Why You Should Launch a PR Campaign in a Tough Economy

No one is going to buy your product or services if they don’t know it exists and this is particularly true in tough economic times.  As counter intuitive as it might seem, the slow times are the times that you can’t afford to cut back in your marketing efforts.  It has been documented that companies that increase their marketing efforts during a recession can improve their market share as well as their return on investment at lower costs than they can during good economic times.  This is true because during uncertain times consumers need the reassurance.  They need to see you’re there.  While your competitors are cutting back and going into stealth mode, you should be keeping yourself and your company in front of your target audience.  While the competition is out of sight and out of mind, you should be front and center.

Understandably you don’t want to take on an expensive advertising campaign during lean times, but you do want to market.  You want to be creative.  You want to focus on how to best reach your market at a reasonable cost.  You also want to be realistic and understand that you’re going to need to invest in yourself and your company.  As the old adage says, it takes money to make money; but it needn’t take a lot.

  1. Initially, study your market and define your specific target market.
  2. Next, do some research and find out how to reach that market.  What do they read?  What do the watch?  What social media sites do they use?  What web sites do they visit?  You don’t need to hire a firm to do this market research for you.  Give someone the parameters you’re looking for, put them in front of a computer and get them started.  Twitter and Facebook alone offer a wealth of information on consumers and their likes and dislikes.
  3. Make a list of the media they read, watch, and visit.
  4. Develop a marketing campaign that will speak to your target market.

Because advertising and direct marketing can be expensive, I generally recommend a targeted marketing campaign that combines traditional public relations with an online campaign that includes blogging and social media.  Media relations is so effective because it reaches your target market, establishes you as an expert and offers you the validation of being featured in the news.  It also gives you powerful ammunition for your social media campaign.   The story pitches and press releases that you develop to present to the traditional media can also be modified and used online in your blogs and social media posts.  Always keep in mind that your objective is to present yourself as a problem solver.  Don’t pitch your business or product, explain how you can solve your client’s problems and make their lives easier, more efficient, healthier, etc.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Is All Publicity Good Publicity – Well, Maybe If You’re Lady Gaga

There is perhaps no bigger myth than the one that states all publicity is good publicity.  PT Barnum is said to have made that statement along those lines.  But who knows.  If it wasn’t PT, whoever said it certainly made an impression, since it has now become a part of our lexicon.  If he did say it, I’m not sure you want to take branding and image advice from a guy who owned a circus and made a living out of promoting what he referred to as freaks.   If you own a circus, maybe your PR standards are a bit different, but even then, all PR is certainly not good PR.

For example, being caught with a hooker, that’s probably not going to do a heck of a lot for you or your career; getting caught sending lewd photos on Facebook or Twitter isn’t one of your better brand building approaches; and having a YouTube video in which you’re shown ingesting huge quantities of drugs would maybe be somewhat of an image mistake.  There are politicians with sex and money scandals, sports figures with sex and drug scandals, actors and singers with a Chinese menu of scandals.  The list is a long one.

You can come up with a litany of media train wrecks and image disasters that convincingly illustrate that all PR is certainly not good PR. Entrepreneurs and PR consultants that look to generate interest through shock and scandal are walking a tightrope.  Pushing the envelope can pay off for some.  Lady Gaga would not be where she is without controversy.  But how many Lady Gaga’s are there?  And even she wouldn’t welcome any media coverage.  Plus, how many business owners and professionals want to foster that particular image?  If you do, great, take off the gloves and go for it.  But if you’re looking to build a different type of image and create a strong lasting brand, I’d suggest perhaps considering a different approach.

PR can grow your business, bring in clients and customers, build your brand and establish you as an expert in your field.  It is the most important marketing tool available because it offers you the credibility and validation of being featured as a news story.  With that in mind you want to create a list of objectives and develop a game plan and launch a targeted well thought out campaign.  You also want to control what you can.  In this age of blogging and social media, never forget that what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or any other social media site is most likely going to be there for a long time to come.

