Top 5 Social Media FAQ’s

With two-thirds of the Internet actively engaged on social media, it’s clear that prospects want great content to share with their professional networks. That content can be yours if you utilize the power of content marketing effectively. Your brand’s voice can be more powerful than ever before, and you have the opportunity to join and direct the conversation about your brand while also interacting with your target audience.  However, you are probably wondering:

Is social media sufficient to replace my entire Marketing Communications Strategy?

No! Social media marketing cannot replace a marketing plan; it is merely one component of an overall strategy and complements traditional and online PR initiatives. Social media is powerful, but a comprehensive communications plan must also be in place to ensure a cohesive brand identity.

How is social media different from traditional marketing?

Social media is an extension of corporate branding.  As a client, you are paying for the ability to utilize modern electronic techniques to get in front of a targeted audience.  Social media is not an advertisement, and it is not a banner ad.  Social media is inherently about branding to a focused audience.  It is about the ability to quickly get in front of prospects and current clients and to establish an online relationship with them and build customer engagement.

What should I expect from a social media investment, and how quickly should I expect it?

Social media does not immediately establish the value of your services or products, and instead establishes you as a thought leader in the industry and creates awareness of your name and brand. It is not a specific advertisement for a given product or service- it is about brand engagement. The type of results you should expect are similar to what you would expect from a long-term branding campaign. Social media marketing is essentially a global awareness and branding campaign that takes time to develop.

Which comes first: planning or publishing content? 

Planning. Do not post any live content until a thorough strategic marketing plan has been created. Companies that have taken a different approach have found that their overall brand reputation has been tarnished due to a lack of strategic planning, goal setting and maintenance.

How do we tweak our social media plan to grow our follower base and increase engagement?

When creating a strategic social media plan for your business, start out by answering the following questions:

  • Who is my ideal target audience? Who are the business and industry leaders I want access to?
  • What is the message – in one sentence – that I want people to take away from my company? What do I want people to remember about my company? Does my company’s reputation ring bells with potential clients or does it flat line?
  • What are the keywords needed to find my company online? What are the key search engine terms (known as keywords) that people are using to find my company? It is imperative to begin to think like your customers to unlock the terms needed to build exposure.
  • What topics or articles would my customers be interested in reading about?  What are they already knowledgeable about? What are they curious about? How does my product or service help support this?
social media channel review
SHARE:

Top 15 Ways to Increase Twitter Engagement

Looking to your grow your business on Twitter? Studies have shown that 72 percent of followers are more likely to buy services from a business they follow. However, with only 140 characters to make an impression, Twitter requires a great deal of skill in order to use it successfully to establish your company as a leader in your industry.

Here are RMG’s Top 15 tips to leverage Twitter for business

  1. Develop optimized content: You need content that you can tweet on a regular basis. Start by using snippets from company news, tips from a spokesperson, or material from keyword-rich blog posts.
  2. Hashtag: Twitter users search the site for topics of interest to them. For example, sports fans search for their teams, #GreenBayPackers, or favorite sports #basketball, while others may search #yoga. Use hashtags in your tweet so it comes up on the appropriate searches to increase visibility.
  3. Create a Custom Hashtag: Develop a hashtag for your company that you use every time you tweet. For example, James Smith, a CEO of Smith Widgets hashtags #smithssayings every time he posts a clever piece of business inspiration.
  4. Integrate cross channel marketing: Twitter is a great social media platform, but combining it with an Instagram account makes it even more powerful. Post photos on Instagram and then tweet them on Twitter. This is especially effective for promotions and giveaways.
  5. Increase tweet frequency: Twitter is ineffective if it is only used once a day. You must tweet multiple times a day, especially during peak hours. The more your followers see you, the more followers you will get. You can use TweetDeck or Buffer to schedule multiple tweets so you do not have to sit at your computer all day.
  6. Retweet, retweet, retweet: Twitter isn’t a one-sided promotional tool. You need to interact with your followers. Read what they are tweeting about and re-tweet when something sounds interesting. Your followers will like the fact that you did that and will take more interest in what you have to say.
  7. Share nuggets of wisdom: When you attend industry conferences, take the time to share what you learned with others. Live tweeting from important events is very popular among Twitter users and is a great way to share the latest industry trends.
  8. Tap into trends: On the left side of your Twitter page, you will see what is currently trending both nationally and in your area (you can set it). Ride the coattails of a trend by hashtagging it in your tweet. For example, on “#cookieday, a physician can still tweet “Today is #cookieday. Replace ingredients with fat free substitutes to make the cookie healthier.”
  9. Be inspirational: Twitter followers love to favorite and retweet inspirational quotes, so include a few during the week.
  10. Be visual: Twitter users are a visual bunch and they love to look at and retweet visual content, so include high-resolution photos and videos with your tweets.
  11. Respond: When someone in your industry is quoted in a tweet, respond to it. Congratulate them or discuss an important topic. Get your name in front of influencers in your target industry.
  12. Create Twitter Lists: Twitter allows you to create “lists” of people and it’s a great way to monitor your peers, competitors, media and influencers.
  13. Tip it: Twitter users love tips, so be sure to turn your posts into some DIY or DYK (did you know) tips a few times per week. For example, physicians can provide weight-loss tips, entrepreneurs can provide business tips and filmmakers can provide did-you-know tweets about certain films and televisions shows.
  14. Question it: Get a discussion going. For example, a young adult author might ask what the followers think about a controversial debut novel of another author, while a physician might discuss the latest medical study that was released. A CEO might spark conversation about new business tax laws and an up-and-coming recording artist might discuss the latest Taylor Swift video.
  15. Go further: Set up a live Twitter chat with your followers. Here they can ask you questions, get advice or discuss an important topic with you. You can cross promote the transcript on your blog, company website, Facebook page or and Instagram.

