Monthly Archives: April 2014

Continuously Crafting Compelling Content

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Do you struggle to find interesting, relevant things to post about every day? Spend your weekends agonizing over whether the next week’s tweets will appeal to your audience? Content curation is your solution!

WHAT IS CONTENT CURATION?

Content curation is the process of rummaging the Internet, filtering out the junk, and discovering the most valuable, relevant and helpful content about a particular topic.

By sharing those with your network, you accomplish these important objectives:

-Build your personal brand (reputation) as an expert in the topic

-Be more active and visible on social media

-Enhance your relationships by being relevant

WHY CURATE?

Content is at the core of all digital marketing initiatives, with social media channels functioning as tools to spread it, telling your brand’s story and connecting with customers.

It’s so easy to get carried away with simply trying to create great informative content, but strategic curation of interesting content is also very important.

Sharing great, relevant content is essential in building a strong community of brand advocates. Making the content relevant and framing it in a way that engages people takes effort — you need to put thought and structure behind the content you create and share on social media profiles. The more attention-grabbing it is, the more likely people are to share. People share things not only because those things look good, but also because those things make them look good.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

So what content should you share?

Before you can determine what the best content is to share, you need to get inside the minds of your followers.

Who is my audience?

What problems do they need solved? How can I provide value to them?

What type of content most appeal to them?

Develop a specific, consistent social media voice tailored to your brand’s audience. It may help to create marketing personas for your followers on each platform.

You might want to try asking your followers what topics they would like to read about and use their answers as a guide for your strategic curation plan.

D YOUR CONTENT CATEGORIES

It’s important to thoughtfully select the topics you will share with your audience. A great general rule is to follow the three “C”s: created, contributed, and collected, by providing a mix of:

-How-to and influencer posts

-Leadership articles and guest topics

-Research and analysis

-Light-hearted viral content

-Bold statements

Filter all of these possibilities through the lens of what will be most valuable, interesting and relevant to your ideal customer. By curating a set list of topics, you send a unified message of what your business is about.

MEASURE SUCCESS

One of the most important steps to curating amazing content is to measure the results.

Before creating a single piece of content, determine your objectives and what metrics you will use to measure performance.

Start by identifying the important metrics within five common buckets:

-Awareness: impressions, reach, mentions

-Consumption: clicks, visits, referrals

-Engagement: likes, shares, +1s, time on site

-Actions: leads/sales, PDF downloads, newsletter sign-ups, site navigation

-SEO Impact: increased organic site traffic and activity, increased organic backlinks, increased engagement on specific content pieces

Are there certain articles that get more clicks, retweets and favorites than others? Is a certain topic or interest driving more engagement with your followers?

Since there are seemingly infinite data points that can be tracked, you need to decide which metrics make the most sense to track for your brand. Concentrate on a few so you don’t get bogged down with so much information that you can’t offer easy to digest analysis.

What content do you share on social media sites? Do you currently have a content curation strategy? What elements do you find most beneficial? As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

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Quick Speech Writing Tips for Any Occasion

By: Gina Mason

Whether you are in a boardroom, at a conference or at your best friend’s wedding, we all have to give speeches at one point or another. No matter the reason or occasion, effective speech writing lays the groundwork for any great speech. Mastering the art of speech writing is almost as important as your delivery and speech writing is a skill that can be applied in both the working world and your personal life.

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when writing your next speech:

Do your research

First and foremost, know your subject matter inside and out. If you are talking about the intricacies of biomedical engineering or how your best buddy met his new wife, make sure that you have your facts straight. Take your time when researching this information and incorporate relevant facts and figures. Having this information in your speech will boost your credibility and establish you as an expert. However, try not to overwhelm your audience with too many facts or statistics because you will lose their attention quickly.

Know your audience

Make sure you know whom your audience is and take the time to tailor your message to them. If you are giving a presentation to a no-nonsense client it is probably not a good idea to crack too many jokes. Also, using uncommon, superfluous verbiage such as sesquipedalian (given to or characterized by the use of long words) is never a good idea unless you are giving a speech to industry professionals who already understand the terminology. Generally, it is a good rule of thumb to make sure your speech is written so a 5th grader can understand what you are saying.

Keep it short and sweet

Thanks to our world of social media and smart phones, our attention spans are now shorter than ever which is NOT good for people who have to give a speech. Keeping people interested and engaged for any period of time is an enigma that many marketing and advertising experts are still trying to figure out, which is why it is so important to keep your speech short and concise. “Keep it moving!” as we say. Have an outline of important points that you want to communicate and try to eliminate unnecessary language, if possible. After all, one of the greatest speeches in American history, the Gettysburg Address was only 10 sentences!

