research for PR

top three productivity tips (4)

Research is not something that people often tend to equate with PR. It’s not the first thing you think of when thinking about the duties of a PR professional and what they spend their time doing, and it’s not what most aspiring PR professionals are dreaming about doing. But it actually is a major part, and very important to the success of any PR endeavors.

It’s important in PR to stay on top of trends and changes in the industry. It is changing constantly. PR and all the things that go into it or are tools that we use: social media, media relations, content marketing, the internet, it’s all changing so much and it is really important to stay on top of these changes so that you are always up to date and know how to do the job to the highest current standards.

Clients look to their PR representation for advice and expect them to be experts in all the aspects of PR that they themselves are not experts in and do not have time to learn about. That is a major part of why they hire someone to take care of PR for them. Therefore, it’s important that you stay completely on top of it all, so that if they ask you a question about a new trend you are aware of it and either know the answer, or can have intelligent information related to it to impart. In addition, even if they do not know to have questions, they rely on you to be offering the best services possible and be able to successfully use new tools and be up to date on all applicable trends so that you can do your job well and not get stale. In order to do this, you must be constantly researching industry trends and information.  Each day, try to read not only pertinent articles and information that you see your networks posting and discussing over social media, but also a couple of new articles that you find yourself just by browsing.

In addition to research about PR, you also need to be doing research on the industry that you help promote. What do your clients do? Yes, you can promote them by being familiar with their brand and their offerings and pitching that to the media, but to be even more successful, you need to also do research on their industry in general. Being knowledgeable about industry trends that relate to your client will help in your pitching and your creativity coming up with fresh ideas. Your client will also appreciate the fact that you know about their field and are able to offer your own specific ideas outside of general PR practices.

The last area that is important to research is the media that you interact with. Yes, you may have an impressive go-to media list that results in great coverage for your clients, but media changes very often. It’s important to regularly search the industries you cover to see who has begun writing about it recently, or what new publication exist that you may not know about. This is very important if you begin working with a new client that is in a different industry than you have worked with previously, but it is still important even if you have been working in one industry for a while. Things change- writers and editors come and go, as do publications. You do not want to miss out on opportunities because you have only been reaching out to the same list of people over and over again.

A helpful tip for keeping up with all this research is to search for blogs and websites that cover news and updates on your industries to return to on a regular basis. You can even find existing lists (for example Best PR Blogs) by doing a quick Google search, and start out by browsing those. Find the ones that you find the most interesting and informative and check in with them daily. Another easy way to keep informed is to just Google search the name of the industry you are working with and click on the ‘news’ tab so it shows recent news articles about that topic. Be sure to do it often and to try different terms and phrases that all relate to what you are looking for so that all of the related results come up. Stick with this research and you will be well on your way to becoming an informed and knowledgeable professional.

By |January 5th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

why your content is important

content to convert customers

Clear, concise content– especially on your website and promotional materials– are very important for successful communication of your brand. All too often, people get so caught up in their services and trying to build great customer relationships, that they let things like written materials and websites slide. This is a mistake, because communicating your brand’s story is very important in building and growing a business, and in drawing in and retaining customers.

Keep in mind that not everyone who is looking for your services will be completely familiar with what it is and how it works. Chances are, if someone is looking for you to do something for them it’s because they want an expert in a field that they themselves are not expert in. Craft website content and informative materials that are descriptive and simple enough for a person uneducated in the topic. This will help them understand what you can offer and why they should use your services. They will see that you are an expert and know what you’re doing, but they also will clearly understand how you will be helping them and why they need you.

Start with your mission and think about what you are trying to offer to prospective customers or clients. Put together your thoughts in a clear and simple way that can be easily repeated throughout all of your materials. Think about the most important points and what are the key things to know. Then craft it into wording that sounds interesting and easy to read– not too full of jargon that most people won’t understand or so much detail that they will get bored and stop reading.

It’s important to stay consistent throughout all materials. Say you’re setting up a website but also want to use a Facebook page for social media, and create a printed brochure for people to pick up at tradeshows. You want to make sure that if someone sees just one of these, they will get a clear picture of your brand. But you also want to make sure that if they see all three they still get a clear picture of the brand. You don’t want someone to see all three and not be sure if it’s the same company, or see the brochure and be interested in your services, but then look up the website and change their mind because it is confusing or doesn’t make your services appear as desirable. Use the same language for all materials and use similar content, but translated to each platform.

