Tag Archives: PR

Press Releases and Twitter for Business – My Recent Guest Posts

words about press releases and newsTo catch some of my recent online activity check out these guest blog posts:

Press Releases for Small Business:

First, a guest post on Melinda Emerson’s Succeed As Your Own Boss blog on press releases: What is a Press Release and How Can a Small Business Use Them? Part 1

Twitter for Business:

An interview of me by Julie Diaz Asper on Gig Coin: How to use Twitter for Business: Expert tips from Cathy Larkin:

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How PR Peeps and Mommy Bloggers can Work Together

After participating in an on-line event, I was asked for a dream list of what a PR pro would like to find on a Mommy Blogger’s site to coordinate PR/blogger promotions (giveaways, contests, goody bags, expert guest blog posts, quotes for blogs and even virtual blog books tours) – in a paragraph. Not an easy task, so I sent a shorter intro to the ladies from MomItForward (and #GNO or Girls Night Out Tuesdays 7-10 pm MST on www.twitter.com), and have expanded it here on my blog. These techniques can be applied to any specialty type of blog to create win-win situations for your readers and our clients.

What PR Pros Want to Know – The Basics

PR people are hoping to find a match between between our client/company/expert’s product or info and your reader’s interests and needs. With 18 plus years of PR experience, including handling PR for Winterthur Museum’s Licensed Products Division (products inspired by the museum’s collection), I can say I wish blogging was as hot then as it is now, I would have loved to have had you all to reach out to. Marketing & PR tools have changed, but reaching out an connecting one-on-one hasn’t – relationship building is what PR is all about.

The Type of Info a PR Pro Hopes to Find on Your site, Includes:

A good About Us page, telling briefly what you and your site are all about (intro to the site and how it works, who your readers are, what niche do you reach, and who the sites author(s) are). A good PR Info page also tells us more reader demographics along with some site statistics/numbers – see tools below. Also useful are sections on how you like to work: what you will do to publicize the promotion, what you need from us, and note any success stories you’ve had (some of this can also be indicated is on a document that we can request – if your readers don’t need to know the details).

At it’s best PR/blogger promotions – can be win-win situations. Bloggers get cool items to review/use/giveaway (or info/advice/guest post from an expert ), which helps your readers, and builds your brand. PR consultants get exposure for our client/brand and our product/info, and hopefully generate some action from your audience: web traffic, conversation about the product/expert/brand, or product purchases. At it’s worst this process can leave both the PR staffer and/or the blogger frustrated. Communication, beginning with a good About Us and PR/media pages (and/or a promo sheet that can be emailed on request), can go a long way toward creating successful promotions. If mommy bloggers are getting bombarded by off-target PR pitches, you can send them a link to this page, to tell them what type of promos you look for, who your blog reaches, and how to you prefer to work. Ideally, the PR person/company should have similar promotional info on their site, or at least identify a contact name for the person who handles promotions (and info about their needs to send on request).

The Details for Both Sides:

The Ugly PR “Pro” and the “Bad” Blogger

Now we all know of those stereotypes, that sometimes PR types and bloggers get off on wrong foot. A Public Relations staffer will grab a list of mommy bloggers and sent out a pitch to all of them, without ever reading the site to see what their niche is. An we have heard stories of bloggers, grabbing a list of PR folks and doing the same, without finding out what products or experts they cover. This is Social Media after all- on both sides of the isle – let’s be social. Our internal SPAM filter has been hardened again the mass e-mailed request. Take the time to reach out and connect with each other, maybe even before you need to work together. Find out each other’s interests, niche, needs, clients, audiences; then target your requests. ‘Nuf said. Twitter and it’s short message format can be a great tool for this – it’s how I met Carissa and Jyl of #GNO/MomItForward.

