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glean.info https://glean.info Social Media, Online News, Broadcast News, Print Monitoring and Analysis. Thu, 24 Dec 2020 16:06:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nextdoor Opens a Door to New Marketing Opportunities https://glean.info/nextdoor-opens-a-door-to-new-marketing-opportunities/ https://glean.info/nextdoor-opens-a-door-to-new-marketing-opportunities/#respond Thu, 24 Dec 2020 12:00:26 +0000 https://glean.info/?p=26454 While PR and marketing professionals may already have their hands full with social media networks, those who promote small and medium local businesses might benefit from Nextdoor. Nextdoor offers a unique approach to social media networking. Really. Facebook aims to strengthen connections between far flung friends and relatives. Twitter serves as an open forum. Reddit […]

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Image source: Nextdoor

While PR and marketing professionals may already have their hands full with social media networks, those who promote small and medium local businesses might benefit from Nextdoor.

Nextdoor offers a unique approach to social media networking. Really. Facebook aims to strengthen connections between far flung friends and relatives. Twitter serves as an open forum. Reddit and other networks develop connections based on shared interests. Nextdoor strives to develop connections between people living in in the same neighborhood or otherwise close geographical proximity.

Why Nextdoor is Different

Instead of arguing with strangers living around the country or world, Nextdoor members discuss issues with people living down the block. It claims more than 270,000 neighborhoods worldwide and memberships of one in four US households.

Nextdoor verifies identities and addresses to assign members to neighborhoods. That prevents fake accounts, a problem with networks like Twitter, and offers a powerful marketing advantage. Businesses avoid fake accounts and leads outside their geographical areas.

Posts on lost cats and dogs, usually lost and sometimes found, dominate the app’s feed. Reports of crime, such as car break-ins, roaming coyotes, and complaints of noisy neighbors, are also common.

After missing pets, requests for business recommendations are one of the most common types of posts. People often seek recommendations for home improvement contractors — about three-fourths of Nextdoor members are homeowners. They also people seek recommendations for doctors, dentists, car mechanics and a range of other services. Two-thirds of members share recommendations, according to Nextdoor.

Nextdoor also offers a valuable tool for nonprofits to publicize local fundraising events, and for public agencies that want to share critical, real-time information at the neighborhood level. National brands are also marketing through Nextdoor, as ads from Ring home security system show.

Best Practices for Marketing on Nextdoor

The first step in using Nextdoor is to create or “claim” your business page. Keep your business account separate from your individual account, advises Steve Eastlack at marketing agency Surefire Local. That allows multiple people on your team to manage the business account without going through your personal account.

Post an engaging, high-resolution cover photo, a friendly greeting that describes your products and services. Remember to post your address, contact information, and service area.

Marketing best practices for Nextdoor hold many similarities to other networks. Winning recommendations is the main goal. Ask satisfied customers to give recommendations. Thank everyone who recommends your business. Post helpful advice in the community feed. Respond to comments and questions in your specialty — promptly. A fast or slow response rate can make the difference between good recommendations and critical comments.

Consider publicizing your presence on the app with a sign in your storefront, email messages to customers, a blog post, and other social media platforms. “Remain focused on your immediate neighborhood — only your neighbors and nearby neighbors can recommend you,” says marketing writer Katie Sehl.

Create an event if the business hosts a class, participates in a show or festival, or holds another type of event that’s open to the public. Consider asking employees or other local brand ambassadors to announce company events or promotions in their personal accounts, suggests Ryan Davies, founder of RCD Digital Marketing. You can promote businesses through personal accounts, but be careful to follow the network’s policy guidelines.

As with other marketing venues, businesses and their PR and marketing staffers must beware of overly aggressive promotions to avoid violating policy guidelines and annoying potential customers. Balance boldfaced marketing with helpful advice. “If you’re only seen to be talking about your business then you’re not only going to get on people’s nerves but probably be reported by the community – not great when you live across the road from them,” Davies says.

Advertising is also an option. Nextdoor Local Deals let businesses share offers and promotions. You have to really offer some kind of deal. Neighborhood Sponsorships, another ad option, target automated ads to target specific ZIP codes, which can be helpful to national brands.

Bottom Line: Nextdoor offers an excellent PR and marketing venue for small and medium local businesses and nonprofits with physical locations. Organizations with physical locations can capitalize on Nextdoor’s emphasis on local neighborhoods. Its practice of verifying identities and addresses of users sets it apart from other social media networks and creates a superb channel for local businesses.

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Influencer Marketing Proves Resilient, Looks to 2021 Rebound https://glean.info/influencer-marketing-proves-resilient-looks-to-2021-rebound/ https://glean.info/influencer-marketing-proves-resilient-looks-to-2021-rebound/#respond Wed, 23 Dec 2020 18:08:39 +0000 https://glean.info/?p=26451 The Covid-19 recession of 2020 devastated marketing and advertising spending. Influencing marketing budgets were not immune. Especially hard hit were brands in travel and hospitality, a popular influencer topic. Yet influencer marketing proved resilient and in some ways grew stronger, buoyed by TikTok, Generation Z, and the popular Stories format, according to the State of […]

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influencer marketing 2020 2021

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Covid-19 recession of 2020 devastated marketing and advertising spending. Influencing marketing budgets were not immune. Especially hard hit were brands in travel and hospitality, a popular influencer topic.

Yet influencer marketing proved resilient and in some ways grew stronger, buoyed by TikTok, Generation Z, and the popular Stories format, according to the State of Influencer Marketing 2021 report from Klear Research.

Bright Spots within the Darkness

Use of the #ad hashtag in Instagram posts declined 19% from last year, indicating a drop in sponsored posts on the most popular influencer marketing network.  However, influencers delivered greater marketing impact. In 2020, sponsored posts received an average of 7,806 impressions (unique views), a 57% increase from 2019 when sponsored posts averaged 4,827 impressions.

Creators’ use of sponsored Stories increased 32% in 2020. In addition, sponsorship activity overall increased on TikTok by 130%.

Generation Z, defined as aged18-24, contributed to a 9% lift in the production of influencer #ad content, and was the only cohort to increase its volume of sponsored Instagram posts. In 2020, influencers aged 18-24 made up 34% of the influencer industry; in 2019, influencers in that age group made up 31% of the industry.

In 2020, influencers created 38.1 sponsored stories a week, in 2019 they created 28.8.

The report shows how influencers are shifting away from full posts and toward shorter snippets on TikTok and Instagram Stories, mirroring changes in consumer behavior on the social platforms, points out Chris Kelley at Marketing Drive.

Stronger in 2021

Previous research indicated that influencer marketing weathered this year relatively well and may become a more valuable marketing tactic in the post-Covid-19 world. Although 67% of marketers said their digital marketing budgets have decreased, only 41% said the same for their influencer marketing budgets, according to a survey by Linquia completed early this year. In addition, nearly 60% of marketers said their influencer marketing budgets will remain the same or increase after Covid-19.

