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Comments Off on What You Should Know About Content Marketing

What You Should Know About Content Marketing

Content marketing has been around for ages. Soap operas were originally created by Procter and Gamble in the 1930s to provide entertainment for customers, and in turn sell home-care goods. But it is only recently that the buzz around content marketing has begun to grow. In fact, according to data from Google Trends, the popularity of content marketing has grown over 560% since its tipping point in December of 2011. This is because with the rise of technology, from smart phones to DVRs, consumers and businesses alike are becoming less receptive to traditional advertising messages as well as seeking more substance. That means marketers are being forced to get creative and become more customer-centric. Instead of pushing their own agenda, marketers must now work to get the attention of their customers… enter content marketing.

Person holds up sign that says: GREAT CONTENT

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the process of strategically creating and publishing content with the goal of engaging potential customers and driving sales through the nurturing of client relationships. It can take many forms, from blog and social media posts to YouTube videos to sponsored articles and email newsletters.

The important thing to remember, however, is that the primary purpose of content marketing is not to generate sales directly, but to inform or entertain potential customers and build a relationship between customers and your brand. Content marketing is designed to meet marketing objectives while delivering value to customers in the form of information or entertainment.

Integrated content marketing

Of course, a single piece of content is not enough to convert most audience members into becoming paying customers. That’s where the importance of integrated content marketing comes in. Integrated content marketing combines the use of multiple platforms with repurposed content. It helps your message reach a larger audience with more frequency and increases the opportunity to convert audience members into leads and leads into customers. An integrated content marketing campaign could include a blog post, a YouTube video, an email newsletter, a SlideDeck on LinkedIn, as well as numerous social media posts. Repurposing content for different platforms helps an integrated content marketing campaign can be seen by more people more times, which increases the opportunity for conversion.

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Comments Off on Using Mobile to Dominate the B2B Category

Using Mobile to Dominate the B2B Category

Using Mobile to Dominate B2B

Did you know that nearly 70 percent of people in the U.S. have a smart phone? It’s not a huge surprise that the majority of internet access is now done through mobile devices versus desktop computers.  Updating your marketing strategy to incorporate mobile users isn’t a trend that applies solely to B2C companies. Your B2B marketing plan is underperforming if integrating and creating content for mobile users isn’t a major component.

Here are some tips on how to start or expand your reach to mobile users:

Be sure that your emails and newsletters can be easily read by mobile users.  According to Marketing Land, nearly 68 percent of emails were opened on a mobile device, with 52 percent being opened on smartphones.  Make sure that your subject lines fit comfortably across small screens, having 15 or less characters is ideal.  Always send out a test before you contact your customer via email and make sure you can clearly view it on all mobile devices.  Use responsive design templates that make for easy reading and navigation so your readers can resize, pan and scroll across a wide range of devices.

Please, please, please make sure your webpages are visible too!  This goes without saying, but bears repeating because it is so important.  Make sure that all the pages on your B2B website (not just the home page) are easily read on all mobile device screens. Click here to use the Mobile-Friendly Test developed by Google to see how your page ranks in mobile-friendliness. If your website isn’t easily viewed on mobile devices, it’s time to make some changes or even overhaul your entire site.

Become savvier with Google AdWords. Google has announced big changes for 2017 that will have a significant impact on the mobile aspect of your website.  Google AdWords users will be able to make independent bids for mobile, desktop and tablets.  Prior to this change, mobile bids could only be a multiplier based on your base bidding price. Use Google Analytics to figure out what method of access your buyers are using and adjust your Google AdWords bids accordingly.

Utilize Google Maps.  Additionally in 2017, Google Maps will play a larger role in the Google search algorithm.  According to Wordstream, nearly a third of mobile searches are being done through Google Maps and the percent of Google Maps searches have grown 50 percent faster than overall mobile searches in the past year. To stay competitive in your industry, be sure that your company’s listing is up-to-date and you are leveraging Google Maps as strategically as you can.