The Ideal Information a PR Pro Hopes to Find on your Site Tells us:

  • A short but good About Us page including: an Elevator pitch (A couple of good sentences that sum up what your site it all about), Bio/history of you and the site (when did it start, why/how, quirky stories, do you support any charities – keep it brief), how your site works, & who your readers are, (not just moms, but single work-at-home moms, or grandparents caring for their daughters children, moms of infants or teens. This info helps us fit our products/exp[ert to your audience). And contact info, so we can get a hold of you and connect.
  • Who your readers are Demographics – specific niche/interests (single moms, grandparents, moms with infants, moms with school-aged children etc; age ranges of the moms. Nice extras would be: marital status, #/ages of kids, income levels, region of the country, do they travel, amount spend online ea. month) Survey & polling tools noted below can help; or ask some info when people sign up for your newsletter.
  • Some site statistics/numbers that help. If your numbers are good, you look good; although it is not all about the numbers, I have to admit, they do help. (some of this would be cool for your readers to know – Other info is less useful to them, and might be included on a PR Promo sheet that’s available on request).
    • monthly average unique visitors and page views (weekly/daily if relevant or available)
    • amount of repeat or new traffic vs. new traffic
    • are there traffic spikes during times when you do a promotion/ giveaway/expert guest blog post, if so what’s the traffic increase.
    • The average number of people who participate in your giveaways /promos
    • the average number of comments that posts generate
    • the number of members if your site is member-based
    • your Google Page Rank
    • any indications of large sites that routinely send you traffic (BlogHer network, Twitter, Digg) or mommy networks you participate in
    • any major or seasonal events you celebrate on your site
    • also any media coverage you have received online, radio/TV or in print.

This Type of Info can be Obtained by Setting up Free Online Tools Like

Please, don’t be intimidated by the list – this is the “Dream List” remember. You may not need everything on this list, (each tool has it’s own pros and cons), but by using them, you can help a PR specialist choose to work with your site over someoneelse’s. Besides, you’ll probably learn quite a bit about your readers and your own site too. If sorting through the tools and info is not your favorite thing, there are plenty of people out there who can help, from sending questions out on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to finding a how to blog, or even working with one of us PR or Tech types ;-)

What Bloggers Can Tell Us & Make it Easier for you:

  • how you like to work
  • what product types or experts you are looking to feature
  • be sure to note any seasonal/holiday or major events you celebrate
  • what you will do to publicize the promotion (Facebook, Twitter, social media release?)
  • what info/items we need to provide you (links to the product’s page for more info or so readers can purchase it, a product image & requirements, a short blurb about it, or a link to an expert guest-blogger’s bio
  • what you can provide us with, if we agree to promote it too (your logo or head shot, a site badge (showing participation in the project), dates/times the promo and any events will run, links to the promo page)

My final note to ask that we work together to find creative ways to track our success; which will be good for both of us. Agree to both monitor our site traffic, monitor product/promo mentions via Google Alerts and other tools, work out special discounts or promo codes to track traffic and other results: product sales, brand awareness or increase in members/comments/site participation.

Thanks to Jyl & Carissa at MomItForward for the opportunity, and to you for reading. There are plenty of folks like me who can help you sort through and find the tools and ideas that meet your needs and those of your readers. Every promotion is different, but the goal is the same – a Win-Win for both Great Bloggers & Classy PR Pros.

Cathy Larkin & Web Savvy PR – Your Public Relations & Social Media Guide – Bringing new media tools to the traditional PR toolkit to expand your brand and build your business. I talk “techtalk,” but translate fluently into “plain English.”

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What is a social media expert?

My answer comes from a different perspective than others do: To me, it’s really the customer or client who decides who the experts are.  Many call themselves experts these days, especially in the rapidly expanding fields of social media, and online marketing and  PR.

This post was sparked by a comment on Twitter.com (an online social networking website) @B2BSalesTrainer asked – “Who are the social media experts?” Now since Twitter is  a micro-blogging platform – that meant that his post (or message) on the site was limited to 140 characters. He was at a conference, so  I might have taken his question out of context (he may have been asking who are the SM experts at the conference), but it got me thinking anyway.