People make decisions based on what they see about your brand. You may think your company is the obvious choice and that anyone who speaks with you will be convinced, but think of the research each person will do before choosing whether or not to even pick up the phone to call you. Your written materials are the assets you have to persuade someone to make that move—or not. Take the time to make sure they all are visually appealing, read easily, and are consistent and clear throughout.

By |December 16th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Compiling An Industry or Yearly Report

writing a reportReports can be powerful documents for a company to have. They show that the company is interested in and takes seriously their industry and can often position them as an expert in said industry. A report can be a great document to have on your company website so prospective customers can learn a lot of information about the industry or specific company all at once. They can also be great printed documents to send to or hand out to prospective customers or any audience who may be interested in the industry or your company stats. It shows that you take the time to do research and compile useful information for the consumption of your audiences. There are a couple things to keep in mind when putting together your report, in order to make it as useful and simple as possible.

  1. Do lots of research. The more research you have the better your findings and report will be. You don’t want to start writing the report and realize you don’t have enough data to make sense of it. Also make sure you have done research about the aspects that will serve as background for your report. Maybe your report is on one specific piece of the industry, but it’s helpful to offer background on the details of the other companies you included in the report in order to make it a well-rounded write up.
  2. Compile all the data in an easy to understand format. You need to be able to comb through the information and determine what you want to use and how best to lay it out in the document. Nothing will be more frustrating later than trying to go through your data and realizing it’s a jumbled mess that you cannot decipher anymore.
  3. Break it up into sections. Everything is easier to read when it is in sections. Break it down and give each piece a clear heading. Keep it all clear and concise, while including enough information and background that it makes sense to the reader.
  4. Make it look nice. Use graphics and charts to help illustrate the main points as well as help make it look pleasing to the eye. Use at least one color besides black and white to add interest. Don’t go crazy here, you don’t want to go overboard, but you don’t want it to look boring either.
  5. Proof read three times and have someone else do it too. Go over all the text and all the information and make sure it all makes sense and there are no errors. Make sure that any potential questions are answered in the report. This is where it is a good time to have someone else help you, because they will be able to give an honest opinion about whether it all makes sense or if some of the information brought up questions that did not seem fully answered in the document. Being so close to the industry and the project you may find certain things obvious, but different questions arise to an outsider.

Once you have a great report, distribute it by every means you have. Put a PDF of it on your website and link to it on social media and include it in your monthly newsletter. Print some copies to send to people who may be interested and give it out to prospective clients. If it is an industry report on a general topic, send it to trade publications who may be interested in publishing it or linking to it on their website as a resource for others in the industry. People will appreciate being able to see a neatly compiled report about data that is important to them and they will look upon you as an expert in the field for having compiled it.

 

If you think you may want help creating or compiling a report for your company, contact us to see how we can help!
By |May 21st, 2014|Business|0 Comments

Keeping It Fresh

made-fresh-daily-stampNow that we’re well into the new year and beyond making our major goals and resolutions it is a perfect time to evaluate your brand. Yes you took the time to set the goals and plan out what you want to accomplish through the upcoming year, but now is the time to think about one thing that you may easily overlook but will definitely contribute to your success in completing your goals. It’s the actual brand identity. Now is the time to think about whether it can be updated and improved.

Brand identity is important, as it is literally the face that your brand puts out to the world. People judge you and your brand based on this. It is portrayed through all the materials that you put out, like your website, business cards, flyers, menu, social media accounts, etc. Some brands have these all completely cohesive, informative and visually appealing and exciting. That’s great. But oftentimes all the different components that make up a brand identity get created over the lifetime of the company and may not all entirely represent the brand in the same way or in the best way. Another issue is that the company may have been around long enough that the brand identity is just outdated. Take a long look and evaluate every aspect to determine honestly if either of these are the case for your business.

Keep it fresh by updating your branding to match your current business goals and customer base. Make it appealing to the people you want to reach. Make sure your website is clear and information is easy to read and easy to find. Make sure it includes everything that it should. Think about if there is anything that you can add to your branding that will help with your brand identity or will help you connect with customers more. If there are, start figuring out ways to implement them.

