tag, and Open Graph Protocol meta data (og:site_name) are optimized for the same site name.  Keeping up with Google changes are just a part of our SEO Services. Contact us for more information about how we can best position your site for search.