When it comes to traditional media, think long and hard about your stories and how you want you and your company to be perceived.  Remember a good story is what effective media relations is all about.  Transformational stories are the best when it comes to garnering media placement.  How have you made someone’s life easier, more fulfilling, healthier, etc?  You want to establish yourself as an expert and your product or service as one that positively affects people’s lives.  Focus on your strengths and expertise.  Present yourself as a problem solver.

Those are the areas you want to focus on when it comes to your PR and press coverage. Media train wrecks are good news for the tabloid magazines and sensational TV programs.  They sell magazines and build ratings, but that’s about all they’re good for.  Unless, of course, you’re Lady Gaga.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

When & How To Call The Media

You’ve decided to give your PR campaign a real shot.  If you’re not in a position to hire a public relations firm or media consultant and are giving it a stab on your own, learn the ropes before moving forward.  It’s important to develop your story, write your press release, build your media list and send your release out to the appropriate media.  But at that point media follow up calls might be in order.  Review these tips before making your calls.  Remember producers and editors  are people like everyone else.  Some are fun and easy to get along with, others are grumpy and impatient.  They are all over worked and have little time for calls and story ideas that don’t really work for them.

Study each outlet before pitching.  Review your local morning and mid day TV and radio news shows.  They are always on the hunt for interesting stories, particularly those with a local tie in.  If you’re pitching national, make your pitch broader, tie it into a national story or illustrate how your story would be of interest to a national audience.  Present yourself as an expert who can address topics in your field.  Study the outlets and see what type of stories they feature and how they present them.  Have your pitches fall in line with those formats.

Write out your primary talking points before making the call.  Make your calls in the morning, since things begin to back up as the day goes on.

Depending on your story, give the media proper lead time before making the pitch and:

1) Be sure to clearly identify who you are.

2) Always ask if this is a good time to talk and if not if there is a time you can call back.  If they ask to call back, ask if it’s okay to email information.

3) If it’s a good time to talk have you’re pitch ready.  Offer a short concise overview of the story you’re pitching and what you would like from them.  You need to have a call of action here.  Do you want them to read more information, set up an interview, go to an event, what is your specific call to action?

4) Know your information before you call.  If the producer or editor asks follow up questions, be prepared to answer.  Anticipate what questions might be asked.

5) Ask if they need additional information, or if you can set up a time to do an interview.

6) If they need time to review your pitch, be sure and give them your contact number and information.

7) If you don’t hear back in a couple of days, call again.

If you get a “no” remember that just means that he or she isn’t interested at that time.  Don’t give up on your story.  Go back to the drawing board and come up with a different angle.  Remember they are not saying no to you, but to your pitch, so don’t take it personally.  Stay upbeat and know eventually, it will work.  Keep studying the media for stories that you can tie your pitch to.  The more timely and newsworthy you can make it, the greater your chances of success.

You might want to ask what stories they are currently working on and see if you can be of any help on that front.  If you’re not the right fit, maybe you know someone else who is.  If you can help the media you’ll be seen as a resource and find a way onto their rolodex.  This is all about building bridges and relationships.  Be persistent, but don’t come off as a pushy salesperson.  After a few calls you’ll find your voice and your own personal style.  Keep at it.  It will work.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

PR: The Play

An office.  Two men are sitting at a table.  One is talking very animatedly.  The other is listening and occasionally taking notes.  

Client:  You don’t understand, this is a story that the media will pay you to pitch them.  Listen, I know PR.  I could probably teach you a few things.

PR Consultant:  I’m not quite sure about the way you want it presented.  I mean the fact that you can change people’s lives is great.  But we need to show the media how you do that.  We need to offer them transformational stories with a strong narrative.

Client:  Just tell them to read my book.

PR Consultant:  You can’t always count on them reading your book.  We need to give them short, concise easy to understand pitches that will offer them a good story.  We need to pitch a story that meets the media’s needs.

