Category Archives: Twitter

10 steps to building and managing your personal brand

Personal Branding Formula

Personal Branding Formula (Photo credit: stefano principato)

“All of us need to understand the importance of branding… we are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. …our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called you,” wrote Tom Peters, an American writer on business management practices, in Fast Company. Are you branding yourself in everything you do and developing and refining your personal brand?

What is a personal brand?

Personal branding is also knows as your career or professional brand. It is the way you present yourself to your colleagues and your network online and off. With the growth of LinkedIn, blogging, social networking and people use search engines all the time, it is important to portray your brand in a positive professional light. Just like a company differentiates itself to stand out from its competitors by identifying and articulating its unique value proposition, you should do the same. If you take a proactive approach to your personal brand, it can benefit your career.

There are 10 key steps to help you develop and take control of your personal brand.

1.    Search the major search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) to search your name and its variations

What are the search engines saying about you? Is there someone else in the world that has your same name? Is your identity correct online? If there are variations of your name, have you search those names? The first place to start with your personal brand, especially online, is to find out what is being said about you and what information comes up first in the search engines about you.

2.    Clean up your web presence

Are you looking to do some “spring cleaning” because you don’t like what you see? You may want erase some of yourself from the Internet by using a tool like justdelete.me. This website ranks the process of erasing yourself from easy to impossible. Social networks like Twitter are easy to delete while others like Pinterest are impossible.

3.    Proactive create your online reputation with free tools

Create your own personal website that lists all of our social networks with a free tool like about.me. Or use brandyourself.com that will give you a letter grade relating how your name ranks in search results. Read 10 free tools to manage your personal brand and online reputation. Also, launch a blog (see step 7).

4.    Claim your social media profiles and your personalized URL on LinkedIn

Have you protected yourself from cyber squatters when it comes to your social media profiles? To ensure you secure your desired username or vanity first, visit namechk.com to see if it is still available. You should also secure your personalized URL on LinkedIn. It also may worth creating a Google+ account to ensure you should up on the right hand column of search results. You may want to create a Twitter account to share helpful information with others. I found that my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to show up near the top of my search results since I share a lot of articles through these networks.

5.    Buy your own domain name (even if you are not using it yet)

Do you own the URL of your name? If not, you should secure it at a website registrar like godaddy.com or networksolutions.com. You may want to read 3 reasons why buying a domain name for your child is a good idea. By owning your own domain name, you can be sure that if you use that URL, you will rank high in search results. If you don’t own your name, you are leaving your online reputation in the hands of the unknown. Purchasing your name is around $10 to $15 a year. Read why you need a domain strategy.

6.    Set up an ongoing monitoring alert system

It is important to constantly monitor what is being said about you online. Set up Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts, a free alternative to Google Alerts. When you create the alerts, make sure you put your name with and without quotation markets. You should also include the different variations of your name.

7.    Launch a blog where you can publish content and show your perspectives

I found that my blog is ranked within the top 5 search results in Google. You may want to create and publish content on your blog using a platform like wordpress.com or blogger.com. Read best free blogging websites. When you do start up a blog, remember the Internet is a copy machine. Think before you publish. If you get angry or emotional reacting to something you see online or someone else is provoking you, you may want to email yourself first or ask yourself: would my parents, friends or colleagues like to read this post? A blog is a great way to demonstrate your personal brand. It helps you position yourself in a way that you want to be seen. A blog helps you grow your network beyond your work colleagues, may position yourself as a thought leader at your company, demonstrates your expertise on a topic or topics and shows that you know how to write and communicate (skills your current and potential future employer value).

8.    Take some time to get to know yourself and share helpful content on a regular basis

What do you want others to think of you as online? What types of articles do you share with others? Are they personal growth articles, leadership articles, career articles? What do you want to be known for? Your personal brand reflects who you are. It is important to really know your strengths and weaknesses and do what you love. If you can’t blog, do you share useful tips to your colleagues about the industry you work in or how to do PR or marketing better? By learning who are you and what you are good at, you can better take control of your personal brand.

9.    Create your elevator pitch and key messages

Just like a company brand creates its elevator pitch of who the company is, why it is unique and different, and why you should care, the same goes with your personal brand. Do you have your elevator pitch created and validated? What are your core or key messages? A good example of where you should really have your elevator pitch down is your LinkedIn summary section or your bio page on your blog. That paragraph or two should sum up your personal brand in a short, concise and compelling way.

10. Develop a feedback loop with those you trust and evolve your personal brand

Just like company brands change over time, your personal brand is constantly changing and evolving. As you gain more work and life experiences, your brand changes to reflect who you are at work and in life so it important to build a feedback loop with friends, family, colleagues and others you trust so they are helping you polish and refine you and your personal brand.

As Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, one said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Do you know people are saying about your personal brand online and off? Are you taking steps to build, polish and refine it? The key is to remember your personal brand is more than just your job, it is your career. It is the brand called you!

What helpful tips would you add to this list?