That’s possibly due to the results content influencers produce: 71% of marketers surveyed said influencers can make a positive impact for their brand. And 63% believe that the content is strong enough to use in other channels — including TV.

Covid-19 Impacts Content

While the pandemic crimped marketing budgets and shut down opportunities to produce content, especially in the travel and hospitality sector, it also increased opportunities since consumers spent more time online and particularly more time on social media.

Many enterprising influencers gained more attention by showing people how to cook at home, complete do-it-yourself home projects, and how to dress and save money during economic uncertainty.

Marketers who embrace more sophisticated social media measurement of influencer posts will be the most successful and win additional funding, experts say. With marketing budgets under scrutiny, brands are re-assessing the effectiveness of different strategies and closely reviewing their ROI. Measuring influencer marketing results with more than likes will be essential for the strategy to grow.

“Influencer marketing represents a unique channel that builds trust with consumers, an industry that for years has prioritized sentiment and engagement KPIs such as likes, comments and shares over ROI,” says writes Dave Murray, managing director of rewardStyle London. That must now change.

Bottom Line: While the number of influencers’ sponsored posts may have dropped this year, their posts gained more attention this year, new research reveals. The finding shows that brands that maintained their influencer marketing budgets in the face of the Covid-19 disruptions may have gained a competitive advantage. If influencers hold their sway over followers, brands may prioritize influencer marketing.

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12 Tips to Prepare Executives for Successful Media Interviews https://glean.info/how-to-prepare-for-successful-media-interviews/ https://glean.info/how-to-prepare-for-successful-media-interviews/#respond Tue, 22 Dec 2020 16:48:17 +0000 http://www.cyberalert.com/blog/?p=15011 While Covid-19 accelerated the trend to remote interviews on Zoom, the underlying basics of successful media interviews remain unchanged. It’s still incumbent on communications professionals to prepare and train business executives and subject matter experts for media interviews. Although company leaders and experts boast extensive knowledge about their particular companies and subjects, they may not […]

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PR Tips to Prepare Executives for Media Interviews

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

While Covid-19 accelerated the trend to remote interviews on Zoom, the underlying basics of successful media interviews remain unchanged. It’s still incumbent on communications professionals to prepare and train business executives and subject matter experts for media interviews.

Although company leaders and experts boast extensive knowledge about their particular companies and subjects, they may not be skilled at answering journalists’ or analysts’ questions in interviews. Media interview can intimidate even experienced PR practitioners and business executives, but a well-done interview can greatly enhancethe value of a news story. So learning how to do a media interview well is a valuable skill.

These tips from communications experts can help PR pros prepare executives in their organizations to give stellar media interviews.

Do your research. Research the publication and its audience to understand their viewpoints, pain points and the reporter’s agenda. Visit the reporters’ social media profiles and read their previous articles. Thorough research can help anticipate questions that reporters may ask. That allows you to prepare responses and help executives rehearse those responses. Executives, themselves, may know some tough questions too. Rehearse answers to those as well.

Prepare personal anecdotes. In a media interview, Dr. Ugur Sahin, a researcher who was instrumental in the development of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, related how he received a phone call from Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, informing him of the successful vaccine trial. When interview Andrew Marr asked him how he celebrated, he explained:

“We did not have a lot of opportunity to celebrate,” Dr. Sahin said. “I just discussed the results with my wife and how fantastic it is – it is an extraordinary result – and had a tea together and just looked back at the last months until we got this data and of course it provides joy.”

“It was a great exchange, packed with details and a touch of humor. And it helped to show the human side of the people behind the vaccine,” writes Adam Fisher at Media First.

Share personal stories and examples at the start of the interview, without prompting from the journalist, Fisher advises. The tea-drinking anecdote sounded natural, it was previously reported in numerous publications, suggesting that Dr. Sahin had prepared and even rehearsed the story.

Ask about the interview. Ask reporters for background information about the interview. For instance:

  • Will the interview be live or pre-recorded? If your spokesperson has confidence, a live interview provides a better opportunity to get your key message across and control the content. A prerecorded interview may be cut to a short clip.
  • Who else will be interviewed? If you know that a competitor, unhappy customer or representative of a pressure group will be interviewed, you can research their likely comments and prepare a response.
  • What’s the story about? This may seem pretty obvious, but it’s always worth checking what angle the journalist is taking. They may intend to compare you to a competitor or relate your product to other news.
  • Where will the interview take place? This question is important for logistical and reputational issues. If reporters visit your offices, consider who else they might meet and what they might see. Make sure your organization’s logo is not in the background if it is a negative story.

Practice sessions. Ask the executive the anticipated questions in a practice session. Record the practice interview on camera, Rob Maurin, vice president, communications, at Wave, tells Forbes. Executives who view themselves on camera will better understand how they’re perceived.

Stay on message. Urge executives to remember the brand’s message. Interview topics often move in undesirable directions, especially during times of crisis and getting back on track can be challenging. “By bringing the conversation back to your mission, no matter what the question may be, you keep your brand messaging intact,” says Jennifer Mellon, president of Trustify. Learning how to deftly pivot the conversation is among the most important media interview skills.

Emphasize brevity. Long-winded responses typically fail to deliver the key message and annoy reporters, especially if they don’t answer the question. To prepare long-winded executives give them one piece of paper with a bulleted list to reference points for use during the interview, advises PR pro Jenna Cason. The list can include concise company facts and brief responses to expected questions.

Time them. Time their response to a question during a practice session with a stop watch (or a stop watch app). Ask them to guess the length of their responses. In general, they should aim to respond to questions within 30 to 45 seconds, Cason says.

Don’t over-coach. Avoid telling spokespeople exactly how to respond to a question. Encourage them to be succinct without taking away elements that make them unique and natural. Most of all, you want your executive to understand that an interview is a conversation between two people.

Don’t repeat a negative phrase or word that a reporter uses in a question. Even if you disagree with a negative description, repeating it encourages journalists to include it their headline or article. Instead, answer the question with positive language.

Avoid saying “no comment.” Journalists hate it and invariably write the story anyway with someone else’s potentially damaging comments. Sometimes spokespeople cannot answer a reporter’s question even if they know the answer due to legal, regulatory or privacy issues. For those situations, learn ways to avoid saying “no comment.”

Don’t say anything off the record. Some reporters request information off the record then publish the information anyway. Sometimes remarks are reported by mistake if the interviewer, interviewee or both misunderstand when the off-the-record portion ends. Respond with a simple, “I won’t go off the record.” Consider everything, even post-interview banter, as on-the-record. Also warn executives about other sneaky interview tricks journalists use like pregnant pauses.

Prepare for virtual interviews. In the wake of the Covid-19, most media outlets abandoned in-person interviews in favor of remote interviews through Zoom, Microsoft Teams or other apps. Remote interviews offer advantages, PR experts predict they’ll remain a fixture of the PR landscape.

