Finding the perfect pitch: social media lessons from an a Capella perspective

By: Catrina Lang @trinalang13

Becoming a member of The Tempo Tantrums, an all female a Capella group here on campus has been one of the best and most unique experiences I’ve had in college so far. Making pop music come to life with nothing but our voices is a challenging but rewarding task. Throughout my first two years with the group, I’ve learned a lot about different musical elements such as tone, pitch and harmony. What I’ve come to realize is that many of the same tools that we use to create beautiful music can also be applied to craft and implement successful social media strategies.


  1. Tone. In music, a tone can be described as a “steady, periodic sound”. Before creating a successful social media strategy, you must first figure out your brand’s tone on social media. This tone should be steady and consistent so as not to confuse the audience or potential customer. The tone should be a positive representation of your brand. Brands can consistently choose to adopt a humorous, professional, fun, educational, or various other types tone throughout all of their social media outlets. The key is keeping it consistent.
  1. Harmony. Constructing harmonies is one of the most important things to focus on when singing a Capella music. Each voice part is singing different notes, but they all come together to form chords that sound like a cohesive whole. This is important to keep in mind when using multiple different social media platforms as well. Even though each platform presents unique opportunities (such as tweets versus Instagram photos), it’s important to keep in mind the consistency of the brand that you are trying to portray. As long as you keep in mind the goal of the brand when utilizing different platforms, you can successfully use each different platform to get across the same brand message for your client.


  1. Audience. One of the most important elements of performing is keeping in mind your audience, and how to best connect with them in different situations. When my group is presented with a potential gig, we have to decide which songs to sing, what to wear, etc. to best relate with the client, while still keeping our own personal brand in mind. For example, we will choose different songs, attire, and introductions for a gig at a nursing home than we would for a gig at a coffee shop. Keeping in mind your target audience when you launch a new social media outlet or campaign will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level overall. Some questions to ask yourself could include:
    1. What kind of perceptions does my audience already have of the brand?
    2. What are some aspects of the brand that would best appeal to a particular audience?
    3. How does the targeted audience currently use social media?

Gathering the data and information to answer these questions will help you create the best social media strategy that keeps both your targeted audience and your own personal brand in mind.

When creating a social media strategy, keep in mind the tone, audience and harmony of your social media outlets – in the end it will greatly increase the impact of your brand. I have learned by performing with The Tempo Tantrums that giving your audience what they want while maintaining your personal image and brand with help you hit all of the right notes.


Twitter Lessons from @OU_Confessions and @OUCrushes

TwitterTwo anonymous twitter accounts created by Ohio University students quickly caught the attention of fellow bobcats starting in the spring of 2013.

The twitter accounts, OU Crushes and OU Confessions urge students to share their most intimate secrets, and personal issues with strangers, while they remain unidentified to followers.

The twitter account OU Crushes prompts Bobcats to share their love interests with followers, while OU Confessions invites Bobcats to share confessions of any nature.  These confessions may range from heartfelt to down right disturbing.  The unpredictable nature of the twitter account may be one of the many reasons why this account has become so popular.

OU Confessions was started by an OU sophomore who said she was looking to break her post-spring break boredom by trying something new.  Two OU juniors and one senior said they experienced a different sort of inspiration before creating the account, OU Crushes.  At the time, they all had crushes on fellow students in their classesConfessions, and they decided to create the account after they found themselves too shy to admit their own affections.  All four of these students have opted to remain anonymous creators of these accounts.

Both OU Crushes and OU Confessions operate similarly.  Users can make anonymous submissions of 140 characters or less through links on the accounts’ homepages. The administrators of the accounts can then select submissions and post them to their Twitter feed. At no point are the administrators of either account made aware of the submitters’ identities.

Although these tweets may be seen as offensive or unprofessional, we may be able to learn a thing or two from the creators of these accounts.  One lesson that may be taken away from their success is, how to “gain and retain followers.”

Gain and Retain

The anonymous creators of these two twitter accounts have not only been successful at starting these accounts, but they have conquered the art of maintaining them.

