How great would it be if you could get one advice from each of the world’s 25 biggest marketing gurus? Well, now you can! Boost the News gathered for you the best tips from the 25 biggest online PR and marketing gurus – note them down and boost your PR efforts!
So, you’ve been working hard on getting your brand noticed online. You’re writing, publishing, pitching, itching, advertising, but still think you can do better. What can you do? You need an advice from the big shots. Don’t worry, there’s not need to get a second mortgage for an hour’s consultation with them – Boost the News has done the work for you, and gathered priceless advice from the biggest PR gurus in the world. Ready to make your brand’s online presence skyrocket?
“Customize your contacts” – Heather Whaling (@prtini)
“Anyone can throw together a generic pitch, send it to a handful of reporters and see what happens,” says PR power-woman Heather Whaling on her blog prTini. “If the story/news is at least somewhat compelling, maybe you’ll land a quick mention or two. Will those placements accurately convey your brand’s/client’s key messages? Probably not.”
Don’t just send your press release or product pitch en-masse. The key to getting to the hearts of journalists, bloggers and influencers with news about your brand, says Whaling, is to customize the pitches and create messages that one cannot resist reading. “That way, instead of just amassing meaningless mentions and clips (not a smart PR strategy!), we can secure placements that build awareness, establish authority and drive sales/leads – the results that truly matter to clients.”
“Don’t be in love with yourself” – Rebekah Iliff (@rebekahiliff)
One of the biggest sins of PR and Marketing specialists pitching themselves to potential clients or influencers is the tendency to make it “all about me”. Or, as put less delicately but more accurately by Rebekah Iliff at AirPR, to “write masturbatory press releases for the express purpose of making some key executive happy because (s)he likes the sound of her own voice or likes to see his name in quotes.” Ouch. And as Iliff puts it – “blech. Stop it, puuhlease.” Yes, you should stop it. Nobody came here to hear you go all over yourself and your brand. Just listen to the crowd, think what they need and what they want, and try to answer their wishes. If your product is good for that, it will do the work without all the narcissism.
“Take good care of your brand champions” – Deirdre Breakenridge (@dbreakenridge)
Bono, probably the biggest king of marketing in history, once sang: “Sometimes you can’t make it on your own”. The help of brand champions, evangelists or influencers of different kinds is priceless, and can do wonders to your online presence. But don’t think it’s something they owe you – it’s a relationship you should cultivate and care about, as importantly points out Deirdre Breakenridge, co-founder of #PRStudChat, on her blog: “For your brand champions, are you expressing gratitude? Are you taking the time to help them too? It’s an important part of building relationships that should not be taken for granted. When people are drawn to you, want to work with you and share on your behalf, then you should be mindful and an active participant, taking the time to reciprocate and give back. Even the smallest gesture is appreciated. Ultimately, the rule is never to expect anything, but when you do reciprocate it goes a long way!” Amen to that, Deirdre!
“Know your field” – Bob Pickard (@BobPickard)
“Best practice is knowing what’s going on before everyone else does and having a tested ‘always-on’ early warning radar and rapid response capability in place. Information is a cheap commodity but insights command top dollar.” Right said, Bob! What Bob Pickard reminds us in this interview, is that we live in a world that is abounded with lousy content. Despite more and more information being available online, it’s hard to make it through the sea of online crap, and people are still thirsty to knowledge. Provide people with content full of valuable insights, accurate information and powerful professional guidance, and see immediate results in your online presence!
“Don’t just measure – analyze” – Christine Perkett (@missusP)
The online industry is obsessed with measuring. Believe nothing, measure everything, they say. It’s easy to fall for the numbers: how many likes did this Facebook post get, how many shares did this blog post get, how many re-tweets, followers, and so on. But have you ever stopped to wonder what this actually means for you? “Everyone wants to know how many media articles or social media mentions they received,” says Christine Perkett for SeeDepth. “And tracking those numbers is easier than ever with the technology we have today. But go beyond the numbers and analyze the data to correlate why numbers move up or down. Tech tools are great – and some (like ours) do some analysis for you – but the best measurement happens when you combine strong tools with human insight. What events or news drive media interest? Does a certain spokesperson seem to resonate with your key audience more than another? When we do X, Y happens. Is that good or bad? What messages are driving action; what time of year do we see spikes in conversions, etc. Identify patterns of success so you can repeat what’s working and pivot from what isn’t. Part of your analysis should also be looking forward – not just looking back. What can we learn from what happened, and how can we pivot to be more successful?”
