Creative Concepts Discusses Public Relations Tips for Brands and Small Businesses

pr tips for getting media coverageBusinesses face many challenges while building, supporting and marketing a product or service. In the face of major competition, finding ways to stand out remains a priority. Getting publicity is one of those ways to stand out and set your business apart from the rest.

Media Leaders recently hosted a Google Plus hangout and asked PR professionals at over a dozen companies to share some of their best public relations tips that they use to get press for their company and/or clients.

Here is a summary of the public relations tips that were shared:

  • Have a story to tell. Journalists are easier to reach these days but you still need to get their attention. Have a hook and tell your story. 
  • Focus on a small group of media outlets. Usually companies have a small pool of journalists who cover their industry. Create your hit list and get to know them. Read their blogs, follow them on social media. Become a source and offer help even if your company doesn’t directly benefit.
  • Form an alliance with a technology partner. Sharing success stories with your technology partner can improve chances that your story is picked up. Show how you and the tech partner helped a business solve a problem. Share the story on both of your websites and through your channels.
  • Ask for permission. One agency found success through asking permission to send pitches for start-up clients. Once they found out journalist preferences, they saw higher engagement and ultimately more success.
  • Use LinkedIn InMails. If your company subscribes to LinkedIn, utilize the InMails to send a short pitch to your target media. Customize the pitch to that person. Don’t send all of the details – if they are interested, they will respond.
  • Send mail. Since most people are online, there is less snail mail being sent. Try sending a pitch through the US mail.
  • Use video. Share informational snippets and create a YouTube account. Use keywords in your description and send links in your email signature.
  • Research incoming links. Find out who is linking to your website and your competitors’ websites by using a tool like Majestic SEO. Discover what your competitors are doing in PR and stay informed.

For more useful tips and a video highlight, check out “Getting Press 14 Public Relations Tips for Brands & Small Businesses.”

What tips do you have to share for getting press?

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Creative Concepts Looks at New Facebook Promotions Rules

like thumbs up FacebookIn August, Facebook announced changes to its promotions rules in its Pages terms. Basically, Facebook has removed the third-party app requirement to run Facebook contests and promotions.

What does this mean? It makes it easier for small and mid-size businesses to directly run a contest or promotion from their Facebook business page timeline. Larger businesses using third party services such as Wildfire and Vitrue will probably continue to do so due to ease of use.

The rules change gives more flexibility for businesses to offer promotions on the fly and for free. The flipside is that these types of promotions will have to be manually run increasing chance of error and creating extra work for employees running the promotions.

Now Facebook promotions and contests can run on the business page timeline and in third party applications.

Facebook outlines the following guidelines. Businesses can:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

One thing that has not changed is that businesses can’t run promotions on personal Facebook timelines.

There are also tagging guidelines for businesses that Facebook specifies:

  • It’s OK to ask people to submit names of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize
  • It’s not OK to ask people tag themselves in pictures of a new product in exchange for a chance to win a prize

These guidelines ensure tagging accuracy for brands so people aren’t tagged in content that they don’t actually appear in.

For more information regarding their promotions policies, check out the downloadable Promotion Guidelines, which includes best practices for running promotions through Facebook.

How will these changes affect your business Facebook page?

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Creative Concepts Discusses Crisis Communications Tips

social crisis communicationsIn August, The Children’s Place recently found itself in a PR crisis when consumers complained through social media channels about messaging on a girls’ t-shirt that they found offensive.

Multichannel Merchant reported about the crisis in “The Children’s Place Goes Social with Apology.” The Children’s Place quickly responded to this article as well as many other concerned voices online with an apology and they pulled the t-shirt in question off the racks.

In the article by Multichannel Merchant, Creative Concepts founder Valorie Luther offers insights into how to handle a crisis. Luther agrees that for a short term fix, The Children’s Place did the right thing by promptly responding with an apology and removing the offensive t-shirt from their clothing line. Being transparent and timely is important in the first line of crisis communications.