Start and finish strong

When crafting the beginning and the ending of your speech make sure you grab your audience’s attention at first and then drive your main points home. Funny anecdotes, questions and powerful statements are great ways to get your audience interested in what you have to say. As you conclude your speech, try to leave your audience with something that will leave an impression.

If you need some inspiration, check out Southwest flight attendant, Marty Cobb and her twist on the average in-flight safety speech. She began her speech with  “Can I pretend to have your attention for just a few moments? My ex-husband, my new boyfriend and their divorce attorney are going to show you the safety features of this 737-800.”  After a few minutes of great one-liners she concluded the speech with,  “If there’s anything at all we can do to make your flight more enjoyable, please tell us … just as soon as we land in Salt Lake City. And if there’s anything you can do to make our flight more enjoyable, we’ll tell you immediately. We’re not shy in Southwest.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07LFBydGjaM 

These are just a few simply tips to remember when you write your next speech. Just remember, great speech writing is half the battle when it comes to giving a great speech.

As always, we welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share. 

The Importance of Building (and Maintaining) Business Relationships

By: Gina Mason

As many of you know, the public relations industry is all about building relationships (after all, you can’t spell relationships without “relations!”). In fact, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

On a daily basis, publicists work to develop and cultivate relationships between their clients, the media, the public, vendors, sponsors, corporations and their peers. However, relationship building is not solely for PR practitioners. It is vital in any industry to know how to work with others and create positive connections. Building strong professional relationships can open new doors for your business and your personal network as well as establish credibility, which can make you more attractive to potential clients.  

Here are a few tips on how to build and maintain positive business relationships:

Stay on their radar

The saying, “out of sight, out of mind” applies to building business relationships. If you just met someone or have known him or her for years, make sure that you communicate with them frequently so they don’t forget about you. Emailing a simple hello or inviting them to meet for coffee will go a long way. Also, be sure to keep them updated on what you are working on whether it is an event, project, etc.  just in case they or someone they know have any interest in working with you.

Stay updated on their business

Whether your business contact gets a promotion, their firm signs a huge contract or has a noteworthy media placement, stay informed on what they are working on or doing. One way to do this is by following their company’s social media accounts and subscribing to their RSS feed or newsletter for frequent updates. Keep in mind that this also gives you a good excuse to reach out and congratulate them (yet another way to stay on their radar).

Share business leads and make introductions

The key to maintaining successful business relationships is helping each other out. If you hear about a potential business lead or know someone who may be interested in their product or service, let them know and make an introduction. People truly appreciate any help when it comes to making business connections and will generally reciprocate the favor if they can. This simple act can go a long way and can establish a sense of loyalty in any business relationship.

Ask their opinion

Don’t be afraid to ask your contact their professional opinion. Everyone has had different experiences and may have knowledge in an area that you may be unfamiliar with. People love to share what they have learned in business and can bring a different point of view to the table. They may have experienced a similar situation or know someone who has and may be able to provide some great insight. Also, be sure to thank them for their help!

These are just a few basic tips on how to build and maintain good business relationships. If you utilize your relationships and help out your contacts when you can, you can grow your business and be extremely successful.

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

 

 

 

 

The Difference Between An Agent, Manager & Publicist

By: MJ Pedone

Often times, I’m the one in the group who has the most exciting job. Once I’m asked what I do for a living, all bets are off. Yes it sounds so glamorous answering that I own my own Public Relations agency and that I specialize in working with athletes, celebrities and entertainers. Of course the flurries of questions always begin such as, who are some of your clients? What is it like working with so and so? Do you get to go to the games? But the stand out question that always remains the same is, what is the difference between an Agent, Manager and Publicist. Since I know most people aren’t sure of the answer, I listed the differences below.

Agent

An agent is responsible for helping you find work and for negotiating the terms of your employment. For example, if you are an actor, your agent keeps his eye out for roles that would be suitable for you and contacts the casting director to arrange auditions. Once a director hires you, your agent will help negotiate your contract and make sure the terms and conditions of your contract are met. You will have a legally binding contract with your agent, allowing him to negotiate on your behalf. Agents are usually paid a percentage of your fees for each job, generally between 10 to 15 percent. In California, agent fees are limited to 10 percent of your earnings.

Manager

A manager provides career guidance and advice. Managers may also provide financial and legal advice, if they are qualified to do so. While agents may have hundreds of clients, managers generally have only a few clients and spend more time with each one. A manager’s duties are far-ranging and may include advising you on what jobs to take, helping you to market yourself, organizing advertising and publicity, advising on how to develop your talents, making travel arrangements and advising on how to manage your income. Managers generally earn between 15 to 20 percent of your total income.