“However, delivering a virtual interview from your home through Skype or Zoom presents a new set of challenges and requires unique training,” says Megan Redzia at 3E Public Relations. “Even spokespeople who have years of experience being interviewed in-studio, should be trained on the nuances of delivering an impactful remote interview.”

There are issues about lighting, seating, microphones and audio clarity, and posture that the executive must be aware of and solve before the interview. PR pros should test all those elements with the executive before a remote media interview.

Bonus tip: To gauge the success of media interviews, employ a media monitoring and measurement service. Media monitoring and measurement will gather essential information such as the number of key messages included in interviews and other news articles, the number of competitors mentioned and the sentiment of news articles. By tracking key metrics, media monitoring and measurement will prove the value of your media training and overall PR efforts.

Bottom Line: Research and thorough preparation are central to successful media interviews. It’s incumbent on PR to prepare executives for live or remote media interviews. Understanding the perspective of the news source and its audience can help you anticipate questions and develop responses. Questioning the interviewer in advance about the purpose of the story can also provide guidance on potential questions.

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This post was first published on July 21, 2016, and updated on Dec. 22, 2020.

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Top 2020 Public Relations Blunders and Lessons Learned https://glean.info/top-2020-public-relations-blunders-and-lessons-learned/ https://glean.info/top-2020-public-relations-blunders-and-lessons-learned/#respond Tue, 22 Dec 2020 12:24:32 +0000 https://glean.info/?p=26442 There have been a bevy of major PR blunders in 2020, some of them carryovers from previous years, like Boeing and Wells Fargo. There have also been new minor ones, like Major League Baseball’s sign stealing scandal. The Biggest Blunder Trophy, if there was one, goes to President Trump for his handling of the coronavirus […]

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top 2020 PR blunders

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

There have been a bevy of major PR blunders in 2020, some of them carryovers from previous years, like Boeing and Wells Fargo. There have also been new minor ones, like Major League Baseball’s sign stealing scandal.

The Biggest Blunder Trophy, if there was one, goes to President Trump for his handling of the coronavirus epidemic. His statements congratulating himself for keeping the death rate from the coronavirus at only more than 200,000 (as of Election Day), ties with the most uncaring remarks by a president since Andrew Johnson held the position. His uncaring public statements probably cost him the election.

Trump committed one of the biggest PR blunders in history by keeping the seriousness of the coronavirus from the public for many weeks. The president exacerbated the problem by ignoring a basic rule of how to respond to a PR crisis: Don’t think you can talk yourself out of a PR crisis. Get the bad news out ASAP and then give detailed plans how you are going to correct the situation.

In addition, much like Nero who allegedly played the fiddle while Rome burned, Trump was photographed playing golf while people died from Covid-19.

PR Lesson #1: When drafting speeches or even talking points for clients, include empathetic statements.

PR Lesson #2: Clients sometimes lie and make statements to the media that will be ridiculed. Don’t defend such statements. If you do so, the media will consider you a lackey.

PR Lesson 3: No matter what your title, you can’t get the media to bend to your will. Trying to do so will only result in additional negative publicity.

PR Lesson #4: During a PR crisis the CEO must never be photographed enjoying himself. When people are suffering, the CEO must express empathy and forgo good times.

A Premature Announcement

The day before the opening of the Republican National Convention, Trump called a press conference to announce emergency authorization to treat COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma — a move he called “a breakthrough.” The problem was that medical scientists disagreed about the efficacy of the treatment. Even FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, who hailed the announcement and appeared with the president, conceded that more research was needed. Instead of being accepted as the medical breakthrough, the decision was criticized by medical scientists as not being sufficiently scientifically vetted. Trump’s announcement led to negative news coverage throughout the GOP convention.

PR Lesson: Before you announce an “approved,” a “better” or a “major” product, be certain that you have the facts to back it up. The press will check.

Lack of a Consistency and Truth

A key rule of responding to a PR crisis is to have a consistent truthful message. Trump broke that rule. Instead of immediately announcing a worst case scenario plan if needed, early on, he labeled the coronavirus a “Democratic hoax” and blamed the media for causing needless alarm.

PR Lesson: When a PR crisis develops, never try to downplay it because that causes media distrust and leads to greater negative coverage. Do the opposite of Boeing, Wells Fargo, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, and the White House. All prime examples of how not to act during a PR crisis.

Coronavirus Task Force Blunder

On July 13, media reported that the White House disseminated information regarding comments about the coronavirus made by Dr. Anthony Fauci. The White House comments were later proven wrong. For example, the White House cited a Feb. 29 interview during which Dr. Fauci said, “At this moment there is no need to change anything you’re doing on a day-to-day basis.” But multiple print and TV news shows pointed out that was not Dr. Fauci’s full statement, which said, “Right now the risk is still low, but this could change.”

PR Lesson: Never disseminate misleading statements. Once they are fact checked and found to be false, whatever else you release will be treated with skepticism by the media.

Changing Reporting of Coronavirus Data

During a major spike in Covid-19 infections, the White House ordered hospitals to send Covid-19 patient information to a central data base in Washington, not open to the public, instead of to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as was the normal procedure for years. The decision caused health experts to oppose the change, fearing that the data would now be politicized.

PR Lesson #1: Change a program mid-way if it’s not working. But when doing so, always be prepared for opposition and have a solid reason, and replacement ideas, for marking the change.

PR Lesson #2: Do not make a change in process that can be interpreted as an attempt to hide information that should be public.

There were many more political and government PR blunders in 2020 at both the national and state levels. For the remainder of this article, we’ll concentrate on business PR blunders.

NFL PR Blunders

A journalist can make a career writing exclusively about PR blunders of the National Football League (although it might require working 24/7 for years). The latest was when Andrew Berry, the Cleveland Browns general manager said, as reported in the New York Times on Jan. 13, “We welcome Myles back to our organization with open arms.” The NFL had reinstated defensive back Myles Garrett, who had been suspended indefinitely for pulling off the helmet of a player and hitting him in the head with it. Previously, in the same season, he was fined for punching a player.

PR Lesson: If you are an outstanding talent who can help the company, many transgressions will be forgiven. 

Baseball PR Blunder

New York Mets player Jeff McNeil was carted off the field after crashing into the fence when making a catch in a game. Media reports said that the Mets restricted him from talking to the media after the game, a major blunder considering that baseball, as do all sports, depend on media coverage for publicity.

PR Lesson: Good press relations is gained by meeting the press during good and bad times.

A Double-Scheduling Mistake

NBC scheduled an Oct. 15 Town Hall featuring President Trump at the same time as the previously scheduled ABC one with Joe Biden – a major blunder. The Comcast Corporation subsidiary received negative media coverage for the scheduling because viewers had to choose which program to watch.

PR Lesson: In order to get maximum media attendees at an event, always make certain that there is not a competing event happening at the same time before scheduling the event.

