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.

Image courtesy of adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

 

Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Looks at the Best Time to Send Email

emailEmail has become the contact medium of choice for journalists as well as business people. Phone calls are still important, but as an introductory communication, email is king.

A recent study by GetResponse sheds some light on the best times to send email. GetResponse looked at 21 million messages in US accounts in the first quarter of 2012 to determine the top open and click through times.

One top conclusion from the study reveals that sending email between the times of 8:00 am – 10:00 am and 3:00 – 4:00 pm can increase their average opens and click through rate by 6%.

Other Findings:

  • Emails are most likely to be read within the first hour of delivery, when they have a 24 percent chance of being opened. After the second hour, the results drop by half, and after 24 hours, email open rates are close to zero.
  • The best time to send emails is when the receiver is reviewing their inbox – this tends to be in the morning or early afternoon. Almost 40 percent of all emails are sent between 6 a.m. and noon, cluttering inboxes and increasing the likelihood your message is not going to be seen. So, messages sent in the afternoon might be the best choice.

There are lots of factors to consider however such as time zone differences, subscriber daily routines and industry-specific behaviors. For example, journalists might have the most email activity in the mornings, so afternoon might be a better time to send a tailored pitch.

Always research the journalist you are pitching to determine their preferences and contact them when your pitch has the best chance to be seen. Not only is your pitch important – short, tailored – but so is the timing of your pitch.

The infographic from GetResponse below highlights the results of the study.

Best-Time-To-Share-Infographic

 

Image via GetResponse

Creative Concepts Talks About Content Google Loves

content google lovesContent is all the rage theses days in marketing and public relations circles.

Producing and publishing relevant online content for your business is no small task.

The key is to be sure your content is search-friendly. Write for your audience and use phrases that they would search if they were researching a topic in your industry.

Once you create search friendly content, publish it out through lots of channels like your website, blog, social channels, newsletter, and more. If you work with dealers, partners or a channel, be sure to include them in your publishing mix. Provide your information for their communications efforts and they can share through their networks.

Creating content on a regular basis is no small task. It is important to offer compelling, continual information on a regular basis that will help your buyers find you when they are looking for your type of business or service.

Jeff Foster from WebBizIdeas recently wrote an extremely informative article “17 Types of Content that Google Will Eat Up” on MarketingProfs. He lists many ideas for content creation that are helpful for any business.

Here is a sample of the list:

  • Interviews – Interview experts and share their insights. Use social media as a way to poll experts.
  • Lists – Everyone loves a list. David Letterman’s Top 10 List is always fun and fresh. Create one of your own.
  • Polls and surveys – Research and opinions are always newsworthy. Create an infographic with results and share.
  • News – Be one of the first to break your industry news online.
  • Case studies – Your customers are your strongest asset. Show how you helped solve their problems.
  • Opinion pieces – Take a stance on an issue and voice your opinion.
  • Predictions – You are an expert in your field. Talk about trends you are seeing and share online.
  • Contests – Create a social promotion where users upload images or caption a photo. Google loves interactive contests.

There are so many creative ways to share information that is useful and relevant. Start small at once or twice a month and you will find it gets easier filling your content marketing calendar.

Check out Jeff’s video as well as presentation to learn more about content creation that Google loves.

Infographic via WebBizIdeas

Creative Concepts Examines Pew’s State of News Media 2013

StateofNewsMedia-promo_260x260Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalist (PEJ) recently released the 10th Annual State of News Media Report. The findings of the report reflect the fundamental shift from traditional to digital news consumption.

Newspapers are operating at partial staffs with limited resources. Newsroom employment is down 30 percent since a boost in 2000 and is below 40,000 people for the first time since 1978. Newsweek has shuttered its print edition and gone digital. Time survived, but is having its own staff cutbacks. The end result? The quality of news reporting has declined and the public has taken notice.

One-third of consumers polled have dropped their previously preferred news outlets because they no longer offered in-depth news they had gotten used to. More than a quarter of Americans (27%) now get news on mobile devices, and for the vast majority, this is increasing news consumption.

