Tag Archives: Advertising

Elements for the Perfect Logo

By: Gina Mason

What do Nike, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, BMW, ESPN and IBM all have in common? Well, besides being on Forbes 100 Most Valuable Brands List, they all have very distinctive logos that can instantly be recognized by millions of people all over the world. Logos are incredibly powerful and they not only dictate brand loyalty, but they can also dictate the success of a company. From a branding perspective, having a great logo is absolutely imperative if you want to stand out amongst your competition and appeal to your audience. However, coming up with that perfect logo isn’t always so easy. For those of you who are looking to create a new logo or rebrand, here are a few elements to keep in mind:

Aesthetically Appealing
Just like anything else in life, first impressions are extremely important especially when trying to make your logo aesthetically appealing to your audience. A good logo will trigger positive emotions in your mind and is more likely to create brand loyalty while a bad logo will do the opposite.

Relevancy
Your logo is your calling card and must be relevant to your audience and your industry. Your logo should be a visual representation of your business objectives and should speak directly to your audience. MagicDust Designers warn, “avoid unnecessary elements that may be visually pleasing but don’t support your message.”

Simplicity
Some of the best logos are simple (i.e. Nike “Swoosh”) and an understated logo isn’t always an understatement. Some of the most powerful logos in the world are incredibly simple and their simplicity make them extremely effective (GE, Apple, Disney). MagicDust Designers suggest, “Flat shapes, bold lines and clear type are hallmarks of simple logos that never run the risk of appearing busy or worse, confusing.”

Versatility
A good logo has to work well on a number of different platforms including the web, collateral materials and ads and this is not always something people account for in the planning process. The font should be balanced and readable at any size. Also, don’t forget about choosing the right colors. A full-color logo may not translate well to B&W or print as well on different types of paper so keep that in mind as well.

Timelessness
According to Huff Post’s Bianca Rothschild, “a good logo withstands the test of time. It may need some touchups to keep it fresh and prevent it from looking dated our out of style, but that’s all it should require. Changing your logo when it already has memorability in place is bad for your branding. You want one logo that works for as long as it can.”

Creating a great logo can take a lot of time and effort, but is it all worth it in the end. Don’t get discouraged and don’t be afraid to ask for several opinions. Speaking of logos, what to test your logo knowledge? Check out this logo quiz here: http://www.creativebloq.com/logo-design/quiz-can-you-guess-logo-1012976

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

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Getting Traffic to Your Website

By: MJ Pedone

How to get traffic to your website depends in part on your demographic, your niche and how you plan to monetize. But the main components for earning online traffic are pretty similar across the board and should include:

1. Growing a newsletter

This is, by far, the best thing you can do for your site. When you have email addresses, you can go right to the source instead of you waiting for them to find you. If you can email your readers, you will be able to encourage them to visit your site continually, building a loyal following over time. So building your newsletter list should be your number one priority. Display your sign-up form prominently on every page of your site. Offer a freebie for anyone who signs up. Collect emails like it’s your job because it should be your priority and share your amazing content with those readers on a regular basis.

2. Becoming active on social media

Don’t sign up for every social media platform out there. Instead, choose two or three channels and maximize them. Be strategic about which ones you choose; work the channels that make the most sense for your demographic.
In addition to sharing your own content, share others as well. Be generous, and use Twitter’s @mention or whatever the equivalent tag is on the channel you use so influencers notice you.
If you choose to use Facebook, expect to put some money behind your updates if you want to gain any traction as Facebook has lowered the reach on page posts in order to capitalize on advertising dollars.

3. Optimizing your content for search

The best thing you can do is optimize your headlines. Use Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends to figure out what terms people are searching for that relate to what you’re writing about and use them in your headlines. Don’t write for SEO; instead, write your content and then go back and tweak it so Google will feature you high in search results. If you do this consistently, you will see your organic search traffic increase. As that increases, more people will share your posts, more readers will sign up for your newsletter and you’ll see a high volume effect on traffic.

4. Getting back-links to your site

Building back links is an SEO tactic, but it requires its own strategy. When other websites link to your site, Google looks favorably on you and ranks you higher in search results. The bigger the publication that links to you, the more Google love you get. As an added bonus, when publications link to you, some of their visitors will hop over to your site, too.
How do you get back-links? Here are a few options:
• Write guest posts. Write them for free as long as you get a link back to the site in your bio.
• Get press. Convince other outlets to feature your story. One smart way to make this happen is by responding to HARO requests.
• Encourage organic link-backs. If you offer dynamic content and help people notice it through all the avenues written about, bloggers and publications will link to your content without you asking them. One way to encourage this is by writing a list post that features the best bloggers or resources in your niche. Because when you put someone on your list, it makes him or her look good and they will share it with the world, which will likely include a link on their blog.