No Longer America’s Mayor

Rudy Giuliani provides a template for how easy it is for a PR person to tarnish a good reputation with the media. For years he was known as “America’s Mayor,” for his skillful leadership after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But he lost respect because of his misleading statements in defense of Trump, and he lost what was remaining of his reputation because of his fabrications of why Trump lost the 2020 election.

PR Lesson: A PR person can make many different types of blunders. A frequent one is for an account person to disseminate false information on behalf of a client, mistakenly thinking it will show loyalty. Losing trust with the media can derail a PR practitioner’s career and certainly will result in the PR pro getting a negative reputation with the media.

A Football PR Fumble

A fourth down and a 1000 yards to go blunder by the University of California for revoking the athletic scholarship to football player Henry Bazakas for opting out of his final season because he feared getting the coronavirus and bringing it home to his elderly parents and others.

PR Lesson: UC provided a lesson that everyone in our business should remember. In the final analysis, past performances take a back seat with management that is only interested in “what did you do to help us today?” When management promises you something, remember this quote from Niccolò Machiavelli: “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present.”

On Dec. 9, The New York Times ran a huge article, beginning on page one and continuing for another entire inside page, titled, “How a Vaccine Front-Runner Fell Far Behind.” The article detailed how during a phone call with the Food and Drug Administration an AstraZeneca representative failed to mention that the company halted its trail of the vaccine after a participant in the study fell ill. When the illness of the individual became public, it resulted in concern at the FDA and has derailed its early acceptance of the vaccine.

PR Lesson: Failure to divulge complete information, whether by design or accident, can result in a lack of credibility for you or a client. A good way to prevent this from happening is to prepare a list of topics you want covered during discussions and make certain that each has been covered.

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10 Steps to Win Major Earned Media Mentions during Quarterly Earnings Season  https://glean.info/10-steps-to-win-major-earned-media-mentions-during-quarterly-earnings-season/ https://glean.info/10-steps-to-win-major-earned-media-mentions-during-quarterly-earnings-season/#respond Mon, 21 Dec 2020 16:43:29 +0000 https://glean.info/?p=20990 As the quarterly earnings season approaches, public relations teams will become busy drafting press releases, preparing executives for interviews and contacting reporters. Winning media mentions from earnings releases has become more challenging than ever. Media coverage of earnings releases has decreased substantially due to news room cutbacks. More outlets automate all or some of their […]

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Win Major Earned Media Mentions during Quarterly Earnings Season

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

As the quarterly earnings season approaches, public relations teams will become busy drafting press releases, preparing executives for interviews and contacting reporters. Winning media mentions from earnings releases has become more challenging than ever. Media coverage of earnings releases has decreased substantially due to news room cutbacks. More outlets automate all or some of their earnings coverage through artificial intelligence. Others only cover earnings announcements that involve large companies, huge stock price swings or a well-known charismatic CEO.

Yet hard-working PR professionals on the top of their game can still win positive media coverage. Following these steps will encourage media outlets and other financial commentators to favorably mention your company.

Work with investor relations. Investor relations and public relations teams often fail to communicate sufficiently. In a silo corporate structure, PR often reports to the chief marketing officer; investor relations answers to the chief financial officer. PR can improve communications with their investor relations colleagues by informing them about media coverage throughout the year, providing information about industry trends and timelines of upcoming activities such as trade shows and presentations at both in-person and online events.

Investor relations will likely benefit from information from PR. “If the PR team advised the investor relations staff of the trends and sent factoids and quotes from team experts ahead of time, the latter staff could respond confidently to shareholder calls following an industry event,” explains Nadel Phelan, CEO and founder of Nadel Phelan Inc. in Entrepreneur.

Include financial tables. Financial tables are the most important part of the release for most audiences. Journalists at financial media often configure their searches to search for specific line items, traders use them to create alerts, and analysts like to see information in cash flow statements and other tables, writes Matt Van Tassel, supervisor of global disclosure services for Business Wire, in the white paper Best Practices for Enhancing Earnings Releases.

Include bullet points. Bullet points, in addition to other techniques for readers who skim, help readers quickly spot the main news elements. Tassel recommends:

  • use three to six bullet points,
  • provide clear and concise sentences, and
  • list bullets according to importance with emphasis on events that drove the numbers.

Find a unique hook. A glowing earnings report alone probably won’t win media mentions. Media success calls for a unique hook. “That could be bringing in a new executive with a great pedigree, positioning your company as trending in a way that opposes the rest of the industry, or pivoting after a challenging recent past,” says Sarah Babbitt, account director at Shift Communications.

Build relationships. Mutually helpful relationships with reporters generally tend to encourage more coverage, regardless of the topic or outlet. Reach out to journalists early and give them ample time — and reason — to slot your earnings report into their busy agenda, Babbitt says. Journalists are more likely to cover the earnings release if they are already aware of the company and its strategy.

Include an executive quoteExecutive quotes and quotes from subject-matter experts can add vitality to a story. They can provoke emotion, create images and provide anecdotes or unique perspectives. Almost half of earnings stories include an executive quotation from the earning press release, illustrating the importance of spending sufficient time to craft the best possible quote for the release, write Lisa McGann, senior account supervisor, and Sarah Braunstein, account executive at Edelman, for IR Magazine. Quotes offer the best technique to add flair to news releases and other PR content, but most executive quotes are verbose, unhelpful and downright boring. Seek quotes with an authentic voice or opinion, special insight or shock value.

Consider an executive interview. Giving reporters access to executives increases the probability of coverage because interviews generate unique content, say McGann and Braunstein. An exclusive CEO interview will draw the greatest amount of interest. An interview with a divisional executive can also draw interest, especially if that particular division is less exposed in the media and drives the company’s valuation or expected future growth. Just be sure to prepare executives for live or recorded media interviews. Since many media interviews are now done online, it’s also critical to how to avoid common pitfalls of remote media interviews.

Set expectations. Most top executives have high expectations for media coverage of their earnings announcements. PR teams should set clear expectations about media coverage and explain what’s required to win coverage. Also set expectations about what media coverage of earnings calls typically entails, Braunstein advises. Those items include: a comparison with last year’s earnings of the same period, reference to consensus, and if the company beat estimates.

Think digital. The reduced number of pages in print editions of newspapers constrains the amount of earnings coverage, but many publications still include earnings reports in their online versions. Many online-only financial publications and blogs – many with large followings and a high level of trust among investors — also offer in-depth coverage of earnings reports

Monitor media coverage. Continuously monitoring the media provides several benefits. Time-starved reporters write stories quickly, which may lead to mistakes and unintended inaccuracies. Software-written articles can also contain errors. Ongoing media monitoring can spot mistakes and near real-time alerts allow PR teams to quickly request media outlets to correct errors. Be sure to monitor for abbreviations, nicknames and common misspellings of your organization.