OU Crushes managed to gain 6,300 followers in only three weeks time.  About five months later, OU Crushes now has a total of 7,552 followers, coming in second place to OU Confessions, which now has 10,585 followers.

Both of these accounts used some of the same tactics to gain and retain their followers, starting with persistence.

1. Persistence is Key Both of these accounts have gained followers rapidly, and continue to keep those followers because they are constantly posting new tweets.  OU Crushes and OU Confessions now average at least five tweets a day, and when they originated they posted at least 10 tweets with a 24-hour span.

The creators made sure that it would be impossible to forget about the existence of either of these accounts.  It is time consuming to maintain anonymous accounts, but they have never failed to keep up with their followers’ expectations.

2. Relating to Your Audience In order to keep followers, you have to post material that keeps your followers interested. OU Confessions and OU Crushes are known for posting unpredictable content, which often includes x-rated material. These accounts were created for Ohio University students, so the tweets they post are geared towards an audience of Bobcats.  In order to keep followers interested, these accounts have to sort through tweets sent into them, and choose the material they want to repost on their Twitter feed.

They do a great job of sorting, because they often repost tweets that include information that only OU students, or alumni can relate to.  They mention the names of buildings on campus, uptown bars, and sororities or fraternities for example.  They also keep their audience interested by crossing boundaries that no one has crossed before.  There aren’t many twitter accounts that are bold enough to somehow associate themselves with Ohio University, yet post content that would be considered x-rated.

3. Think Outside the Box Everything originates from an idea.  The creators of these accounts implemented an idea that had never been attempted at Ohio University, and they ended up with great success.  When working in a professional setting, it may be easy to lose sight of your creativity and innovativeness, but these accounts may teach you how important it is to implement your ideas.

-Tori Carras is a organizational communication major with specializations in strategic communications and marketing. Follow her at @tcarras2.

Making Your Press Release Go the Extra Mile

Extra MileWriting press releases are certainly not the most glamorous thing you’ll do as a PR professional, but they are essential. Whether you’re working for an agency, doing PR for a particular company or working for a non-profit, you’re destined to write a press release, or 10, or 50. A press release is an important step towards a successful public relations campaign. Follow these tips to make your press release stand out.

1.  Write a killer headline

If you don’t have a catchy, appealing headline your press release probably won’t be read in today’s cluttered media space. Where should you look for headline ideas? The New York Times? Brilliant scientists who work for NASA? Actually, turn to copy writers for gossip and entertainment magazines. Why? They have about three seconds and a few words to attract your attention in the grocery checkout line. So, think back to the last time you picked up a magazine waiting in line at the store. What made you pick it up? Use that same attention-drawing technique to write a headline for your press release that will make your reader stop and actually read it.

2. Bring the heat early

In the same way that you zone out within the first couple minutes of your grandma telling you an in-depth story about her mom’s infamous apple pie, your reader tends to lose interest after the first sentence. That is, if your headline was good enough. Reporters are busy so tell them what they NEED to know within the first sentence. Include important points within the first paragraph.

3. Personalize it with good quotes

Quotes are like mini-stories that add a human element to your press release. Including a quote that reflects the significance of your product or event can tug on the reader’s emotions and leave them wanting to know more. If your quote is good enough, they might actually use it directly in their story. Be careful not to include too many quotes or extremely lengthy quotes. Make sure your chosen quote means something and isn’t just a filler.

4. Include hard numbers

Quotes can support your reader’s emotions but including hard numbers is what they really want to see. Support your argument with statistics, percentages and trends that will make your product or event look good. Don’t use colorful language that will confuse the reader and cloud the most important information. Make your argument, state the facts and back them up with numbers.

5. Know your reader

You wouldn’t want to pitch the new McDonald’s double decker cheeseburger to Shape Magazine. Make sure you know your target audience. Do some research and tailor each press release you send out to that particular media outlet. What do they value? What types of stories have they already published? What is their writing style? Being more specific with your audience will garner better results.

Follow these helpful and easy tips the next time you need to write a stand-out press release!

-Carly Damman is a senior studying strategic communications. Find her at @CarlyDamman.