Publicist

A publicist helps you manage your relationship with the media. This may include arranging interviews with journalists; making press announcements on your behalf; organizing your blog, twitter posts or other social media; helping you to gain publicity; arranging for public appearances; and advising on how to avoid unwanted publicity. Publicists often work for agencies and are generally paid a flat fee rather than a percentage of your income. Some publicists work on retainer, whereby the publicist earns a monthly fee for a set amount of work, such as 20 hours a week.

I have many clients in which I’m a publicist for but also act as a manager. I tend to wear many hats and at times, work 24/7. I’m grateful and feel so blessed for each and every one of my clients who I consider family. It really is true, do something you love and you will never have to work a day in your life!

As always, if you found this information helpful, don’t keep it to yourself. Be social and share!

What is Considered Newsworthy?

By: Gina Mason

Merriam-Webster defines the term newsworthy as “interesting or important enough to report as news.”

In Public Relations, we are constantly asked to write press releases or send pitches for various clients, events or products, but we always have to consider “is this topic newsworthy?” Although most of those people, events and products are important, they are not necessarily worthy of being considered news which is why we tailor our message to targeted media outlets and reporters.   

Journalists receive hundreds if not thousands of pitches and press releases every day, all of which claim to be on newsworthy topics. One of the most important things we can do as PR practitioners is “think like a reporter” and make sure that our pitches and releases are relevant to the reporter we are pitching. In order to get a story published or spark a writer’s interest, you must understand the journalistic method of determining what is “news” and sometimes you must come up with an angle to get their attention.

Here are a few of the basic qualities (in no particular order) that a story has to have in order for it to be considered newsworthy:

Timeliness

If it is new then it may be considered news. However, just because a product or event is new and is happening now does not mean that it is news. The question of “why now?” and “why is it important?” should also be considered and included in pitches and press releases.

Proximity

Is this geographically relevant to the reporter’s audience?  An event happening in Kansas City may not be relevant to readers in NYC and therefore, may not be newsworthy for publications like The New York Post or Daily News.

Prominence:

Is a celebrity or public figure involved? If there is a celebrity or public figure angle there is a good chance that your story will be considered news. For example, if Brad Pitt goes skydiving for a charity or special cause it will absolutely be considered newsworthy in our celebrity-driven society. However, it is important to remember that not everyone is a “celebrity.”

Impact:

Is this story going to change the lives of a large group of people?  If so, why does it matter and why should people care?

Conflict or Scandal:

Everyone is guilty of loving to hear about some type of conflict or scandal (why do you think reality TV shows do so well?). People love drama! Conflict and scandals are two of the key selling points for journalists, but as PR practitioners we try to stay far away from conflict as possible.

Human Interest:

Many feature stories have a human interest factor which means that it has a storyline or element that evokes a sense of interest or that people can identify with. Humans by nature are curious and love to learn more about others. If the reporter’s audience can relate to the story, it can have more of an impact and may be considered newsworthy.

These are just a few qualities that should be considered when determining if something is “newsworthy.” Obviously, the topic of newsworthiness is subjective and varies based on the opinion of the reporter and the topic of their outlet.

As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

 

Give Your Web Strategy a Little Word of Mouth Boost

By: Jenifer Wetterau

Although word of mouth marketing shouldn’t rely on digital or social media to be effective, offering new ways for people to share your message can get your brand message out there faster and to a much larger audience at little or no cost.

Here are four easy ways to earn digital word of mouth:

-Celebrate Your Consumers

-Offer Loyalty Rewards

-Crowd Source Creativity

-Partner with Complimentary Brands

Celebrate Your Consumers

Make your consumers feel like rock stars! Fans love and appreciate recognition, which inspires them to keep it up. Identify tastemakers to be your brand ambassadors and reward them for their loyalty. One option is to create fan-only coupons with unique one per user custom coupon codes. Collect entries for leaderboard contests and display results and standings on your pages to inspire competitive spirit!

Add an extra layer of interaction to your Facebook page by showcasing a “fan of the week.” It’s really easy with the Fan of the Week for Pages app. Fans can apply to get picked. Other fans can then vote which fan they think should get the coveted title. The most voted on person can either be automatically chosen, or an admin can make the choice manually.

Another fun engagement strategy is generating a mosaic of your followers using a tool like Tweematic. The shape could be your product or logo, and in order to have their photo added, fans send an encoded tweet with your message. The finished product could live online only, or be physically produced and used as a giveaway/sweepstakes item. Scheduling Tweet to Win contests throughout the year will also inspire fans to continuously visit your website and socials. This is also a great way to introduce new products or increase visibility of customer favorites.