BONUS: Want to use Twitter to get press hits? One of the best ways to get a journalist to read your pitches is to engage with them on Twitter. Take a vested interest in what they write and re-tweet content that you find useful. Furthermore, use social media to research the beat they cover before you pitch them.

RMG PR Tip of the day: Look for journalists’ queries in real time by searching for #journorequest

how to increase twitter followers
SHARE:

How to Maximize Social Media ROI with a Sure-Fire 5-Step Process

b2b social media process

 

You have invested a great deal of your market budget and valuable time on social media, but you may not be getting the ROI you wanted. Of course you’ve read about other businesses who are thriving on Twitter, attracting customers from Pinterest and Instagram accounts and making money off of Facebook, but that is not you. Before you hit the delete button and withdraw from a social media marketing campaign, take time to review what is and isn’t working for your business and refine your strategy.

 

 

5-Step Social Media Audit Review Process

Follow RMG’s 5-step review system every quarter to become a well-oiled B2B social media machine!

Customer Review: First, do you really know who your customers are? Are they teens, young millennials, or baby boomers? Mostly men or women? The content that you put up on social media should be of interest to your customers, but you need to know who they are first. If you’re unsure, do a little research into who is buying your product or services. Once you know this information, you’re halfway there to social media success.

Content Review: What content is performing the best with your target audience? Do they like images, video or long form content best? What content have you created that generated the highest shareability? If your followers love to share pictures, but do not seem interested in back-and-forth discussion, then remember pictures say a thousand words and you can still get your message across in a creative way that they enjoy. Measure the shareability then tweak accordingly.

Channel Review: Are you spending hours filtering photos for Instagram and seeing little results? Your target clientele may not be active users on Instagram. Maybe they are on Pinterest or Periscope now. According to studies, the average American spends about 40 minutes per day on Facebook. Your target clientele might want six-second Vine videos versus long YouTube videos. You need to find out where your customers are and then focus on the social media networks that perform best with your prospects. Do not spread yourself thin just to make sure you are “everywhere.”

Shareworthy Review: Is your content even shareable? For example, you want your customers to know what a great staff you have and you are posting office photos daily. While customers care about customer service, they are not sharing or commenting on these photos, so stop posting them. Instead, focus on your products or services, provide tips or articles that help your customers live better lives. Stop wasting time creating content that your customers clearly do not want.

Response Review: Are you Tweeting out questions and not responding when your customers answer? Do your followers Tweet and tag you in it, but you don’t interact with them? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, almost half of the millennial segment — and one in three consumers overall — say they are influenced by social media and use it to make purchasing decisions. Customers build relationships with companies through social media, so you need to take time and respond to them. If they do not see that you are responding, they will leave you behind in the social media dust.

Devoting time daily to your presence on social media is a must in order to succeed in business today. By completing the RMG 5-step review process every three months, you’ll be able to tweak your strategy and truly maximize the ROI of your social media campaigns.

SHARE:

Inbound Marketing: The Next Frontier in Digital PR

“Use content as your currency and create content that your prospects are looking for.” – Hubspot

I recently completed the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification program for 2015. There were some great takeaways that I wanted to share with you to help increase your brand exposure this year. If you need a quick refresher on best practices for digital PR, this is a perfect guide. Enjoy!

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is about empowering potential customers with the information they need to help find your business online. Your goal should be to create focused content that will help solve your prospect’s problem. Think about it. When you made your last purchase, did you call a salesperson asking to buy OR did you hop online and conduct thorough research? Chances are, you did thorough research, BUT when you did that research you didn’t type in a company’s name (because you don’t know the names yet). You were Googling the PROBLEM you had. When the prospect searches for their problem, your company needs to be on page 1 so the buyer sees it as a solution.

Why does inbound matter for PR executives?

Inbound marketing is very important for digital PR practitioners, because all companies should have a solid digital footprint. Today, all clients need a solid content library. Even repurposing old releases and turning them into blog posts can help secure backlinks and increase your SEO. A synonymous title for digital PR could actually be earning inbound links!

How do you get started with inbound marketing?

Figure out your buyer persona. Who are they? What information is most valuable to your prospects? How do they like to consume information? Once you have determined who your buyer persona is, you can then focus on creating keyword-rich content to reach them. If you are still wondering, “How can I engage my current customer base more?” you can always ask current clients some of these questions. Their answers can prove to be invaluable in the upfront research. Remember, your job is to deliver information that prospects need to help them make smart, informed purchase decisions. When thinking about the motives of buyer personas, focus on the ‘why.’ Uncovering their motives can lead to a powerful content strategy. Try interviewing current clients and look for trends in their responses. It is your job to know what they want to see, what they want to read, and what issues they are currently dealing with.

hubspot inbound marketing certification

“Put the education of your prospect before your personal initiatives.” Hubspot

Creating Content

Keyword research is critical to clearly giving a name to the prospect’s problem. Remember, think about the phrases that prospects are using to find someone who offers your services, instead of thinking about what you would use. Try not to use too much industry jargon either.

Formatting Content

What format will you use? Is your persona a visual learner? Do they read blogs on a regular basis? Do you have a valuable piece of content that belongs behind a form vs. on your blog? Here are some options that were recommended in the certification program for creating content:

  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • White papers
  • Worksheets
  • Ebooks
  • Templates
  • Checklists
  • Webinars
  • Slideshare decks
hubspot inbound marketing certification program

CTA (Call to Action)

Every blog post should also have a call-to-action, or CTA. Examples of calls to action include: download, request, sign up and receive. When writing your CTA, focus on action verbs.

Awareness, Consideration, Decision

After a prospect is aware of their problem, they are in the consideration stage and are committed to understanding all available methods to solving the problem. You want to make sure you reach your prospect in the consideration stage by creating keyword-rich content. Remember, consumers don’t want to be sold to; they want to be educated. Once they are in the decision stage and have decided on a solution strategy, they are focused on the method of approach. It is important to have content prepared for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistakes

The buyers journey has to be from the buyers’ perspective, NOT yours.