Brands and organizations have also become web savvy – using digital technology and social media on their own, removing the middlemen in the traditional media. They are connecting with their audiences directly using inbound and outbound online strategies.

News organizations are struggling to remain relevant while brands and businesses are creating their own content and going straight to the consumer. It is an interesting time. See Pew’s Infographic below on the study results. How has your organization adapted?

PJ_13.03.19_stateNewsMedia-Infographic-7001

 

Image via Pew Research Center.

Creative Concepts Looks at the Rise in Mobile Web Usage

mobile device web usageMobility is on the rise and businesses need to be ready. We live in a rapidly changing world where consumers are surfing and shopping online while on the go. It’s almost no surprise that 2013 may be the year mobile devices outnumber desktops in accessing the web.

Per Get Elastic, 80 percent of web traffic came from desktop computers in 2012. In 2013, mobile phones are predicted to surpass desktop computers as the most commonly used device to access the web. In the ecommerce world, mobile device purchases made on Black Friday in 2012 were 40 percent higher than in 2011. Paypal reported mobile payment volumes increased 190% when compared to 2011.

Companies need to examine their mobile strategy and adjust as needed. Is your website responsive to mobile screen sizes? Can you accept mobile payments? Is your shopping cart mobile-ready? Have you investigated mobile marketing opportunities like SMS?

Consumers are ready to buy in real-time and your business needs to be ready to sell at any time.

See KissMetrics‘ infographic below on mobile web usage. How is it changing your business?

++ Click Image to Enlarge ++
How Mobile is Changing Business
Source: How Mobile is Changing Business – Infographic

Image courtesy of adamr /FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Creative Concepts Offers SEO Tools for Public Relations

title tags

In our previous post, we discussed SEO tips for public relations and outlined what exactly search engine optimization is and why it is important. Here are a few tips to improve SEO on your website, blog and social media channels.

Website

  • Make sure your title tag, description and keyword meta tags are filled out and include your company name as well as industry keywords that people would search to find your business.
  • Add pages to your website that describe your products and services in detail as well as what markets you target and how you are able to solve problems in each industry.
  • If you don’t already have an online newsroom, add one and be sure to keep it updated with news, events, awards from your company.

Blog

  • Use a search-friendly blog content management system like WordPress.
  • Utilize tags and create categories for your blog using topics and keywords relevant to your industry.
  • Reference your marketing materials library and repurpose content into blog posts, educating and helping your readers.
  • Install SEO plug-ins and be sure to fill in the title, description and keywords in the plug-in for each post.
  • Use images with your blog post. Use a keyword for the file name. Add in descriptive alt text to help it appear in image search.

Social Media

  • Make sure your profiles are complete with images and descriptions. Use keywords and include website address and easy ways to contact your company.
  • Share information that is relevant to your industry but not always about your business. Avoid sales pitches. Think education.
  • Monitor your accounts and answer questions and issues within a reasonable timeframe.

By learning a little more about search engine optimization and making a few tweaks, you will ensure that people will find your business when they are looking for it.

Here are a few great resources to learn about SEO:

Jenny Munn, an SEO blogger, copywriter and trainer, offers SEO tips and recently published a new DIY SEO Workbook.

Search Engine Watch offers articles, tips and tricks.

 

Creative Concepts Offers SEO Tips For Public Relations

seo-tipsIf you ask someone how they heard about your business, chances are they found it through a Google search.

Journalists are also looking for sources online. TopRank’s Journalists Use of Search Survey revealed that 91% of journalists use Google. Journalists are also searching blogs and social media to get story ideas.

What is SEO? Search engine optimization is a way to make sure your website appears in search engines when people are looking for your type of business or service. There are no guarantees with SEO and algorithms are always changing with search engines, but there are some basic ways to improve your website search ranking.

Here are a few simple SEO tips for PR:

Know Your Keywords

Review your website analytics to see what keywords people are using to search for your site. Ask customers what words they would use to search for your type of business. Research what keywords your competitors are using in their online advertising. Create a spreadsheet with your keywords and share with your team. Knowing your most relevant industry keywords is crucial as you optimize your online campaigns.