When it comes to generating traffic there is a lot more you can do but if you find yourself strapped for time and money, these are great first steps to cover. Of course this all assumes you’re creating unique content that’s valuable to your readers and information people want to share with their friends. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that if you create great work, people will find it. The truth is, you have to help them find it.
If you don’t push yourself to spend time on promotion, your blog will probably rarely get read. If you do, your site will gain traction, traffic and influence over time, which will lead to all sorts of opportunities for your creative endeavors.

What have you been doing thus far to gain traffic to your website? Have you implemented any of the strategies listed above? As always, if you like what you read, be social and share.

3 Tips for Effective Networking: Stop. Stop. Stop.

By: Dallas J. Short
What do you do? Here’s what I do. Oh, that’s your card? Here’s my card. Let’s immediately be successful together. Boom. Championship.

Wait, you mean, that’s not how it works? Nope, not even a little bit. However, this is the format or mind state of expectations that a lot of people have going into networking events.
John C. Maxwell said “your network is your net worth,” and it has remained one of my favorite quotes, in both personal and professional settings. The people you surround and connect yourself with are extremely integral to the representation and determinant of who you are and where you are going in life.

So, before you go, stop.

STOP thinking of networking as merely a required chore that comes along with business. “Showing up is 80% of life,” might have worked for Woody Allen in 1977, but that’s not going to fly these days. You need to place value into relationships. Be genuine. People do not do business with a business card, people do business with people. You do not need to meet everyone in the room and then struggle trying to remember who they are later. Focus on finding people you actually mesh with and people you could just as easily see yourself across from them in a game of billiards as you could across from them in a boardroom.

STOP just attending networking events that seem right for business. “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” wrote James Howell. Have an outside interest. Positive energy is contagious, as is negative energy. No one likes the idea of working 8-10hrs and then going to a networking event where everyone is expected to talk about work for another 2-3hrs. Find something you are passionate about and meet people through that, the professional talk will inevitably ooze its way into the conversation, but after you have already established a more natural relationship. You are going to trust someone more in business that you can also trust outside of business. Diversified connections open up doors to opportunities that you might have never knew existed.

STOP expecting an immediate return on investment from business and networking contacts. “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time,” words from the wise Steve Jobs. No one wants to feel used. This is not a jungle attack, where you are spotting, luring, attacking prey and moving on for the next meal. Make a solid and legit connection with someone, if there is no way for you to currently combine forces, don’t force or pressure it. Maybe that time will come down the road. Maybe it turns out you know someone they could work with or vice versa. Plug in your connections, expand the network, and do not resist paying it forward. Avoid being the guy constantly with your hand out or always running to the proverbial well until it’s dry. That’s not who people want around, ever. Eventually, things will fall into place and make sense for everyone.

“Nothing personal, it’s just business.” Wrong. Maybe that’s how Otto Berman his cohorts handled things then, but business now is more personal than ever and needs to be treated and respected as such.
As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

Using Twitter For Business

By: MJ Pedone

So the chatter continues about social media and more specifically twitter and how it helps businesses grow. I can have this conversation for hours and my best advise is to tell people to give it a few months and leave it to the pros. Here are my twitter tips that I use to grow my business and what has been extremely helpful for me.

1. I present my company, Indra Public Relations, which is my brand, to the twitter community and make sure it has the same look and feel as my other online tools. This builds consistency and trust with your community.

2. I share photographs in my tweets as people love pictures and add video to my twitter timeline. Video is another powerful way to tell people about your business.

3. I follow other people I.e. clients, potential clients, vendors, professional organizations, competitors and other businesses of interest.

4. I post on twitter daily, reply to direct messages and share other useful information. I have conversations on topics designed to draw in potential clients and I always publish my tweets during the times where the twitter traffic is the heaviest.

5. I organize my followers into conversation lists which allows me to separate the twitter accounts I follow into groups. A list allows me to see the tweets from the list members as a separate Twitter timeline. This distinguishes them from the crowd so I can pay attention to what these people say. Everybody’s lists are based on their industry and goals but certainly a great thing to do.