Your content needs to answer their problems vs. going straight to your business solution.

Your blog shouldn’t even begin to discuss your specific solution until the decision stage.

Content Creation Tips

Understand their problem: In order to provide a solution to potential customers, you need to first recognize the problem. Ask yourself, is your content focused on their problem?

Tailor the post: Write blog posts tailored to who you are trying to reach and what they are interested in. The best content has to be grounded in the correct context.

Question the post: After you write content, ask yourself if the content helps your buyer persona. If your answer is that it helps anyone other then your persona, it belongs somewhere else or shouldn’t be created. ALWAYS focus on mapping content to your persona and where they are at in the buyers’ journey. Make it EASY for them to consume your content. Type in the last 5 blog posts you have created with 5 client names. Would these clients read the content? Another trick: If you are stuck creating content, ask yourself this: What questions might buyer X have that your company could provide solutions to? 

Distribute content: Make your content available through other platforms so prospects can find it more easily. It’s not enough to just have content. You need others to re-distribute it.

Leverage sales for content mapping: What questions do people have who are interested in what you do? Work with the sales team to leverage prospects’ questions into great content! Figure out what your prospects are searching for so you can make sure they find your site. Make sure you are addressing a topic your prospects actually want to learn about.

Categorize keywords: Do this by stages of the buyer’s journeys. Keywords should include: problem-based keywords, solution keywords, branded keywords, and casual language. Use keywods.io or Google’s webmaster tool to get suggestions.

Tips for Optimizing SEO: In order to optimize your content, you need to be specific with your service offerings or else SEO will actually be more difficult. It is easier to rank if your keywords are more specific and targeted. If you are looking to quickly boost your SEO, be sure to set up business page on the top online directories including Yelp, Yellow Pages, local chambers of commerce, bing, Yahoo, Google plus and more. This will help increase links back to your site.

SEO Tips

Create content that uses natural language and variations on the long tail keyword.

Shorten the title to under 60 characters. If it is over 60 characters it will get cut off in search results page.

You should know what the value of the post is and what you learn from the title.

Format the post so search engines can easily find it.

White space is your friend. Focus on content, not clutter. Use section headers, bullets and lists to help break down the content.

Optimize the page around long tail keywords, including your page title, url, post title, image alt text, body, headers.

Measuring Success

When measuring the success of your content strategy, be sure to focus on the following metrics:

  • Number of visits
  • Page views
  • Leads generated
  • Shareability on social media
  • Inbound links generated

Remember, your content is a solution to your prospects greatest challenges. Make sure you use keywords that will draw attention to your client’s business by crafting a stellar content strategy. If you want to get inbound certified, click here.

Ruby Media Group is a premiere public relations firm in Westchester County. For more information on optimizing your exposure, contact kruby @ rubymediagroup.com 

SHARE:

Integrated Marketing Communications Plan

What is a PESO model

What is an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan?

An integrated marketing communications plan ties together strategy and tactics. It serves as the foundation of all of your marketing and PR efforts for your business. The most effective forms of marketing are part of an integrated communications plan. As you begin a quarterly review of marketing activities, it is important to look at the different tactics used and evaluate what worked, what didn’t work and what needs improvement.

In today’s digital media landscape, PR, Marketing, and Advertising are merging together at a rapid pace. Now, more than ever, it is important for public relations practitioners to return to their core value: being persuasive storytellers. There are so many ways to tell a story. And as PR practitioners, we have learned that earned media is not the only way to tell a story.

Yes, it is extremely important to get your message out there through a PR campaign, but sponsored content or digital advertising can be instrumental in reaching different target audiences to increase exposure.

How to Create a Cohesive Integrated Marketing Communications Plan 

As you create an integrated marketing communications plan for your business, consider trying several different marketing tactics. For example, an earned media strategy which only includes PR and nothing else is NOT an integrated strategy. Integrated marketing should pull from different types of paid media, earned media, shared media and owned media.

Here are several different PR and Marketing tactics to consider when creating an integrated marketing communications plan:

Experiential Marketing: This creates an experience for the consumer to interact with a brand in a real-world setting, such as branded festivals, pop-up shops, and behind-the-scenes tours. This face-to-face engagement, which is best used to enhance and complement traditional marketing campaigns, leads to an emotional connection with consumers, something that is necessary to reach GEN Y consumers.

Sponsored Content: This approach is similar to native advertising. Native advertising is advertising that appears to look like editorial content. This content can be a sponsored tweet on Twitter, a suggested sponsored post on Facebook, or sponsored piece of content paid for by the advertiser. Sponsored content has a higher click through rate then traditional banner advertising. According to a recent survey, 70% of individuals wanted to learn about products through content rather than through traditional advertising. The survey also stated that people view native ads 53% more than banner ads. Also interesting to note, 71% of publishers received no major complaints from readers for featuring native ads. It is important to remember that the information and tone of your sponsored content is still key in having a successful campaign.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Google is the first stop when prospects want to learn more about your business. It should be your goal to get your brand onto the top page of relevant search results, because 75% of users never scroll past page one. SEO can take a lot of time and thought, but you can begin by trying keyword analysis, which will enable relevant searches to link to your site. Also, be sure to use quality website content with on-trend keywords and phrases. 61% of global Internet users research products online prior to buying, making the Internet and search-friendly content the best way to reach customers today. 

Blogging: This may seem so last year, but you would be amazed how many companies have yet to embrace a corporate content strategy. However, just writing for the sake of writing isn’t enough. What format are you going to put the content in? A blog? Downloadable e-book? Listicles? Guest posts? Writing a blog is a great way to craft your brand’s voice and engage consumers in a more real and thoughtful way. Companies that blog typically generate 88% more leads than those that do not. Businesses that blog more than 20x a month generate 5x more consumer interest and attraction. Frequency and quality are the two most important factors when beginning your brand’s blog. What is your content strategy?