This is a hot, and sometimes controversial topic. Googling the post title brought up a slew of posts/articles. I’m sending this blog post skipping like a small stone over the surface of a very big pond. I’m exploring my point of view on the subject, and hope you enjoy the scenery – please chime in.

Here’s the thing, there are clear experts out there, people who have been involved in the social media, social networking arena for many years. There are also people who arrived in the field within the last year or so, and there are more arriving every day.

The secondary question you might ask is: and why should I care?

An expert, coach, guide, or consultant , whatever name you choose, can help you navigate and understand this online landscape in ways that will move you forward faster to meet your goals. They will show you, and your organization, how to use these tools in appropriate ways to to best reach your objectives. They can provide an outside perspective and help guide your choices to those that make sense for your business. Help you find balance between the “if I build it they will come” fallacy and the “we have to do it all now” trap.

The term expert is not one I really like; it seems too loaded.  There are good experts out there, but, in reality not all experts are, well expert, in all facets of a field. There are specialists, and generalists and both can be useful.  There are people who know huge amounts of information, but are not experts at sharing that knowledge with others; they can do, but they can’t teach.  There are others who have a knack for picking up things quicker than others, and those who are just good at marketing themselves, but lack substance. There are many who have had a shorter learning curve due to the free information put out the by the early adopters like Chris Brogan and others. There are some who find a trick or two and work them to the hilt. There are good people out there who are giving good advice, that may or may not, work for you; it may be too generic or work for a different type/size of company than yours. And there are also charlatans and people who dole out bad advice in the Web 2.0 arena, just like in any other.  There is a bit of Caveat Emptor – or buyer beware – needed on this frontier where few have gone before.

But here’s where social networking has a strength (which may at first seems like a weakness) – Many of these sites seem to be like a popularity contest when you first look at them. And, in some senses, they are. “So and so has this many friends on Facebook, that many connections on LinkedIn, and  even more followers on Twitter.” What does that mean. At it’s worst or most basic level, it means that they are good at connecting with others. On the other hand, having many connections is often a sign of a good reputation; a specific number of people have agreed that this person is worth connecting with. But don’t forget, there may be someone with great information, who just isn’t quite as into, or good at, conquering all networking sites. Be wary of judging a book by its cover alone. One needs to look inside.

When you look closer, it is about MORE than the numbers. What the customer has to decide is does this person or company give me the information, assistance and counsel that I need, in a way that works for me and move me forward. Beneath the numbers, look at the type of information they are connecting people to, who they are connecting with, and how they are doing it.

  • Is it all about tooting their own horn, or do they tell you what others are saying too?
  • Do they reach out an help new people learn the ropes, or only talk with other bigwigs?
  • Does their style of writing and connecting fit with yours?
  • Are they taking a “you have to do it all approach,” or is it customized. Not every business needs to be on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and not necessarily all at once.
  • Do they talk in absolutes – “this is the way you do it,” or do they talk about adapting strategies to individual businesses.
  • Will they play well with others in your business or network? Do they interact with and engage in conversation with others on the network, or just use a bullhorn?
  • If they were at a face to face networking party, would you want to go over and talk with them, and would you want to introduce them to your friend, clients and customers?
  • Are they willing to say I don’t know the answer to that question, let me find out and get back to you, or do they bluff their way through?
  • Are they active on the sites they are teaching you about?
  • Do they have client testimonials, and is there evidence of clients and customers where they participate.
  • Look at their background: do they know anything about your field, & are they willing to learn; do they have a hard technology or a software background ; PR or advertising expertise; small business or big business experience; an entrepreneurial or a non-profit work history, or a combination. Each component influences and informs their approach to situations.

This is a newer business model, using online sites and tools to distribute free information to build trust, lay the foundation of a relationship, and find ways to turn “connections,” “friends” and “followers” into customers, clients and business partners. The “rules” are more like guidelines, and they are being rewritten every day.

