Behind the Headlines With Nick Hawley
With so many platforms and technologies available today, one piece of content can easily be repurposed and reworked in many forms. But are you letting opportunities to extend the life of your content pass you by?
Nick Hawley, director of marketing at Visit Seattle, says if you aren’t utilizing assets to their fullest potential, you’re missing out.
In this interview, Nick discusses how to approach integrated communication, why print may still have a place in your strategy and how to build relationships with reporters.
What are you most excited for in your new role as director of marketing at Visit Seattle?
I am most excited to jump in and help run our leisure tourism campaigns. We’ve been doing some really gorgeous, unique video content focused on exploring Seattle through the five senses as well as Seattle’s music scene with our award-winning series Seattle First Takes and Sounds by the Sound. We’re continuing to grow that library of content and it’s been really fun and exciting.
What are the biggest PR and marketing mistakes brands make?
From my agency days, one of the most frustrating things I’d see clients do is not utilize assets to their fullest potential. For example, let’s say we filmed a great video for a client. I’d arm them with a social strategy (and simple PR strategy if I wasn’t scoped to do it myself) and ways we could repurpose (with title cards, use as a media hook, etc.) the asset for future use.
More times than not, the video would be shared just once via social, and then live somewhere on the website—a missed opportunity for sure.
Why is integrated communication so important for brands today?
I think having an integrated communication and marketing approach is the best way to be successful in your goals. Every medium you use to promote or talk about your brand should be cohesive and interconnected, on-message (the same message!), and all with a consistent look and feel.
Anytime a consumer comes across your brand, it should be the same, easily recognizable experience. Doing this requires some thoughtful planning and strategy, so getting out ahead and planning out the next 18 months is usually how I’ve approached this.
It’s no secret digital has changed the way we communicate. What are the benefits of digital communication? Is there a downside?
There are too many benefits of digital to list, but a few top ones for me include easy performance metrics tracking, retargeting, geotargeting, animation and the ability for a consumer to click to explore more or take action.
While there are downsides to all mediums, when planning a campaign, I think it’s important to look beyond digital as well. Some brands really lend themselves well to print and out of home advertising.
A few of my Seattle-based public awareness clients targeted mainly the city proper. With a condensed downtown and huge public transportation infrastructure, bus wraps and boards became roving billboards with an incredible number of eyes on them each day.
You’ve helped clients get placed in a number of publications. What is your secret to media relations success?
My approach to media relations success has been to cultivate good relationships with the reporters that I want covering my clients or my work. I’m always reading what they’re writing, sending them scoops and ideas (that don’t necessarily pertain to me or my work), and calling them from time to time to discuss ideas.
While I would still pitch them on stories for my clients, my goal was also to become a resource for them. I knew this finally happened when a reporter called me about my education client asking for their perspective on an issue as well as interviews with faculty and parents.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?
A big thing I’ve learned is how to really manage expectations of clients and partners. Sometimes there’s a great story to tell and it’s ripe for a national pitch, and sometimes not—and landing a spot on the cover of a trade publication will probably benefit the company more!
If you manage what you think is really feasible from the beginning (especially from the PR side), everyone will be on the same page.
Rapid Fire Round
1. I always thought I’d be…an architect.
2. If I won the lottery, I’d…set up a college trust for future members of my family. And buy a Porsche 911 Targa.
3. My hobbies outside of work include…running, yoga, food & wine, traveling and reading.
4. My hidden talent is…I can walk on my hands.
5. I laugh most at…people with self-deprecating humor.
6. One thing most people don’t know about me is…I am inactive on Twitter for personal use (I tweet once a year), yet Ellen DeGeneres follows me.
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