Media measurement will gauge the overall success of PR and investor relations teams during earnings season. Share of voice can gauge how well media coverage fares compares to competitors, and sentiment analysis can reveal the positive/negative scores of the earned media placements. Social media monitoring can provide insight into investor reactions to the earnings announcement and the earnings call with analysts. PR teams can improve their strategy by learning what leads to positive and negative reactions.

Bottom Line: The quarterly earnings seasons offers publically traded companies PR opportunities. Achieving favorable media mentions can be challenging, but proper PR practices greatly improve the odds.

This article was first published on Oct. 3, 2018, and updated on Dec. 21, 2020.

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The 2021 Employee Communications Priority: Promoting Covid-19 Vaccinations https://glean.info/the-2021-employee-communications-priority-promoting-covid-19-vaccinations/ https://glean.info/the-2021-employee-communications-priority-promoting-covid-19-vaccinations/#respond Mon, 21 Dec 2020 12:00:39 +0000 https://glean.info/?p=26429 Convincing employees to accept Covid-19 vaccinations may become the most critical internal communications task of 2021. In a herculean effort, pharmaceutical companies will soon distribute vaccines to the public. Medical experts say 75% of the public must be vaccinated in order for life – and the economy – to return to normal. Yet various surveys […]

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employee communications covid-19 vaccinations

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Convincing employees to accept Covid-19 vaccinations may become the most critical internal communications task of 2021.

In a herculean effort, pharmaceutical companies will soon distribute vaccines to the public. Medical experts say 75% of the public must be vaccinated in order for life – and the economy – to return to normal. Yet various surveys report that 40% to 50% of Americans say they don’t want the vaccine.

Only a determined internal communications effort, done in concert with HR and company leadership, can persuade the majority of employees to accept the vaccine. Businesses generally oversee employee health plans and typically garner more trust than government agencies.

Squashing “vaccine hesitancy” could prove challenging. Misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, spread on social media, abounds. Businesses and their communications professionals will need to lead the charge against vaccine misinformation.

“Employer efforts to educate on the merits of vaccines in general, and the COVID vaccination process specifically, can make a real difference to mitigate vaccine hesitancy,” Michael Thompson, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, told Human Resource Executive. “Transparency and trust will be the key.”

A Roadmap for Employee Communications

The Institution for Public Relations (IPR) has prepared A Communicator’s Guide to Covid-19 Vaccination that includes research reports, guidelines and strategy recommendations, and other resources.

“Employees and external audiences are increasingly depending on companies to be trusted sources for providing credible information and resources,” states Steve Cody, IPR chair and founder and CEO of Peppercomm, in IPR’s press release. “Communicators can play a significant role in increasing vaccine uptake through compelling and targeted communication to help end the pandemic.”

“Understanding what people know, how they think, their behavioral intentions, and subsequent behavior can help increase vaccine uptake,” adds Tina McCorkindale, Ph.D., IPR president and CEO. “This research-driven guide offers a pathway for communicators to reduce uncertainty about the Covid-19 vaccine.”

Transparency, tailored communications to particular audiences, and storytelling are a few of the main PR tools. “Stories and anecdotes about those affected positively by vaccinations are more likely to be effective than statistics. First-person testimony can help increase confidence,” the guide states.

The Case for Mandatory Vaccinations

Widespread vaccinations can be achieved only if companies require vaccinations for employees, argues New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin. Courts have upheld mandatory vaccinations in the past. Already, public and private schools require students to receive vaccinations against multiple illnesses. The New York State Bar Association has urged the state to consider mandatory vaccinations if voluntary efforts fall short, which appears likely.

Some companies could even require customers to receive the vaccine. For instance, an airline that requires vaccinations could promote itself as safe for travelers.

Although some corporate leaders would like to mandate vaccinations, they worry that a backlash could spiral into a public-relations nightmare, Sorkin says. That’s understandable, but the stakes are high. While corporations frequently publicize their social responsibility programs, the most pressing social need now is to corral the epidemic.

Bottom Line: Companies must undertake determined communications efforts to convince employees to take Covid-19 vaccinations next year. They’ll also need to make tough decisions about mandating employees to be vaccinated.

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Steps to Developing a Positioning Statement as a Foundation of PR Communications https://glean.info/developing-a-positioning-statement-the-touchstone-of-pr-communications/ https://glean.info/developing-a-positioning-statement-the-touchstone-of-pr-communications/#respond Fri, 18 Dec 2020 16:47:19 +0000 http://www.cyberalert.com/blog/?p=9111 Your positioning statement creates the foundation for all your organization’s communications across all media. It provides focus and direction and ensures that content is consistent. Without a positioning statement, PR can resemble a person groping aimlessly in the dark. A positioning statement defines how you wish to be perceived. Don’t confuse it with a position analysis, a realistic examination […]

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how to create PR positioning statements

Image by Stefano Ferrario from Pixabay

Your positioning statement creates the foundation for all your organization’s communications across all media. It provides focus and direction and ensures that content is consistent. Without a positioning statement, PR can resemble a person groping aimlessly in the dark.

positioning statement defines how you wish to be perceived. Don’t confuse it with a position analysis, a realistic examination how the company is perceived.

A positioning statement also differs from a mission statement. The mission, sometimes called a vision statement, identifies the brand’s objectives. A positioning statement is much broader.

“Unlike a mission statement or vision statement, a positioning statement is not a public-facing tagline,” explains content marketer Meredith Hart. “At its core, it’s broader than that, summarizing the value proposition, mission, and other positioning factors in a clear and concise way.”

An ideal positioning statement is concise, unique and memorable. Development of a positioning statement requires careful consideration of your company’s goals, strengths and weaknesses, competitors, and your target audience.

The positioning statement should explain:

∙ Who you are

∙ The business you’re in

∙ Who your product is for (your target audience)

∙ What your audience needs

∙ Your competition’s products and positioning

∙ What differentiates your business

∙ The unique benefit your product provides.

Steps to Positioning

Following these steps will help you create a worthwhile positioning statement to guide all facets of your organization’s PR communications.

∙ Obtain the company’s business and marketing plans, customer or prospect survey questionnaires, analysis of competitors – the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis, if it exists, can be very helpful.

∙ Convince management to participate in creating the statement. Tout the benefits. It will save time and money in developing communications tactics and lead to more effective public relations.

∙ Gather recommendations in the first meeting, then consolidate them and draft one or two statements. Submit them to management before the second meeting.

∙ Build consensus

∙ In the second meeting, focus on refinement and agreement.

Be Different

Differentiation is imperative – and differentiating on price typically fails.

It’s all about perception. Nyquil positioned itself as the “night time cold medicine” and seized significant market share from the cold medicine leader. Nyquil wasn’t actually different; customers perceived it differently.

Companies frequently wish to position themselves as a leader in their sector. That’s difficult since every company claims to be a leader. If everyone is a leader, then attaining that goal offers no differentiation.