If you already have a really great brand identity don’t stop there. Continue to keep it fresh through the content that you put out. Update your social media often, keep the information on your website up to date, continue to improve everything you do so that it stays up to date and will continue to resonate with the audience. People can tell when you are using stale and outdated information and if they don’t think you are keeping up to date they will assume that your product may not be up to date either.

Whether it’s a whole new logo or website, or just updating your social media content consistently, keeping your brand fresh and relevant will keep it appealing to your audience and customers. People base a lot of their opinions on the first things they see about a business, and they put a lot of stock into the way a business portrays itself, often picking one over the other based on this. Evaluate and be honest with yourself about whether you could use an update.

By |February 12th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

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You’ve probably heard of an elevator pitch and you probably know you should have one. In theory it seems easy– have a preplanned 30 second pitch about yourself that you could conceivably use to promote yourself to someone you happen to be standing in an elevator with for the duration of an average ride. In reality, it can be harder than expected to create one and be confident enough about it to actually use it. It is worth taking the time to craft an elevator pitch that you really feel great about and can use in any situation. After all, you never know when you will need to explain to someone what you do or why they should care. You could be miss out on a great opportunity if you don’t take full advantage of it when you have the chance.

To start, think about what you really want to focus on for your pitch. If you are currently looking for a job, you may want to focus solely on yourself and your strengths. If you own a business and want to sell yourself to new clients or customers, focus on your product and how it helps people. If you are pitching a start up focus on your brand and how it’s going to better the world and why people should want to be a part of it. Once you have a clear idea of what you are pitching it will be easier to narrow down the important information into 30 seconds.

Be direct. Begin by introducing yourself and your business/product/idea. Then explain three important qualities of yourself or your business in simple and specific terms. End by explaining how exactly you help make life easier for others. Mention where they can find additional information like on your website and social media channels. Once you have it written down and memorized, continue to practice regularly so that when the time comes you can recite it clearly and easily while still sounding authentic and real.

Since you will not always be in an elevator when the opportunity for this pitch occurs, open it up for questions once you finish, if you can. You have spent 30 seconds pulling someone in and now that you have their attention pause to see if they have further questions about anything you’ve said or if they want you to elaborate on any of the points. They probably will, and now you have the basis for a more in depth conversation. If you really only had the 30 seconds or so, then at least they now have all the important information about you and know how to get more information later on. You have successfully expanded your network and opened up the possibility of a new customer/employer/client/backer. Be sure to have a business card on hand to leave them with as well so they can’t forget your name or contact information!

By |January 22nd, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

Planning for the upcoming year

Planning calendarAnyone who has ever made a resolution knows that the New Year is the perfect time to start fresh and to enact all of the upgrades you have been meaning to incorporate into your life. Fortunately, this feeling of fresh starts and new beginnings doesn’t only apply to dreaded personal goals like fitness and healthy eating. The New Year is also a great time to review goals for the upcoming year, set new ones, and most importantly, set up plans and strategies for achieving them.

Think about what you really want to achieve. Do you have some huge goals for the year that you would like to work toward? Are there a couple major goals you have in mind? Are you already pretty happy with how things are going but you want to make sure to stay on track and keep your progress consistent throughout the upcoming year? Write down the goals whatever they are, no matter how large or small.

Start with a calendar. I like some people are fans of paper calendars, some like to have everything on the computer, some like both—whatever works best for you, set up a brand new calendar and mark down all important dates and large goals and deadlines for the year. I strongly recommend that even if you use a paper calendar or one saved on your computer, you also use one that is in the cloud for easy updates. Google calendars are great for this, you can log into them from any computer and sync them with your phone so that no matter where you are or what you’re doing you can add in appointments and updates on the go with no chance of getting stuck without access to your calendar and trying to remember everything you planned for the day when you get home or back to your computer.

Break it down into reasonable chunks. Now that you have major goals outlined and filled into certain dates throughout the year, think about what you need to get you there in time to fulfill them by those dates. I like to break it down by month- what needs to happen each month to make sure that you will fulfill your goals for the year? These can be shorter term goals that either will help you eventually achieve the larger goals in time, or can be completely unrelated but still help your business grow.

