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Archive for Public Relations’ Category

17

Oct
2012
Comments Off on Analytics: Find Out What’s Working for Your Business

Analytics: Find Out What’s Working for Your Business

Analytics Chart

Having an accessible and well-designed website, several social media accounts and a subscription to a good news release distribution service are great ways to ensure maximum exposure for your business. After all, if people don’t know who you are, at least they can see that you are offering several easy ways for them to find information about your business.

Though these features are great, you still need other tools to make sure you know they are working and are truly being a help for your business. Being able to gather analytics for your website, social media platforms and news releases is important if you want to be able to show growth and success to your business colleagues.

You can go to Google and type in “website analytics” or “social media analytics” to find a number of tools your business can use to create reports on how many people have visited your site, how many retweets your business’ Twitter account received last month, how many shares you received for posting that video to your Facebook, and much more. So you don’t have to search through the millions of results that Google will produce when you type in “website analytics” or “social media analytics,” here are some of the tools we know work well for businesses.

Google Analytics: This tool is a service that generates detailed statistics about visits to your company’s website. It can help you track visitors to your site, pageviews, average visit duration, bounce rate, percentage of new visits to your site and even page value. Google Analytics can give you details regarding demographics, behavior, browser and network choices when viewing your site, mobile device views and more. The best part is that this tool comes with a lot of these features for free.

HootSuite: Your business may use HootSuite just so you can schedule your Facebook and Twitter posts for after business hours. But, there is more to this tool than you may think. For a small monthly fee, HootSuite can help you generate reports about your social media data and web traffic. It can help you measure results with your Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as your company’s return on investment with these social platforms.

CisionPoint/BusinessWire: Cision and BusinessWire are both news release distribution services. Those who use these tools can distribute news releases to a large audience across the nation and even across the world. Cision offers analytics for news releases and allows its users to create reports on their own in regards to media mix, reach, social media influence, number of hits and more. After sending a release through BusinessWire, a report is generated within an hour and emailed to the user. BusinessWire reports are updated continuously throughout the year, so you can offer up weekly, monthly or even quarterly reports to your colleagues without much effort at all. Both of these services are costly, but can be worth it if PR is a main focus for your business.

These are just a few tools you can use to generate analytics, but there are a plethora of them out there. And don’t forget, some social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube have analytics programs of their own. Do some research and find out what tools can work the best for your business.

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5

Oct
2012
Comments Off on Research, and that Gut Feeling

Research, and that Gut Feeling

Research in the Dictionary

In the military, we learned the more intelligence we had the better we could fight the battle and ultimately win the war. The same holds true in business.

We need to track what competition is doing, what they are saying, what they are featuring and what people are saying about them.  We also want to track how our companies stack up in the marketplace.  How do we do this?

THE MARKET STUDY.  How are we perceived when compared to competition?  What is your SWOT situation (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)?

AWARENESS STUDY.  Do target audiences know your company, your products and your position in the market?

FOCUS GROUP.  Sit 12 people in a room and test creative, messages, product ideas, feelings about the competitive landscape and more.

MYSTERY SHOPPER.  Banks, hospitals, restaurants and retail stores can learn a lot when we check out how things are going right on the premises.

DID-YOU-BUY STUDY.  What happened when you got a sales lead?  Did you get the sale?  Did your competitor?  How was the sales experience?  Does the lead still want to talk to your company?  How did your sales rep do?

COMPETITIVE TRACKING.  By tracking your competitors, you can get a sense of what they are featuring in the news and through social media.  That information can help you sell, discover acquisition possibilities and create your own messages to position you in a better situation than you might have been without the information.

I know what you’re thinking.  This research stuff is expensive and we really know the answers to the questions you might ask.  Are you sure?

With the availability of services such as Survey Monkey, research can be very cost-effective.  If you shop around, you will find that there are professional firms available to do research on a cost-competitive basis.  And, when it comes to knowing the answers to the questions we might ask, we have found that there can be a big difference between what you believe the marketplace is thinking about you and what the marketplace is actually saying.

If you want to win the battle of the marketplace, get more information than your competition.