Rather than being a leader like everyone else, consider these PR positioning strategies:

A niche solution. Fulfill a need in a niche. The key is to prove that the niche is worth attention because it has broader implication.

David against Goliath. Cast your company as the little guy with ingenuity, as brains battling brawn. Everyone roots for the underdog.

A dark horse. The dark horse comes out of nowhere to win a race. Dark horse positioning works well for organizations that are doing something that has yet to earn attention. Think of Volkswagen’s “think small” campaign in an era of big cars.

An unlikely success. A come from behind win, an idea that has been vetted and discounted but is now proving the pundits wrong.

A personal passion. Ideal for a charismatic business leader, this position humanizes a brand.

Each organization’s positioning statement must be uniquely its own. It takes effort to craft an effective positioning – but that touchstone will make it easier to develop on-target PR strategies and to craft more effective communications.

Bottom Line: A positioning statement forms the foundation of an effective communications plan. It provides direction and focus. You can follow these steps to craft a winning positioning statement.

This article was first published on March 2, 2015, and updated on December 18, 2020.

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Data Breaches Spike: How Communications Teams Can Respond https://glean.info/how-to-manage-communications-for-a-cyber-security-breach/ https://glean.info/how-to-manage-communications-for-a-cyber-security-breach/#respond Thu, 17 Dec 2020 20:55:00 +0000 https://glean.info/?p=21631 The recent data security breaches of multiple federal agencies highlight the ongoing threat of cyber attacks and breaches. Hackers with suspected ties to Russia gained access to government systems through third-party vendor SolarWinds. Up to 18,000 SolarWinds customers may have been running software with the vulnerability that permitted the breach, CNN reports. The vulnerability is […]

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how PR can respond to data breaches

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The recent data security breaches of multiple federal agencies highlight the ongoing threat of cyber attacks and breaches. Hackers with suspected ties to Russia gained access to government systems through third-party vendor SolarWinds. Up to 18,000 SolarWinds customers may have been running software with the vulnerability that permitted the breach, CNN reports. The vulnerability is also common among other companies, says cybersecurity firm FireEye, which was also hacked in a separate incident.

There were 2,953 publicly reported breaches in the first three quarters of 2020, a 51% decrease compared to the same period last year, according to Risk Based Security. By the end of the second quarter, 2020 was already the worst year ever in terms of the total number of records exposed.

Facing enough problems with the Covid-19 pandemic, companies deprioritized IT projects, and employees working remotely opened new vulnerabilities. Hackers have become increasingly sophisticated and vicious. In addition to theft of personal financial information, companies now fear ransomware attacks, and politically motivated attacks or “hacktivism.”

Security breaches bring legal, regulatory and brand reputation risks. The company stock price may plunge, at least temporarily. An ensuing PR crisis may seriously damage the brand’s reputation and customer relationships.

“When a breach is revealed, the attacked company is portrayed not as a victim, but as negligent and, in a subtle way, complicit in the event that ultimately exposed partners and customers,” writes Steve McGaw, CMO of AT&T Business Solutions, for the PRSA.

Recommended Best Practices for Cybersecurity

Preparation is the best defense. A security breach is possible no matter how skilled your IT team. In a common social engineering trick, hackers pose as company employees and ask real employees for passwords. Or they pose as friends and send malicious links. Training employees to be on guard against such tricks is the best defense.

Create a communications plan for security threats that establishes clear protocols for how to respond and how to inform the public and stakeholders.

“The worst thing you can do for your brand once news of a breach hits is to have to scramble to find out who to work with to understand the issue, who is communicating to what audience, and who needs to be looped in,” McGaw says.

Benchmark and train. Companies are more likely to be confident in their crisis management plan when they regularly benchmark against best practices, conduct drills on key risk areas at least once a year, and name a formal crisis management team. Some companies recruit outside firms to run PR crisis simulation drills. The best drills reproduce fast-moving PR crises with a frightening degree of reality.

Establish the facts. When a data breach occurs, the first step is to hold a “what do we know session” that includes top-level executives from legal, PR, security, IT and any other relevant department. It’s recommended to develop strong working relationships among those groups before a crisis strikes.

The initial meeting with key personnel is to determine what data was compromised, the number of people impacted and potentially impacted, how they should be alerted, if the security hole has been fixed and what law enforcement agencies should be notified.

Communicate. Promptly and honestly disclose what you know. If you’re still searching for answers, say it. People don’t expect you to know all the answers immediately, but they do expect communication. Ongoing updates as the crisis evolves is crucial for maintaining trust. Communicate directly, not through the press, with the affected individuals. Setting up a special website or an easily accessible page on the corporate website gives those individuals and the press a central location to obtain accurate information.

FireEye’s swift and transparent communications response after its breach won commendation from crisis communications  experts and safeguarded its reputation. It first issued a clear, concise, and honest blog post that described the breach and its response.

“By getting ahead of media coverage or unintentional disclosure, FireEye owned the narrative and protected itself from long-lasting reputation fallout and financial impact,” writes Kaylin Trychon, vice president at ROKK Solutions, in PR News.

Create a war room. A 24/7 hotline to a contact person or department handling inquires and a script responding to questions can ease the communication flow. Prioritize media queries.

Use simple language. Cybersecurity is a complex field full of abstruse jargon. Such esoteric vocabulary can mystify the public and journalists, ultimately creating distrust. Simple and clear language is best.

Take responsibility. Apologize for the inconvenience and disruption. Sincerely. Without excuses. To rebuild trust, the best apologies include an indication of steps being taken to protect affected individuals, to resolve the issue and to prevent further problems. Owning up to the breach can restore trust in the organization. A clear statement detailing what steps will be taken to avoid future breaches is vital, writes PR crisis specialist Emily Dent for Computer Weekly. Taking responsibility implies that the organization intends to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Blaming hackers or others implies that the issue is out of the company’s hands.

Keep key stakeholders continuously informed. Involve top management in actions during the crisis and the preparation of the crisis communications plan. Without timely information, conjecture and rumor can spread. However, experts recommend against releasing all the details of a breach.

“We typically would not communicate all the details of a breach to all employees,” Chris Leach, chief technologist for HPE Security Services, told MIT Technology Review. “We’ll only share enough to make sure they’re confident that we’re handling it, and that this is information they could, and should, share with their customers.”

Monitor media and social media. Close monitoring of social media enables you to know about any misinformation among the public and to know when people say something that requires an immediate response.

“As 2021 planning kicks into high gear, it is time communication teams get smart on cybersecurity and advocate for their organization to stay ahead of any crisis with a strong, practiced strategy,” Trychon concludes.

Bottom Line: Risks of data breaches have become even greater this year. It’s essential for corporate communications teams to rise to the occasion and prepare contingency plans. A swift response, taking responsibility and explaining how the organization will prevent future breaches are key.