Stay on track. I’ve done a post in the past about how to use lists to stay organized and keep on track with tasks and to dos. Lists work hand in hand with the calendar you already have started, as a way to further break down the steps to achieving your goals. You can have a monthly list and daily lists of what you need to get done in order to fulfill your monthly goals and then in turn, your yearly goals.

The most important thing is to really take the time right now to figure out the most important things you want to achieve and the smaller steps you will need to take to get there. With proper planning you will know what is expected and necessary each month, week, day, in order to accomplish everything you want. And then there are no excuses!

By |January 8th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

PR In The New Year

New Years PRA new year is a great time for renewing and starting fresh. This holds true for everything from personal goals, to PR. With only a few weeks left of 2013, now is the time to start planning your PR goals and strategies for the upcoming year. Now is the time to make sure your business will really shine in 2014 and get ahead in whatever you have been meaning to do, be it garnering new customers, gain some media coverage, building a community following, or anything else.

Some things to keep in mind for the new year:

Social media is your friend. I did a post about the importance of social media in building relationships just last week. To sum it up: if you are not yet active on at least one or two social media platforms, build a strategy now and be ready to implement starting January 1st. Create a calendar for yourself so you know what you will be posting and when, so you never get stuck and feel that you’ve run out of things to post.

Content marketing is not getting all this hype for nothing. Create your own sharable content. It’s the easiest way to make sure that your information is getting disseminated and to position you as an expert in your field. This type of content is easy to share on social media and blogs and is easy for other people to re-post once they see it. Win-win.


Build new relationships. Building connections with people is one of the best ways to promote yourself. You never know who you will meet who may be a prospective customer or who may know someone who will help your business get ahead. Network as much as possible and attend all events that you can. Reach out to people in your industry or with similar backgrounds to you and start a conversation. Most people are eager to g
et to know people in their industry and will be happy to network and chat with you.

Make a plan. Think about what you want to do in the upcoming year and write down some feasible goals. Then make a plan as to how you can achieve them. Start large and work your way smaller. For example start with a general goal and then figure out what things would need to happen to reach it, and then figure out what steps you will need to take to make those things happen. Then, stick to your plan all year to make sure you accomplish what you wanted. If it’s harder then you thought, seek help!

What other things are you planning to do starting in January to boost your PR?

By |December 18th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

The ROI Of Social Media

the ROI of social mediaIt’s hard to argue against the importance of social media in todays marketing landscape. Most people use some kind of social media to a certain extent in their personal lives, and most understand that it can also be useful in business. But how exactly to use it and how exactly it helps is still something they struggle with a lot of the time. People understand that Facebook is great for keeping in touch with family and friends and they get the value of using it in a personal sense, but when it comes to their business they want to see how exactly social media is resulting in the business bringing in more money. The truth is, there may be no direct measurement for this, or at least nothing so exact, for most industries. For restaurants, for example, you can’t necessarily convert a certain number of Facebook Likes into a certain number of new customers or a certain amount of money brought in each month. It’s much less cut and dry than this, but that does not mean that it is not worthwhile to use social media to engage an online following.

 

Social media is all about building relationships. It allows really personal relationships with customers and prospective customers on a direct one on one basis. It allows people a chance to feel connected to a brand by following along daily and getting an inside look at images and updates on what is going on in real time. It is this experience that makes people feel that they know the brand and makes them feel invested in it.  People are already on social media platforms anyway, so all a brand has to do is post and it will show up in front of followers without them having to look for it. The connection that social media allows brands to build with followers is invaluable in that it makes people truly care about the brand without even needing to spend time trying to learn about it or actively pursuing information about it.

 

While you may not be able to calculate that spending a certain amount of time or money on a certain social media platform will result in a certain amount of money earned or a certain amount of new customers brought it, what you are getting out of it can be even more valuable. The relationships with the people you are reaching are what will sustain your business. You are building loyal customers and brand ambassadors. Word of mouth is still one of the most important modes of marketing, and social media is an extension of this and also arms followers with the information and affinity for your brand that allows them to go out and sing your praises to their friends and followers. And that is priceless.