“Don’t campaign – commit!” – Rachel Kay (@rachelakay)
“This ‘If you build it, they will come’ mentality with social media has been one of the most frustrating I’ve dealt with in both my corporate and agency PR consulting experience. And part of the reason it’s frustrating is I’ve yet to find the best way to help people and organizations understand that social media is a commitment, not a campaign. And that just because it’s so easy to set up a fan page on Facebook doesn’t mean that how you use that page to engage with your audience will be a piece of cake.” In this blog post, Rachel Kay from RKPR talks about a known problem: brands and business adopt any new platform available online, build their presence there, and then think fans will come running in numbers without any effort from their side. It’s a wrong approach, and good online social media specialists know it too well. Building a good online presence, with tons of loyal fans and followers, is a matter of hard work and long-term commitment: “To put it another way, you wouldn’t build and launch other company initiatives without a strategy, would you?”
Stay on top of your brand 24/7 – Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich)
Imagine the absurd scenario in which one evening, out of the blue, Beyonce mentions your brand in her song, and the internet simply breaks. This actually happened, and the brand screwed it up by not reacting on time. Online, timing is everything, says Dietrich: “if you are going to have a social media presence, be prepared to have it 24/7. You don’t have to have someone responding to customers around the clock, but you do need to have alerts and notifications, along with an escalation plan to act and respond fast. As we saw, even good media can quickly turn sour if you don’t strike while the iron is hot.”
Create an experience – Brian Solis (@briansolis)
It’s not easy to make potential clients identify with your brand and talk about it. When you think about it, why should they? Why should anyone care? You can’t come to the world and expect everyone to start talking about your brand like it’s the greatest thing since bread came sliced. You have to do something in order to be spoken of. You have to create an experience that is talkable and shareable. This is the bottom line of this important tip from a new book by Bryan Solis: “without experience architecture, your brand is leaving an incredible opportunity for meaningful engagement open to interpretation. In a connected society, impressions become expressions that influence the impressions of others. Experiences, especially intentional experiences, are more important than ever as they become a competitive advantage the more they are experienced and shared.” Give your customers a good reason to talk about you.
Go for the heart – Shonali Burke (@shonali)
Creating experiences is one way of getting people to engage with your brand. Getting to the hearts of people is another. People are driven by emotions, we all know that. Get to people’s heart, and success is guaranteed. How can you do that? Shonali Burke says: build connections, camaraderie, and community. Let your community create your brand together with you!
Tell a story – David Meerman Scott (@dmscott)
“Business and commerce continue to be fundamental ways we interact outside of our family. And while we may not fully realize it, stories are an inescapable part of how we communicate professionally.” This important quote by David Meerman Scott reminds us that a brand, before it has business goals, sales figures, and budgets, it has a story. It IS a story. It is the dream of a founder, who wanted to solve a certain problem of the world, and decided to do everything possible to make this happen. Telling this story, to yourself and to your audience, makes your brand more human. It puts a face and a heart on it, and makes it more easy to relate to it. And when this story can also relate to the worldview of the audience, it’s a love story. “When the story that you tell customers matches the story that customers tell themselves, your business is in alignment.”
Don’t wait for “perfect” – Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan)
“If you procrastinate because you’re waiting for something to be perfect, you’re missing an amazing opportunity.” An important lesson for life by Chris Brogan. In online PR and marketing, we often tend to be perfectionists. We want to have THE best pitch for THE best blog post with THE best headline on THE best website, and so on. But sometimes, this can actually hold us back. Because sometimes, waiting for perfect makes us wait for too long and miss the opportunity to strike. Sometimes, the few extra minutes / days we invest in working a bit more to make something be perfect, are actually a little bit too long. Chris Brogan says: take a risk, launch yourself. Even if you have to fix or to improve later, just be out there. “You’re not helping anyone when you wait.”
Have a mission – Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang)
Success is a matter of planning. Before you start any action, have a plan, and before you have a plan, have a mission. When you start from the fundaments, it’s easier to go building new layers upon it. That’s what we learn from this interesting insight on business-planning by Jeremiah Owyang.
Speak a number of languages – Arik Hanson (@arikhanson)
No, speaking a number of languages, in this case, is not about being able to produce content deliverables in English, French and Chinese. In our case it’s a metaphor: different media and different platforms “speak” different languages. Their users express themselves differently, communicate differently, and will react differently to varying messages. When entering in communication with a potential audience on a new platform, don’t just adopt your language from other platforms on which you are already active – learn the language of the new platform and make sure you communicate correctly with your new potential audience. That’s an important skill of an online PR specialist, mentioned by Arik Hanson in his “Communications Conversations”.
Be a thought-leader – Kellye Crane (@KellyeCrane)
The best way of marketing yourself and your brand is by sharing knowledge and helping potential customers. That’s the main idea behind the concept of content marketing, in the end. Think of expert articles, for example, as Kellye Crane says: “The bylined article is a common marketing and communications tactic frequently used to distinguish someone as a thought leader in their field or a company as a credible media source for information and commentary regarding a specific industry. It offers a perfect opportunity for sharing one’s expertise without overtly promoting themselves while at the same time differentiating them from their competition.”
