Are Your Stories Social Media Friendly?

In social media PR, it’s important to understand that using social media as a distribution channel to attract active participants is as important as the keyword optimization that goes with it.  So how do you know if your story is social media friendly? Here are some steps:

Step 1: Watch  your keyword optimization – Keyword relevancy (along with abundant inbound links) improves search engine visibility. Keywords that are used to describe optimized news content that becomes popular within social channels will tend to rank highly in searches.

Step 2: Leverage social media channels for promotion. Making your optimized social media PR stories “social media friendly” can be a matter of adding social features, such as RSS feeds, bookmarking, “Tweet this” and social news submission links.

Step 3: Make your story content interactive or engaging to encourage response. High interaction among social-network participants tend to come from the kind of content that encourages a response. At the end of a story, ask readers a question that relates to the story. The key to social media success is participation first using creative methods.

Step 4: Include multimedia assets like photos or video when appropriate. Most social network participants tend to gravitate to content that can be viewed and shared quickly. Sometimes, the best way to do this is to incorporate videos and images into your social media PR campaign. Create the kind of content that can improve your brand’s visibility within search results through profiles, videos, blog posts, or other media.

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One More Reason to Use a Social Media Strategy

When seeking exposure for a client or brand, it’s often useful to get news coverage via magazines, radio programs, newspapers, or online press. But, let’s face it – not everything is newsworthy. And not every brand lends itself well to traditional news or feature articles.

So how do you shine some light on your brand or make young consumers aware of your next campaign? You already know the answer: social media. Here’s yet another reason to make sure you have an airtight social media strategy, including the heavy hitters (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress/Tumblr) as well as the up-and-comers (Pinterest, Instagram).

One advantage of social media and blogs from a PR perspective is the ability to diversify media content. A Pew study about the blogosphere showed that social media tends to focus on topics that are glossed over by traditional media. Not to mention, many news outlets don’t always report on articles or trends until after they have exploded on social media.

If posted through appropriate social media channels, the articles your journalist friends won’t touch have the potential to go viral faster than Taylor Swift can write a new break-up song.

Here are three examples of using complementary social media strategies:

Instagram loves hip, artsy photos of celebrities and icons, and even pictures of new labels or packaging designs. Images of fashion, food, pets, art, fitness, and social events usually run laps around cute family photos. Plus, it’s another way to engage with your followers (ie. Customers) and garner support.

Blogs—WordPress, Blogger, Blog.com, Tumblr, pick your poison—are perfect for promoting videos, spotlighting interesting (and relevant) research, and offering helpful advice. Useful content with support, tips, or reviews should also be part of your social media strategy. It’s a great way to slyly plug a product or brand. Besides, self-service is for gas stations.

Facebook provides a perfect complement to traditional news sites since you can share articles among like-minded groups or emphasize something that isn’t getting much news traction. Company Facebook pages are ideal for promotional posts, updates, and links. Twitter can also help fulfill that function.

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Become a Social Media PR Ninja

Successful PR practitioners understand that the media landscape is constantly evolving. A major part of this landscape is social media – as if you already didn’t know. Using a well-planned social media strategy can take your brand to new heights, and knowing how to use social media effectively is key.

Here are some tips help you become the master of social media:

1. Be a student of the trade. Don’t ever stop exploring and learning about new methods and technology related to social media. Make an effort to see what other companies are doing each day. Find out whether there are new tools and social media avenues available. Never settle for what is already there because someone is always looking for a better way to reach the top – it’s time for you to be that person.

2. Take advantage of a company blog. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is that they don’t use a blog. Of those that do use a blog, the second biggest mistake is making the blog too self-serving. One of the most important aspects of a blog is to make it a useful tool (almost like a book or manual) that your customer base can use.

3. Engage, engage, engage. Many companies have a hard time identifying their social media strategy, and as a result, they avoid it entirely. What these companies should be asking themselves is “What can my company do to increase interaction with our customers?” Finding that niche for customer engagement is key to learning more about your company, improving your company, and building a healthier relationship with your customers.

4. Utilize Facebook fan pages and Twitter to the max. It’s as simple as that. These are the two largest social media sites available. Start with those two and work your way down. With the massive number of monthly visitors, these social media avenues simply cannot be ignored. View this list of the 15 most popular social networking sites, according to eBizMBA Rank.

 

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3 Tips to Help Target Your Audience

Now that readers can customize their news and media consumption to include only items of declared interest, targeting a certain audience has gotten more difficult. Or, depending on how you look at it, perhaps it’s gotten easier. But one thing hasn’t changed—you have to know your audience and know them well.

PR professionals should know their audience like they have been dating for six months and things are about to get serious. Of course we discover new things the longer a relationship lasts, but by now you should have the facts down pat. Public relations advertising has no effect if you’re preaching to a disinterested choir.