Consider creating a mobile app for your company. It can be a large investment but for the right company, it can be a marketing godsend. Apps give you the ability to connect with your customers on a more personal level.  When assessing whether to create an app, consider what content and engagement it will provide to its users.

Create great content.  Use amazing content to pull mobile users on to your site. Post blogs, social media posts, testimonials, infographics, case studies, video tutorials and useful information to engage your customers.

Smartphones and mobile devices are here to stay. (Heck, there is a good change you are reading this blog on your smartphone!)  A marketing strategy that addresses the needs of its mobile users will help to grow a B2B’s profits, credibility in the industry and brand.

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Comments Off on The Certifications You Need to be a Digital Marketing Expert

The Certifications You Need to be a Digital Marketing Expert

Jennie Ford

Jennie Ford

Stevens Strategic Communications (SSC) is thankful to have hard-working and results-driven employees. When it comes to working in the digital age, continued education is even more critical. We encourage our employees to embrace opportunities that enhance their talents and deepen their skills. One of the most educated and driven women on our team is our Director of Digital Marketing, Jennie Ford. Since joining our company, Jennie has been laser focused on growing her pool of knowledge and expanding her department’s capabilities to provide our clients answers, exceed their expectations and blow their minds with fresh and creative tactics to engage their target audience.

Staying up-to-date in the quick-changing realm of digital marketing is more than a full-time job. With social media strategies, search engine optimization, pay-per-click campaigns and analytics, it seems that there is always something new to learn. Jennie knows the importance of staying current and she is on top of it even encouraging everyone at SSC to embrace learning opportunities as they arise.

Jennie realized early that Google Analytics can tie PR success to client website traffic. With Google Analytics certification in hand, she can track key metrics and understands the best ways to implement changes to improve campaigns. Along with certification in Google AdWords Jennie has certifications for HubSpot, Hootsuite, Woo-Rank, Search Marketing, Marketing Measurement & Analytics, Marketing Copy Writing and Email Marketing.

No matter what direction digital marketing takes, we know Jennie will stay one step ahead. If you want Jennie to discuss your digital marketing situation with you, she has a wealth of knowledge that she loves to share. Send your questions to her.

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Comments Off on PR Insider: PR is the new SEO

PR Insider: PR is the new SEO

Guest Blog by: Uwe Schmidt, president of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN)

While Google has changed the search algorithms three times between 2011 and 2013, the latest one seems to be causing the most headaches to SEO specialists since it focuses mostly on content. And that’s – alas, dear techies! – first and foremost no technological approach. It’s an opportunity for PR professionals (who develop key message-driven strategies for their clients) to provide deep content and manage both sides of modern PR: the media and the SEO portions.

Here are five tips from a PR professional who’s been following SEO trends very closely over the last few years:

  1. Constantly create new user-oriented content on your website. This will guarantee visitors stay longer and Google will recognize higher relevance for your website.
  2. Create unique content. For instance, pitch bylined articles for placement on reputable websites such as online trade magazines, and get links to that content on your website secured. These links are invaluable for your Google ranking.
  3. Design website content, structure and technique so Google can analyze the content easily. Include keywords within all titles and copy. Eliminate large images and flash animations whenever possible.
  4. Avoid duplicate content. Also, do not book low-value placements on pseudo press portals or directories that were created to distort Google results. Google now ignores such entries and even might punish companies appearing on such “spam sites” by down-ranking their websites.
  5. Choose a smart PR agency as your company’s partner. Doing so will better ensure that each side understands both the content and the technological aspects of state-of-the-art SEO public relations.

This may sound easy, but in reality it’s not. In reality, few companies truly understand the current trends and how they can use them to their benefit, nor do they know how to find the right partner to work with them on the opportunity. At the end of the day, it’s all about including SEO in the content-driven communications strategy of a company and being able to shift a part of the marketing budget to one of the most effective tools that exists today: SEO-PR.

Uwe Schmidt is CEO of the German PR & communications agency Industry-Contact (IC AG) and the current president of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN). Follow Uwe: @IC_AG.