Be big, be bold, be brave – Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs)
“A bigger story puts your company in the larger context of what people care about. A bolder marketer upends the status quo, telling a story that hits on specific challenges your audience has (but no one else is talking about in the right way for a certain audience). Gutsier, braver voice is a differentiator in a sea of mediocre content.” Indeed, Ann, in a sea of mediocre online content, to make a strong presence, brands need to come up with big, bold and brave stories. Those who dare will succeed!
Be helpful – Jay Baer (@jaybaer)
“72 percent of consumers prefer using a company‘s website to answer their questions,” writes Jay Baer at Convince and Convert. “But businesses are not universally adept at this self-service approach, as only half of customers can find the information they need online.” To summarize Jay’s point, customer service is the best PR you could ask for. Help your audience find the information they need – and you’re guaranteed to win their hearts.
Don’t push too hard – Frank Strong (@Frank_Strong)
As the old prophet said: a PR pitch is like a fart – if you have to push too hard, it’s probably crap. That’s the philosophy behind Frank Strong’s lesson at Sword and the Script. The idea is simple, but apparently can’t be taken for granted: it’s tempting to try to push yourself, your brand or your product in any possible opportunity. A flexible and sneaky PR head will manage to connect its brand to any topic in the world, and push a PR pitch to any enquiry. But is it a good strategy? “Sure I could have been able to find a way to get one of our executives on an interview, and perhaps a mention in the story, but it would have been forceful fit. The danger of eroding that trust is not a risk I’m willing to take.” If the pitch is not a fit, sometimes it’s better to pass it. Waiting for the right opportunity is probably a better strategy than trying to push yourself everywhere.
Never stop learning – Lee Odden (@leeodden)
Being a professional is not only about sharing your knowledge with others. It’s also about recognizing the importance of learning. The journey to professionalism is a never-ending road of improvement, and who can help you more than your colleagues in the industry? At TopRank Blog, Lee Odden shares a number of great meetings you can attend to increase your expertise and exchange knowledge with other experts in the industry.
Listen – Peter Shankman (@petershankman)
“Most people at networking events talk about themselves until they’re forced to listen to someone else, and then, only listen to find a break in the conversation so they can start talking about themselves again. This obviously, is the wrong way to be. See, if you can listen, you can LEARN. You can gain insights that can help you, you can come up with connections and ideas that benefit not only the people to whom you’re listening, but yourself as well, by being thought of as “the connector.” Your goal is to listen.” We couldn’t have said it better, Peter.
Be a technologist – Christopher Penn (@cspenn)
Ours is a technological world. Gone are the times in which it was enough to have a communicational skill (say, good writing). Now, we all need to combine technical skills in our professional package. True story, by Christopher Penn.
Create content on mute – Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer)
This tip by Mark Schaefer is not obvious: we might have not noticed it, but most of the online content is actually consumed “on mute”, without volume. “It’s true. If you’re consuming content in a noisy bus or train, can you really hear the audio? If you’re in an office cubicle and want to sneak a peek at the news headlines, are you going to have the sound up or wear headphones that may signal you’re not working?” When you create a piece of content, even (especially!) if it’s video, make sure it can be consumed also without sound.
Don’t speak jargon – Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki)
According to Guy Kawasaki, “if your positioning statement uses any acronyms, the odds are that (a) most people won’t understand your branding, and (b) your branding won’t last long.” It’s important to speak in layman’s terms to make sure you don’t make it too complicated for your audience to get your message.
Be original – Sally Falkow (@sallyfalkow)
With so much content being created and spread around online, it’s hard to find a unique story or take. But you should keep trying! News stories that are unique, not just the facts of a breaking story that can be seen in many outlets, attract readers and viewers,” writes Sally Falkow. Making something new will bring much interest and engagement to your brand, and might just hit the jackpot!
Create touchpoints – Danny Brown (@DannyBrown)
Communication with your audience and potential customers is not a one-time thing, but rather a long journey. To sustain and maintain this journey, make sure you create touchpoints: “these could be a big sale coming up, a new product’s blurred image, a special guest blogger’s shadowed profile only in a teaser post. Keep the touchpoints alive by using your storytelling experience to hint at future experiences – make the experience the first part of an ongoing deal (business events, sales promotions, a blog post series, etc), and ensure your audience knows this is the case.”
Explain – Mike Schaffer (@mikeschaffer)
To grab your audience’s attention, make sure you explain to them how your information relates to them. Use the word “because”, says Mike Schaffer: “‘Because’ allows you to showcase not just features of your thing, but assign value to them, as well. ‘Because’ allows your audience to better view your thing through the context of their concerns. ‘Because’ allows you to show why what you are communicating is important.”
Congratulations for reaching this far in the post! You surely gained some valuable insights and tips here – so if you know someone who could also use some of the expertise above, don’t forget to share!
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