Promoted Social Media Posts: One out of every 7 minutes spent online is spent on Facebook. Social media in the US has increased by 356% since 2006. The most important thing to remember when using social media is to know your audience. Where are they? Is your target audience mostly on Twitter? Or Instagram?  What do they respond to? Do they prefer engaging in conversation or do they want short, snappy one line posts? What type of content has resonated with your audience on Facebook? Analyze it then boost accordingly!  Boosting posts is also a great way to reconnect with fans who may not have seen your posts in a while. Once you know your target audience, you’ll know where and how to best reach them.

Inbound Marketing: Traditional advertising is no longer as effective as it used to be. Studies show that a whopping 86% of people skip TV ads and 44% don’t open mail from irrelevant advertisers. The answer to traditional advertising woes is Inbound Marketing, or “earned advertising.” Rather than pushing your message out to the consumer, Inbound Marketing compels consumers to find out more about your brand. Inbound marketing includes, but isn’t limited to blogs, social media, and search engine refinement, which make your brand more noticeable to consumers.

These are just a few of the strategies that brands can use to create a successful integrated marketing plan. However enticing social media may be, it is important to remember that social media is a tool and not something that can replace a strategic communication plan. In fact, some campaigns do not need social media components at all because it would not be effective in reaching the target audience.

With the ever-changing state of communication, we are always on the lookout for new and innovative communication tools and channels.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

PR is only one part of a comprehensive integrated marketing communications plan.

A well-thought-out IMC strategy should include a PESO model that incorporates all four areas into the mix:

* Paid Media

* Earned Media

* Shared Media 

* Owned Media

These four media vehicles need to work together to make sure you are reaching your target audience through every avenue possible. 

  • Do not only choose 1 out of the 4 and make that your entire marcom spend. 
  • Paid media cannot replace earned media. 
  • Earned media cannot replace targeted digital advertising. 
  • Targeted digital advertising cannot replace the power of strong content marketing. 
  • You have to do a mix of all of these PR tactics to remain competitive. 
  • The good news is that you can work with PR & Marketing specialists in each area to execute this for you. 

For example, you could work with a NY PR firm that specializes in earned media, and you could work with a digital marketing firm who specializes in paid lead generation. 

The key is to be where your customer is. Not where you are most comfortable being. 

What marketing and PR strategies have been most effective for your business?

SHARE:

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

I recently sat down with The Daily Mail to discuss the new rules of social media in the work place. To read the full article, click here.

 social media in the work place kris ruby

Is it ever okay to be friends with your boss on social media? What are the dangers?

It really depends on the corporate culture at your firm. If you are working for an up and coming digital agency where you live and breath social media, then friending your boss is okay. However, if you work at more of a traditional commercial real estate firm or investment bank where social media usage is shunned upon during the workday, then I would not recommend connecting with your boss.

It also depends on the platform. It is always acceptable (and encouraged!) to connect with your boss on LinkedIN. If your boss has a public Twitter account for business, it is also acceptable to

Follow them to show you are engaged with the company. Favoriting a few tweets goes a long way to show you care.

The dangers are endless- there can be serious consequences with friending a boss if you are posting inappropriate content. It can also blur the lines between professional and personal boundaries, which many have a hard time distinguishing between.  Also, if you fib about why you couldn’t make it in that day and your boss sees you are actually out jet skiing, you may get fired. Be sure to always read your firms social media guidelines regardless.

If you are friends with your boss on social media, are there any rules you should follow?

  1. The same traditional etiquette rules apply here- stay away from any discussions on sex, religion or politics. Basically anything that you wouldn’t traditionally discuss with a first date (or your boss) should not be discussed online. People get heated in conversations and forget that what they are saying is public and fairly easy to find.
  1. Use privacy filters when you post. Be selective with who you choose to share each piece of content with- that’s why groups and filters exist for this very reason.
  1. Be cognizant about what you are posting. After you have posted the 500th photo of your baby, your boss may subconsciously begin to question what your top priority and focus is. Having a balance of the type of content you post is critical.

Do you believe it is a good idea to connect with colleagues on social media? Are there any rules to follow in this case?

It really depends. If you have a close relationship with the colleague in the office, then yes. If you don’t speak to the colleague at work but friend them on social media, it is strange and socially awkward. Friend and connect people you are actually connected with in real life.

Top rule- respect people’s boundaries. Some people are extremely private and won’t accept any requests from coworkers. Don’t take it personally and don’t harp on it! It’s not about you. It’s their personal choice.

What would your advice be if your boss/co-worker adds you but you’d rather not be connected?

Send them a direct message or email and let them know you really appreciate the friend request but only use social media to stay connected with your family. Reassure them it’s nothing personal and re direct them to connect with you on your LinkedIn. Have at least one professional presence on a social media network to connect with them on so you aren’t completely ignoring the request entirely.

Are there any particular social media sites you believe are best avoided in the workplace?

Facebook has been brought up many times in recent lawsuits and employee hirings and firings. I think it’s safe to assume that even if you don’t connect with colleagues, potential employers will still use your social media for background checks. Assume everything you post is for public consumption.

Instagram is pretty private and users put on privacy restrictions so their colleagues cannot access their posts. Sometimes people overdue it with excessive party posts or humble brag weekend posts, and can also be obnoxious with hashtags. If you are constantly posting quotes or mantras that “somewhere it’s 5 o clock” it’s safe to say your boss will think you are not that motivated and can’t wait to leave. Use your social media to empower you NOT to hurt you in the workplace.

Twitter is fine if you have a public, corporate Twitter persona. However, if you are tweeting extremely personal opinions and favoriting content from outlets you may not want your boss to know you are associated with, keep it private.