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Comments Off on Press Releases Generate More Favorable Reviews Than Paid Advertising

Press Releases Generate More Favorable Reviews Than Paid Advertising

Public Relations Word Cloud

A well-written press release generates far more impressions and favorable reviews than paid media (i.e. advertising). The most critical advantage public relations offers is “believability.” When your message appears as editorial (both online and offline), it carries with it the implied third-party endorsement of the publication’s editor.

Think about. Which of the following carries more weight in your mind? Which is more credible?

a. A web banner touting a new product or service

b. A social media post about a new product or service

c. A print ad showcasing a new product or service

d. A feature story about a new product or service in the Wall Street Journal, The Plain Dealer, Crain’s or on the CNN website?

Most people agree that editorial coverage is not only more credible, it’s far more in-depth and detailed than any advertisement could ever be. Here’s another big factor: public relations costs far less than paid advertising. Many large trade and consumer publications charge $25,000 or more for a single page print ad (one time). You could run a PR campaign for a full year for the price of one ad!

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Comments Off on Why Building Relationships with Editors is So Critical

Why Building Relationships with Editors is So Critical

A Rolled Newspaper

Getting content (e.g. press releases, feature articles, case studies, etc.) placed in the media is highly dependent upon developing relationships with editors. If you can become a trusted source for quality content, editors will actually seek you out for editorial. Over the past two decades Stevens Strategic Communications (SSC) has been fortunate to develop key editorial contacts all over the globe. Below are some of our best practices we use to get your content published.

Any relationship with an editor begins with a pitch. PR professionals spend hours crafting the perfect pitch to a news outlet that creatively highlights the intended message. From an editor’s point of view, it is the potential impact of the pitch that will get a message covered, not how much effort was put into perfecting the pitch.

Certain PR practitioners may have different philosophies about maintaining relationships with editors. Some don’t try to build relationships at all and resort to blindly calling a news outlet to pitch a story or gather information. It may be necessary to use this method at times; however SSC believes creating a strong relationship generally helps in getting your work noticed.

SSC never gives an editor false or useless material. Giving them unreliable information is a sure way of getting your pitch deleted or thrown in the trash. We always provide them with verified messages, and are available to answer any follow-up questions they may have. It is our job to be a dependable source, and an editor or reporter should be able to rely on us to get the correct information they need.

We don’t pitch all the timeWhen you are constantly focused on pitching your clients to anyone who will listen, you lose sight of the bigger picture. PR is all about relationships and savvy publicists know when to pitch a client and when to hold off and come up with a better angle, strategy or pitch so that their communication with editors is as efficient as possible.

The most important thing to remember is the relationship between an editor and PR practitioner is mutual. A significant amount of the information editors gather comes from PR professionals, so they need us just as much as we need them. All communication experts value relationships. Maintaining strong and functional relationships between PR practitioners and editors will help accomplish the ultimate goal of both professionals, which is to disseminate meaningful messages to key markets.

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Breaking News: Ed Stevens, APR+M Assumes Three Industry Leadership Roles

Ed Stevens

Ed Stevens, APR +M, has just been named President-Elect of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), the fourth largest group of independent PR firms in the world. He has served PRGN as Marketing Officer for the past four years. “I am honored to be selected by the people who have helped my clients grow their businesses both internationally and domestically. We have some of the world’s best PR minds as members.”

In addition, Ed also holds two high-visibility positions with the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). As a member of the executive committee for the PRSA Health Academy, Ed will be heavily involved on the committee charged with bringing the academy’s annual conference to Cleveland in the spring of 2015. “It is estimated that this event will bring over 300 professionals to the city as we place a spotlight on Cleveland as the center of excellence for healthcare in America,” said Ed.

Finally, Ed will be the next president of the PRSA Northwest Pennsylvania Chapter. “I am excited to be a PRSA president. It is my third stint as a president, having served as president twice with Greater Cleveland Chapter.” Stevens Strategic Communications believes it is great to give back to our community, our industry and PR professional people in Erie and Cleveland.