Read three tips to get familiar with your audiences so pitches and media efforts have maximum results.

1.    Research. You must understand the kinds of people you’re addressing and how they ingest their news. If you haven’t already, get the skinny on your client base: age, sex, income level, location, education, interests, activities, media behaviors, buying patterns, affiliations, etc. How do they get their news? What or who influences them to buy? Can you piggyback on media that already caters to your market?

2.    Personalize. Once you know who you’re talking to, all pitches, press releases, and articles should be personalized. Customize content with specific details pertaining to the audience. If you’re writing a Facebook post to people who are largely familiar with your brand, don’t hit them with mass advertising.

3.    Be selective. Don’t waste PR advertising efforts or—and maybe more importantly—your time. You’ll get more efficient results by targeting certain mediums based on your audience. Are they watching TV, reading newspapers, buying magazines, or just relying on the Internet? If they are online, are they using Google News alerts, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, or other news websites? If you know what specific publications reach the majority of your market, your outreach efforts will be better spent.

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How Does Facebook Fit Your Social Media Strategy?

Almost every social-media savvy company has tapped into the world of Facebook by now. The extent, however, that each of these companies uses Facebook for social media public relations (or should I say marketing) purposes can vary greatly.

Here are a few of the ways companies are incorporating Facebook into their social media strategies:

Facebook as a promotional outlet.

Facebook groups are an effective way to manage information to those who already have an interest in your brand. First of all, they’re free. So, starting a Facebook group only risks the time your company puts in to create it. The second benefit is that you can develop targeted messaging specifically for customers and members that already know your brand. No need for general mass advertising.

Brand building through Facebook.

Nowadays, many companies see Facebook as a simple source to keep their branding and messaging in front of the public eye. And with Facebook projected to reach 1 billion active members by August, that’s a wise choice. That many eyes are bound to see your company’s branding at some point during their Facebook surfing. Careful positioning of your branding is critical.

Facebook for community outreach.

There’s little that will help your company more in the court of public opinion than making sure your community outreach efforts are noticed. Taking advantage of Facebook to display those efforts to the public will go a long way in establishing a loyal customer base.

So, what’s your company’s social media public relations strategy on Facebook?

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How to Make Your Story Go Viral

Viral content doesn’t usually occur on its own. Check out social media PR tips to make your story go viral.

Things don’t just go viral on accident. Memes are rarely organic coincidences; there’s a great deal of planning at work. Viral content needs to go beyond adjectives like “great” and “compelling,” it must be dynamic, almost irresistible. But it must also be smart. Viral content should be optimized for the spectrum of social media sharing hubs, not just a few.

Viral content takes top-notch social media PR efforts. But don’t get caught up in trite phrases like “content is king,” shareability is also based on visual appeal. Check out a few tips to make stories go viral.

1. Keep in mind the primary reason people share content: they’re expressing something about themselves. Make it easy for them to do so by equipping posts with social share buttons—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.—and comment threads.

2. Why limit yourself to one social media platform when you can take advantage of several? Write intriguing, provocative headlines that will attract bloggers, readers, and Facebookers; choose authentic, quality photos that will look good on Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook; and incorporate interesting videos that will get traction on YouTube and Vimeo.

3. Shareable content must be highly palatable for large audiences. So, make it easy for lots of people to consume and digest your story with images, infographs, and videos. Content-sharers aren’t used to doing extra work.

Remember, if you can’t imagine a piece of content resonating with a variety of Internet audiences, it probably won’t.

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3 Reasons to Guarantee Placements in Public Relations Advertising

Yes, I’m sure you’re thinking “What! How can public relations and advertising even exist in the same phrase?” Well, it’s fairly well-known that a PR exec and and advertising professional will have a lively debate when put in the same room together. As the old saying goes, “Advertising you pay for. PR you pray for.” But this doesn’t mean the two can’t coexist as Public Relations Advertising.

In fact, my profession deals with this exact scenario. As a matte release editor, I am constantly walking the fine line between PR and advertising. Yes, companies pay for matte stories, but they are also making an effort to increase public awareness and opinion. The reason why these two facets work together is simple – guaranteed placements.

Here are the three reasons to guarantee placements in public relations advertising:

1. Your client can be confident that they will get exactly what they purchased.

2. You can set a cost expectation from the start based on the ad value your customer will expect to receive.

3. It sets a higher bar that pushes you to create superior content while maintaining healthy media relations contacts.

Guaranteed public relations advertising – no longer will you be at the mercy of newspaper and magazine editors to run a press release, and no longer will you have to pay heaps of dollars for minimal advertising space.

 

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5 Ways to Connect With Companies Using LinkedIn

Expand your social media strategy by using LinkedIn for B2B networking.