SHARE:

Check it Off! The Importance of Goal Setting in your Public Relations Campaign

PR Goal Setting

When you wrote your business plan, you probably set a variety of goals, but did you set goals for your public relations campaign?

Goals keep you focused and motivated. Earlier this year, Staples released the results of their small business survey, showing that the leaders they surveyed were focused on getting results and setting goals. Those goals included increasing revenue, driving profits and gaining more customers. To achieve those goals, 46% of those surveyed said wanted to use promotional marketing techniques to meet their goals.

How to Write PR Goals

Before you can write your PR goals, you first need to spend some time understanding what they are.

What are your PR goals? Do you want to be on the cover of Time Magazine? Do you dream of being a guest on The View? Do you want to have a million Twitter followers? Do you want your product to be mentioned on Ellen? Write down what you want to accomplish in your public relations campaign.

Now, it’s time to break down those goals even further.

Business Goals Must Tie Into PR Goals

For example, in one year, you may want to double your profits, open a second location or triple your clientele list. In order to achieve these goals for your business, you need to reverse engineer a PR strategy that will help you to achieve each of these areas of growth.

If you want to open a second location or increase clients, earned media can help to achieve these goals.

PR Tactics

After defining your business goals, outline your PR campaign goals. Next, break down your coverage goals into tactical steps such as:

SMART Objectives for PR Campaigns

Not only should you have business goals, but your public relations campaign should also have goals. Running an entire campaign can be extremely overwhelming, but breaking it up into smaller goals makes it more manageable. Most importantly, these goals should be SMART. What does SMART stand for in PR?

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Action-oriented.
  • Realistic.
  • Time specific.

Public Relations SMART Campaign Planning Example

Let’s say that you are a doctor and your goal is to double your practice and appear on the cover of your local newspaper. Your public relations goals for this month might look like this:

  1. Create a Contest: Give away a healthcare makeover to a community member. Entrants will submit essays telling their stories and what they would do if they achieved optimal health.
  2. Contact the Media: The media love feel good stories. Write a press release and announce your contest. Offer the media a chance to follow the winner from before to the ‘after’.
  3. Organize a Big Reveal: Create an event to announce the winner and invite the media to attend. Create another event for the big reveal.
  4. Network: Attend a local Chamber event each month where you offer to speak, provide tips, or be a guest on a local radio show.
  5. Tweet, Instagram or Facebook. Get on social media and let people know who you are. Give out tips, share links to healthcare advice and post before and after pictures of the contest winner (with consent of course). If you can’t do all of this yourself, your goal this month should be to hire someone who can.

Setting Measurable Public Relations Objectives

If you’ve accomplished your PR campaign goals to increase earned media exposure for your medical practice, the community should begin to chatter about the contest and entries should come pouring in. The media will hopefully contact you for an article and you may even land a feature interview in the local newspaper. Finally, after seeing the transformation in the winner, potential patients will call to book a consultation with you- showing a direct lead conversion. Make sure that what you’re doing each month pushes you toward accomplishing your continued PR goals.

Remember, setting goals is vital to achieving success in business.

What can’t be measured, can’t be managed!

SHARE:

Pitch Perfect: Pitching the Media

How to get Media Coverage: Media Pitching Tips from a PR Pro!

How do I get the media’s attention?

pitching the media

Think like a reporter. Journalists write about stories that will be helpful to their readers. Producers create segments that are interesting to their viewers. Podcasters create content that is of interest to their listeners. If you want to be covered by any of these media outlets, the key is to think about what is most interesting to their audience.  Develop pitch angles from a journalists perspective, not from your own. It’s not about what is interesting to you, it is about what is interesting to them and their audience.

Solve Problems.  Reporters are always interested in uncovering new solutions to current problems that their readers may be facing. For example, maybe you have a unique take on vaping that hasn’t been covered. Propose a solution instead of saying what the problem is. Anyone can share the problem. Your unique perspective as a practitioner and expert source is what is of interest to a reporter. Journalists want to write about topics that will help their readers. Your pitch should be a solution, instead of a way to brag about your company.

Time your pitch with the news cycle.  Be able to answer the question: Why should a reporter write about this today? For example, if you are pitching a story about boating safety, it is unlikely that a reporter will be interested in covering this in the middle of a hurricane warning. Use common sense!

PR Tips & Tricks:

How do you pitch to the press?

The #1 way to pitch the press is by answering the 4 W’s first! So, what are the 4 w’s?

Before pitching a story idea, always be sure to address the following:

  • Why this?
  • Why now?
  • Why should they care?
  • Why should this be covered in the media?

How do you effectively pitch the media?

Making connections with broadcast and print media is vital to the success of your public relations campaign, but as the old saying goes, “You only have one chance to make a first impression.” Just because you think you have a great pitch idea doesn’t mean you’re ready to start pitching the media. Before you hit send, here are several steps to ensure that you maximize your chances at scoring national earned media coverage.

HOW TO PITCH THE MEDIA

10 tips to maximize your chance of scoring top-tier press coverage.

Write the story you want told. Create a package that journalists can pull directly from complete with high-resolution photos, a bio and a fact sheet.  Reporters want you to write the outline of the story for them so they can pitch it to their editor to see if it would be a good fit. Of course they will rewrite everything you are sending and further flesh out the details, but it helps if you can paint the picture for them of the story you want told.  Use numbers and statistics to strengthen credibility. Most importantly, always provide accurate, factual information. Don’t get blacklisted for providing inaccurate information to a reporter.

PR Tip: Be disruptive. Is your business disrupting the status quo in a specific industry? If so, point that out and show how! 