Check Your Current Online Messaging

Review social media profiles, websites, blogs and other relevant content for keywords. Include keywords in your About Us, Products/Services and News sections and keep them up to date. If you have a blog, consider writing a post that utilizes each top keyword or keyword phrase and talk about a topic in your industry. Utilize your meta tags – add title tags, descriptions and keywords. Optimize images and video on your website.

Make Your Content Social

Google recognizes links shared through social media. If you have a newsletter, be sure to add it to your website and include social sharing buttons in the newsletter and on the website. Share your content such as presentations, webinars, videos and articles over your social networks. Utilize sites such as YouTube, Slideshare.net and Flickr.

Go Local

Be sure to create listings for your business in Google, Yahoo and Bing. If you are a small local business, check your listings on Yelp and CitySearch and your local Patch. Make sure you are listed on FourSquare and offer specials if it is relevant.

Monitor and Measure As You Go

Set up Google alerts for your keywords and your company name. Monitor your industry and watch for new trends and keywords to add to your list. Read industry blogs and comments to see how people describe your business or industry. Measure your traffic and compare metrics back to the start of the optimization process. Schedule quarterly audits to review traffic, keywords and messaging.

More Information

SEO: The Free Beginner’s Guide from SEOmoz. This is a visually compelling and fully detailed SEO guide for anyone who works in marketing and public relations.

The internet has changed the way we search for and share information. People are searching for your business for many reasons – make sure they can find you.

Image via TopRank Online Marketing.

Creative Concepts Looks at Social Customer Service

Customer service has come of age. Businesses integrating social into customer service are seeing improved ratings as a result. Social buyer influence is also on the rise.

In a recent survey, 80 percent of companies plan to use social media for customer service by the end of 2012 and a majority of users (71 percent) who receive positive customer support through a social brand recommend them to friends.

15.1 million people refer to social media before making a purchase and the number of people that are influenced by social networks for buying decisions has doubled (64% up from 32% last year).

This infographic from Click Software looks at the role of customer service in social media.

customer-service-social-media

How are you using social media as a customer service tool?

Infographic via ClickSoftware

Creative Concepts Examines The Value Of A Public Relations Annual Audit

prauditWith a new year comes new goals, dreams and resolutions. While we look forward to the promise that the new year offers, it’s also a good time to look back on PR accomplishments of the previous year.

Some questions to ponder: What did you learn this year? What were your successes? What needs improvement?

Review

Review your public relations strategy.  Take a look at your campaign results based on each audience (internal, external, partners, stakeholders, prospects, customers, etc.) Were you able to measure goals and outcomes? Can you tie them to business goals for the C-Suite? What worked? What didn’t work? Come up with a spreadsheet with your metrics and campaigns. Prepare a competitor review and pull any new industry research. Talk to marketing and share insights.

Refresh

Refresh your messaging. Is your website up to date? Are your materials and social profiles current? Do they support your strategy? Make sure your media contact information is up to date. Check media editorial calendars and make a calendar of holidays and important dates for your business including lead times. If you are blogging, set up a content calendar and create an outline with ideas and resources for the blog.

Reenergize

Refuel your public relations program by identifying what you need for the year. What is your budget? Do you need additional resources or staff? Create your plan and a 3, 6, 12 month outline. What conditions have changed this year that need to be addressed? Have you identified new markets? Talk to your customers, vendors and partners. Reconnect and find out what is going on in the industry.

PR Toolkit

Here are some PR tips and resources to get you started planning your 2013 year.

Developing Your Content Editorial Calendar for 2013  (Free template Excel spreadsheet link)

EdCals – Free Editorial Calendar Research Tool from Cision

2013 Calendar with Holidays, Events and Notable Dates (free Word/Excel template downloads)

Editorial Calendar Template for planning your public relations program and campaigns.

Website Launch Checklist and Daily Tracker – track statistics of website, social accounts and more.