5 Tips to Create Media Buzz During the Holidays

Sometimes “bad timing” can be “good timing.”

Conventional wisdom dictates that companies should avoid media pitching and outreach during the holiday season. The belief is that everyone, including consumers, reporters, and editors, is too busy and distracted to hear our story pitches, look at press releases or read news articles. The truth is this is an ideal time. The news cycle is slower, creating content holes for reporters. For companies, the holidays are the perfect time to gift news outlets with story ideas.

Here are 5 tips for getting yourself some coveted coverage during the holiday season:


1. Wrap-up the Year with a Special “Wrapped” List

If your company had a great year, why not celebrate it with your customers? Share how they benefited over the past year with a summary of what they saved, enjoyed, or gained from your business. Spotify announced their aptly named “Spotify Wrapped” stats of the most streamed artists of 2018 and are giving subscribers playlists of their personal top songs. It didn’t take long before Spotify started trending on Twitter and featured in top outlets like TechCrunch, CNET, and Newsweek. Cap off the year with your own version of customer favorites. Turn it into a press release and perhaps even an infographic, and share it with local, trade and national business press. (Don’t forget to let your own customers know, too, by sending them an email and posting the roundup on your social media networks). 

 

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Topics: Pitching, Media, Digital Marketing, Public Relations, PR Strategies, News, Holidays, Media Buzz, Newsjacking, Give Back

6 Hard Truths About PR

We hear you. The marketplace is brutal. Customers are fickle. Competitors are breathing down your neck. And worse, some prospects have never even heard of you! You need positive press coverage and brand awareness yesterday — there’s simply no time to wait.

We wish we could come in and magically wave a wand to get you some visibility right now. But, unfortunately, public relations doesn’t work this way. PR, like so many other business processes, rewards the companies who approach it with preparation, commitment and time.

Getting rid of misconceptions and myths — and facing these 6 hard truths about PR — will help you gain traction and take advantage of all it has to offer.

 

Truth #1: PR Takes Time

Effective PR takes time. Like the sales process and growing a pipeline, PR is something we can’t do one day and walk away from the next. Companies in the know start by building a solid messaging and story foundation, creating quality content and relevant news angles, and cultivating the right audiences. This takes ongoing commitment and a regular sharing of your story in a variety of interesting ways to achieve PR success. The best results come to the companies who stick with it.

 

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Topics: Why PR, Pitching, Reputation, Media, Growing Business, Online Presence, PR Agencies, Public Relations, PR Partner

14 Reasons Why Companies Embrace PR

When Steve Jobs received his first big investment for the Apple – $250,000 from angel investor Mark Markkula — it was meant for the development of the new Apple II product, the first major Apple product to hit the masses. However, before he started investing in new hardware, Jobs hired the best PR professional in Silicon Valley, Regis McKenna. Jobs knew before he could focus on building the products that would launch his company that he needed to have a PR plan in place.

Jobs embraced PR, and so do Richard Branson and Bill Gates. How about you? In fact, Gates once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” And these business titans aren’t alone in their fervent faith in PR. Many executives from companies feel the same.

Here are 14 reasons why:

 

1. Master Your Message

If you don't tell your story, others will tell it for you. Avoid negative or misleading press by presenting the best version of yourself with public relations.

2. Differentiate Yourself

With so many products and services out there now, it is far too easy for customers to get overwhelmed. Good PR programs can make you stand out from the pack. As Seth Godin says, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

3. Create Buzz (and Adoration)

Do you have a product coming out? Start building that fan and customer base by influencing the influencers. Stoke that excitement with social media, bloggers, journalists, grant interviews, offer reviews and you’ll see awareness evolve to adoration.

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Topics: Thought Leadership, Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Publicity, Outsourcing, Trust, Reputation, Media, Growing Business, Digital Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media Monitoring, Startup PR, PR reasons, Why PR

4 Reasons for Becoming a Thought Leader

Before the internet was everywhere, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had a vision of selling books, then everything, online. While people were happy with cell phones that were only used to make calls, Apple Founder Steve Jobs had a vision of a phone that was much smarter. And Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had a vision for women in the workplace to “lean in” and take charge of their careers.

Bezos, Jobs and Sandberg…not only did they forge new paths, they were inspiring teachers and extraordinary thinkers. And they’ve made an imprint. They’re leaders that others most want to meet, learn from and emulate.

They are thought leaders.

Just telling people you are a thought leader doesn’t make you one. Thought leaders are people who have visions and strong degrees of expertise in particular subjects, topics, or issues. But more than that, they have publicly and relentlessly demonstrated their bona-fides over time by taking a stance, having a perspective, and voicing their views and opinions.

Being a thought leader takes time and effort. But by embarking on a strategic thought leadership program that integrates public relations and digital marketing, all the time and effort will be worth it, and here are 4 reasons why:

1) Become Well-Known by Those Who Matter

Imagine you are a startup and you’re trying to sell a new type of software that you believe will change how people interact with computers. Now imagine you’re the CEO well-known in this industry, speaking at events, being sought out by reporters and those seeking to learn more from you. How much easier will it be to have business opportunities come your way? Peer recommendations are still the most trusted across ages and countries, so having a foot in the door with your thought leadership is a great way to take advantage of that.

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Topics: Thought Leadership, Reputation, Media, Public Relations, Startup PR

10 Ways Inbound Marketing Can Benefit Your Company

The customer of today is no longer the customer of yesterday. With competitors offering more and customers’ expectations growing, companies are struggling to deliver their messages and gain market share. Think about it. Traditional outbound marketing—advertising, cold emails, cold calls, snail mail and trade shows—are not yielding results like they used to. So, what’s a company to do to stand out from their rivals and attract more prospects and customers?

Here’s where Inbound Marketing comes into play. Inbound marketing – a customer-centric approach to providing helpful content and experiences to meeting prospects’ needs and challenges – is a strategic and wholistic marketing practice that brings together a plethora of techniques ranging from blogs to podcasts to videos to SEO to social media, and more, to spur companies onto unprecedented growth.

Here are 10 ways Inbound Marketing, sometimes referred to as “digital marketing” or “content marketing,” can benefit your company:

1. Increases Web Traffic

Most company websites are static brochures. Inbound turns yours into a helpful resource that will have customers returning to again and again. Content offers (like e-books, white papers, reports), blog posts, and social media are all inbound marketing avenues that channel traffic to your website. By continuously producing content, your audience will keep returning to your site, thus keeping up your traffic while new traffic funnels through your channels.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Growing Business

5 Questions You Should Ask When Selecting a PR Agency

You've put in all the time and effort building your company. You know that your technology and brand story is a major differentiator, and that having the right PR agency partner will raise your awareness and credibility, catapult you to the next level, help get your story out, earn you positive media raves, and compel your prospects to buy from you and partner with you.

You know the timing is right to bring on board a trusted PR agency. But how do you choose the agency that’s right for you? Asking the following five questions might just get you closer to your ideal agency!

 

1. What is Their Track Record for Helping Companies Like Yours?

Finding a PR firm that has helped companies like yours is helpful. Look at companies that the agency has on their past and present roster. Are they from your or related industries? Are they startups or Fortune 500s? If you are an AI startup, agencies with applicable AI experience will understand your offerings and ramp up more quickly, but equally important, it means that your team will have relationships with reporters at the media outlets where you want to be featured. Treat the agency’s track record like a portfolio and prediction of how the agency will work with your company.

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Topics: PR Agencies, PR Partner, PR Strategies

8 Tips for Creating Newsworthy Content

 

 

"Sorry, that's not news." Have you ever stumbled when a journalist tells you what you have to offer isn't newsworthy enough? You gulp. Here you are, with an exciting piece of news or scintillating insight, ready to strut your stuff, but they decide "it's not newsworthy" and don't give you a clue on what makes them tick. 

Well, we can't generalize for all media, but in our many years of working with hundreds, if not thousands of them, we have developed a good sense of the types of news and information that companies can create and package to pique the media's interest, earn their trust, and get written up in their news stories.

Here are 8 tips for creating newsworthy content:

1. Dazzle with Facts & Figures

Journalists love hard data. And that's a fact! Shining the spotlight on facts and figures, preferably with announcements about reports that shed light on industry trends, can entice a reporter to write about your organization as part of a larger trend story or even lead them to creating news just on your content. Survey data works great. When ACUHO-I's Annual State of ResNet Report was published earlier this year, media outlets picked up the story based on the strength of the numbers and infographic provided. One outlet, Campus Technology, even used the report in not one, but two articles, drawing from various newsy aspects of the report to cover multiple angles.

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Topics: PR Strategies, Content Creation, Media, Product Launch, PR Launch, Reputation, Newsworthiness, Newsworthy

5 Tips for Getting into Holiday Gift Guides

It's summer! While some of us are dipping our toes into warm sand on a sunny beach, did you know that magazine editors are already thinking of gifts under a Christmas tree? While it feels like the holidays are coming sooner every year, companies know that an early start to marketing their products is crucial for holiday sales. The National Retail Federation reported that winter holiday sales topped almost $700 billion in 2017, and a good chunk of that money was spent on products recommended in holiday gift guides - targeted lists of top products curated by journalists.

For companies looking to sell toy robots, fun gadgets, and Barbie drones, inclusion in gift guides is likely some of the most valuable coverage you can get. Many major magazines, like Wired and Entrepreneur, are already mapping out their guides, with blogs and news websites following in their wake. You could wait until holiday carols are playing non-stop on the radio to pitch, (last-minute gift guides accept until the week before), but then you might miss out on some great opportunities.

To prepare for the 2018 winter holiday season, here are five tips for getting into holiday gift guides:

1. Sniff Out Who to Contact

Finding the exact editor in charge of holiday gift guides can be a bit tricky, as they change all the time. A few of the largest daily newspapers and many smaller blogs will have the same person reviewing products for gift guides, but for many editors, it’s a one-time job. Your PR partner and tools like Cision have updated databases and lists of potential contacts so when you're building out your media list be sure to reach out so you know that you're contacting the right person. Sending your pitch and product to an editor who no longer in charge means you could miss your shot as your pitch gets lost in the shuffle.

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Topics: Holiday Gift Guides, Pitching, Reputation, Media Event, Public Relations

5 Ways to Turn Publicity Into Profits

It is remarkable how publicity -- high-profile media coverage, speaking opportunities, and awards --- leads to bigger share of mind, and a bigger piece of the market. Public relations builds buzz and triggers people to talk about you in ways that you can never buy through advertising. But once you get the publicity, how do you really make money from it?

Here are 5 ways to turn publicity into profits:

1. Shout it on Your Turf

Your company and insightful quotes from your CTO have just been included in a cover story in your most coveted industry media outlet -- one all your prospective customers read. Wait. They have given you an award too! Besides popping the champagne and doing the victory dance with your colleagues, what else should you do? Well, let's make sure you shout it! Broadcast it to everyone at the office, frame the media coverage, decorate your lobby with plaques and awards, bind the stories into books, and display them prominently -- lobbies, conference rooms, and office walls. Open your treasure chest and let your credentials shine loud and clear.

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Topics: Publicity, Reputation, Growing Business, Public Relations

The 8 Must-Haves of a Great Media Pitch

Great media coverage starts with a great email pitch. It introduces and excites the journalist to various facets of your company -- be it your products, your founders, your unique proposition for a changing industry, your customer successes and/or your insights or predictions about the future. A pitch needs to be short and sweet, informative but not overwhelming, but what does it actually look like? For our post today, we've whipped up an imaginary pitch to aid our discussion, and broken it down into the 8 must-haves of a great media pitch:

1. Make Them Feel Special

When it comes to pitching, personalization comes in two parts. First, while it may save time to list all your contacts in bcc and send one email, journalists find mass email blasts to be impersonal and often delete such emails without even looking at them. Avoid the bcc line and you'll avoid the spam folder. Second, make sure you use the name of the contact you are trying to reach. A vague "To whom it may concern" or (heaven forbid) the wrong name tells a contact that you haven't put in the time or effort to get to know who you're emailing. Let them know that you care by taking the time to personalize your email.

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Topics: Reputation, Email, Pitching, Media, Media Relations, Trust

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Read timely tips for PR and Digital Marketing.

The experts at SKC have decades of experience in promoting and elevating companies to higher levels of visibility and success. Subscribe to get the latest ideas on how to get from where you are today to where you'd like to be tomorrow.

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