Pitch the right editor. It sounds simple, but editors and producers move around frequently, and you could be pitching an editor who moved on to another publication six months ago. Take a few minutes to research the newspaper or TV station to make sure that the journalist is still on staff and that you have the right spelling of their name. For example, you’re about to pitch a media outlet a great segment idea about your newest product, but the contact name on your media list is actually the name of the entertainment editor. Make sure that you have the right person for your pitch and their correct email address. Also, don’t assume that the entertainment editor will send the pitch to the correct editor for you.

PR Tip: Sending a blanket pitch to everyone on staff is always a bad idea. Make sure your pitch is targeted to the right editor. 

Watch and read the news. Are you pitching The View? Make sure you’ve watched a few episodes. Are you pitching The New York Times travel editor? Read the section before pitching. Refer back to previous articles the journalist has written to make sure your pitch is focused on what they currently cover. Oddly enough, most people who pitch the media make the mistake of never researching them first. Consume the media like it is your full time job. Study the publications that competitors are mentioned in and contact those media outlets first. Your story must have “breaking news” value to it. Evergreen content is great for your web site, but not so great if you are pitching the media.

PR Tip: Watch the news. Read the publications that you want to get coverage in.

Time your pitch. Confine your pitching to the media on the days your pitch is most likely to be opened. The best days for pitching journalists are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Emails sent on Friday will get pushed down by all the other emails coming in on the weekend.

PR Tip: A recent study showed that most journalists prefer to receive pitches in the morning vs. in the evening.

Include a news peg: Make sure that you actually have a newsworthy pitch. Sending an email to a producer asking if they want to do a story about your company with no compelling news peg will land your pitch in their trash folder. Your pitch should include a specific idea and everything the producer will need, including quotes, photos, background information, etc.

PR Tip: Craft an electronic press kit (EPK) well before you pitch the media so that if an editor or producer reaches out, you can easily send it!

Don’t oversell: When pitching the media, leave out the jargon and, whatever you do, do not tell a journalist that you’re the first company to ever do so-and-so unless you can back it up. Also avoid using industry jargon including popular phrases like cutting edge, breakthrough, top, leading, and any over words that will immediately be cut.

PR Tip: Fact check your own fluff and hype!

Write a great headline: Editors won’t click on emails unless the subject line interests them, so make sure you create a compelling one. Oprah Winfrey reportedly received 15,000 emails a day from people pitching various products and ideas. Make sure your story idea stands out.

PR Tip: Ask yourself, “How can I make sure my pitch is read when someone is receiving 15k emails daily?”

Don’t pitch through social media. Facebook and Twitter are great tools to promote earned media coverage, but they shouldn’t be used to pitch editors. Mikal Belicove of Forbes says that pitching him through Twitter isn’t “cool.” Instead, he says in this article, pitch him privately.

PR Tip: Pitch through e-mail instead of via direct messaging on Twitter.

Give Ample Lead time: A Mother’s Day story idea shouldn’t be pitched the week before the big day if you are pitching a traditional publication. Newspapers need a few weeks of lead time while magazines work even further ahead. However, if you are pitching a broadcast outlet, the segment may be put together the day of with only a few hours’ notice from start to finish. Plan your pitch calendar accordingly.

PR Tip: Learn when newspaper deadlines are. Don’t pitch a story an hour before a reporters deadline. Insider tip- Request an editorial calendar through the advertising department to get a look at what stories will be covered for the year ahead.

Do not call reporters. In the past, public relations professionals were encouraged to follow up with a phone call to the media see if their pitch garnered any interest from reporters. However, today, thanks to technology, editors are so bombarded with calls and emails that the protocol has changed. It’s okay to send one follow-up email, but if you don’t hear from the journalist after that, assume they aren’t interested.  The majority of reporters would prefer to be pitched through email. If they want to move forward, they will either email you or call you back to flesh out booking details.

PR Tip: Pick up the phone to pitch reporters after they have expressed interest in your pitch, not before!

What should a media pitch include?

  • Read the last few months of content the reporter has written (search on Muckrack).
  • Check out the reporters Twitter to see what they are currently covering and tweeting about.
  • Understand what the reporter covers, how they cover it and the format they cover it in. For example, don’t pitch a profile piece if they typically write round-up articles.
  • Craft a pitch that mentions their previous work and what your idea is.
  • Tell them why they should cover this idea and how it ties into what they currently write about.
  • Answer the 4 W’s mentioned above.
  • Explain why your pitch is perfect for the publication and why they have to cover it now.
  • Is your pitch time sensitive? Does it to into a breaking news story? Is this an exclusive? Let the media know!
nyc media relations

 

HOW TO GET FREE PR FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Our article on how to pitch the media would not be complete if we left out HARO!

How can I get free publicity for my business?

If you choose not to hire a PR firm, one of the best ways to get free PR for your business is through utilizing HARO.

What is Help A Reporter Out (HARO)?

HARO is a free publicity tool that connects sources with journalists who are working on stories looking for experts to quote.

HARO is ideal for:

  • Brand building
  • Increasing earned media coverage & awareness
  • Link building
  • Forging new relationships with journalists

 How do you use HARO effectively?

Yes, HARO does enable business owners to essentially act as their own PR firm, but that is really an over simplification of what PR agencies do. There are many intricacies that go into writing a pitch and getting it placed.

So, even though technology has made the tools available for free to connect with journalists, it doesn’t mean that every business owner has the skill set to write and craft pitches at a higher level and in a way that will resonate with reporters (and that follows best practices).

In order to use HARO effectively, you need to know how to give the reporter what they are looking for.

After responding to thousands of HARO queries and getting hundreds of media placements through HARO, here are my top tips for writing a successful HARO pitch to gain earned media coverage.

How do you write a successful HARO pitch?

