July 2013 Issue #5
Storytelling Methods for Better SEO and ROI
Copyblogger / PR Daily / PRSA / Harvard Business Review
Ty Montague calls TOMS Shoes a "storydoer" because it creates real experiences to tell their brand's story. For every purchase of TOMS shoes, the brand donates a pair of shoes to a child in need.
(Courtesy of Rob Ellis)
Six-second videos, 140-character tweets and abbreviated blog posts have convinced most companies that stories told quickly and convincingly produce results. But there's still power and impact in longer brand narratives, Michael Brito asserts in Why B2B Brands Need to Create Long-Form Content
First, long-form content strengthens search engine optimization (SEO). Most of the content that makes it to the first page of Google has more than 2,000 words, Kristin Piombino reports in 10 Ways to Write Content that Ranks High on Google
. Second, long-form narratives demonstrate your company's expertise. Brito explains that B2Bs must use their content space to demonstrate thought leadership because according to Edelman's Trust Barometer
, people are more likely to trust subject matter experts and employees when seeking information about a company. To tell a story, PR and marketing pros should utilize the perspectives of their fellow front-line staff members..
4 Ways to Make Routine Stories Interesting
reveals several ways to add emotion and depth to reports, press releases and content. If you're preparing to interview a source, ask to meet with them in person, Rob Pasquinucci suggests. A new atmosphere will allow you to add rich details about the subjects and their personalities, work environment, etc. Another idea: frame your article around a problem, and explain how your product or service fixes it.
Stories that set companies apart connect to real, authentic actions, Ty Montague maintains in Good Companies are Storytellers. Great Companies are Storydoers
. Companies like Red Bull and TOMS Shoes base their stories on compelling events and experiences. Such experiences often demonstrate philanthropy, activism or motivation. The results: more positive engagement with fewer resources expended in paid media.
The Perils of Newsjacking in Social Media
The Future Buzz / Mashable / Forbes
Just because something is trending on Twitter doesn't mean it deserves a brand's reaction.
Marketing, PR and ad agencies must avoid the social media mantra "if it trends, it blends." Referencing brands that took advantage of the royal baby's birth with marketing promotions last week, Adam Singer urges marketers not to adopt this tasteless newjacking tactic in Just Because It Trends, Doesn't Mean It Should Blend
Most of the time, these "real-time marketing" posts are too forced and too obvious, Lauren Indvik observes in Brands Try, Fail to Capitalize on Royal Baby Hype
. Among the brands whose posts fell flat included Charmin, Oreo and worst, in Indvik's opinion, Magnum Ice Cream. Some ads were creative, but as Indvik points out, offended many followers who objected because the posts felt much more like ads and less like a natural part of the social conversation.
Inserting your brand's reaction to a relevant, newsworthy event is completely acceptable, but trying to attract attention in social just because something happens is not, Singer asserts. Worthy reactionary content is creative, relevant and follows a strategy. Ultimately, real-time marketing is most effective when brands keep the content in the interests of their customer, Aaron Perlut explains in Real Time Marketing: A Social Media Layup that Any Brand Should Not Miss
. Real-time marketing can, and has, been used in a positive way. By using social media "giving tools," like Givver, Fundly or Snowball, brands can offer their followers the opportunity to support a cause or donate aid after a disaster. If used correctly, real-time marketing can potentially help brands gain exposure and connect more deeply with customers. PR and marketing pros should use caution and avoid posting content strictly for their brand's benefit.
The "How Not To Guide" to Public Relations (by Journalists for PR)
Assembled from the gripes of several hundred journalists in the UK, The How Not to Guide to Public Relations
aggregates PR practices that aggravate journalists. It offers insight into today's journalist, provides context for the journalists' harangues, and warns about all-too-common PR practices that annoy journalists. It's a thorough catharsis for the journalists that nonetheless contains some very helpful guidance for PR professionals. One insight: most PR practitioners contacting journalists are young and speak the idiom of the younger generation; most journalists are older and speak a more mature language. So, the section on how to communicate with journalists is especially eye-opening: avoid "hype" language like "awesome" and clichés like "reaching out" and "circling back." The "my pet hates" and "most hated words" sections provide valuable guidance on wordsmithing in press releases. Assessment: It may not be (in the British idiom) "brilliant," but the article offers quite a lot of worthwhile guidance on media relations for all PR professionals.