Loyalty Rewards

Make sharing fun! More loyalty perks mean more opportunities for word of mouth. Make it a twofer: Two-for-one deals mean fans have to bring someone else along, which means they have to talk to more people about you and your products.

Group deals are a great way to get more bang for your buck, since they require generating a certain # of participants in order to unlock a coupon, bonus, special content, etc. The more people who want the reward, the more your message is spread in order to activate it.

Crowd Source Creativity

All brands can benefit from added visuals in their marketing efforts. Why not run contests for your fans to show off their artistic skills? Not only will the opportunity create major buzz, but it will inspire more brand loyalty. Personally, I really love what Creative Allies does for musicians and artists.

Creative Allies is a community of designers who enter contests to create artwork and merchandise for bands, films and festivals. A fan creates artwork based on criteria determined by the brand for posters, t-shirts, hats, lithographs or other merchandise items. They submit their design to the site, then get their friends to vote on their submissions for the chance to win prizes, sell their stuff and get their work noticed. For each contest, at least one grand prizewinner is selected by the contest holder and awarded a cash prize and other goodies like tickets, merchandise and/or VIP perks. Additional submissions are selected to be sold in the Creative Allies Store even if they didn’t win a design contest. These items become official merchandise and profits are shared between the designer and the contest holder (the band, film or festival).

Align with Complimentary Brands

Even if you have a very small budget and limited resources, you can still create major buzz by partnering with other brands to offer your consumers amazing experiences.

For example, let’s say you are an up and coming hair stylist without a large advertising budget, but still need to make a big splash. You might consider working in tandem with a popular make-up artist and a skincare guru to create a contest for a grand prizewinner to receive an ultimate makeover. Runners up could receive various discounts or products from the three companies. By doing so, you tap into the networks, and ad dollars, of all three brands – a huge benefit to all involved. Partnering with established, credible companies also reflects a very positive light on yours.

What are some innovative ways you have introduced WOM to your digital strategy? What has proved most engaging and effective? These are just a few ideas to get your creative wheels churning; many more to come in future posts!

At Indra Public Relations, we are here to strategize on your marketing ideas. As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Event Website Must Haves

By: Gina Mason

Happy Spring! After a long winter, spring has finally sprung and it is time to officially kickoff event season. From rooftop happy hours and beach bashes to concerts and fashion shows, the warm weather will bring a variety of events in all shapes and sizes.

However no matter the type of event, the cornerstone of your event promotion should be your website. In today’s world of smartphones and tablets, your website should be the landing place for your event. The website must effectively articulate all aspects of your event, provide potential sponsors and attendees with as much information as possible and most importantly, create excitement.

Here are a few important elements to remember when creating an event website:

Include more than simply the date, time and location:

In addition to the basic event details, make sure that your website contains an in-depth description of your event. Be sure to address the five W’s and one H (who, what, when, where, why and how) in your description. Although these may seem obvious, you would be surprised how many people forget to include these vital elements. It is also beneficial to include details such as an event itinerary, ticket prices, directions, event attire and information about special guests, speakers, beneficiaries or sponsors. The more information you have on your website the less phone calls and emails you will have to answer. 😉

Contact Information

Speaking of answering emails and phone calls, make sure that your website includes the contact information for all of key people handling the event. Depending on the size of the event, there may be different people handling various aspects (i.e. ticketing, sponsorships, media, etc.) and it is imperative that their contact information is posted on the website. Even if it is just their name, titles and email addresses make sure that potential attendees or sponsors have someone they can directly reach out to with inquires about the event.

Links to social media accounts   

As I’m sure you all know, using social media for your event is a great way to engage your audience. Be sure to have icons and links to all of your social media accounts clearly displayed on your event website (we suggest in the top right hand corner of your homepage). Use your website as a way for people to easily follow your social media accounts and vise versa. Utilize your social media accounts to engage a different audience and direct them visit the event website to learn more.

Ticketing or Registration

Whether your event is free or attendees must pay, it is vital to have ticketing or registration information on your website. If you can purchase tickets directly on the event website or if you decided to use a registration software like Eventbrite, make sure that it is as easy as possible for people to RSVP to your event. The easier you make it, the more likely it is that people will register or purchase tickets.

Photos and Media Coverage

If this is an annual or reoccurring event, be sure to include all of your press coverage and photos from your past events. This gives potential attendees and sponsors an idea of what to expect at your event and also establishes credibility. You want people to think, “Wow! This event looks awesome. I should definitely get tickets to this!”

These are just a few tips on how to make a great event website. Incorporating all of these elements will hopefully make your life (or the event planner’s) life a lot easier. If you are interested in hosting an event and are unsure of where to start, check out www.indrapr.com for more information about our event planning services. Best of luck with your next event!

As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read be social and share.