Ed Stevens, Stevens Strategic Communications President

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28

Sep
2012
Comments Off on Social Media Rules the 2012 London Olympics

Social Media Rules the 2012 London Olympics

Olympics Rings filled with Social Media Logos

The superstar-studded opening ceremony. Michael Phelps becoming the most decorated Olympian ever. Gabby Douglas and the rest of the “Fierce Five” bringing home the gold. The list of highlights from the 2012 London Olympics goes on and on. But, for those of us in the communications field, we may remember the London Games most for demonstrating the enormous power of social media. Many are calling this year’s Olympics the first social media Olympics or “Socialympics.”

Sure, social media has been prevalent for some time now. However, the growth of sites like Facebook and Twitter in the four years since the 2008 Beijing Olympics has been astronomical. The numbers are impressive. Facebook has jumped from about 100 million users to approximately 900 million. Twitter is up from around six million to 150 million account holders. It’s also important to note the rise in smartphone usage. Today, the majority of U.S. cell phone users are operating smartphones, making it easier than ever to stay connected to friends, family and their social media networks to discuss hot topics such as the Olympic Games. With all of these elements at work, it’s no wonder social media played such a large role in the 2012 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee even launched the Olympic Athletes’ Hub, a website that enables fans to find and follow their favorite Olympic athletes’ Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. Additionally, the IOC maintained its own separate Twitter and Facebook accounts. Olympic sponsors also got in on the action with endless social media promotions before and during the games.

The frenzy of social media activity was striking. Twitter reported that there were more than 150 million tweets about the Olympics. The Spice Girls stirred up an unbelievable 116,000 tweets per minute during their closing ceremony performance. Usain Bolt was the most tweeted about athlete, inspiring an average of 80,000 tweets per minute during his competitive events. Many popular Olympic athletes’ Facebook pages saw a huge spike in fans. For example, Gabby Douglas’ fan page jumped up by well over half a million fans in a two-week span.

NBC, the network on which the 2012 Games were broadcast, averaged 31.3 million for its primetime Olympics coverage. With more than 40 million viewers, the 2012 opening ceremony squashed all previous records for a Summer Olympics. The closing ceremony delivered 26.9 million viewers, up 12 percent from the 2008 Beijing Games. Undeniably, social media played a role in driving up Olympic viewership. Even more significantly, social media effectively kept us connected more than ever before to the action, making us all feel more invested and excited.

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26

Sep
2012
Comments Off on Becoming and Remaining a Valuable Media Relations Source

Becoming and Remaining a Valuable Media Relations Source

Media Relations

A public relations professional–whether on the agency or corporate side–must learn what separates relevant news from non-news and strive at great length to keep material in the latter category out of the information stream.

Trying to pass off non-news as news is one of the biggest mistakes a PR professional can make. Your role is to build a reputation as the source for adequate, factual and timely information for your news media sources, whether they are trade or consumer.

There is also no substitute for direct and frequent contact with editors, particularly in this age of electronic messaging, where an article query can be quickly sent and an answer received in short order, depending upon your standing with the editor.

Because of the turnover and rotation of assignments in the news media, your responsibilities as a PR pro also include tracking the whereabouts of writers and editors you have come to know in your field. Many times, editors stay in the same industry, enabling you to continue the relationship if you–or they–change jobs.

Don’t discount the fact that editors, with diminishing staffs, will rely on your product and industry knowledge to develop an article fit for publication, giving your company or client added exposure. Also, with the proliferation of e-publications, there is more editorial “holes” to fill on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis, making your role as a news provider more invaluable.

The bottom line: Editors need your queries and subsequent articles just as much as you need placement for your client or company. If you develop timely, news-worthy articles written for the editor’s specific readership, then you will become a valuable media relations resource.

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19

Sep
2012
Comments Off on How Traditional and New Age PR Can Go Hand-in-Hand

How Traditional and New Age PR Can Go Hand-in-Hand

Public Relations

By all means, traditional public relations is still relevant today. Gaining media coverage in print publications is still important and making phone calls can sometimes be a necessary task. But, today it is just as essential to make sure your information hits top news websites, blogs and is mentioned on some social media platforms.

Of course there are still agencies and PR firms that feel sending press kits through the mail is what hits home for journalists. Lots of information can fit into that one folder – a release, background information, photos, CDs, DVDs – and with only a few dollars or so worth of postage attached to it. It still works for some, but there are other, more efficient ways to help your content reach a larger audience.

