July 2013 Issue #3
How to Successfully Pitch a Blog Guest Post
Social Mouths / Business 2 Community / Search Engine Watch
Content creation is not the first step in guest posting, Chuck Price explains in Guest Posting: A Quick Start Guide
. Rather, writers should first look for blogs that are relevant, valuable and contain trust signals. "There is little point in creating the perfect square peg when our coveted target blog has a big round hole in it," he maintains. One effective way to find guest posting opportunities: advanced search queries on Google and social search engines like Topsy. Price recommends including industry key words followed by "write for us" or "guest post" to find blogs that accept guest posts aimed at your target audience.
In 7 Ways to Make Guest Blogging More Powerful
, Brian Dean shares 20 tips to create an effective, search-optimized guest post. Among his observations: blog comments = traffic. While the post may be published on a top-ranked website, blog comments signify legitimate, engaged communities. Lesson learned: Offer guest posts for blogs with a targeted and
When reaching out to blog managers, guest writers should pitch ideas that are specific, fresh and well-researched, Barb Schmitz instructs in 10 Steps to Better Guest Blogging Pitches
. Writers should also court managers on social media before the pitch by commenting on their blog posts and sharing their content so they recognize your name when your pitch arrives in their inbox. In crafting the email's subject line, Schmitz suggests including a working title of your post so blog managers know what to expect.
Chris Crum warns writers not to abuse the power of guest blogging in Do You Follow Google's Rules on Guest Posts?
While it's a good way for lesser-known writers to generate exposure, guest posting can and has been taken to extremes, Google's Matt Cutts acknowledges. Link building abuse, posting the same article multiple times, or spinning posts so they cater to different outlets are all no-nos, Cutts warns. To avoid penalization, Google webmasters recommend assigning "nofollow" to posts with links that bring readers back to your website. The "nofollow" value tells Google that the link should not influence the search ranking of your website.
Good PR: Customer's Needs Come First During a Crisis
Sometimes, a rational business decision may result in a public relations nightmare. Such was the case last week when Uber, a car transportation service, kept its surge pricing policy in effect during a flood in Toronto. Mathew Ingram criticizes the act as "price gouging" and offers A Tip for Uber: Sometimes the Best PR Strategy Is to Do Something that Isn't Rational
. In normal circumstances, increasing prices in response to higher demand might be a legitimate strategy for managing resources; but committing to the strategy during a crisis can make you seem inhuman, Ingram points out. The result is negative publicity and a hit to your business reputation. Aron Solomon also called out Uber in a blog post, The Don't Be an A-hole Rule
. Lesson: The PR department should participate in business decisions that may impact corporate reputation.
Pitching Tips: Adopt a News Director's Perspective
Dave Traffor, news director at Global News Director, shares his insights into what works and what doesn't when pitching to journalists in How to Pitch a Story: Think Like a News Director
. The pitch should be the first part of telling a great story, Traffor explains, so don't start off by asking questions or listing qualities. Remember: If the journalist is interested, his/her audience will be, too. Craft the pitch so that it caters exclusively to that journalist and makes them care.
Using "Purpose Pitches" in Your Blogging Strategy
The Social Media Hat
In baseball, pitchers sometimes throw a fastball high and tight to drive the hitter back, making him lean back and question where the next pitch is going. This well-established tactic, called the "purpose pitch," is also useful for bloggers, Mike Allton asserts in When to Throw a Purpose Pitch
. Allton contends that bloggers need to occasionally write posts that won't be popular, but will be helpful to your specific target audience. Like the purpose pitch that usually results in a ball, the article won't have an immediate impact, but will be helpful in the longer run. Allton includes two other ways to use "purpose posts": to set up future posts and to hit sales points. Teaching point: Blogging is an ongoing process, not a one-time pitch.
Customer Testimonials/Social Media Techniques for PR
PR News / Leaders West
Customer testimonials should tell a story, solve a problem and match the customer's voice, Andrew Hindes instructs in 7 Secrets to Powerful Customer Testimonials
. Writing testimonials so they match the customer's voice makes them more comfortable and likely to approve quotes — and adds variety to the testimonials so they don't sound like they were all written by the same person (even if they were). When sharing testimonials on social media, Jim Dougherty recommends creating a video testimonial to increase its shareability. How to Make Your Online Content More Interesting
illustrates different content ideas to try on social media so your audience doesn't get bored with the same format. Different types of images — eye-catching, funny or "behind the scenes" photos of facilities and staff — are effective and engaging methods, as well as posts in the form of questions, quotes, tips and fill-in-the-blanks.
