About Rebecca Renfroe

Rebecca Renfroe

Rebecca manages all public relations and social media functions for our clients. Her responsibilities include strategic planning, research, developing news releases, pitching stories to the press, generating interviews, setting up press tours and serving as a daily resource for reporters wanting to know more about our clients and their industries.

Prior to joining M/C/C, Rebecca worked at Levenson & Brinker Public Relations and The Shelton Group.

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Rebecca moved to Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University, from which she earned a degree in Corporate Communication and Public Affairs while minoring in Art.

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Value Over Volume: The Strategy Behind the Rule of Thirds in Social Media

By now, social media managers can unanimously agree that companies should use a filter when it comes to social media posts. We’ve all seen the brand that focuses all of their effort on promoting their own company. After all, these are outbound marketing channels. Why not use them as a way to share the latest marketing material and company updates?

The answer is simple: because your audience gets bored if every social post has the same type of content – especially if every post feels like an ad.

As tempting as it may be, companies should steer clear of posting solely about themselves on their social media channels. Don’t fear – there’s a time and place for promotional material, but every brand needs balance, and our social balance comes in thirds.

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The 411 on Blogger Relations

When agencies suggest new programs to clients, companies may sometimes stop and ask what the work entails and if it carries any value. Take blogger relations, for instance. Some may wonder why anyone would need to have relationships with bloggers, who bloggers are and if people even read blogs.

To answer some of these questions and others, we put together a quick guide to blogger relations. Check out the info below to get up to speed.

Blogger relations

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The Sound of Silence… on Facebook

They always say that everything old can be made new again. On Facebook, we’re jumping back to the 1920s. One of the newest developments on the social platform is the rise of silent video. Before we cue Charlie Chaplin and bring back silent films of the early 20th century, let’s dig into the trend.

Hand holding smartphone with mute sound during concert

In a recent blog post, Facebook revealed some interesting information about viewers’ video-watching habits. According to the social platform, users watched more than 100 million hours of video on Facebook every day. To add to that, Digiday reported that as many as 85 percent of Facebook video views are silent.

Within the last couple of years, Facebook made videos autoplay in a user’s newsfeed – silently.

And that’s probably because Facebook also found that “when feed-based mobile video ads play loudly when people aren’t expecting it, 80 (percent) react negatively, both toward the platform and the advertiser.”

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The Blurred Lines Between Paid, Earned and Owned Social Media

As social platforms gained popularity, the issue that lingered for years was how they would make money by capitalizing on the networks that had been developed and widely adopted by brands and consumers alike. Advertising seemed like the answer, and all things pointed to a shift from organic reach to paid platforms. With algorithm updates like Facebook Zero, which slashed brands’ organic reach, it’s gotten harder for their messages to be seen by even those who have opted in. The writing was on the Facebook wall, and social media platforms turned into pay-to-play arenas where brands must advertise to survive.

Desk with Social Media and Connection ConceptIf we step back and evaluate the social marketing landscape from a high level, we have to ask ourselves, are we really that surprised about this transition? And better yet, how do these changes affect consumers’ perception of brands’ place on social media?

Big companies like Google have coaxed brands into advertising with programs like AdWords for years. Upon searching, these paid results appear at the top of the screen before the most popular search results. It’s like Google was setting the stage for social platforms to advertise.

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LinkedIn Gets Serious with Lynda.com

No, it’s not what you think. LinkedIn doesn’t have a new girlfriend named Lynda. Last
month LinkedIn declared its intention to purchase Lynda.com, a leader in online training videos. With more than 300 million members worldwide, the new acquisition brings deeper implications for LinkedIn to the surface.

LLinkedIn Gets Serious with Lynda.comet’s start off with a little bit of background on Lynda.com. Known as “a leading online learning company teaching business, technology and creative skills to help people achieve their professional goals,” Lynda.com is based in Carpinteria, California, and was co-founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin. Lynda.com offers a wide range of classes from marketing to photography to basic business principles in the form of membership packages that start at less than $20 a month. Continue reading “LinkedIn Gets Serious with Lynda.com” »

Does Social Media Affect Search?

Google’s algorithm updates have informed the public that good search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just about on-page optimization. Public relations now plays a big part in getting ranked higher in search engine results. Quality links from sites that have greater domain authority, such as top tier media outlets, produce higher rankings in search engine results.

Now that we know that PR can affect search, we want to define where and how social media comes into play. Google may place a high value on social media links, or they may not even matter. Can social media really affect search?

The answer is yes and no. I recently listened to a webinar hosted by Spin Sucks and presented by Andy Crestodina titled rather bluntly “How Does Social Media Affect SEO” that offered some insight.  Continue reading “Does Social Media Affect Search?” »

Sympathetic Pricing Gives Your Customers the Feels

When was the last time you saw a brand Sale Sign in Shop Windowdo something financially altruistic for consumers and as a result thought that they were a company that truly cared for their customers? If you have witnessed anything halfway resembling this, the truth is that company was probably using a technique called sympathetic pricing. According to a recent report by Trendwatching.com, sympathetic pricing can be defined as:

“Flexible and imaginative discounts that help ease lifestyle pain points, lend a helping hand in difficult times, or support a shared value.”

The Bottom Line

Consumers have wised up to brands’ claims that they care about customers. They are tired of empty words and now want companies to put their money where their mouth is and display real change. Sympathetic pricing may seem like the fix-all solution, but it’s complex and actually has three different executions to it. Let’s take a look at the three categories in the report and the companies that have done them well: Continue reading “Sympathetic Pricing Gives Your Customers the Feels” »

Newsjacking – When is the Right Time to Steal the Conversation?

What were they thinking?”

This was my reaction to an international PR firm’s recent response to a celebrity’s suicide. The PR giant wrote a blog post that encouraged mental health professionals and those who suffered with depression to use the tragedy as an “opportunity to engage in a national conversation” to discuss the issue and bring attention to the topic. Although their intentions may have been virtuous, the agency received a tremendous amount of backlash for the post and they have since offered an apology.

What the agency did is called “newsjacking.” The industry defines it as injecting your ideas into a breaking news story in real time in hopes of gaining media coverage and social media engagement. The term was coined in recent years, but newsjacking has been used as a PR tactic for quite some time. Newsjacking can be conducted via traditional media relations by contacting journalists to write a follow-up story after the initial news has been announced. It can also be done through social media or a company-owned blog by posting your own content as a response. Brands are praised when it’s done correctly. But when blundered, embarrassment typically ensues for all parties involved.

Rulespace CoverageNewsjacking works
As an agency we’ve had great success newsjacking while working with a variety of companies. For instance, we worked with RuleSpace, a leading provider of categorization technology that made its mark by helping ISPs provide parental controls to make sure kids were surfing pages that parents deemed appropriate. Following a current story about the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation into porn on the Internet and the government’s interest in protecting children, M/C/C captured the interest of the Wall Street Journal. Efforts resulted in a feature story highlighting the problem of unprotected mobile devices and the RuleSpace solutions. M/C/C also secured a feature segment on CNBC where the RuleSpace President and CEO laid out the problem and solution in compelling fashion. The coverage even got the attention of a mobile provider and led to new business opportunities for the company.

Best practices for successful newsjacking
Think your company has what it takes to gain coverage? Here’s what your agency should be doing for you.

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Should Marketers Engage in Reddit?

Most people have heard of Reddit. The platform has become a hot topic during major news events such as the Boston Marathon bombings. In the hours and days that followed, Reddit users acted as citizen journalists to report breaking news on the spot and working to identify the suspects. But when compared to other social media sites, it seems that most people don’t really understand how the Reddit community works or how their company could engage with it.

What is Reddit?

Original fan art by M/C/C

Original fan art by M/C/C

To start with the basics, Reddit is a completely user-driven social platform. By its own definition, “users provide all of the content and decide, through voting, what’s good and what’s junk. Links that receive community approval bubble up towards #1, so the front page is constantly in motion and (hopefully) filled with fresh, interesting links.”

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How the Importance of the Flack-Hack Relationship Has Shifted – Or Not?

Through the years, the relationship between PR pros and the media has had some significant changes. Gone are the days of the “three martini lunch” to sell a story idea. Today, journalists and PR people are working off a newly established set of ethics. Both have a common goal of sharing interesting content – which can sometimes lead to tension. Generally, there is a push and pull between the two entities that ideally results in the placement of well-developed content. Although there have been many ups and downs over time, there’s one thing that continues to hold true – the relationship between PR professionals and journalists is a crucial component to success and remains important.

The Numbers

With ongoing staff cuts and complete eliminations of newspapers around the country, there are by far fewer journalists employed by traditional media companies when compared to five, 10 and even 15 years ago. With staff cuts, the ratio of PR professionals to journalists has significantly changed.  To put things into perspective, fewer journalists mean that there are fewer opportunities to share story ideas. The competition to get articles placed continues to be fierce, growing as more newspapers fold.

On the other hand, reduced staffs can be beneficial for PR people. Journalists are crunched for time and are more likely to use PR-suggested copy or story ideas to fill content for the 24-hour news cycle. Even though this is true, PR pros must still establish a good relationship with the media. When a better relationship is built, the chances of an email ending up in the Trash or Spam box go down significantly.

The Lines of Communication

Traditionally, the best way to contact someone, including reporters, used to be picking up the phone and making a call. Today, most interactions between PR people and the media occur through email. Even though PR pros can share pitches via Twitter they should think twice. According to the Vocus State of the Media Report 2014, “the majority of journalists still don’t care to be pitched by social media and an overwhelming 90.7 percent of respondents chose email as their preferred method of contact.”MCC-Blog-PreferredMethodGraph

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