In today’s digitally-driven world, traditional PR can really go hand-in-hand with E-PR. Those who go the traditional route can use social media as a reinforcement tool and vice-versa. Here are some tips on how you can use a blend of traditional and E-PR to get the best results:

1. If a press kit is sent out to publications through snail mail, try following up with an email first instead of a phone call. More and more journalists are finding it easier to respond to PR professionals through email than by having a phone conversation, especially when they are on a deadline. And, if your material is time sensitive, it never hurts to hit your email’s “High Importance” button. You can’t do that with a telephone. Just make sure the content of your email is attention-grabbing, or you could find it promptly deleted.

2. Using a wire service or emailing your news releases is a way to reach a wide range of publications. Another way is to use your agency’s social media accounts to promote releases. After sending out your material, create posts on Facebook and Twitter to gain even more traction. Better yet, some people are starting to use Pinterest as a means of reaching a larger audience.

3. If your agency is relying on print material only, make sure to have the conversation about moving printed releases and press kits over to electronic files that can be placed on your company’s website. Journalists who have a hard time keeping tidy desks or have a lot on their plate may need an extra copy or two of a release. Make sure your information is accessible on the web so they don’t have to call you up to ask for another one to be sent through the mail.

4. Cold calls can be unnerving at times, especially when calling up a reporter of a daily publication – whether he/she is on deadline or not. Try connecting with reporters on LinkedIn first, and even Facebook and Twitter, to get a feel for what they cover, what they are interested in and how they like to be contacted.

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31

Jul
2012
Comments Off on Success with Writing Case Studies

Success with Writing Case Studies

Keyboard

A case study is a product success story showcasing what one company did for another company in a sales or problem-solving capacity. “ABC Company just helped solve a major product purity problem by installing an advanced x-ray system for XYZ Food Processing, Inc. The result was a 95 percent improvement in detecting unwanted contamination.”

Case studies are among the most powerful sales tools because they are the most credible. They demonstrate how actual customers have succeeded in using the featured company’s product or service.

Copywriters craft these as short articles explaining how a product or service helped a company to solve a challenge or become more successful. The story includes precise numbers, direct quotes from key personnel and contact information. Companies then use the completed case study as a download on their website, as handouts for sales personnel or submit the feature to trade media for possible publication.

Writing a case study involves several steps:

– Use multiple resources to help gather background information. This includes, but is not limited to, industry trade publications, PowerPoint presentations, training manuals, product spec sheets, Internet sites and press releases

– Interview the customer at a time convenient to him or her.  Interviews are usually completed over the phone and last between 30 and 45 minutes. Sometimes, you can forward a questionnaire so the interviewee knows what to expect.  Also, it’s a good practice to interview a sales representative who has first-hand knowledge of the product and why the customer chose Product A over Product B.

– After fact gathering and interviewing, you’re ready to write the case study. Case studies are normally 400-1,000 words in length, written in standard feature article format. The manuscript will include headline, subheads, pull quotes, bullets and other text elements.

– Be clear about the approval process. Typically, both the client (the company/organization requesting the case study) and the customer (the company/organization using the client’s product) must review and sign off on the case study. This is particularly relevant if the case study will be ‘pitched’ to the media as a feature article. Editors want to know if the copy has been approved for publication.

 A well-written case should be part of an integrated marketing communications and public relations campaign. The steps above might appear time-consuming, but the results can return your investment many times over.

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11

Jul
2012
Comments Off on PR: There’s an App for That!

PR: There’s an App for That!

Apps

As a busy PR professional on the move, your job has to travel with you.  For many of us, our laptops often sit idle while our smart phones and tablets never seem to get a break.  Public relations is all about staying connected, so having the right apps at your fingertips is key.  In our digital world, apps are invaluable tools for maintaining a presence, staying informed and serving clients’ needs from wherever you are.  In no particular order, here are five must-have apps for today’s mobile PR professionals.

AP Stylebook 2011 ($24.99 from iTunes)- Ditch your hard copy outdated edition AP Stylebook and invest in this app. Whether you are new to the biz or a seasoned pro, this essential reference guide should be kept close at all times to answer those burning style questions to ensure you’re writing to AP standards.