 

Social media is a great resource for companies and brands and there is really no excuse not to use it in some way. It’s possible to pick a social media platform that you already use outside of your business, and spend a couple of minutes each day posting quick but personal updates from your brands page and responding to any inquiries and comments. For a reasonable amount of time spent and virtually no money, you can build and retain a following of people who will have an inside look into your company and therefore feel connected to you. Even a follower who never steps foot inside your business or uses your service is more likely to recommend you to a friend after they have a good experience with you on social media, which shows the exponential positive impact that a successful social media presence can have.

(If you have questions about getting started with or using social media for your business, contact us!) 

By |December 11th, 2013|Blog|1 Comment

The Fundraiser as PR

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Hosting a fundraiser is a great PR opportunity that is often overlooked. It’s a great strategy for multiple reasons, a few of which are outlined below:

  1. It allows you to help an organization other than yourself, while at the same time helping yourself. Fundraisers offer a chance to work with another organization, usually a non-profit with a worthy cause, which builds relationships and results in networking with other people in your city that you may not otherwise spend much time with.
  2. A fundraiser allows you to use something you have already—for a restaurant this could be the venue, or food, or both, and donate it to the other organization that will organize the whole event and get their supporters to come.
  3. It puts you in front of their whole audience, and these organizations often have some very loyal supporters. Last but not least, you will get to tag along with all the promotion that they do.
  4. You get to be mentioned in all the publicity that they receive and you can also go after publicity of your own and make sure to mention them. Doubling up like this gets you both that much more publicity.
  5. It also puts you in a good light, especially if the organization has something to do with your industry (a restaurant supporting a charity that helps feed children for example), which shows that you really care about what you do and about the industry in a larger sense. People like to see that businesses care enough to take the time to give back.

The holidays are the best time to take part in something like this, as people are in the giving spirit and more likely to attend fundraiser events where they can make tax deductible donations and feel that they are helping those in need.  It’s always a good idea to search out less traditional publicity opportunities, so that your business will be in front of people who may not otherwise see something about it. For example, a restaurant getting a mention in the food section of a newspaper is awesome, but it’s just getting food in front of people who already look at the food section and probably already read about you in other food sections. But getting a restaurant in a story about a non-profit giving back to the community gets you mentioned in a completely different section of the paper, where people who may never look at the food section will now see your restaurant in a positive light.  The other great part about hosting a fundraiser is that it’s usually easy because organizations are always looking for businesses to help support them and you already probably have them come to you so all you have to do is say yes. So next time you have a request from an organization, take them up on it! Offer to host a fundraiser with them and see how you can make it work best for both of you.

By |December 5th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments

Taking Advantage of Timely News

imagesOne of the best ways to get coverage when you’re working with a fun client that is not dealing with hard news is to take advantage of timely occurrences. These include current events, interesting things that are happening in your area at a specific time, and, one of the biggest ones—holidays. Tying in with something timely allows you to take advantage of possible coverage opportunities you may not otherwise have. Not only do writers often look for stories that have to do with a timely matter, but they will often be more open to pitches that have to do with a timely matter even if they weren’t already planning something, especially if you have a convincing argument as to why they should. In addition, this opens up new opportunities for a ton of trend pieces. Your tie in may not make a whole story, but there will undoubtedly be multiple pieces about the holiday or event and different things going on related to it, which you can then become a part of.

All it takes is a bit of research and the ability to think on your toes. If you look into things going on in your area for the upcoming couple of months or year you can plan fun events or promotions to coincide. Also keep up to date with current events and news so you can come up with ideas quickly if something unplanned occurs that you can tie into and benefit from.

For example, recently it came to the country’s attention that the first night of Hanukkah was falling on Thanksgiving day, thus creating Thanksgivukkah. A pop up restaurant that was already planning to host a dinner in the middle of November decided to theme it around the holiday and we were then able to get mentions in multiple articles about how to celebrate the holiday and what recipes to make for the day, in addition to the regular event coverage we would have received. 

One thing to keep in mind- do be careful not to take advantage of any occurrences that could at all be considered negative to certain people or groups. Yes you want to get publicity where you can, but you don’t want to alienate anyone or seem to be prospering from others’ misfortune, so be sensitive and only use timely occurrences that are positive and come up with ideas that can be enjoyed by all. 

By |November 20th, 2013|Blog|0 Comments