This article was first published on Dec. 19, 2018, and updated on Dec. 17, 2020.

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10 Most Common Media Monitoring & Measurement Mistakes – And How to Fix Them https://glean.info/10-most-common-media-monitoring-measurement-mistakes-and-how-to-fix-them/ https://glean.info/10-most-common-media-monitoring-measurement-mistakes-and-how-to-fix-them/#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2020 16:42:42 +0000 https://glean.info/?p=21746 Although more companies and nonprofit organizations now use media monitoring and measurement, many don’t gain its full benefits. Not following recommended best practices when setting up search parameters or analyzing results can produce confusing results or bog down measurement dashboards with unnecessary data. By fixing these common social media listening and media measurement mistakes, companies […]

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top media monitoring mistakes, common media measurement mistakes

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Although more companies and nonprofit organizations now use media monitoring and measurement, many don’t gain its full benefits. Not following recommended best practices when setting up search parameters or analyzing results can produce confusing results or bog down measurement dashboards with unnecessary data.

By fixing these common social media listening and media measurement mistakes, companies can obtain accurate information, reach better decisions, and meet their business goals.

  1. Not weeding out irrelevant results.

Boolean search terms can filter out extraneous mentions. Place NOT before a word to exclude it from results. Write AND between search terms to include both words in any order and narrow results. Write OR to produce results containing more than one word.

Eliminating irrelevant results is especially beneficial for companies with a name or other search term that’s identical to an unrelated term, such as another company in an unrelated industry. To avoid confusion with the former president, the Lincoln Motor Company could search for: Lincoln AND (auto OR car OR dealer OR etc.) AND NOT (president OR penny OR emancipation OR St. OR Ave.)

  1. Not specifying capitalization.

Specifying capitalization helps improve clip accuracy for many companies – especially companies with generic words in their name, such as Orange, the mobile telecommunications company in Europe. Requiring capitalization of the O in Orange greatly improves accuracy. Using the “AND NOT” terms eliminates obviously irrelevant articles about the Orange Bowl, Orange Parade, Orange Julius or Orange Blossom.

  1. Not monitoring variations of brand and product names.

Monitoring for mentions of the company’s name is obvious. But many consumers refer to a company by its nickname, like WallyMart or Wallyworld. Include common misspellings and abbreviations in search terms: Many customers often misspell company or product names or abbreviate terms.

  1. Not monitoring competitors.

Competitive intelligence gathered through media monitoring and measurement and other tools aggregates information that is vital to business success. Many companies, however, do not take advantage that information, even if they spend millions to collect it.

The massive amount of information that competitors post online provides a treasure trove of information. Some even post sensitive information on social media. With media monitoring, companies can learn what customers like and dislike about competitors, their marketing and PR successes and failures, and product development plans.

Companies can even uncover opportunities for sales to the competitors’ disgruntled customers. To monitor competitors, replace your search terms with those of competitors, including their company names, product names, misspellings and other keywords that describe industry issues.

  1. Comparisons to the wrong competitors.

Defining competitors helps formulate successful strategies, but brands frequently compare themselves to the wrong competitors.

“The most common mistake I see is a brand comparing themselves with the biggest brand in their industry, even though their brand is much smaller and serves a completely different group of clients,” says  Kim Do at Lewis, a PR agency. Compare your organization to competitors in the same geographical locations, in the same vertical markets or those seeking the same media audience, Do advises.

  1. Tracking too many metrics.

Some communications professionals seek to track almost all metrics available. They erroneously believe that if they track every metric, they’ll magically discover secrets to successful strategies. In reality, it causes confusion, not insights.

Many metrics may be obsolete, irrelevant and even harmful. Tracking too many metrics generates an overabundance of data that’s difficult to analyze. Measurement experts recommend periodically reassess metrics, perhaps once a year and jettisoning those not linked to business objectives. Determine what matters most to C-suite executives, and seek actionable metrics: those that help reach decisions. Some media monitoring services – such as Glean.info — can customize metrics for their clients depending on their specific goals.

  1. Emphasizing vanity metrics.

Many marketers sometimes track vanity metrics, such as likes and followers to measure success. Many measurement gurus warn that vanity metrics pose the largest obstacle to high-quality PR measurement. PR and marketing pros use them to inflate their egos – and their clients’ egos — and to present a deceptive image of a successful business.

Vanity metrics provide little insight into what helps increase revenue or improve a business. While easy to report, those metrics can be difficult to link to business objectives.

  1. Being impressed by impressions.

Impressions only represent the number of potential viewers. They don’t indicate if anyone remembers or even saw the message. One person could have multiple impressions for a single piece of content, unlike reach which counts the total number of unique viewers. In addition, some PR and marketing professionals inflate the numbers with multipliers.

Some PR measurement experts say impressions are at least somewhat useful. They report information on the top of the sales funnel. Unfortunately, some advertising and PR measurement efforts stop at impressions and don’t follow through with other metrics such as engagement (clicks, comments) and conversions.

Other measurement experts say they don’t matter at all. Pay little or no heed to impressions and consider more worthwhile metrics, they say. If you have to show impressions, then avoid multipliers which are perhaps the most egregious of the common mistakes.

  1. Not using clean data.

Clean data is essential to obtain accurate and meaningful insights and recommendations. Corrupted, or “dirty data,” can cause dreadful results. A single clip with really wrong data can lead to incorrect conclusions about an entire campaign. Techniques to clean up data include Boolean search terms, reviews to eliminate duplicate entries, standard terminology, and periodically dropping unnecessary metrics,

If you’re a do-it-yourself media analyst, use Excel rather than Word. Excel allows you to divide categories of data into rows and columns that can be cross referenced and dissected later with pivot tables, says freelance media analyst Steph Bridgman. List each new media item in a new row, and divide coverage up into categories. Organizing data into rows and files makes it easier to produce valid analytics about media coverage.

Take advantage of Excel’s Remove Duplicates option. Go to the Data tab and click on “Remove Duplicates.” Select a column with a unique number, like “Clip ID,” or “Item ID.” If that doesn’t exist, then use the unique URL of the article and click OK. Most media monitoring services perform this chore automatically – and also provide clean data.

  1. Not integrating data.

Integrating public relations, marketing and other communications functions promotes a consistent message and voice across all channels of communication and more efficient allocation of resources.

An integrated communications dashboard reports all earned, owned and paid metrics within a single view. That 360-degree viewpoint can reveal the most effective strategies and prove how PR and marketing help the organization meet business goals. As more organizations integrate communications functions, they recognize the value of integrated media dashboards. A dashboard that integrates metrics from all communications efforts can reveal essential insights, identify winning tactics and show how PR, marketing and social media activities improve ROI.

Bottom Line: While media monitoring and measurement provides many benefits, common mistakes blunt its value. Fixing those prevalent errors unleashes its full power.

This article was first published on Jan. 14, 2019, and updated on Dec. 16, 2020.