Client:  (Irritated) What do you mean they won’t read my book?  Do you know how long it took me to write that book?  Do you know how much time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears went into creating that book? (Raising his voice)  And now you’re telling me they won’t read my book?

PR Consultant:   Some will, but our job is to get them to talk about your book, to get them to interest the public in buying and reading your book.

Client:  Well that’s your job.  Do it.  And besides, I’m telling you, it’s easy.  As soon as they hear about my book and read it they are all going to be begging me to go on the show or to do interviews with me.  I’m telling you.  This is basically shooting fish in a barrel.  You should be paying me.

PR Consultant:  Believe me no campaign is easy.  What we need are stories that grab the media’s attention.  The way we do that is by pitching them stories that will appeal to their readers, viewers or listeners.  We need to think backwards from their perspective.  Once we meet their needs, we’ll meet yours.

Client: (Starting to lose his patience) I’m telling you; just explain to them that I change lives.  There’s really no one else out there like me.  I can’t believe Oprah went off the air.  She would have begged to have me on

PR Consultant:   What we need are specifics.  We need specific stories that we can pitch to women’s magazines, news publications, talk shows, etc.  That’s what I wanted to go over today, specific stories on how what you do changed the lives of people you’ve worked with.  Their transformational stories are your best stories.  For example, when representing a physician, I’ll focus on patient stories, that way you can see the impact, the transformation and people relate to that.

Client:  You don’t get it, this isn’t about my clients: it’s about me!  I don’t see why you just don’t send them my book and then call them and get me on national TV.  You’re making this much more complicated than it needs to be.  I tell you once they read my book, it’s a done deal.  This is easy; I should have my own TV show by next season, right?

                                                                                                Lights Fade: End Act One

Yep, true story.  He wasn’t a bad guy, he simply didn’t understand the process or the media’s needs.  More importantly, he didn’t want to take the time to learn how the process works, educate himself and pitch towards his strengths.  What I needed were short, concise, transformational stories.  I needed to be able to show the media how he transformed people’s lives.  To him it was obvious.  It was all about him and it was all in his book.  But the story was not about him, it was about how he changed people’s lives.  His client’s stories were his best story.

As to having the media read the book, the trouble is that nine times out of ten the media’s not going to take the time to read it.  They’re going to look at the cover, read the back page and read a press release.  And you have to sell them on the story then and there.  It had a second act and a good ending.  We met again and were able to come up with some specific story ideas that grabbed the media’s interest and his PR campaign was a successful one.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

How PR Can Help Your Small Business To Succeed

Public relations is the most effective and least expensive way to build your brand, grow your business and establish yourself as a go-to expert in your field.  Whether or not you should launch a media relations campaign should not be the question, because the answer to that is a no-brainer; yes you should.  The real question is how are you going to do that? Your best bet is to bring on a firm or media consultant who can chart your marketing course for you and launch your campaign.  But whatever avenue you choose, the following points apply.

Don’t think that a PR, media relations or publicity campaign comes down to spamming the media with press releases and pitches.  The media is inundated with press releases.  They’re not looking for releases; they’re looking for good stories.  Simply sending out a release is not going to do the trick.

Press releases do have other uses now a days.  They are no longer pitches that you simply send to the media.  With blogs, forums, social media and online press release services you can now use your releases to directly reach your customer.  In fact that is probably the biggest value that a press release posted online has for a small company.  Chances are slim that the traditional media will react to an online press release, but it will help with your SEO and it is a direct way for you to reach customers.  One note of warning, do not post a press release on a blog site or forum in a press release format.  You might want to take some of that information and post in it a conversational way.  But posting a standard press release on a blog or social media site will generally backfire on you.  Your best bet is to comment on blogs, forums, social media sites or forums, but don’t pitch your product or service.  Talk about your field in general. Educate, give some tips but don’t try and sell.

When you do decide to give PR a shot, remember you’re not Google or American Express.  Don’t try to impress the media by trying to launch a campaign or a story the way a huge corporation would. For example, unless there is a truly compelling reason, my suggestion is that you stay away from embargoes and exclusives.  Those are only utilized in certain situations and if you don’t understand the process it can end up backfiring on you.  To clarify, an embargo is an agreement with certain media outlets where they agree not to publish or release a story before an agreed upon date and time.  An exclusive is an agreement to give your story to only one media outlet.  There are times these are important arrangements to make with the media, but chances are you’ll rarely run into one.

Remember that the media world has greatly expanded.  Traditional media outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Today Show and CNN still offer you the type of exposure, validation and credibility that no other form of marketing can offer, but that not where PR stops.  Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Digg, blogs, all of these are now a part of the media landscape and ignore them at your peril.  For example, if your local newspaper runs a story on you or your company, post a link to that story on the various social media sites.  This is a way for you to turn a local story into a national story.  Also utilize the power of YouTube.  Shoot a short video about you, your company or your service.  But don’t make it a sales video.  You’re not trying to run a commercial here; your job is to communicate with your prospective clients and customers.  Make a video where you illustrate how to solve a problem, answer questions, add value to the lives of those who watch the video.  If you’re going to use PR to sell anything, don’t sell your product or service.  Sell your value.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

The PR How-to Bible

It’s said that you can’t find the right answers until you ask the right questions.  So with that in mind if you are thinking of hiring a PR firm or of launching a media relations campaign for yourself, the following is a list of how to questions to ask yourself before moving forward.  Done correctly, a PR campaign can establish your brand and build your business and establish you as an expert in your field.  It’s the most powerful marketing tool out there, so give it a shot, but first do your homework.  Find out what you need to know how to do in the list below.

As you go through the list, write out your answers and see where you feel most comfortable and where you feel you need some help, or points that you need to give more thought to.  Once you’ve reviewed the questions and developed your own list, you can start searching for the right answers.

With that in mind, before you move forward on a PR campaign, you want to know:

PR CAMPAIGN CHECKLIST:
How to set up your public relations objectives
How to outline your PR timeline
How to develop your story
How to come up with 5 story angles.
How to write a press release
How to decide which stories to start with,
How to decide what angles to pitch local and national media
How to deliver press releases
How to create a media list
How to pitch the media
How to do an interview
How to develop an interview script for TV, local, newspaper, national
How and when to send out press releases,
How to brand your company using PR
How to create a compelling PR story
How to use media relations to reach your long term marketing goals
How to pitch your story and not your product or service
How to establish yourself through the media as an expert in your field
How to find a media trainer
How to meld social media and PR
How and why to develop a blog
How to use video marketing in your public relations campaign
How to create a story online
How to magnify and amplify an article or TV segment on the internet.
How to pick a PR consultant that meets your needs
How to use PR to launch and develop your brand
How to use your media in advertising, online marketing, and social media.

These aren’t all of the how-to points you need to review, but if you’ve gone through and answered all of the above questions, you are well on your way to launching an effective public relations campaign for you and your company. Perhaps the most difficult question is how to know how long to give a campaign.  Generally, I’d say give it at least six months.  Trying a campaign for one or two months is counterproductive.  If you stop in two months, you’ll never know how successful it could have been.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

The Small Business Marketing Success Secret

The biggest problem that most small business owners have with PR is that they don’t fully understand the process or how it can help build their business or establish their brand.  Most think that public relations is only for large corporations or those in the entertainment world and that it has to do with stunts and smoke and mirrors.  None of those perceptions are correct.  PR is a multi pronged process that includes traditional media, online presence including blogs, sites and social media,  byline articles, public speaking and establishing yourself as an expert in your field.  PR can and should be utilized by entrepreneurs, authors, contractors, service providers, business professionals such as physicians and attorneys, home workers, as well as any and all small businesses.

It is inexpensive compared to other forms of marketing and the only marketing avenue that can offer you and your business credibility and validation and position you as a go-to expert in your field.  Although effective media relations is an art, it need not be mysterious.  It is in essence the art of effective storytelling.  Sounds strange, but it’s true.  It is a way of communicating to the media and the public that is compelling, accurate, and valuable.  Defining your story and your message is the first and probably most important step in any campaign.  Whether you’re a veterinarian, florist, restaurateur or hair stylist, you need a clear effective story that is interesting to the media and to the public as a whole.  This is where many companies make their biggest PR mistake, they develop stories that are of interest to them, but not necessarily stories that interest the media.  Most business owners go with the obvious story, which is telling the basics about the service they offer or the product they sell.  That is an important part of any story but very rarely is that enough in and of itself.  Your story is how your product or service transforms the lives of your customers, clients or patients.  Keep that in mind when developing your media pitches and you’ll generally remain on course.

The Small Business PR How-to Guide:

Once you’ve defined your story, you need to define your core audience and then your secondary audiences. Your story needs to speak to and resonate with them.  The next step is to define the media outlets that communicate with your various audiences.  You can have the best story in the world, but if you pitch it to the wrong media, it’s not going to get you far.  For example if you’re selling a revolutionary skin cream, pitching that story to Maxim or Spike TV most likely won’t get you very far, whereas pitching Allure, Vogue, Marie Claire and the beauty trades could be the ticket that establishes your brand and sells your product.

Once you’ve defined your story, message and defined your target market, you’re ready to move forward with your campaign.  Defining your target market is important, but don’t simply think of your overall audience as your customers or prospects, think in broader terms.  Your audience can include can include the local media, your neighbors and surrounding community, vendors/suppliers and anyone who would in any way have a connection to the story you’re telling.  For example, someone who sees a TV segment might not have any particular connection to the story, but could know someone else who does and pass the information on. Always remember, audiences—target market or not–have the power to communicate information about you

Focus on what you know.  What is your expertise? What do you know, offer, produce, provide, market, or understand or do better than anyone else?  Position yourself as an educator.  Your information might seem obvious to you, but to those outside of your field it could be valuable information, or simply an interesting story.

Through PR you reach your target market, separate yourself from the competition, establish yourself as an expert in your field and gain the validation and credibility of being featured as a news story.  So why should entrepreneurs and small business owners use PR?  Because it can build your business and establish your brand.  Because it works!

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

Appearing on a Talk Show Post-Oprah

Times are changing; Oprah is gone as are many of the daytime soap operas.  TV’s 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daytime slots are shifting dramatically.  It is a primarily female audience that watches at that time.  The numbers show that most are seeking personality based or issue oriented programs.  Talk shows, game shows and reality shows fill the niche since none require the type of consistent viewing that a traditional drama or comedy does.  Busy women can tune in and out throughout the programs.  If you’re looking to pitch yourself as a guest on a talk show, never fear, although Oprah is gone, there are a myriad shows out there and more are on the way.

Daytime TV will be talk-heavy; Time Warner will launch a new talk show hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and Walt Disney’s ABC is in talks with Katie Couric. There is also Talk, the View, Dr.Phil, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus, Ellen DeGeneres, Rachael Ray and Martha Stewart. “Chew”, featuring chef Mario Batali will launch in September, 2011.  And “The Revolution”, from the producers of “The Biggest Loser” will premiere in January, focusing on topics relating to health, weight, and lifestyle.

The courtroom will also probably be more present during the daytime. Judge Judy has been averaging 6 million daily.  This type of programming not only appeals to women, but does fairly well with other demographics.

Whether any of the current crop will breakthrough and reach Oprah status is hard to say.  It would be difficult to replicate a program and personality with the power of Oprah, but who knows?  From a PR perspective, what was for so long considered the golden ring is gone, but there are quite a few avenues out there to pursue.  Although its ratings are inconsequential next to what Oprah used to draw, the OWN network has its own shows which are worth a look.

Initially your most important job is to actually watch the shows.  Know what stories they cover and how they cover stories.  Study the shows and their presentations so you can discover the best ways to pitch your story.  Each show has its own signature and its own personality, so learn that before pitching.  If you’re presenting yourself as an expert in your field, have stories ready that illustrate exactly why you are the expert.  How have you changed your client’s lives?  What can you offer the viewing audience?  What makes you unique and different enough to convince a producer to book you as a guest?  If you can successfully answer those questions, you’re good to go; it’s time to prepare yourself your TV guest spot and start your media training.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

PR Follow-up Etiquette

Once you’ve come up with your PR campaign strategy, developed your various media pitches, and created your target media list, it’s time to launch and contact the media.  Initially pick five or ten targeted media outlets to send your press release to.  Press releases are important; they are generally your initial contact with the media.  Make them short concise and compelling.  But sending or emailing releases out is just the start.  You don’t want to just sit and wait.  You want to be patient, yet proactive.
After you’ve sent out your releases, give the media a day or two to read them, but don’t make the mistake of waiting for weeks, hoping for a call.  You need to make follow-up calls after sending out your press release. Initially it’s often best to concentrate on your local media. The local press will usually be more open to your calls and pitches. Keep your follow-up calls brief (three to four minutes maximum) and be polite. Be upbeat and enthusiastic. Don’t spend your time explaining why yours is the best store or product in town, or why they will be missing the story of the century if they don’t use your idea – everyone tells them that. Never beg or berate the media. You’re calling to introduce yourself, make sure they have the information, and ask if they have any questions or need any other information. Don’t be pushy, but be assertive. Don’t sound intimidated. Be upbeat and polite. Listen to the editor’s or producer’s feedback. If the person on the other line can’t talk, acts hurried, or says no, remember that chances are you caught him or her right in the middle of a story deadline. Don’t push it. Politely ask when would be a good time to call back, say thank you and hang up. Then, make sure you call back.

If the person on the other line starts a dialogue or asks you questions, be open, keep the conversation going, but don’t try to do a sales job. You are not there to sell anything, but to be a resource. If you’re told there’s no interest in your story, don’t try to bulldoze him or her. An effective public relations campaign is about telling good stories. Find out if there are any stories they are currently working on that you could help out with. Find out what kind of stories that particular editor or segment producer usually works on.

Your initial follow-up call is to make sure that your information arrived and was seen by the right person, and to introduce yourself. Keep the call short, polite, and very much to the point. Be courteous and quickly get off the phone. Although it is almost impossible to be effective by simply sending out press releases, don’t call until you have given your release some time to do its job. But keep in mind; you are going to have to make follow-up calls.  Without them media placement is often a real crapshoot.  Nine times out of ten, you will call only to find out that no one saw your email or received your letter. If that is the case, during the conversation, give a quick thumbnail sketch of your release, ask if you can re-send it, and thank them for their time. Be polite and get off the phone quickly. And, don’t call back twenty minutes later to see if they are now free to talk. Be judicious in your calls. In time, you will cultivate a working relationship with some of the media and begin to develop your own, unique and effective follow-up etiquette.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

 

Creating Your PR Image to Bring Your Dreams to Reality 

Your business is unique because you’re the one who is rerunning it and you’re the only you that there is.  How can your business reflect your uniqueness? By integrating who you are with what you do. To accomplish this, you need to understand how to capitalize on your unique abilities and perspective in order to organically grow your business and differentiate it from your competitors.

Often businesses are arbitrarily put together. Someone comes up with an idea, starts a company and a business is born.  The downside is that without some thought, planning and guidance, a company can grow on its own without a focus or direction.  It grows wild, untended.  That’s not the approach you want to take.  View your business as a living, breathing entity. You gave it life and it needs guidance and structure. Determine where you want the business to go, how you want it to look, feel and grow; start defining your business, as opposed to simply letting the business wander aimlessly. Do you want to attract as wide a market as possible, or appeal to a more limited, special niche market?  How do you want your business to be viewed or perceived?  What do you see as your brand?

Define your company, your image, and what makes your business specifically yours.  An effective image does not just happen; it has to be conceived, designed and worked. Review all aspects of your business. If you have a storefront, is it inviting? Does it welcome customers? If you’ve grown to the point that you have a staff, do they know your values? Do they make clients or customers feel welcome and comfortable, both in person and on the phone?

If you sell a product, is your packaging and sales material clear and attractive? Again, does the look and feel reflect both you and your business? Do you and your staff inspire confidence? Does the way you dress and carry yourself reflect your image?  Is the business an organic extension of you and your vision?

Many businesses need only minor makeovers; essentially some fine-tuning. But you’d be surprised at the difference those slight changes can make.  They can give your business a whole new lease on life. Real success comes when you integrate yourself with your business, when you and your company, product or service are moving in one unified direction.

Take some time to define your business and your message. Scrutinize it from top to bottom.  If it’s time for a new look, create one. Give you and your business a makeover. Once you’ve accomplished those objectives, you’ll be ready for center stage; ready to take your story to the public and bring your dreams fully to reality.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

 

Social Media Small Business Crash Course: Part 1

When it comes to marketing, social media is a given.  If you’re not utilizing it, you’re missing a huge piece of the marketing puzzle.  The trouble is that although most business owners and entrepreneurs know that blogging and social media are essential marketing tools, that’s often where things stop.  Topics such as how to best utilize social media, what sites to concentrate on, how much time to spend and how to most effectively communicate in this medium, are often mysteries for most businesses.

The first thing to keep in mind is that any social media campaign is greatly enhanced with the addition of a strategic, well targeted public relations effort.  Appearing in the media gives you, your business, and/or your product the validation and credibility of being featured in the news, and gives you interesting topics to post, Tweet and share.

Being quoted or featured in the local, regional or national press helps establish you as an expert in your field, which greatly enhances the trust-factor that motivates buyers, clients and consumers.  Even in today’s ever changing communication landscape, PR remains the most important marketing tool that offers credibility.  Social media and blogs are amazingly powerful and effective ways to  reach the public, if you combine that outreach with the validation of media relations, you have a truly effective marketing program.

For example if you’re featured in your local newspaper or in a regional magazine or in national media outlets such as CNN, Time, Newsweek or the Today Show, you want to amplify that coverage by posting, tweeting and generally letting the social media world know about that coverage.  It gets your story out there to even more people and  separates you from the others in your field.  The fact that you’ve been featured in the media establishes you as an expert.  Others who simply focus on social media, will not have the authority that type of validating press coverage offers.

Now that you understand the importance of combining a PR campaign with social media, back to how to best  utilize social media.  Initially, do some homework.  Study the various sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Youtube, etc.  See who is on those sites.  Study how they communicate, who they communicate with.  Each site is different and has a unique focus and audience.  For now let’s look at Twitter

The PR/Twitter Effect
Twitter is a quick moving, more wide open type of social media site than many of the others.  To quote Wikipedia, “Twitter offers a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read other users’ messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user’s profile page. Tweets are publicly visible by default, however senders can restrict message delivery to their friends list. Users may subscribe to other author tweets—this is known as following and subscribers are known as followers.”

Twitter is based on short, quick, concise messages.  People discuss everything from where they’re having a cup of coffee, to an ongoing sporting event, to their business product and service.  As with all social media outlets, this is not a place for a hard sell, but it is great for informing, educating and entertaining.  It’s a powerful tool for directing followers to other sites or links where a business can more fully explain or communicate. Studies also show that Twitter users are 44 percent more receptive to promotions and offers and more likely to recommend a product on Twitter.  Twitter is great for promotions, give-aways, polls, and the like.

Many use a number of Twitter accounts.  Google indexes tweets immediately, which is a plus and effective way to get immediate exposure for a product or brand. Twitter can be a very important online marketing tool in your overall approach.  If it works for your type of company remember to combine a media relations outreach with your Twitter campaign.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

 

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