When preparing to issue a statement as TCP did on Facebook and Twitter, Luther states to “bring all the players together for the brand in deciding how you want to handle the situation, what the feelings are and what strategy you plan to implement through traditional public relations methods, social media and other ways you as a brand communicate. ”

Apologize and then listen. Listening to your customers is very important. If the backlash is really bad, taking the conversation offline where talking in-person is extremely valuable. “It is about making a personal connection.”

How the company will prove its merit moving forward will depend on if they change their internal processes “so they honor girls in the future instead of stereotyping.”

Make sure your organization has a plan in place for a crisis. Review your internal processes and communication plan to be sure you are prepared.

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Creative Concepts Looks at Search, Social and Content Marketing

ID-10047471In the past few years, content marketing has emerged as an important part of integrated marketing and public relations programs. Traditionally, marketers were in the business of sending one way broadcast-type messaging to its audiences through advertising, direct mail and the like.

Now marketers are engaging in two way conversations with audiences. Buyers are seeking solutions on their own and suddenly marketers are finding that they need to become more like publishers to be found on search engines and through social channels.

The tide has turned. Buyers have more control in the marketplace and marketers have added inbound marketing and content marketing to their strategy to adjust and build online presence.

Recently, the Content Marketing World team hosted a Tweet Chat discussing the intersection of search, social and content marketing. Here are some of the highlights from the chat. There is also a full transcript of the chat and a slideshare presentation with the findings.

  • People first, search second. Write for your audience and the search engines will follow. Ask your customers how they found you. If it was a web search, ask them what keywords they used. People search similar to the way they ask questions. Create content with answers to your top questions, like an FAQ sheet.
  • Search and social are connected. Search engines now weigh social signals so there is a definite relationship and importance in having your content shared across networks. Some content is better suited to be shared on social to educate whereas search brings seekers directly to your content.
  • Optimize images and videos for search. This is an often overlooked opportunity to help search discover all of your content. Tag and add relevant copy where you can.
  • Create transcripts for videos, audio and presentations so the information can be captured in search. It is also useful for people who don’t have time to watch the video or presentation but want to read about it while they are on the page.
  • Content, social and search will continue to grow together. Learning how to make it all work is an ongoing process.

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Creative Concepts Discusses PR Tips from Journalists

pr tips from journalistsA recent Hubspot survey of journalists, bloggers, producers and editors sheds some light on how journalists really feel about behaviors of PR professionals. Namely, what are the things that bug journalists the most and tips on how to avoid making these mistakes.

The bottom line?

Do your research. Know the journalist and topics they cover. Read their stuff. Follow them on social networks. Learn how they want to be contacted.

Brevity is king. Tailor your PR pitch accordingly. Keep it short and sweet. Limit phone calls to those people you have a relationship with or had a response from.

Be a resource. Be prepared to give more details, arrange interviews, be helpful. Don’t spam, use all capitals in emails or call repeatedly.

What PR tips do you find work the best?

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Creative Concepts Examines Potluck Social Network

potluck_branchIn June, the New York-based startup Branch Media, Inc. launched Potluck, a new link sharing social network. Branch Media, backed by Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone among others, has social star power and provides an intimate content sharing network.

An estimated 86% of internet users never tweet, blog or post videos. Potluck aims to bring out these silent web lurkers and provide what they have dubbed “the greatest house party on the internet.” Potluck is a place to discover new things “your friends think are cool, that you wouldn’t find otherwise.”

The site entices you to hang out with your friends and people they know. The focus of the network is more on the content and links and less on the people posting. This “reduces anxiety by taking the emphasis off individual people and places it on the common interests that bring them together.”

The site has the following features: posts, friend activity, rooms, notifications and profiles. Potluck for iOS will be available in the next few weeks.

Branch is a new business-focused platform for hosting and publishing invite-only conversations. Branch has been used by publications, brands and public figures. 

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Creative Concepts Looks At Global Digital Journalism Study

ID-10091960The 6th Annual Oriella Digital Journalism Study by the Oriella PR Network, an alliance of PR agencies, recently polled over 500 journalists in 15 countries about their digital media use and outlook.

‘The New Normal for News’ report finds digital media prevalent in all countries, with more respondents citing they believe their largest readership is online rather than offline.