You may not need an expert, or an expert may be the right fit. You may need several people with experience in different areas, or a jack-of-all-trades. Regardless of their status or numbers, I think you can learn something from each person you interact with out here. I advocate balance – not always taking someone’s word as gospel; what worked for them, may not work for you. Do a gut check, search the web about their idea, ask others in your networks and see what they say, especially when you are unsure about something. But once you have settled on a person, I suggest not second guessing them at every turn, but only when the fit feels wrong.

So I have sent my stone skipping across the water, you can judge if it sank immediately with a  plop, or skipped merrily several times before slipping quietly into the cool depths. If this topic has been done to death, sorry. I find it useful to explore questions that prospective clients might ask, so they can have access to my thinking on ma subject, and have information to decide if I am a good fit for them.

Here are two other articles on the same topic:

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/what-i-want-a-social-media-expert-to-know/

http://www.fanboy.com/2009/01/social-media-experts-rant.html

http://davefleet.com/2009/02/8-questions-to-ask-your-social-media-expert/

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Today is National Buy a Newspaper Day

Support your local newspaper by buying one today and showing that you value this institution that has been so important to our nation’s past. Freedom of the Press was something central to our founding fathers, and really – what if the press weren’t there. Many important news stories have been uncovered by newspaper reporters spending months at a time researching and cultivating sources.  While there are many useful on-line news sources, few have the wherewithal to cover stories so in depth, nor the funds to pay reporters.  And many online news sources report what began as stories in a hard copy paper, or their online sister publications.

with a cup or coffee or tea, on the train on the way into work, or on a lazy Sunday, some prefer to get their news online, in crisp black letters against a bright white background all made of glowing pixels on a screen; others love the calming rustle of the pages as you turn each one, fold it back and move on to the next.  Whatever way you get your news, consider buying an actual hard-copy paper today, to show your support for the idea: that newspapers – in all their forms and flavors, and with both their flaws and their weaknesses – are important to our society.

What would lack of newspaper coverage and in depth reporting have meant during the times of Watergate and Vietnam;or stories brought to light about problems with the Iraq war or healthcare scandals. Newspapers are not always right, by any means, but the free press has brought many important things to light. Check out this article fr more details: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200901u/fate-of-newspaper-journalism.

According  the story below on National Buy a Newspaper Day, many of America’s newspapers are deeply in debt and in danger of closing. As a Public Relations Professional, I have personally seen many of my friends and colleagues at regional newspapers, some whom I have worked with for 15 or more years, get laid off in the last few years. I do not blame the reporters or the editors, and much of the trouble can be laid at the feet of the publishers and especially the larger corporations that have made huge mistakes.   They have been slow to realize and change in the face of competition from online sites such as Craig’s List which gives free classified ads and online job sites where ads cost less to run that at a a newspaper, but have larger reach; ad revenues that have shifted to other online sites, and  the newspapers are finally beginning to realize this and try to catch up. They have been slow to realize that they can use the internet to leverage the reporting and advertising they already have, in different ways. Many newspapers are finally beginning to get it – I just hope it is not too late.

It can be difficult to change the course of a large ship, and it does not happen quickly. And I do not want to play the blame game here. Nor do I mean to make a complex issue simplistic.  I have just noted a few small things that may have been contributing factors. And I hope in the comment section here, you can help to set me straight. Please join the discussion.

http://www.buyanewspaperday.com/ check out this simple site, and if you are a member of Facebook, check out the links to newspaper stories there that tell more of the story than I can here. Join the Facebook fan page as well.

Yes, newspapers have had their bad days, and headlines we wish they had not printed, but they are a part of the fabric of our society. I vote to keep them there by buying a newspaper today.  If you already buy or subcribe to a newpaper, please suggest that a friend do so, or buy gift subscription for a friend. Even if you normally read online, buy a paper today as a symbolic gesture; if you already subscribe, encrage a friend to buy one.  Too many times I ahve seen a favorite store close, and only learned of it after it was to late.  Let’s help make it not too late for newspapers – whether they all eventually move completely into cyberspace or many survive on papper that rustles quietly as you thurn the page, I vote to keep them around.

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