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Comments Off on No Longer Your Typical Graphic Artist/Designer

No Longer Your Typical Graphic Artist/Designer

A ComputerIt’s safe to say that since the advent of desktop computing, business has been changing at a rapid pace. Many jobs have molded and changed to adapt to the latest and greatest technologies available, or they have vanished altogether. Graphic Artists that have been in the industry for the past 20 years know this all too well.

A typical Graphic Artist, Graphic Designer or Art Director must now have the ability to perform many additional tasks that were once additional positions held within several small companies. Such tasks may include being an Interactive/Web Designer, Illustrator, Photographer, Videographer, Video Editor, Computer Technician or even a basic Web Programmer. Modern computers, cameras and software have helped to make this a reality.

This may sound a little overwhelming for people just getting their start in advertising, public relations, design and multimedia productions. Believe me–it is! If you’re looking to get into this field of work, be sure you have vast knowledge and a great skill-set because you’re going to utilize it on a daily basis. In a small business atmosphere you need to be able to wear many hats, not just the one printed on your business cards. This holds true for just about any job at a professional small business today.


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Comments Off on Vine: The Six-Second Video Challenge

Vine: The Six-Second Video Challenge

Vine Logo

Vine is a mobile application owned by Twitter that allows its users to create and post short videos that are a maximum of six-seconds long. Vine is not even a year old and, according to theverge.com, it already has more than 40 million registered users.

Vine seems like it’s going to be the next big thing when it comes to social networks. Vine videos can be simple to create, but they can also be complex. Those making Vine videos as a means for advertising can take a whole day to create a six-second clip. All it takes is a few taps with your finger to create a Vine. When you are ready to record a video, you hold your finger on the screen for as long as you want to record a specific object or action. Then, lift your finger and move around or move objects to get ready for the next segment. In the end, you will have video that could be one object starting as a whole and turning into nothing, or a quick video showing a little of everything.

Creating six-second videos is becoming all the rage across the world! People are getting really creative with it, too. You will find people singing songs, taking videos of events, stop-motion, Claymation, art, wild collaborations and much more.

A blog was posted by Vine offering six tips on how to create the best videos with the app. These tips include using a tripod, using the ghost feature for stop motion, knowing that you don’t need to finish a Vine in one sitting, training your tap, using earphones with a mic, and reviewing your posts. To read the Vine blog, go here.

And, in case you didn’t know, Vine has some new competition. Now that the mobile app Instagram, owned by Twitter’s competitor Facebook, has launched its video creation feature, users are wondering when they should use Vine and when they should use Instagram.

For more great information about Vine and Instagram, read these articles:

–          Digiday: 15 Stats You Need to Know About Vine and Instagram Video

–          Mashable: 10 Ways Startups Can Grow With Vine and Instagram Video

–          TechCrunch: Instagram Video Vs. Vine: What’s The Difference?

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Comments Off on Facebook Ads: A Tool to Get More Likes

Facebook Ads: A Tool to Get More Likes

The Promote Page Window on Facebook

One thing some of our SSC team members learned during a social media seminar at the Erie Club was this:

“The likes don’t come in as fast without Facebook Ads!”

Facebook Ads are a great way to get out the rut your page has reached with its number of likes. These ads will help your page reach more Facebook users. Facebook ads have several other benefits as well:

– Fast and easy to set up

– Inexpensive: To start, $50-$100 is sufficient

– Guaranteed Results

– Increase in Reach, Page Likes, Shares, Post Likes and Website Traffic

According to an article on venturebeat.com, “Performance marketing company Nanigans released a study today (Oct. 16) showcasing that Facebook advertising is alive and well, with retailers seeing a 375 percent explosion in click-through rates from Q3 2012 to Q3 2013 — and healthy 152 percent return on investment.”

One of the great features about Facebook ads is that Facebook now allows you to essentially create six ads for the price of one. You can upload six different pictures to go with your ad description. You can even change the description text that goes along with each photo. This way, you can go back and see which ad did the best and make tweaks to gain a larger reach and more clicks.

Businesses don’t have much to lose since Facebook ads are inexpensive. Test an ad or boost a post only using $15. View the results and decide if you want try it again with an increased budget.

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