1.  Provide substantive details pertaining to the story

2.  Do not ask reporters if they want to see more information

3.  Give reporters what they are asking for

4.  Provide contact details

5.  Answer the questions in a timely fashion

6.  Include relevant bullets to break up your pitch

How to use HARO to get publicity

Ideally, you want to make sure web site visitors from HARO query mentions convert to new leads and customers. The best way to do this is to make sure you are spending time answering the right types of HARO queries versus every query in your feed.

How do you respond to HARO queries?

Before replying to a HARO query, ask:

  • Is the query relevant to your industry?
  • Is the query from a high profile site? Hint: Skip anonymous queries.
  • Do you meet all of the writers credential requirements to answer the query?

WANT MORE PR SECRETS?

DOWNLOAD: THE BEST WAYS TO GET FREE PR FOR YOUR BUSINESS

How To Pitch Journalists

Still curious about how to pitch the media like a pro? We understand! PR can be overwhelming and staying up with breaking news is a full time job! Our PR firm is constantly monitoring the news cycles to look for opportunities to tie our clients into the news so they can just show up and provide quotes! We do the hard work for you. You supply us with the answers to reporters queries and let us work our PR magic and do the rest! Contact us today to learn more about how we can craft successful and engaging media pitches for you to score you massive earned media coverage in regional, national and trade publications.

How to Pitch the Media Resources:

Make sure your story gets picked up with these additional resources on pitching the media! 

Media Pitching 101 Webinar

Media Relations Guide

Media Relations Guide

SHARE:

Blogging for Business

strategy-blogging for business

Why should your small business have a blog?

A blog is a great way for small business owners to connect with clients, increase search engine optimization (SEO) results and get your content found by key prospects.

According to Inside View, research shows that B2B marketers who blog generate 67% more leads than those that do not.

Other research shows that business websites that have a blog with more than 20 posts per month get five times more traffic than those who blog significantly less (less than four times per month). Blogging should be a critical part of your ongoing communications strategy.

Companies such as Whole Foods, IHG, Turkey Hill, Starbucks and even YouTube have blogs. Their content is consistent with the brands’ key messaging and includes thoughts from the CEO, recipes, and even travel tips.

What is business blogging?

Business blogging is the practice of putting out thought-leadership content that ties into your larger B2B Marketing goals and objectives.  The goal of business blogging is to drive potential customers to your website and keep them interacting with your content.  Ultimately, you want to convert business blog readers to customers through an inbound marketing strategy.

How to write a blog post to promote your business

Your blog should be targeted towards prospects and it should answer questions prospects have when researching other companies to work with.

Before blogging, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What will the decision makers want to read in our target audience?
  • What do you want to be positioned as?

For example, maybe you want to be positioned as a key opinion leader on consumer behavior.

If you are a digital marketing agency, your target audience would be CMO’s at large companies.

If you are targeting CMO’s, think about the content they would be searching for.  For example, you could write a blog post that says,  “We have done some recent research on your target audience that you might find interesting.”

The key is to write content that is interesting to the people you want to attract in your funnel.

Prior to clicking publish, make sure you can answer the following:

  • Will marketing decision makers read this or want to read it?
  • Is this consumer centric content?
  • Who will this content appeal to?

How can I use blogging to promote my business?

Blogging is a powerful inbound marketing tool to promote your business.

The key is to use blogging as a way to attract prospective clients into your funnel.

Pro Tip: Create content about your target audience that is most relevant to your prospective clients.

Benefits of Blogging for Small Business

  • SEO
  • Increase search visibility for keywords
  • Get found by reporters
  • Build brand authority and subject matter expertise

BUSINESS BLOGGING 101: How to build a successful business blog

How do I come up with content for my blog?

Start writing down the questions you are most frequently asked. Then, write content around it. Be sure to do keyword research on the search volume to make sure your posts are optimized around topical phrases people are using to search for content in your industry.

Blogging for the sake of blogging won’t help much, and it is a mistake most business owners make. I suggest doing keyword research before you start blogging instead of after.

Remember: What you find interesting may not be what your target audience is searching for. This should also be done in step 1 of building out an integrated marketing communications plan for your business.

PRO TIP: Research the search terms people are using before you start writing!

How does blogging help your business?

Google favors web sites that are consistently putting out fresh content. Blogging is the #1 way to make Google happy. However, the blogging content you are putting out must be high quality in order to have a chance at ranking. Thin content will not rank.

Your blog content must be substantial. Typically, long form content that is above 1,000 words has a much better chance of ranking on search engine results. One thing to consider for business blogging is the process of historical optimization. This means that you go back to your old blog content and update each post to make sure it is relevant content. This post is an example of historical optimization.  We originally wrote it a few years back but are optimizing it several years later to make sure it is in line with best practices and the questions people are searching for!

HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL BLOG STRATEGY

Here are 10 more tips to creating a successful blog for your business:

  1. Create an editorial content calendar: Don’t just wing it. A schedule of topics and deadlines will keep you focused and allow you to build up momentum and followers.
  2. Know your audience: Who are you trying to appeal to? Write for that audience. If you’re trying to reach customers, do not use the blog to talk about employees or company news (use a press page for that). Write only about what is important to your prospects and what they want to read.
  3. Link your blog. Discussing key trends in your industry? Link back to previous article you wrote on the trend. Be sure to link articles, discussion posts, and tweets to your blog to increase traffic to the site.
  4. Create a blog roll: Add relevant industry blogs to a blog roll on your site to direct users to other viewpoints on the topics you are writing about. Add these blogs to the “blog roll” to show strategic alliance and to get on the radar of the bloggers you want to impress.
  5. Invite a guest: A blog serves as a personalized expression of your brand and will serve as a platform for the company. You can encourage employees and members to contribute to blog content. In turn, they will often help to promote their content and, as a result, bring more readers to your blog. You can also invite experts in your industry to guest blog. This is great for increasing backlinks and positive link juice!
  6. Share helpful information: Maintain a balance between posting unique content and sharing content from related blogs to your industry. All of your content should address the pain points of your target audience.
  7. Update frequently: Your blog should be updated at least several times a week and should continually include tips, articles, industry news, etc. For example, if you design office spaces, then post inspirational ideas and create a contest for a customer. Readers will repost and re-tweet contest information and provide feedback on the ideas.
  8. Integrate SEO keywords: You want your blog to make its way up the Google rankings. To do that, you need to insert Search Engine Optimization (SEO) words into the copy. Learn what keywords you want to rank for and optimize accordingly.
  9. Promote your blog: Tweet a link to your blog post, talk about it on Twitter, send out a teaser in your newsletter, mention it when you do interviews and put your blog address in your e-mail signature line.
  10. Keep tabs on your progress: Programs such as Google Analytics will provide key insight into click throughs, who is reading the blog, and what posts are most popular. This is vitally important when you are planning an editorial calendar. For example, if you are writing for a 30-50 year old audience, but the majority of readers are in their 20s, you may need to alter your content. If you are spending a ton of time writing content that isn’t getting high traffic, you may need to alter your content calendar accordingly. Remember, you are writing for your audience and the content that they want to read, not that you want to read.

