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Putting the Persistence in PR

 

People often ask us how Strategies, as a boutique agency, can get such impressive results in PR. You may be aware that we’re well known for positioning our clients and helping to create effective brand promises that resonate in the marketplace. Very often, understanding positioning makes all the difference in creating a brilliant PR pitch that’s irresistible to an editor or reporter. It certainly impacts the downloadcreation of news releases and white papers, letting members of the media know that you understand the market you’re in and how your technologies fit into it.

But once you’ve done these things – positioned brilliantly, created the informed, content-rich news release, offered the subject matter expert as a spokesperson – what happens next? What if the editor doesn’t respond?

This, my friends, is where the rubber meets the road, because this is where the secret to success is – persistence. No, you don’t become an annoyance – well, maybe just a little. If you’ve done your job, you have a great story for the editor or reporter or blogger that they need to know about. It’s their job to get your news – so you really are an important part of their job. They’re really busy – often seriously overburdened and understaffed. They don’t have time to dig your story out of the heap. You have to make sure that your story rises to the top.

You do that persistently, reminding your contacts of the value of the story you have to offer, being aware of what they’re looking for and showing them how your story will give them what they need. Base your approach to them on value (never on things like your ad budget!!). This is not “click it and forget it” PR. Over the years, Strategies has been hired and rehired because we “get results.” The willingness to go that extra mile – after mile – is one of the secrets to our success. Make it one of yours.

 

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Yes, Your Subject Matter Experts CAN Love Social Media!

Social-media-for-public-relations1Companies are constantly barraged my marketing professionals with the message that social media is social and even companies should not be pouncing on their followers, friends, and likes with nothing but sales messages. “Provide rich useful content,” they say. Yes, great idea. BUT, rich content within a company generally comes from subject matter experts (SMEs), who are sometimes as excited about social media as a trip to the dentist. On top of that, if there is an engineer or technology expert who is willing to represent the company and garner followers – what happens to the brand identity if that person builds a following and then leaves the company? It’s a puzzlement shared by most companies and organizations trying to get comfortable with how to interact on social media.

This is compounded by the fact that every social media platform has a different set of rules on how one can and must perform on their site. Every Facebook page must have a profile that owns it. Twitter simply has no way to track multiple individuals who post on a single account. LinkedIn is the most multi-user friendly, but even it can be intimidating.

So how do you, as an organization, make social media work? Until and unless social media becomes more company friendly, we suggest appointing a single point of social media management, or build a social media team. This can be within your organization or an outside resource. This central management monitors posting, so the flow of information is steady and well orchestrated. The central social media management can also help to reduce redundancy, emphasize important messages, and be sure that all areas/divisions/product lines of the company are being represented in content. This team should be well informed and understand social media thoroughly. It also helps if they have a grasp of marketing since this is not a job for an intern. It needs to be high level, strategic, and consistent.

Maybe you incentivize your SMEs to provide content to the social media team on a regular basis. Participating in the social media program may be an objective in their job description or the source of a bonus of some kind. In many cases, the SME will also receive credit – such as on a blog or a LinkedIn post which builds credibility as an industry thought leader. On tweets and some Facebook and Instagram posts, their names generally won’t be mentioned, but a single piece of interesting data can be spun into multiple posts. This not only serves to enrich your social media participation, it warms up your experts to the idea of social media without having to place huge pressure or time demands on them. We’ve noticed some SMEs become real limelight lovers in a short period of time.

Find good resources to serve as your social media management and do not overburden them with too many rules. Provide general guidelines, but to some degree, social media is spontaneous. It’s about listening and reacting. If your social media team has to have every comment approved and/or tweeted in triplicate, your social media program will bog down under the weight and your efforts will be futile.

Social media is here to stay. Every company needs to have a social media presence as much as they need a website. These guidelines give you a place to start.

Listen To Your Gut. Your Business May Thank You For It.

leap-of-faithI recently had the privilege of chatting with Julie Bawden Davis, contributing editor to American Express OPEN Forum, on the topic of Intuition Taking Your Business to the Next Level. As some of you may know, Strategies was conceived on a kitchen table in the home of one of our founders as we rallied the intuition that we shared to take a leap of faith and start our dream company. We set a deadline to make a profit, got new business, and the rest, of course, is history.

Along with myself, Julie interviewed a few other small business owners for this piece and asked what gut reactions and hunches they followed in order to start their companies. Read the full article HERE, and try not to get inspired.