The PR Checklist for Choosing Clients
Are You Ready to Hire a PR Firm?
turns the question around by asking "Is a business ready for your PR?" The article provides a checklist for businesses before signing with a PR firm, but also offers a great resource for PR pros to determine whether the prospect is worth signing. If the prospect has unrealistic expectations, isn't prepared to share its position or business goals or isn't willing to take some risk, PR firms should take a pass, Gini Dietrich insists. PR pros should seek organizations that already spend at least an hour every day on PR because no PR pro can create conversations with customers, journalists and influencers if the organization doesn't have a story to tell or is unwilling to make an effort to tell it.
When Low-Priority Tasks Waste Time and Money, Outsource
Sometimes, outsourcing PR tasks is worth the investment, Daniel Zeevi maintains in The Lazy Geek's Guide to Outsourcing Everything
. The key to saving time and money with outsourcing is to prioritize tasks, he adds. Start with the tasks that are the least productive and biggest time-suckers. Hiring a "virtual assistant" to respond to emails, manage social media, conduct research and enter data will open up several extra hours per day for more important tasks. The article's infographic comprises an array of useful tools, apps and methods for saving time and outsourcing. Useful resources to find outsourcing assistants include Odesk
How to Get Along with Your Publicist
PR pros specializing in TV placements will appreciate Bruce Serbin's venting in 10 Things Clients Get Wrong About the Media
. Serbin urges clients and their PR pros to give more respect to local TV, since the first question a producer will ask "Does [your client] have any other television experience?" Additionally, if your media monitoring service captures the TV clip, it provides strong credibility when posted on the client's website and in social media. Other PR misunderstandings: the TV journalist won't provide interview questions beforehand; lack of results isn't the publicist's fault; and "you're probably not going to get on the 'Today' show, so stop asking."
PR Edges Advertising in Content Creation
Now that sponsored content reigns supreme in earned media, the PR industry has the opportunity to steal the spotlight from advertising, Josh Sternberg asserts in PR Nudges Its Way to the Content Table
. As experts in writing for a diverse audience, PR pros are in the best position to write sponsored content. But before they can start commanding a greater content-generating budget, PR pros must learn the distribution process. As Jonathan Perelman of BuzzFeed explained at the PRSA Digital Impact Conference, "content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants. It's not nearly enough to create a good piece of content. You have to understand how content spreads across the web." Possible solution: PR firms can work with media-buying agencies to place content.
Marketing Influencers and Content Curation Tools
EContent Mag / YouBrand, Inc.
To identify experts with the latest content marketing insights and trends, marketers should explore the The Top 50 Content Marketing Resources on Twitter
. The list is based on nominations via EContent's Twitter. Big names include Jay Baer, Lee Odden, Heidi Cohen, Jason Falls and Brian Solis. The list also salutes blogs dedicated to sharing marketing articles, like HubSpot and Content Marketing Institute. An effective way to utilize influencers' content: curation. The Ultimate List of Content Curation Tools and Platforms
offers a collection of tools for content curation, a highly effective inbound marketing strategy. Top tools include Scoop.It, which arranges content into a magazine layout-style, and Storify, which curates photos, tweets and videos from social media to tell a story in a single, shareable stream. The article also offers examples on how to use specific tools. List.Ly, for example, allows you to create visual and interactive lists where readers can vote on their favorites and add items.
Top Takeaways from the 2013 IABC World Marketing Conference
International Association of Business Communicators
Jennifer Mackie shares important marketing and social media Takeaways from an Incredible IABC World Conference 2013
. Shel Holtz, who presented at the conference, emphasized the need for communications professionals to value accuracy over timeliness on social media. Plenty of brands and journalists have tried to be first in releasing news — only to have false information blow up in their face. Presenter Ann Wylie revealed an off-beat and interesting idea to explore for content creators: using comic strips to tell a story. Comics differentiate from the popular storytelling format of image and GIF streams (perfected by BuzzFeed) and, as a bonus, don't require full sentences. Online tools like Stripgenerator provide frames, characters and items to create the comic so that it easily integrates into your written piece.
Roadmap to Social Media Monitoring Success
According to Three Reasons a Social Media Monitoring Assessment Makes Business Sense
, businesses must ask three questions in assessing the maturity of their social media monitoring strategy: (1) How efficient is your social media monitoring strategy, and are you investing enough? (2) How effective is your strategy? Are you getting the best benefit possible? (3) What are the next steps to take to improve ROI? Included in the article is Kinship Digital's Social Media Monitoring Maturity Model, a roadmap of five levels indicating a company's advancement in utilizing social media monitoring. The most basic and least beneficial level: the Reactive stage, encompassing companies that monitor only on a case-by-case basis using free tools. It will be worthwhile to determine where your company's strategy is located on the model and consider how you can advance your media monitoring program to the next level and, ultimately, to Level 5: Intelligence. Organizations reach the highest level of social media monitoring when they coordinate social media information, optimize social media activities, use advanced metrics and integrate big data with key business activities.