6. I expand my audience with Hashtags. Most people’s Twitter experience is limited to the people they follow. It’s always a good idea to keep looking for new, fresh voices to follow to keep expanding your online conversations. Hashtags appear in tweets to identify a common topic or theme and usually something that is trending.

Although I would like to consider myself a master of twitter, I do rely on social media analytics to see how my Twitter strategies as well as my clients, have been perceived by my audience.

What are some of your strategies to build your business on twitter? Do you use any online tools to assist with this? As always, I welcome all comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

5 Fundamentals of LinkedIn

By: MJ Pedone

With over 332 million users worldwide, LinkedIn is easily one of the most powerful social media platforms on the planet. However, I’m often surprised to hear that many companies fail to capitalize on using the service as part of their marketing strategy. Which is really disappointing, considering the vast opportunities that exist to connect with some of the world’s most powerful decision makers. In my personal experience, it is by far one of the best ways to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry.

As you welcome in 2015, there is no better time to reevaluate how you are utilizing LinkedIn to solidify business relationships while growing your brand. I know that getting started can be intimidating for some. Which is why I’m offering these key strategies for success.

Recognize LinkedIn for what it is
The first thing to remember is that LinkedIn is intended to be a networking tool for professionals. True, it’s possible to give status updates, share stories and post images. But that’s where the similarities between Facebook and LinkedIn end. Therefore it’s imperative that you take that into consideration when providing information. Keep all content that you contribute to the site strictly business and save the cat videos for another medium.
Make the Right Connections
As with any social media site, LinkedIn gives users the chance to meet new people who share similar interests. But having the right connections can make all the difference when it comes to seeking out new business prospects. Start with your co-workers and business associates first. Then consider searching for others who may have common interests.
It’s important to note that LinkedIn offers the chance for you to get introduced to new connections by others. However, consider these interactions like passing on your business card. You need to establish why you think connecting with this new person would be mutually beneficial for both of you.
Find LinkedIn Group(s) to Join
Active participation in LinkedIn Groups is a great way to increase your reach, grow your network and create more leads for your business. Not only does it give you immediate access to like-minded people but it provides important insight on news and trends affecting your bottom line.
Once you find a group to join, take a moment to establish a relationship with the other members. Instead of immediately starting multiple conversations centered on your individual business concerns-try joining an ongoing discussion on a topic instead. Doing so will not only give you insight on who the group’s top influencers are. It will also help to establish you as a participant who is capable of adding real substance to the forum.
Use LinkedIn to Establish Yourself as an Expert
Getting recognized as a top influencer on LinkedIn can have a dramatic effect on your brand. Simply put, people love to identify with an expert. It not only inspires trusts within your prospective client base, but it can open doors in terms of new business ventures. Therefore it definitely pays to be more than a lurker on the site.
Although participating in your LinkedIn group is a great way to build your online reputation, the site provides other ways to get involved. If you really want to create (or re-use) content with existing reach through your connections, you can join LinkedIn Pulse-the site’s online publishing system. Becoming a featured writer is an excellent means to gain recognition for your know-how while tapping into the application’s millions of users.
Publishers on the site can also be listed as a LinkedIn Influencer-a select list of individuals known for their leadership acumen. The roster, which rotates constantly throughout the year is established by invitation only.
Keep Your Profile Up to Date
Just as your career is constantly evolving, so should your LinkedIn page. Updating your page with promotions and newly gained skills will give you an edge with would-be contacts and clients who are looking for the expertise you possess. Unfortunately, many people leave their page dormant, which could affect your potential of gaining new clients.
Key Takeaways
LinkedIn can be an incredible marketing tool for companies looking to extend their influence. Take advantage of the networking feature to reach a new audience for your business.

Do you use Linkedn as one of your business marketing tools? Have you been successful in closing new business or in using these new connections as business resources? As always, I welcome any comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

ESPN Cutting the Cord with Cable

By: Gina Mason

Dear Cable,

I’m breaking up with you.
Love,
ESPN

ESPN announced that it was ending its long-term relationship with cable companies to go out on its own into the digital streaming world with Dish. The sports media giant will now stream its programming online so viewers can access it from their computers, tablets, smartphones and TVs for a seemingly unfathomable rate of $20 per month. In addition to ESPN, this new Dish partnership will include other popular channels such CNN, Disney and the Food Network through its new streaming service, Sling TV.