The study found:

  • 39 percent consider themselves “digital first” – they publish news as it happens rather than waiting for the next print issue.
  • 59 percent are now tweeting in 2013 vs. 47 percent in 2012.
  • 50 percent say they are measured by the number of unique views their articles receive online.
  • 49 percent publish video they shoot in-house.
  • Social media and blogs are utilized for research.
  • Even with the rise in digital numbers, 40 percent of respondents feel that print media has more prestige.



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Creative Concepts Looks at Pose Social Network for Fashion

pose fashion social networkI recently came across Pose, a trendy fashion-based social network, while doing research. Pose, a Pinterest-looking social network for fashion lovers boasts 1.5 million users and has been billed the Instagram of the fashion world. The start-up launched in 2011 and provides the fashion industry and fashionistas with a social site all their own.

Pose users post images and videos of outfits, makeup, beauty and shopping finds. They can save favorites on Pinterest-like boards called Collections. Outfits are tagged similar to hashtags by type, brands and prices. Since September 2012, Pose users can find and even purchase select fashion items.

By offering links to retail sites, Pose users can earn a little affiliate cash if a follower makes a purchase and Pose gets a small percentage as well. Pose is also looking to monetize through advertising.

Pose offers more platforms than Instagram with sharing on apps through iPhone, iPad, and Android as well as the web and Facebook. Pose encourages sharing on many social networks for users to share their style finds with friends.

What’s interesting is that some fashion bloggers have both Instagram and Pose accounts and have found a greater following on the Pose network. The numbers show that there is a market for a targeted social network that does not appeal to everyone.

Pose is an up and coming social network in the fashion industry. And for companies that are in beauty and fashion markets, it is certainly a site to watch.

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Creative Concepts Shares Five Ways to Improve Your Story Pitch

man on phoneJournalists are bombarded with emails, texts and phone calls every day of the week. They are charged with doing more with less and are on deadline usually around the clock.

How can you as a PR person make sure that your pitch breaks through the clutter?

Here are five ways to improve your story pitch:

Research – Know your target list of journalists. Read their stories, social media newsfeeds and blogs. Find out how they prefer to be contacted (Email is still the most preferred method.) Learn what their interests are so you can personalize your pitch and make a lasting connection.

Create a news angle – Your new product line may be of interest to your company, but how do you make it appealing to the public? Does it solve a problem? Can you connect it to a news angle or trend? Think from the journalist’s perspective – how does this information help them cover their beat?

Keep it short and sweet – Write your pitch and then go back and shorten it. Rewrite the pitch and avoid using industry jargon. Take out the fluff and make sure that you have answered “what’s in it for me” for the journalist/target audience perspective.

Dangle a carrot – Leave the journalist wanting more. Provide enough information to peak his/her interest and provide a call to action to contact you for details on the story.

Build a relationship – Offer to be a source even if you don’t have any pressing news at the moment. Be helpful and become a valuable source to the journalist. Send them industry news tips or write an opinion about a story they have written about.

For more information on what journalists want, check out Bliss Integrated’s 2012 Survey of the Journalist’s World. The report covers what journalists want, how they want it and what causes them pain.

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Creative Concepts Looks at Social Media Demographics

social media demographicsEver wonder which social media sites you should focus on for your target market?

A new extensive social demographics study from Pew Research Center and Docstoc illustrates social media behavior and platform usage. There are a few findings in line with previous studies as well as some new insights into social activity.

  • Women use social media 9% more than men do, which is not a huge surprise based on past surveys (Thanks Pinterest!)
  • The youngest age group (18-29) continues to dominate social media usage at 83% with Gen X and company in second place at 77%.
  • 72% of adults with annual household incomes below $30,000 use social networks, more than any other income level.
  • People living in the city are the highest users of social media at 70%, perhaps because of digital connectivity in fast paced city life.
  • Hispanics lead the way for social usage by race at 72% followed by African-Americans and Caucasians.
  • Facebook reigns supreme as the most popular social network with 67% of adults using the platform. It was surprising that YouTube and Google+ were not included in this study.

There also appears to be an upward trend in middle-aged social media users showing 4% growth while the other groups have dropped.

For more social media demographics, including which social media sites attract specific demographics, see the infographic from Pew Research Center and Docstoc:

social infographic


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