The following blog was written by Kaitlynn Grady, Media Relations Assistant
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
In today’s day and age, though, maybe we should revise that phrase. A picture is not worth a thousand words--it’s worth a thousand ‘likes’.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to rejoin the Miss Universe Organization in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to assist the public relations team with the 2014 Miss USA Competition. In case you missed my first post, last fall, I served as the PR intern at this New York City-based company, helping to promote and publicize the 2013 Miss Universe Competition in Moscow, Russia. Besides the obvious differences (cue the language barrier and nine-hour time lapse), this experience was much unlike the first. This time around, my duties included anything and everything social media. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, I became the voice behind the Miss USA brand, giving fans, followers and reporters the latest and greatest on all 51 women vying for the crown, providing backstage and behind-the-scenes exclusive interviews and photos, and creating an avenue from which contestants could speak candidly to a nationwide audience.
So, with iPhone 4 in hand, I followed the herd of high-heeled women around the town as they experienced some of Baton Rouge’s historical hot-spots. During the two weeks leading up to the June 9 competition, I clicked, tweeted and posted away as they sipped tea at the Old Governor’s mansion, toured 100-year old Antebellum homes, chewed crawfish down by the Bayou and Karaoked during a New Orleans-inspired night out. On the night of the competition, I planted myself backstage to capture the reactions and attitudes of the contestants as they glided off stage with and without the crown.
Surrounded by sparkles and sashes in the south, however, I didn’t forget the lessons I learned during my first week at MediaSource. Like I said, this time around was different in more ways than one--afterall, I am a brand journalist now. While I was there, I channeled my new identity.
Here’s how I brought brand journalism to the Bayou:
1) Focus on the audience - It was important to maintain the Miss USA social media accounts before, during and after the competition because that’s how the contestants could engage with fans, grow their following and gain support. One way I focused on the audience was by listening to and responding back to them. In fact, the audience dictated a major part of the show, ultimately deciding which contestant secured a spot in the final round of judging. By tweeting #SaveTheQueen, they propelled Miss Iowa USA into the spotlight. Yep, I’m all ears now.
2) Find a voice - Consistency was key. Throughout the two weeks leading up to the competition, I portrayed a distinct tone on all of the Miss USA social media accounts. I channeled the voice of a behind-the-scenes onlooker, capturing candid moments of the contestants that shed light on their personalities, humor, quirks and interests. I found out early on that these posts were the type my audience responded to the most, and I lead with this style until the judges crowned the next Miss USA.
3) Be credible - In this case, I established credibility by crafting each tweet and post with care, ensuring everything that went live on social media was true, “tagged” and spelled correctly, and that all posts were made in real-time. It paid off. Reporters covering the competition felt confident synthesizing images and information directly from the Miss USA Facebook and Instagram feeds into their stories.
4) Keep it simple -When Miss Nevada USA won the title, I was the first to record her reaction after the curtain closed. It was an important moment, and I didn’t have lights, a boom mic or even ten percent battery left on my phone to do the job. Oh, and did I mention that my cell screen was cracked down the middle? In a quick and less-than-glamorous interview, I recorded a touching and emotional soundbite from her and became the first to share the new queen’s reaction via the Miss USA Facebook page.
5) Think visual - With women so stunningly beautiful (and, of course, photogenic), evening gowns so ornate and hair so big, it was easy to rely on images to direct the story. Every post I made was accompanied with a photo or video. By electing to show and not just tell, my posts were much more eye-catching and far-reaching.
6) Un-brand the content - I relied on telling the story of the Miss USA brand through the 51 bubbly, outgoing and enthusiastic contestants competing for the crown. You’d be surprised to know that they were pretty relatable--well, most of them, anyway. Lawyers, chemists, wrestlers, breast cancer survivors and world-renowned bubblegum-chewers were among the ladies that graced the stage. I didn’t ever need to say they were “confidently beautiful,” like the Miss USA logo touts. They proved it through their own words and actions.
Over the course of three weeks, the Miss USA Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts gained over a combined total of 93,000 new followers. So maybe a picture isn’t worth a thousand words, or even “likes.” In my opinion, it’s worth a lot more.
MediaSource is a media relations and content production firm that specializes in brand journalism tactics. From news media coverage to consumer video tactics, MediaSource partners with the nation’s top hospitals and corporations to get their message to targeted audiences. MediaSource is best known for delivering brand buzz by amplifying messages across both earned media and company-owned media channels.