Screen-Shot-2014-10-21-at-5.46.18-PMBottom photo Credit: hubspot

BLOGGING FOR DOCTORS

Our agency specializes in healthcare PR and we handle quite a bit of blogging for doctors, so this post would not be complete without covering this critical area!

Should doctors blog? The importance of blogging for your medical practice

Yes! Every doctor should blog. Content marketing is a critical factor in the pulse of a medical practice. People want to see your thoughts around topical health related issues in the news. Blogging is a free way to establish yourself as a thought leader and share your opinion in a public forum. Plus, it can score you major SEO points if you optimize your content!

HOW TO GROW YOUR MEDICAL PRACTICE WITH A BLOG

Why every doctor needs a blog

If you are a physician who is serious about blogging, you need to start blogging. It is non-negotiable. Social media networks come and go in popularity, but blogging is here to stay. Blogging falls under the “Owned” media category. The ROI on blogging is substantial for your practice. One high-ranking piece of content can be a great source of lead generation for your medical practice for years to come.

How often should a doctor blog?

Doctors should blog at least once per month depending on their patient schedule. If you aren’t putting out new blog content for your medical practice, you risk Google seeing your web site as a fresh source of content.

PR Blogging Pro Tip: Write tip-oriented blogs or listicles that can also be used to pitch the press to assist with your Medical Practice PR campaign.

BLOGGING FOR DOCTORS AND MEDICAL PRACTICES

Ask us about our blogging and content marketing services for doctors, dermatologists and plastic surgeons! Our medical clients always write the base of the article, but we handle the rest! This includes content optimization, image sourcing and turning press answers into blog posts. Contact us today to inquire about our highly coveted medical practice marketing blogging services for your healthcare practice.  If you are a medical professional who is interested in medical ghostwriting services, let’s talk.

P.S: You should never hire someone to ghostwrite for you. However, you should hire someone who can edit your content so that it is still coming from you, but it is also optimized for search engines.

RESOURCES

How to Craft Effective Content Calendar 

 

SHARE:

How to Secure Regional Broadcast Media

How To Get a Story Booked on Local TV News

news 12 westchester cooking realtor

 

How do you get a story on the local news?  Follow these top 7 tips and learn how to pitch local TV stations.

7 tips to getting your story on local TV:

  1. Visualize the story. Pitching Westchester broadcast media is very different then pitching Westchester print media. If you want to make your story stand out, think about how you can visually bring the story to life for television. What visuals do you have that will make the story pop? Go out of your way to make your story aesthetically appealing to a producer. You can even add some props, such as a stunning table display if you think it will add to the story.
  2. Tie it In. Give the local TV news producer a compelling reason to run the story now. There should be a strong tie in to a calendar event to give a compelling reason why the story should run. For example, is there a specific time of year you do an annual family tradition that is happening this weekend?
  3. Larger Trend. How does your story tie into the larger trend in the community?  For example, this weekend RMG pitched and secured a story on The Cooking Realtors Tomato Sauce. It was the featured package on News 12 Westchester on Saturday at 5 pm. The larger trend was that this was a behind-the-scenes peek into one Westchester resident’s annual tradition that hundreds of Westchester residents actually do all weekend. By mentioning the fact that hundreds of county residents also do this, the appeal of the segment suddenly became a lot larger.
  4. Walk the Producers through the process. After you’ve secured a segment, walk the producers through it.  For example, we stirred the tomatoes and let the producer taste the sauce. We also had b-roll opportunities available to show the entire process from beginning to end to visually walk the viewer through it.
  5. Provide Sources. Producers like when you have additional sources available. If you are hosting an event, have other attendees or sources available to talk to the press.  Are there other Westchester residents attending the event that can provide commentary on the annual tradition in their own family? If so, have them available for commentary for the media to provide an outside perspective.
  6. Don’t forget the 5 W’s. This goes without saying, but if you want Westchester media to show up, be sure to provide them all of the relevant details in one condensed email: who, what, where, when and why. Also, provide correct spellings up front for all town names, resident IDs and interview names. The address of the location shoot and a phone number of a point of contact are also critical.
  7. news 12 westchester media cooking realtorGraphics. Be sure to capture tons of graphics before, during and after the event. Many of these graphics can be used to promote the segment on social media (a must!) and to include in a post-event release for extended coverage. If you want to re-pitch the same segment when the event takes place next year, and to do a post event release for extended coverage. Get creative with your graphics by combining screenshots of the press coverage with photos of the displays you created. We recommend using some of our favorite apps to create these pieces: PIP Camera, Photo Mirror, FotoFus, InstaMag.

 

 

Looking to share your story on Westchester, NY local TV news?

Contact our Westchester County PR firm today!

SHARE: