Category: Public Relations

5 super easy tips for preparing your news releases for the Web

5tips If you have not yet used Social Media Releases (SMR), here are five tips that will buy you some valuable added exposure until you make the leap to SMR…

1. Include FlickR image(s) with your news release – preferably one from your own FlickR account. If you don’t have a company FlickR account, what are you waiting for? The PR benefits are enormous, particularly for driving web traffic. Be sure to include stock photos in your account as well. And don’t forget to include the FlickR stream in your press room and on your company web site.

2. Use hyperlinks for key words and phrases throughout your news release – If your story does get ink, you want to make sure it’s also getting juice (of the Google, Yahoo and Bing variety). Obviously the links should also serve as relevant extension of your story.

3. For official statements, include an audio file with the release – What better way to illustrate such an important event? It also happens to be the quickest and most efficient way for your message to get published via all electronic media including radio, television and web.

4. Make sure that all multi-media content you submit is “embeddable” – For example, a video that is “embedded” into a news story looks like this. Publishing videos to YouTube, Vimeo or Blip.Tv makes it easier to share your content, which in turn will increase your level of exposure on the Web – much more so than sending an .MPG file attachment of your video over email.

5. Include the date of your event in the subject line of your email – So what does that have to do with news release prep for the Web? Well, in order for the above four items to be effective, your email must first be opened. Journalists and bloggers receive boatloads of emails every day from PR professionals. And they don’t necessarily get opened in chronological order. Some don’t get opened at all. One of the best ways for you to “red flag” your release is to include a date in the Subject Line. This also allows the receiver to organize and prioritize potential stories of interest.

One of the other hats I wear is that of a journalist over at MyEugene. The above list was compiled based on my experiences working on the receiving end of local PR pitches and materials for the past year.

Do you have any tips for preparing press releases for the Web? Let’s hear them!

Twitter doesn’t take a holiday; Neither should managing your reputation

amazon_logoOver the weekend, while some gathered for family dinners or hunted for Easter eggs, and others enjoyed a day in the park, I got caught up in listening to the online buzz about Amazon and the global reaction to its new policies.

I watched as anger and dissent – like mutating airborne bacteria – rapidly diffused throughout the Social Web, from network to network and person to person…all while the giant – Amazon – slept. By the time the global bookseller got wind of the situation, Plan A – which could have been “containment,” the chance to proactively manage the situation, was no longer an option. It was time for the big bookseller to declare a public relations state of emergency and go straight to Plan B: global communication and response.

So what did Amazon do? They emailed a comment:

“There was a glitch with our sales rank feature that is in the process of being fixed. We’re working to correct the problem as quickly as possible.”

Amazon’s reply was like pouring lighter fluid on a fire.

As of this writing, the company’s blog still has not been updated and the tweets continue to pour into the stream with #AmazonFail holding its own as a top Twitter trend. There’s talk in the Twittersphere that says Amazon will “speak” tomorrow – the start of what will prove to be a very long week of defensive maneuvering.

In the end, this all could have been avoided. And there’s no excuse for it anymore. Twitter has proven itself – time and again – as a viable and valuable communications channel…in times of disaster, giving, protest, and celebration.

Twitter – like any communication tool on the Social Web – doesn’t take a holiday. It doesn’t sleep. And it doesn’t take weekends off.

And neither should you…if you care about your reputation.

RELEVANT READING:

15 steps to developing blogger relations (with a capital “R”)

Blogger relations and traditional media relations are not entirely uncommon. Of the following steps, which ones may also be applied to traditional media relations? And what other blogger-relations steps or tips would you add to this list?

  1. RESEARCH and identify the blogs relating to your space
  2. READ, read, and re-read those target blogs
  3. RETRAIN yourself to listen more and talk (broadcast) less
  4. RESPOND with thoughtful comments posted to target blogs
  5. RELATIONSHIP is key, so start to develop one with the blogger before you pitch
  6. RECIPROCITY in the relationship matters. So let the blogger get to know you as a person (and you should have some sort of online presence, too)
  7. RELEVANCE is highly relevant. Your pitch content must match interest of the blogger and his/her community
  8. REALLY SHORT pitches. Brevity counts! A three-liner is great. Shoot for the ultimate goal: 140 characters or less. Teaser pitches are OK.
  9. REVIEW target blogs for Pitch policy icon or Pitch policy; if no icon or policy, then ask (a great way to introduce yourself)
  10. RELEASES need to be social, as in template and tone
  11. RESPECT bloggers – as most don’t get paid; so in reality, their time is even more precious
  12. ROLE REVERSAL. It’s not about you or your company. Put yourself in the blogger’s shoes. What’s in it for the blogger?
  13. REALIZE that – like PR – Social Media (e.g., blogging) is based more on the Social Sciences, not technology
  14. RESOURCE. Be one for the blogger and blogger’s community; bring value (even if it means connecting blogger to another PR person) to the community and conversation. Be helpful and human.
  15. REAL. Be transparent and authentic. No B.S.

Thanks to the following folks for inspiration:

Renee Blodgett
Jennifer Van Grove
Brian Solis
Todd Defren

And last but not least…
Toby Bloomberg
In particular, I am especially grateful for Toby Bloomberg’s leadership in developing and sharing this most excellent series about blogger relations.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Communicator’s Conference – highlights, cont’d.

Blogging to Communicate Directly with Customer Prospects and Generate Media Coverage
by Jeff Hardison of McClenahan Bruer Communications

Jeff presented a case study about a corporate blogging program he developed for PolyServe. In mere months, the program generated thousands of visitors to the blog, impressive media coverage, and referral traffic to the Polyserve website. What contributed to the blogging program’s success?

My takeaways

  • A narrow topic: Oracle clustering
  • An expert on a narrow topic: Kevin Closson
  • A need for content on a narrow topic from an expert: With a little research, you can tell when traditional (and new) media simply are not covering a particular topic in a particular space.
  • An easy-to-use and effective platform for communicating said content: In this case, Jeff chose WordPress. (Good choice, Jeff! More on this in a future blog post…)
  • A patient blogging teacher and a willing-to-commit blogger: The success of the teacher is only as great as the commitment by the student.
  • A plan to promote the blog

The results

  • Blogger was established as a thought leader
  • Many PR “wins” which resulted in traditional and new media coverage
  • Creation of dozens of key conversations in industry
  • Blog became the number one referrer to the corporate site
  • Niche blog came to own targeted search keywords

Recommendations from Jeff

Ask yourself: Is my organization “ready” for corporate blogging? Are we ready to commit time and human resources to the effort? Are we prepared to accept the good with the bad? Can we deal with potential failure? Even if the answer is “no,” it would still be in your best interests to start entertaining the concept of a corporate blog “as your target audiences will increasingly use social media.”

Don’t forget, Jeff says, you can always “experiment.”

ADDITIONAL READING: Check out the list of corporate blogs mentioned in Freep.com article “To blog or not to blog.”

Communicator’s Conference – highlights, cont’d.

Don’t Call it a Phone: The Evolution of Mobile Marketing
by Brian Linver of Pinnacle Marketing Group

“There are 8.1 billion text messages sent in the USA each month.”

Clearly, opportunities abound in the mobile marketing space. With that said, Brian went on to outline the basic steps for launching a mobile marketing campaign – with the potential of reaching more than 258 million phone users in the USA. He also advised: “If your customers are mobile, then your web site should be (mobile) too.”

Methods of Mobile Marketing

  • The mobile web (Examples here)
  • Messaging
  • Display advertising
  • Streaming media
  • Downloadable content

Toward the end of the presentation, Brian mentioned the functions of “mobile ad servers and content enablers,” but we did not have enough time to explore this area. So, I am still curious about these functions and I plan to explore this topic further.

In the meantime, please feel free to share your knowledge about mobile ad servers and content enablers. I am excited about this new marketing channel and I look forward to learning more! I wonder if this is what an account executive feels like when s/he gets to expand their territory into new, fruitful areas. :) 

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