This is a shocking blow for cable companies considering that ESPN is one of the most-watched networks on the market. According to the Washington Post, “On New Year’s Day, the biggest cable audience ever tuned in to ESPN’s new college football playoffs, with 28.2 million viewers watching the Rose Bowl game between Oregon and Florida State, and another 28.3 million catching the Ohio State-Alabama game. Then on Saturday, the NFL wild card game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Carolina Panthers became the eighth most-watched cable program ever, drawing 21.7 million viewers.” Not only does the 24-hour sports new channel own the rights to many of the world’s biggest sporting events, but it also is one of the only channels that keeps people watching real-time shows/events instead of fast forwarding through commercials or watching video on demand (VOD).

However, don’t throw out your cable box out yet. This new partnership does not include many of the major broadcast networks such as CBS, NBC and Fox, which eliminates many popular primetime shows such as “The Voice,” local news broadcasts and major events like the Super Bowl (NBC) and the Grammys (CBS). This could keep the cable networks in the game for a while longer, but if ESPN sees success, it is likely that major networks will decide to go out on their own as well. Many are predicting that this is just the beginning of the pick-and-play model where consumers select only the networks they watch which could lead to the demise of cable as we know it now.

After spending almost $200 per month on cable (like many of you out there) for essentially three channels (NBC, ESPN and yes, Bravo), $20 per month sounds like a refreshing change to me. I think it will be incredibly interesting to see how this all plays out and see if the cable giants will be able to survive and/or adapt to digital streaming.

What do you think of the Dish and ESPN deal? Do you think this will put an end to traditional cable as we know it? As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

The Risks of Resisting Social Media

By: MJ Pedone

 There are conversations taking place about brands 24 hours a day through social media. Are you a part of these conversations or are you hoping that this form of communication will come to a halt in a few more weeks? Social media offers a variety of opportunities for brands to get involved by participating in those conversations. While participating in social media is not without risk, not participating might prove to be the greater risk — especially to reputations.
Here are three risks for resisting involvement in social media for companies, brands, business owners and service providers:

Having your reputation defined by others: People are talking about you; your company and your brand, and your stakeholders expect you to be paying attention in real time, especially when they have a customer service complaint or positive feedback to give. You decide whether to participate in this conversation or not, but at least you are aware of what is being said. This is the new frontier for reputation risk management. If you don’t tell your story, others will tell it for you.

Being invisible and less credible: The social Web is changing how people communicate and access information. With a smartphone, tablet or any handheld device, you can search the web and find just about any information you seek instantaneously from wherever you are. People are searching for you and want to read what they can. Not having a presence on the web means that you are not easy to find and can lead people to question whether you have a credible business or not. People are constantly turning to the different social sites as the easiest and most effective way to get their questions answered within seconds. Potential buyers are going online to research products or services before they purchase them and potential clients visit your different sites before they meet you. If people are looking for information about you or your business, what are they finding? A social page or profile even on a basic level enables you to provide accurate and helpful information about the services you or your company provides. Furthermore, social media pages typically appear with prominence in search results — without these online presences, relationship managers and organizations risk not being present in the search results when an interested prospect goes looking.

Being perceived as behind the curve: As consumers embrace new technologies, they expect businesses to do the same. Organizations and their team members that aren’t using social platforms will not be perceived as forward thinking and can risk losing potential clients who want business partners who speak their language. Would you open checking account with a bank that doesn’t have an online portal? Today, we depend upon online access for our data, so that seems inconceivable. Soon customers will feel this way about having a social connection with businesses.
Social media is perhaps best thought of as a set of new and innovative ways for businesses and customers to do what they have always done: build relationships, exchange information, read and write reviews and leverage trusted networks of friends and experts.

As you contemplate the risks and rewards of social media, I suggest that the key source for evaluation is simply to experience it for yourself. There are many low risk ways to do this, even if you work in a regulated industry. One of the best suggestions I have is to hire an experienced social media specialist who has the knowledge and experience with different companies.
Today’s real time social media world is challenging all businesses, brands, and professionals to adapt or at least make an informed decision not to. As you consider the many risks associated with being or not being in social media, it is important not to overlook the rewards and opportunities.

Have you reaped the rewards of social media? Is your strategy relevant? I welcome all comments. As always, if you like what you read be social and share.