What PR Pros Should Look for in a Social Media Monitoring Service
CIPR / The Drum
In its Guide to Social Media Monitoring
, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations identifies the best PR practices to integrate social media monitoring in your organization and provides an overview of several social media monitoring suppliers. The "bells and whistles" that suppliers offer in their services can be beneficial. But, as the guide explains, the ultimate aim of social media monitoring is to discover all
of the content relevant to an organization, brand or issue in timely fashion to better manage your online reputation. Suppliers that offer more comprehensive coverage deliver more meaningful and measureable results. Many subscription-based suppliers deliver far wider coverage than free tools, which require manual searching. Simon Collister, the guide's coordinator, summarizes the work in 10 Tips for Social Media Monitoring
. Among them: be clear about what you're monitoring, make sure you get the right pricing model for your needs, and think about how monitoring can impact the wider organization. An effective social media monitoring program delivers insights for public relations, marketing, customer service, sales and HR. Often, a "good enough" service is a far better value than subscription high-cost services with unnecessary bells and whistles.
PR is the Best Marketing Tactic
The most valuable marketing tool isn't social media, brochures or videos — it's public relations. Vivek Wadhwa writes from experience with his startup software company that had a successful IPO and a robust marketing program. Without PR, however, the company lacked credibility and awareness. The result was a struggle for sales leads and wasted time on every sales call to identify and position the company. In his second company, Wadwha gave PR precedence over marketing, and that proved much more successful. In Why PR Is You Best Marketing Weapon — and How to Use It
, he shares the PR practices that produced his company's success. One tip: Don't ignore small or regional publications, as these are the best starting points for a business to reach a niche audience. Additionally, don't be obsessed with getting your company's product covered. If a journalist asks you a question, answer it. Media relationships build over time, and connecting journalists to expert sources will pay off.
9 Publicity Stunts That Went Horribly Wrong
When planning a publicity stunt, consider what can go wrong. That's the takeaway in 9 Publicity Stunts That Went Horribly Wrong
. The list includes the recent debacle of Chipotle faking a hack of its Twitter account; LifeLock's CEO publicizing his social security number and challenging hackers to steal his identity (many did); gunmen storming a showing of Ironman3; and a publicity stunt in 1896 in which a staged train crash killed three people.
Reacting to Edelman's Guidelines for Sponsored Content
Harvard Business Review
David Weinberger continues the heated discussion on The Ethics of Using Paid Content in Journalism
with his response to Edelman's report on sponsored content. In the report, which Media Monitoring News covered last week
, Edelman details guidelines to creating and disclosing sponsored content. Weinberger acknowledges that there are two arguments in favor of sponsored content or brand journalism (or paid content, as he prefers to call it): first, that it is possible for paid content to be worthwhile, factual and credible and second, that news publications are desperate for cash. However, the issue remains that "the walls are too thin" between paid and journalistic content. Even when paid content is properly labeled, the proximity of actual journalistic articles can enhance the paid content's credibility — thus confusing readers into mistaking it for actual journalism. Publishers must question: Does paid content risk the quality of the articles that surround it and, ultimately,the credibility of the publication?
Blog Comments that Make an Impact
To develop a high-level positive reputation with bloggers and journalists, demonstrate your interest in their articles. That's the advice in in Blog Commenting Tips: 5 Steps for Making Impacts
. Ryan Biddulph proposes treating comments like a piece of content. Other helpful rules: set a minimum time limit for each comment so you don't get lazy, stick to your niche, and write longer comments if your post is the first or second comment. A one- or two-word comment on their article, however, will probably label you as a spammer. Bottom line: Well-crafted comments on authority blogs can quickly increase your brand presence before your target audience.
Attention-Grabbing Email Techniques
Marketing Profs / The Globe and Mail
The words in the subject line of emails can both help and hurt chances of receiving a reply. In The Most (and Least) Effective Keywords in Email Subject Lines
, Ayaz Nanji summarizes a recent study that analyzed the effectiveness of email subject lines. "Alert," "breaking" and "free delivery" performed well, while "report," "learn" and "book" had negative effects. The best way to get a recipient's eye? "Be unique, even a little crazy," Shahzil Amin maintains in How To Get Anyone's Attention Via Email
. Amin recalls an experience where he used a bizarre subject line that began with "Insert cliché attention-grabbing subject here." The high-authority recipient responded, and the two developed a professional relationship. The key in fostering this relationship: stay up-to-date with what they're working on, follow them on Twitter, and keep them in the loop with your company's progress, Amin maintains.
Needed College Curriculum Courses for PR
Rapidly evolving PR skillsets require colleges and graduate programs to change their PR curriculum, Elissa Freeman argues in Crafting a New PR Curriculum
. An in-depth knowledge of social media is at high demand, Freeman maintains. Many students will say they "know" Facebook, but don't understand its data insights or how to produce actionable results. PR students also lack measurement skills needed to evaluate, track and analyze media coverage. Today's digital communications also require working skills in HTML.