Determining the Most Effective Social Media Platforms for Your Brand
Few companies have enough time and money to actively engage on every social media platform. The key is finding your target audience, Allison Stadd explains in How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform for Your Goals
. Marketing pros can use the article's infographic to determine how to choose the most effective social media platform for their brand. To assure you're not wasting time on a channel, match your target audience profile with the demographics of each social network. Brands targeting customers between 45 and 54 years old should focus less on Google+ and Twitter and more on Facebook and Pinterest. Connecting your product's prices to the average income of the network's audience will determine how responsive the audience will be toward your marketing efforts.
FTC's Latest Social Media Disclosure Guidelines
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
The key message behind Amanda Nelson's "cut-to-the-chase, no-bull" social media guidelines: Be transparent. The FTC's recent updates on social media disclosure requires marketers and advertisers to clearly divulge when posts are paid for. In Don't Trick Your Mother (and 19 Other Social Media Guidelines)
, Nelson recommends using the "Mom test:" if your mom doesn't realize the post was paid marketing, the message needs clarification. All employees involved in marketing, social media and advertising should know and follow the guidelines, even if an agency manages social media for your company. The client company is responsible if the agency breaks the rules. A webinar, What New FTC Rules Mean to Your Reputation and Social Media Program
, offers an "emergency session" on additional red flags to watch out for and what to request from agencies and partners that will assure your company remains within the guidelines.
Marketing Intelligence: Monitor Competitors on Social Media
Duct Tape Marketing
Monitoring your competition exposes their strengths and weaknesses and can afford you new marketing ideas. John Jantsch reveals several methods to create a "listening station" focused on competitors in How to Thoroughly Spy On Your Competition
. Companies should add their competitors' names and products to the search terms of their media monitoring strategies. Be sure your monitoring program tracks review websites like Yelp. Uncovering disgruntled customers enables you to offer a better solution. Jantsch also recommends subscribing to competitor's blogs and newsletters, downloading eBooks and white papers, and enrolling in events and webinars. Your efforts will pay off when you benchmark their tactics to your own, mimic their tactics, and discover new tactics to improve your marketing strategy.
How to Build Rapport with Anyone
Suspending your ego is the most effective (and for some, the most difficult) technique to build rapport, Shane Parrish maintains in Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone
. Parrish references Robin Dreeke's guidelines from the book, It's Not All About Me
, and advises that a great conversation involves encouraging the other individual to continue his or her story, rather than try to up the conversation with an interesting story of your own. Another technique: Ask questions beginning with "how," "when," or "why," so that they can't be answered with a simple yes or no. Note: this is an effective method to use in interviews, as well.
You're a Social Media Guru If…
How do you know when you're an expert in social media marketing? You've hit the "guru" category once you start using hashtags in emails — or worse, in real life — Saya Weissman reveals in 24 Signs You Are Definitely a Social Media Guru
. Other signs: "curation," and "aggregation" are part of your everyday vocab, and your proudest moment was when you were retweeted by Guy Kawasaki.
Factoids of the Week:
2.5 hours of the average work day is spent emailing, adding up to 81 days per year. (McKinsey)
Nearly 4 in 5 people are seeing increased incivility on social media, and 2 in 5 have unfriended or blocked users as a result. (VitalSmarts)
Consumers are twice as likely to trust information shared on Facebook than on Twitter. (TechnoratiMedia).
Quote of the Week:
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." — George Patton
Upcoming Conferences and Webinars
Recent White Papers and eBooks
All PR is Online
. The digital revolution has made it necessary for PR agencies to adopt big data, the semantic web and the Internet. The PR industry must embrace new concepts to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Social Analytics: Putting the Science into Social Business [Webinar]
. How social analytics can be applied to a variety of functions such as human capital management, sales force automation and enterprise marketing management, and the impact social analytics is having on traditional business processes.
PR & Marketing Job Openings
The listing for this issue includes PR job openings and marketing positions — with detailed job descriptions for each. Readers are invited to submit job postings to firstname.lastname@example.org
Best of Previous Issues
Determining Your Media Monitoring Needs
Print News Monitoring Vs. Online News Monitoring
Broadcast Monitoring for TV & Radio News
Selecting a Social Media Monitoring Service
F.r.e.e & Low-Cost News Release Distribution Services
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ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING
|BlogSquirrel - blog monitoring service monitors 7+ million new postings each day in 75+ million blogs worldwide.
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