TikTok’s growth spurt, Halloween-themed social media posts, and rivals stoking a viral YouTube fundraiser

Also: NCAA buckles on athlete earnings rule, recruiting employees with grant money, a #MeToo version of ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside,’ and more.

Good morning, PR pros:

UnityPoint Health – Meriter is racking up engagement on Facebook with a holiday-themed post, its “NICU Halloween Costume Contest,” that underscores the health system’s work:

NICU Halloween Costume Contest: Cast your votes now! From grapes and pilots to mermaids and skeletons, our tiniest…

Posted by UnityPoint Health – Meriter on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

It’s a great example of how your organization can highlight important initiatives and offerings in an engaging and non-promotional way—while using a trending holiday to tell its stories.

What do you think of the health care organization’s post? Share with us your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.

Here are today’s top stories:

Raising eyebrows, NCAA says its athletes can profit from their celebrity

In a unanimous vote, the association’s board overturned the long-held rule prohibiting college athletes from profiting off their names and likenesses. The action has met with skepticism.

In a press release and tweet, NCAA’s chair of the board, Michael V. Drake, said the vote was among many moves to “improve support for student-athletes”:

However, the move was made to dodge potential lawsuits as additional states looked to introduce legislation that bucked the NCAA rules. California Gov. Gavin Newsom last month signed legislation allowing college athletes to profit from sponsorship deals starting in 2023:

Why it matters: Headlines are racking up over the historical decision, but not all are positive. Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that NCAA’s provisions will “severely limit the market for athletes” and that the association merely told its member schools to “consider” changing its rules. Don’t put lipstick on a pig and try to sell it as something else: Both journalists and their readers know when a decision is made purely to avoid future scrutiny.

Related reading:


Don’t ignore TikTok, especially if you’re trying to reach younger consumers. That insight, among others, was revealed in the Social Media Trends for 2020 report by HubSpot and Talkwalker.

Mentions of TikTok grew from 1.6 million in January 2019 to 2.6 million in June 2019—a growth of 62.5%. Considering that 66% of TikTok’s users are under 30, it’s an especially important social media platform to check out, alongside Instagram and Snapchat.

Elon Musk boosts YouTube tree-planting fundraiser

A YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson has discovered a surefire way to raise money for cause: Get celebrity influencers to compete with one another.

The campaign has already raised $8 million with famous digital personas such as beauty YouTuber Jeffree Star, EDM musician Alan Walker, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and now Elon Musk. Donaldson would announce the current leader to inspire competition.

Musk has joined in the fun, updating his Twitter ID to “Treelon” and changing his profile picture to a forest.

What you should now: Online campaigns to raise money can reach unlikely places, but your message must be authentic and entertaining and offer a way for online users to participate in getting the message out. Partnering with online celebrities helps, too.

 Related reading:


Musicians John Legend and Kelly Clarkson have given the controversial holiday tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” an update with new lyrics in light of #MeToo and increasingly negative sentiment that the song references date rape.

The New York Times reported:

In the reimagined version, Clarkson sings “I’ve got to go away,” to which Legend responds, “I can call you a ride.”

“What will my friends think,” Clarkson sings.

“I think they should rejoice,” Legend replies.

“If I have one more drink?” she continues.

“It’s your body, and your choice,” he sings.

An Oklahoma city recruits workers by offering $10,000 grants

The Tulsa Remote program, funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, is giving 250 remote workers an extra $10,000 over the next year if they move to the city. The offering is an expansion of its initial program in 2018, where it selected more than 100 people from the more than 10,000 applications it received across 150 countries.

To be eligible for a grant, applicants must be at least 18 years old, fully employed and able to work remotely; they also must have permission to work in the United States and currently live outside of Oklahoma. If selected, you must live in the city for at least a year.

CNN Business reported:

“We wanted to remove the barrier to come from other cities — and the money got people’s attention,” Bolzle told CNN.

“Tulsa suffered from a lack of perception — we had an opportunity to expose the country and the world as to what was happening here.”

Why it matters: Contests and competitions—especially when accompanied by money or other coveted prizes—are an effective way to get buzz for your organization (or, in this case, city). Just make sure to launch the effort alongside other efforts to get more than 15 minutes of fame out of the potentially pricey PR and marketing move.

Related reading:


We asked when you thought it was OK to include memes and current slang in your social media posts, and 53% of you said it was OK if you’re focused on reaching Gen Z and other younger consumer groups. The rest of you were split: Twenty-three percent said using terms such as “yet” is never a good look for a brand manager, while 20% said it’s a welcome addition:

PR pros Wendy Hansen and Nadia Worsley, along with communications agency Fig Firm, said it depends on your brand identity and voice, along with whom you’re targeting:

Communicator Kamreshan Moonsamy also said it depends on current trends and how you’re trying to stand out online:


What once used to be newspapers during breakfast or morning commutes has changed into breaking news on Twitter and quick roundups to give readers daily briefings. Where do you turn first to read the headlines?

Please weigh in and share your thoughts under the #MorningScoop hashtag.


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