30 March 2010

0 6 Public Relations Tips for Business Owners & Do-it-yourselfers:

Often times small businesses don’t have the capital to hire a public relations agency to help them with their strategies. Unless you’re a non-profit you’re pretty much out of the running for the pro-bono work. And hiring a full-time or even part-time communications professional is also often out. So where does that leave you? Doing it yourself. Here are a few PR tips for you.

1. Develop a strategic plan.
This will keep your efforts on track. Outline your key Public Relations Goals and how they help to meet your business goals. Before implementing a new effort, ask yourself: “Does this meet one of my PR and/or business goals?” If not, don’t waste your time on that tactic. By developing a solid strategic plan you can keep your PR efforts from being put to the back of your priorities list, as well as cutting back on wasted time on tactics that don’t fit into your strategic plan.

2. Develop a Communications “consciousness.”
If you can become more involved in your marketing efforts and develop a basic understanding of what is effective you will become more inspired and have more valuable ideas for your company.  I suggest reading a book on marketing, attending seminars, learning more about your website and working closely with your marketing consultant to get the most out of your efforts.

3. Keep asking questions.
Continually ask questions of your consultants and see if they have new recommendations for you to enhance your campaigns. Touch base with your small business networks or friends in the public relations profession. They are your most valuable allies and a good consultant will know what works and will be attuned to your competition so you can learn from other's successes.

4. Use a blog.
If you don’t have a blog on your website I highly recommend taking the time to set one up and then regularly contributing to it. This is an excellent platform to give your stakeholders a look into your “softer side”. You can easily highlight your experience, strengths, products, services, and establish your business as an authority in it's niche market.  I suggest inviting your stakeholders to check out your latest blog posts. Blogging builds credibility and will help keep your company name in the forefront.

5. Use Press Releases.
Email press releases to your local media outlet whenever you have anything newsworthy.  It is a free and easy way to keep your company name prominent and should be part of your overall PR strategy. Just remember to keep it newsworthy. Sure, some great newsworthy topics are receiving government grants or opening a new business location, but don’t forget to think outside the box. Is there something newsworthy happening in your market? Then write a press release about it. For example, health care reform is huge now. If you’re a private practice then write on the changes you expect to see in your business as a result. Or if you are a tax professional you can write a news release discussing the tax credits associated with the bill and what they will mean. Also, don't forget about cost effective online news distribution services such as 24-7 press release, or small business specific services such PRWeb. This can help you get a little more bang for your efforts.

6. Utilize Social Media.
Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter are excellent relationship building tools.That is what public relations is truly all about - building positive relationships with your stakeholders! Learn more about what Facebook has to offer and how to engage your Facebook fans.

17 March 2010

0 Hello Facebook - Welcome to the top!

Everyone’s favorite social networking site Facebook squeezed past search engine giant Google to become the most visited website in the US last week. According to industry tracker Hitwise, Facebook has been riding on a 185 percent increase in visitors compared to the same week in 2009. With over 400 million users and 125 million monthly US visitors can businesses continue to ignore social media and exclude it from their marketing and public relations plans? Absolutely not!

Did you know:
  • 42% of users are 18-34 years old
  • 62% of users make over $60K annually
  • 35-49 year olds are Facebook’s fastest growing demographic 

With stats like these it is essential for businesses and organizations to join the conversation. I’m constantly surprised by the number of businesses who don’t have a presence on Facebook yet, and of those that do have some sort of presence that are not using it to even a fraction of its potential. What does Facebook have to offer?

1. It’s a free branding tool! The average user has 130 friends. When a user is a fan of a page, Facebook will automatically suggest that page to all of that fan’s friends. Therefore that fan isn’t just one impression. The fan is worth 130 impressions. Branding can expand even further using targeted PPC campaigns.

2. It is relationship building platform allowing you to engage and interact with users beyond the traditional business to audience relationship.

3. It can be used for reputation management. You can respond to comments or feedback on your own page, as well as public platforms. You can add testimonials and allow users to add their own testimonial.

4. Cheap form of communication. You can inform your fan base of specials, upcoming events, business news, open job positions, industry trends, new products or services, philanthropic efforts and much more!

5. It’s a platform to bring all online content together. You can connect to your website, YouTube, Flicker, Twitter, Blog, Linked In, etc. If it is online then there is an application for it (Yes, Iphone isn’t the only one with this technology).

Still not convinced? Take a look at this video produced by Socialnomics. We are living in a people driven economy and the time for interaction is here and now. Any business can harness it.


15 March 2010

0 Doritos Crashes PR Week's Product Brand Development Campaign 2010

PR Week recently named the Doritos Crashes the Super Bowl as their Product Brand Development Campaign 2010.  This was a campaign that I absolutely loved. Year after year dorito has tapped into superbowl gold. After all who hasn't wanted to break into a vending machine, let alone with a snowglobe (thank you superbowl ad 2009). Throw a kid in a commercial slapping someone four times their size or turn a dorito into a chinese throwing star and your bound to make USA Today's Top Ads the next day. But the real genius isn't in the creative 30 second clips, but in the way Frito Lay has tapped into their consumer market.

We are a society that isn't content with just consuming or buying a product anymore. We want to interact, whether it's tweeting about it, letting all your FB friends in on it, blogging on it's merits or commenting on someone else's opinion. We love to get involved. Frito Lay tapped into that desire by allowing it's fans to get involved and let lose their creative juices, a concept that appealed directly to their consumer market. After all isn't one of our main goals with marketing to reach our consumer audience?