Tag Archives: Live With MJ

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.

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.

Productivity Tips for the New Year

By: Gina Mason

As we welcome 2015, many of us reflect on the past year and begin to think about all of the things that we can improve upon. One common New Year’s resolution that many people have (outside of losing weight or joining a gym) is to be more productive. In our world of constant connectivity, smartphones and multitasking, it is hard to stay productive when we have millions of distractions a day. For most of us, it seems like the days get shorter and we find ourselves saying, “if only, there were more hours in the day.”

I recently read a fantastic Huffington Post article titled, “12 Habits of Productive People” with some great tips on how productive people get things done effectively and efficiently. Here are a few of my favorite tips from the article, in hopes to help us all make 2015 our most productive year yet:

Don’t be chained to your email.
We have all done it, spent hours and hours scanning our inboxes and constantly hitting reply, send or delete. According to the expert, Robert Pozen, “email is one of the biggest barriers to productivity” because people “are overwhelmed” by it and “don’t know how to deal with it.” He suggests checking your email every hour or so and save time by skimming the subject lines.

Make your to-do list count.
One of my favorite things to do is to make to-do lists. Call it my Type-A personality or simply call me crazy, but I find them to be an incredibly helpful tool to stay organized. However, expert Adam Grant suggests, “starting off [your to-do list] with an easy task to provide a sense of momentum, then moving on to a grander or more important task. That way, the positive energy from the first task carries over to the second task.” Feeling sluggish after all of that work? Try “switching back to an easier task to rejuvenate and regain a sense of progress before going back to a harder, more time-consuming task.”

Have a plan for distraction.
Things happen all the time that keep us from getting work done. Keep yourself in the game and one step ahead by planning for distraction. Grant suggests trying to “anticipate any possible distractions and then come up with solutions for avoiding them.”

Sharing is caring.
The term “sharing is caring” comes to mind, but not for the traditional use. The article suggests that telling someone that you are working on something makes you more accountable. This “self-imposed accountability” will keep you on track because you won’t want to let that person down.

It only takes a few small changes to make you more productive and with time, these small changes can make huge difference. Here’s to a very happy, healthy, prosperous and productive New Year! Cheers to 2015!

As always, I welcome your comments and 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.

The Difference Between Marketing and Public Relations

By: MJ Pedone

The terms marketing and public relations seem to always be confused and intertwined. While they do compliment each other, there certainly is a difference between the two. I’m frequently asked the difference and below I have included the differences.

Marketing is the development of an image through collateral strategies such as your website, logo, ads, writing, social media, bio and a media kit. Experienced marketing and design professionals will assist with writing and developing your marketing materials, which will save you money in the long run. Marketing professionals will brand you the way you want and in a timely fashion.

Public Relations
Public Relations is the development and management of an image. This consists of media outreach which includes print, tv, radio, digital, social media, blogging, charity/non-profit outreach, obtaining endorsements and the distribution of press releases and media kits.

The majority of people think that public relations is an area where they can save money and do the work themselves. Writing press releases and sending them to media outlets isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. The time involved in writing the releases and researching the correct contacts can take almost an entire day. Do you know the techniques involved in writing an eye-catching press release and how to obtain the correct contacts to submit your release to? Or how to “pitch” your story so that those reading it are eager to hear more and feature you? Editors today are over-pitched and hit the delete button very quickly so you will need to make sure that you don’t fall into that category.

Here are some tips when you should hire a PR expert:
• You have a solid marketing plan in place
• You want to utilize a professional who has existing relationships with the media
• You understand the value of hiring a team experienced in executing successful PR campaigns.
• You realize that although you have experience in your industry, a PR professional will brings added value to the table
• You realize that you won’t gain the earned media and awareness that you seek by just talking about it and need to hire someone who can

The power of PR can catapult your brand instantly. Start with a solid marketing plan using experienced professionals and than launch your PR campaign with a public relations team who has the experience and contacts to do so. Let the publicist do what they do best while you tend to the day-to-day needs of your business.

Do you use a publicist to get the message out for your company? Is your campaign effective? As always, we welcome your comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

Four Great Ways to Generate Publicity

By: Jenifer Wetterau

One of the big challenges in PR is making your client’s brand perpetually relevant. It can be quite tough to come up with fresh ideas to pitch and post at those inevitable times the company finds itself in a newsworthy content drought. Touting the same product or service day after day will only serve to turn customers off – exactly what you DON’T want to happen. So what do power publicists do to earn media mentions? Here are a few ideas:

Make the most of every event</strong
Many brands are great at building buzz before events, but the most successful ones continue to generate publicity during, and long after the guests go home. Make the most of all the hard work you put into the event by live-streaming it with a top-tier broadcaster, allowing online viewers to act as voyeurs. Create a unique hashtag and tease it out a few weeks prior to, and during, the event. You should also record footage for multiple follow up posts and to tease your next event. Great, sharable visuals will always boost your brand image. The last thing you may want during a stressful event is to give yourself more work, but this will pay off infinitely. Offer your audience multiple ways to interact with the event and they will generate news for you. Keep the conversation going and the content from your event will continue to spread throughout the interwebs.

Talk about what people are talking about, when they are talking. To practice real time marketing communication, identify a hot, trending topic and jump on it. Give your opinion on something that’s relevant to the brand and adds value to the story. Very easy, and since both Twitter and Facebook’s display real time trending topics, it’s a no-brainer when you’re in a pinch. The key is time is of the utmost essence. You don’t want to be late to the party, posting content on a topic that’s been long-exhausted.

Tap into tastemakers
Not every brand has a large budget to hire a celebrity to endorse their products. The next best thing? Your customers. They are appealing because they speak authentically and offer credible, unbiased reviews. People are more likely to believe a peer more than polished marketing and PR content. How do you tap into this resource? Give influential members a sneak peek into your service, offer a demo to select people, or send your product to key influencers. Your brand ambassadors will do the rest! Everyone loves to be asked for their opinion. Make sure to monitor and engage with their feedback.

Get involved with a charity
Tying your brand to a charitable organization not only demonstrates the altruistic nature of your company, but also offers additional media opportunities. Whenever the charity is in the news, you will most likely be mentioned as well. Give your time, product, and use your staff and resources to do something exciting and different to help the charity.

Your turn. What are your favorite strategies to hold the media and public’s attention for your clients? I’m interested in what has worked for you.

As always, if you like what you read, be social and share.