Your social media strategy should flow like a classic Indiana Jones movie—you must have a plan, but you also need to be incredibly adaptable. As in, boulders falling out of a ceiling and snakes on a plane adaptable.

Social media demands this level of flexibility since sites crop up overnight in sudden bursts of popularity. Case in point, if you’re not already looking into how you can get your brand on Pinterest, you probably should be.

But, you also need to monitor the changes in various social media practices so you can take advantage of what’s useful. Most PR professionals are making constant adjustments to their social media strategy. For instance, LinkedIn has become a serious networking tool for small businesses and start-ups, not just individuals.

Check out five ways you can improve B2B networking on LinkedIn to create a far-reaching social media strategy:

1.    Company profile. First step: set up a snazzy, informative company profile. It’s just like setting up an individual one.

2.    Equip profiles with SEO trappings. Construct company, spokesperson, and employee profiles to be search engine-friendly. Be sure to use plenty of appropriate keywords and phrases in LinkedIn titles, bios, etc.

3.    Group networking. You can create a LinkedIn group so your company can connect with potential partners, investors, sponsors, and more. This allows like-minded people to chat and collaborate.

4.    Get social. If you’re looking to make a local splash and make face-to-face business relationships, meet-ups and networking events are a must. And why wouldn’t you list events on LinkedIn to encourage other professionals to attend? You can also list shows or Happy Hours you are attending, and users can flag events that look interesting.

5.    Keep tabs on journalists. When establishing a solid business or media connection, it’s a good idea to cover all your bases—follow them on Twitter, find them on LinkedIn, and shoot them an email if it’s appropriate. Bloggers, writers, and editors need to have a list of possible sources and experts on hand, so push yourself to the front of that list.

Also, if you’re connected on LinkedIn, you’ll likely find other influencers and relevant media people in their network.

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Radio PR Is More Valuable Than You Think

 

Radio PR can be an effective media-exposure tool.

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about online and print media exposure on this blog. And while I don’t want to undermine the power these two tools have, there is one effective instrument that we have yet to mention – radio PR.

The emergence of more radio stations – such as sirius and xm – has provided PR professionals with avenues to more effectively target their audiences.  Specialized shows help segment audiences into neat demographic categories. It’s this specialization that can make your message reach its intended target more effectively.

Here are some key points:

1. Radio PR is an effective way get your message across in the shortest amount of time. Most scripts time out from 30 to 60 seconds. Some scripts go as long as 90 seconds or up to two minutes.

2. Radio PR does not require the same production costs as television. On a limited budget, radio can be your best option for gaining national or local exposure.

3. Effective script writing is crucial for getting more air time. Radio stations are constantly trying to fill “dead air” with interesting content that will attract and maintain listeners. The audio news release format is one of the better ways to get stations to broadcast your message. Avoid overly commercial scripts.

To find out if radio PR is right for your campaign, search online for available national networks and syndication services.

 

 

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Top 10 Tips for Writing Effective Feature Stories

For a feature to get guaranteed placements, – whether as a newspaper story or online marketing article – it has to appeal to editors nationwide. So how can you reach out to media professionals and encourage them to pay attention to your message?

Understanding the approach to writing features that can help you work with the editors is key.

Here are 10 guidelines for writing effective news features and online marketing articles.

1. Write for your audience. Your feature should appeal to a broad, general newspaper readership. Use layperson’s terms and avoid technical jargon.

2. Follow The Associated Press Stylebook, the universally accepted journalism standard. Use this style and editors will be inclined to give your feature serious consideration. Break the rules and your feature may not place.

3. Make a keen statement in your first paragraph. Leading with a question or a statistic that alludes to your most important point often works well.

4. Think in terms of “news you can use.” Educate readers or give them tips and information that they can apply to their daily lives.

5. Avoid commercialism. If your feature reads like an ad or press release, editors won’t run it. Product promotions don’t work well except around the holidays — and even then, they should be accompanied by consumer tips.

6. Remember, the shorter the better. Editors often have limited space to fill. For example, a standard 7-inch, two-column format allows for about 350 to 400 words.

7. Use quality photos or graphics, or omit the art. Do not use product photos or company logos because they make the feature appear too commercial. Instead, use clear, high-resolution photos of active people.

8. Keep headlines and captions short and to the point. Use standard typesetting guidelines, such as a minimum font size of 20 points for headlines.

9. End your feature with a website, e-mail address or phone number. Readers need to know where they can get more information.

10. Do not use trademark, service mark or registered mark symbols, or textual “tricks” to draw attention to company names, products or websites. AP style prohibits the use of registration marks, trademark symbols, brand names in all upper-case letters and certain uses of italics, boldface copy, parentheses and quotation marks. Using these may lead editors to label features “advertorial” and throw them out.

 

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