Tips to Drive Traffic to your Marketing Content
Venture Beat / Direct Marketing News
To drive traffic to your site, focus on getting your content and/or links to content on the sites that your prospects already visit. (Courtesy of Zoonabar)
Engagement and reach measure the activity of your content, but they don't identify who viewed your content, or how to engage with them. In How to Turn Content Marketing into Content ROI
, David Greschler urges marketers to avoid placing content on "junk" sites. Instead, focus on getting your content on the key sites your prospects already visit — including partner and industry-focused sites. Nel Malikova advises marketers to identify influencers and decision-makers by analyzing their existing customers in 9 Reasons Content Marketing Programs Fail and How to Ensure They Don't
. Then, determine where they congregate online. One mistake marketers often make: not using data in content. Everyone likes hard facts and figures. Malikova recommends integrating sales stats into content and tweets to establish your company as a resource that your prospects and customers can turn to for data and information.
Google's Matt Cutts Reveals the Most Effective Link Building Tactics
Social media, syndication, guest posting and interviews are all valid approaches to link building, Google's Matt Cutts confirms in Link Building is Not Illegal (or Inherently Bad)
. Syndicating your content to a site with higher authority can lift your page's rank. Guest posting is also an effective link building method, but only when the posts have high quality content. One overlooked and extremely successful form of link building: interviews. If you're able to score an interview with an influencer or recognized authority and publish it on your site, that influencer will likely share a link back to the interview with their audience.
The Formula for Creating Viral Videos
In what may be the "Holy Grail" of video marketing, Jeff Bullas shares the 4 Key Elements for a Viral Video
based on marketing professor Brent Coker's virality algorithm. For content to go viral, videos must have congruency, emotive strength, network involvement and "paired meme synergy." The theme of your video should match fans' pre-existing knowledge of the brand and instill one of the three strongest emotions: disgust, fear and sentiment. Surprisingly, humor and happiness don't fare as well as scary and disgusting videos, Coker reports. Additionally, videos only go viral if they have the right combinations of 14 "memes." A successful meme combination, for example, may comprise of "voyeur," when a video is filmed on a cell phone, the unexpected element of "eyes surprise," and the incorporation of "simulation triggers" that allow viewers to relate with the people in the video.
Social Media Metrics: Measure Goals, Not Performance
Metrics that total the number of fans, followers or likes limit measurement strategies because they only assess performance. The key is to interpret how those numbers will help achieve company goals, Mike Schaffer declares in Your Social Media Analytics Suck
. Executives are not concerned with the number of Twitter followers; they want to know how social media is driving business, Schaffer maintains. Marketers should evaluate financially-oriented metrics, such as web traffic, sales generated from social media, attendance at events or conferences generated by social media, and customer questions answered.
How to Appeal to Different Social Media Fans
Social Media Today
Different types of social media customers can be sorted by their actions, behaviors and intentions - and reached with different marketing approaches. Pam Dyer dissects the 7 Popular Types of Social Media Fans
based on Reach Local's infographic describing each type and explaining challenges to reach those consumers. Use calls to action to turn "the Casual Liker" into a brand advocate. The challenge for "the Deal Seeker": offer deals, promotions and fan specials at least once per week to retain loyal customers and attract new fans. Brands can also appeal to "the Enthusiastic Cheerleader" by sharing the fan's content and photos.
A Wake-Up Call for Young Professionals
Jason Nazar's 20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don't Get
provides a reality check for the millennial generation and their work expectations. Nazar preaches that there's no prize for talent, only results; social media is not a career; and a new job every year is not a good thing. Among his best advice for 20-somethings to make a lasting impression: be the first in and last to leave; don't wait to be told what to do and take responsibility for your mistakes.
Solutions to the Most Common Printer Issues
Problems with desktop printers befuddled most everyone who works on a home or office computer. Tony Hoffman reveals that many of these problems can be addressed without calling tech support in 10 Most Common Printer Problems Solved
. If it's the most common problem (it just won't print), Hoffman says to first check the wire connection, and then see if the software needs to be reinstalled. Another frustrating issue: lousy photo images. The first thing to check is that your software settings match the paper type and that the software is set for photo printing. If that doesn't work, run through nozzle cleaning and alignment tests. Discoloration is a clue that you're low on one type of ink.
Factoids of the Week:
4 in 10
social media users have purchased an item after sharing or favoriting it on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest. (Vision Critical)
42% of consumers who contact brands on social media expect a response within an hour, and 32% expect a response within 30 minutes. (The Social Habit)
For more clicks, the best time to post on Twitter is between 1 and 3 p.m. (Buffer)
Quote of the Week:
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you made them feel." — Maya Angelou
Upcoming Conferences and Webinars
Recent White Papers and eBooks
How to Engage Millenials as Brand Advocates
. Traditional marketing tactics don't cut it when you're trying to share your brand story with social-savvy millenials. How to power millenials to advocate for your brand and share your store with their peers.
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
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ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING
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