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3 Actionable Tips to Improve SEO Writing https://glean.info/3-actionable-tips-to-improve-seo-writing/ https://glean.info/3-actionable-tips-to-improve-seo-writing/#respond Wed, 16 Dec 2020 14:36:23 +0000 https://glean.info/?p=26399 Everyone wants to create content that ranks high on Google’s search results for specific keywords. By producing such content, you’ll get more traffic to your site, and the more traffic you get, the more people will see the service or product you offer. But how do you create content that ranks high in Google organic […]

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Everyone wants to create content that ranks high on Google’s search results for specific keywords. By producing such content, you’ll get more traffic to your site, and the more traffic you get, the more people will see the service or product you offer.

But how do you create content that ranks high in Google organic results? It’s possible with the formula “SEO + writing = SEO writing.” It’s extremely important to be able to learn the technique and use it for all web content.

In this post, you’ll find everything you should know about SEO (search engine optimization) writing.

SEO Writing – the Basics

Experience shows that almost nobody visits the second page of the search engine results page (SERP). People tend to spend their time exploring the results from Google’s top 10. What’s more important, the vast majority of Google users prefer to review the first three to five search results.

Other pages get few if any visitors from the search results.

If you know that some of your pages don’t attract your target audience’s attention, you need to revise their content. The best way to do this is with SEO writing techniques.

When you write SEO-optimized content, you’ll attract traffic to your website along with potential leads. But it is not as simple as you think.

Writing SEO-optimized content requires you to write it yourself (knowing all the pitfalls of the process), or hire a writer through networking or an online job board who can do it for you.

Consider the progress of content creating on the Respona blog over the past couple years. As you can see, a team of content creators could boost organic traffic results from about 830 to 511,000 visits per month.

seo writing tips

The most straightforward way to create SEO-optimized content is to understand what your target audience searches on Google: What they want to know about and what problems they want to solve. Your content should take into account all these nuances.

The question is how to write SEO optimized content? Let’s run through three steps to succeed in SEO writing.

Three Steps to Succeed in SEO Writing

SEO writing is not super-hard, although you probably can’t do it well right off the bat. By following these three steps, you’ll be able to understand the process.

  1. Focus on finding keywords that have traffic potential

First, explore content from your competitors and then read content from leading marketers from around the world. These steps will help you know how to present your business, identify what content to produce, and how to write about your business from the technical side of the question.

By reading niche-related content, you’ll have an opportunity to explore seed keywords. These seed keywords will form the core of other additional keywords that you’ll implement in your writings.

For example, if you are writing a blog post on building brand trust using an explainer video, your seed keyword phrase would be “explainer video.” Your task is to explore other keyword phrases based on your seed keyword.

Different keyword explorer tools can help accomplish this. One is the Keywords Explorer tool from Ahrefs. Pay attention to these reports it generates:

The Questions report provides the questions that include your target keyword.

ahrefs seo tool

The Phrases report provides possible phrases that contain your seed keyword.

seo writing tips

  1. Don’t forget about specifying search intent

Keep in mind that Google provides users with the results that best fit their search intent. Google tries to provide results that solve the searcher’s issues. If your content solves your target audience’s issues, Google will reward you with a high ranking.

To create content that satisfies search intent, you these three simple rules:

  • Think about choosing the content type correctly.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Check out the top positions of your request on Google. Pay attention to what type of content Google puts on top. This is will be the type of content you should produce.

Let’s say, your seed keyword is used in the interrogative queries like “what is semantic SEO.” Google suggests the following type of content per your query like “blog post.”

But if your primary keywords don’t bring any informative intent, your content will rank for video or in the form of a product page.

  • Identify content format.

Content formats include listicles, how-to guides, expert roundups, etc. It all depends on the objectives your content has.

  • Explore the content angle.

The content angle entails the message you’re willing to send to your target audience. The content angle differs from the other two previous elements listed. Let’s analyze this post you’re reading right now.

1) Content type –> blog post

2) Content form –> guide

3) Content angle –> SEO writing tips for the noobs

Once you have an understanding of these three rules, you can move further.

  1. Work on identifying subtopics

To create content that’s readable and piques the interest of your target audience, try to cover the topic in detail. However, some topics can’t be covered with a single post. Even if you try, you can’t write a comprehensive, really good blog post. Such a post will include different subtopics that can be covered separately.

To figure out niche-related subtopics, analyze long-form guides by your competitors. Review the headings of the post. For instance, this guide on SEO suggests many subtopics that you can use as separate posts.

  • Explore the “People also ask” box

If you need personal recommendations on topic ideas from Google, review the “People also ask” box. All these recommendations are based on your seed keyword.

  • Analyze your competitors’ keywords

To outrank your competitors, rank for major niche-related keywords. Plus, rank for keywords your competitors rank for, and rank for other keywords related to your business, which your competitors have not conquered.

You might think “How can I find all these keywords?” The task can be easier with Ahref’s Content Gap tool. Paste your competitors’ URLs into the tool. The rest will be done automatically.

Skim through the keywords and note the ones used by your competitors. Focus on these keywords first and optimize your content accordingly.

These three steps can guide you through the process of writing content with SEO in mind.

You were promised a couple of SEO writing tips. So, review them:

5 Useful SEO Writing Tips

These five SEO writing tips will help you improve both your search engine rankings and your overall content marketing strategy

1) Optimize a title

A title tag is the first thing that people see in the SERP. Plus, a well-optimized title tag encourages people to click the link.

A well-optimized title tag includes your target keyword and takes into account search intent behind the blog post. It’s especially important is to make the title tag unique. It should differ from the title tags of your competitors.

2) Keep URL as short as possible

URLs always must be short, easily readable, and include your target keyword.

3) Optimize for featured snippets

If Google shows your content as a featured snippet, congrats, you’ve hit the jackpot. Being shown in a featured snippet allows you to rank #1 on Google. Everyone who searches the information will stumble upon your post that covers it. Therefore, you must create content that would be adjusted to the featured snippet’s technical requirements.

If you want to optimize your product page in that way, use schema plugins for WordPress. They will help improve CTRs and website rankings.

4) Don’t forget to add images

Nobody likes to read content that’s bland text with some bare facts. Adding images makes the process of reading more engaging. It allows you to be on your readers’ mind and catch them with your content. Just imagine if this post you’re reading right now were without images. I am sure you wouldn’t read it this far.

5) Build internal links

Adding internal links helps improve user experience. These links build bridges from your blog to other website pages, allowing your target audience to navigate from one topic to another.

Bottom Line: If you thought that SEO writing consists only of using target keywords, improving rankings, and boosting traffic–you’re mistaken in some way. These screws are just a part of the entire mechanism called SEO writing. Its main purpose is to create content that’s useful for your target audience. Although competent SEO writing attracts more website traffic, the best writers craft content for people, not for robots, while keeping SEO in mind.

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