Dropbox (free from iTunes and Google Play)-This handy file sharing service saves  your photos, documents and videos in one place—and syncs them to all your computers, phone, tablet and even the Dropbox website.  It’s ideal for managing presentations and files when you’re out and about.

LinkedIn (free from iTunes and Google Play)-This one is a no-brainer. The LinkedIn app enables you to stay connected to your professional network 24/7, get the latest updates and share your status.  If you have a LinkedIn account—and you should—you need this app.

Evernote (free from iTunes and Google Play)-It’s like a virtual personal assistant to keep you organized. With Evernote, you can take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists and record voice reminders.  It’s completely searchable and works across all your devices.

Flipboard (free from iTunes and Google Play)-This awesome app creates a personalized magazine with content created from everything being shared with you. You can flip through your Facebook newsfeeds, tweets, other social media feeds and news outlets quickly and easily.  You can even re-tweet and share from within the app.

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13

Dec
2010
Comments Off on CROS Public Relations and Public Affairs

CROS Public Relations and Public Affairs

Founded in 1997, CROS Public Relations & Public Affairs Company is one of the most influential players on the Russian market and a leading adviser to executive authorities as well as state-owned and corporate clients. Since its founding, CROS has provided its services to over 500 Russian and foreign companies, state and public institutions.

CROS has established long-standing partnerships with many businesses, state structures and public institutions in Russia. These relationships facilitate the resolution of extremely complex and wide-ranging tasks in public relations. Drawing on cooperation with leading Russian and western mass media, research institutes and advertising agencies, CROS is able to leverage the resources required to effectively implement effectively federal, regional and international projects.

“We are delighted to be joining the Public Relations Global Network of independent PR  agencies,” said CROS president Sergey Zverev. “We hope to be a valuable asset to our new partners.”

Welcome Sergey!

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11

Aug
2010
Comments Off on Why invest in an environmental marketing strategy?

Why invest in an environmental marketing strategy?

How much time and effort should be dedicated to developing an environmental strategy for your company? I would say just as much effort as in product, price, promotion, and distribution strategy. Here’s why:

Whether you are in product or service marketing, your customers are defining the way your company is positioned in the marketplace. It’s no longer a competitive advantage to focus strictly on price, service, quality, speed of delivery or other factors.

Customers also want to see you as an environmental leader, a company that is sending a message that you have a concern for our limited natural resources and is taking positive steps to make a small difference.
How do you get started by developing and executing an environmental marketing strategy? Clients we have developed marketing materials for start with clear-cut reasons for this strategy, then expand. For example:

  • Meeting the triple bottom line: environmental, social, financial
  • Opportunity to set yourself apart as an environmental leader within your industry
  • Immediate and positive on employees, customers, stakeholders
  • Demonstrate corporate responsibility in multiple ways
  • Greater customer loyalty = increased revenue
  • Provides outstanding opportunities for significant public relations exposure
  • Constant interaction with public, customers, employees, media and community
  • Continual promotion of reduce, reuse, recycle.

The above criteria then become a basis for your environmental mission statement, which I will discuss in a future post.

Jim DiFrangia,
Copy Contact Account Executive/Green Initiatives

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11

Aug
2010
Comments Off on Green 2: Are you an environmental leader?

Green 2: Are you an environmental leader?

The role of companies in restoring and maintaining the environment is changing dramatically. I found these questions from The Environmental Leader by Twyla Dell to be especially relevant in our business climate:

  • Can companies become environmental leaders?
  • Can you save money by becoming eco-efficient?
  • Can you afford not to do your best by the earth?
  • Is environmental technology a market position?

I found other research indicating several reasons why a company would become an environmental leader. Which one fits your business?

  • Environmental marketing can be used to achieve corporate objectives.
  • Companies believe they have a moral obligation to be more environmentally responsible.
  • Governmental bodies are forcing firms to become more socially responsible.
  • Competitor’s environmental activities pressure companies to change their environmental marketing activities.
  • Consumers are shifting focus and buying from companies that demonstrate environmental leadership.

Undertaking an environmental leadership strategy today is just as important as spearheading initiatives for sales, marketing, employee training, product development and HR.
Jim DiFrangia,
Copy Contact Account Executive/Green Initiatives

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