5 common social media mistakes and how to avoid them

Photo Credit:   All rights reserved by infekted.it

Photo Credit: All rights reserved by infekted.it

Social media can help grow your personal and company brand, if done right. If social media is not done properly, it could send the wrong message to your community and it could hurt your brand. It is important that you don’t put your social media on autopilot and you don’t neglect it. Social media takes a lot of care and feeding.

We have created a list of five common social media mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Not customizing your message to the social network

How many times have you seen @ signs on LinkedIn? Probably a lot. Do you listen to those messages when you know they are for another social network? Probably not. What about learning about LinkedIn on Twitter? Are you really going to read an article about LinkedIn tips on Twitter? It is a common mistake that people make is not customizing posts for each platform.

The fix: Remember what the purpose is of each network is and its ins and outs. LinkedIn is a social network for professionals; therefore, your posts should be more professional. Facebook is a network for friends; so these posts should be less formal, more casual. Remember to cater your message to the platform. For some that is communications 101 but for others that is a common mistake.

2. No strategy

Have you ever asked yourself why you are on Facebook? What about Twitter? Are the people your company trying to reach on that social network? Are your friends still on Facebook or have they left for another platform like Instagram? Who are you trying to communicate with? Before you or your company joins a social media platform, ask yourself: why?

The fix: Create a social media strategy. Having an intern manage your company’s social media presence is a big mistake (here are 11 reasons why). A seasoned and experience professional should be handling your company’s social media presence because he or she knows your business well and can avoid crises.

3. One-way communication

Social media is not a platform to blast messages one way. It is a way for people and brands to listen, learn and engage. How often do you see a brand or person never respond to a post or a message they sent? How often do you see questions or concerns go unanswered by brands and people? It shows a lack of understanding the true essence of social media: being “social.”

The fix: Social media is way to humanize brands (here are 20 tips on that topic) and open up possibilities for people to connect with people around the world. Social media is a platform for two-way not one-way communications. For everyone @ mention on Twitter, reply back. It doesn’t take a lot of time to say thank you to your followers who care about you or your brand.

4. Selling. Selling. Selling.

Social platforms are not for selling. People don’t join social media networks to be sold to. They join them to converse, see what others are doing and learn about the world. How often do you see posts about companies talking about themselves too much?

The fix: Share news and expert content that is helpful and shareable. Find a balance of posts that promote others and you or your company once in a while. Share content created by your colleagues and industry experts. Be helpful not salesy.

5. Inconsistent or no posts

How many times do you see a company create a social network but they haven’t posted in months or years? The page looks like a ghost town. For example, how many Twitter accounts have you seen where the person still has an egghead and has never tweeted? Inconsistent posting on social sites can say more to your followers than what you are actually posting. Would you work with a company that didn’t care about its social media presence? How you would be treated as a customer? Would you get neglected as well?

The fix: Make sure you post at least once a week. On some social networks, you may want to post once a day but you don’t want to clutter your followers’ feed. For example, Twitter is a much faster moving feed so posts can be much more frequent than Facebook. On LinkedIn, you may want to make an update at least twice a week because your home feed on that platform is getting more activity recently with the launch of sponsored updates.

What would you add to this list? What are you seeing that others are doing wrong on social media?

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Cassandra D’Aiello, social media manager at Perspectiv3

3 free image editing apps for social media

Image courtesy of YaiSirichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of YaiSirichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

If you are active on social media, you know that social networking sites frequently change the look, feel and functionality. Look at what happens almost on a monthly basis with Facebook. Not to mention LinkedIn and YouTube. They both recently underwent a series of updates and changes.

One day you have a perfect background photo and the next day you don’t.

It is important for you and your company to keep up with these changes because it is a key component of making a good first impression and keeping your community coming back for more. They are more likely to engage with you and your brand with eye-pleasing images that make their experience on your pages enjoyable and fun. Not to mention, it also provides an opportunity to show off you and your company’s personality.

But social networking sites don’t make it easy.

Have you tried to edit your graphic or photos using Adobe Photoshop or your pre-loaded image editor?

Have you tried over and over to successfully maneuver your way through editing a picture to the correct pixel size that each social network requires?

As you may know, Facebook requires your timeline cover photo to be 851 x 315 pixels, Twitter requires your background to be 1920 x 1080 pixels and YouTube requires your header to be 970 x 150 pixels.

We feel your pain.

Below is a list of three photo-editing apps (with their pros and cons) that can help you edit you and your company’s social media images for free (now you won’t have to use image editing websites that charge a hefty monthly or program subscription fee).

1. GetPaint.net

Pros: Range of effects; straight-forward interface; and diverse menu items.

Cons: Software download required; limited brush types; and lack of layer effects.

2. Pixlr

Pros: Facebook compatibility; basic layer canvas feature; and no download necessary.

Cons: Limited import/export options; no frame options; and no option to save favorite effects.

3. PicMonkey

Pros: Easy to use; variety of editing and features; and blemish fixing tools.

Cons: Lack of undo option; many options not free; and limited fonts available.

What free image editing apps would you add to this list? Let us know!

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Cassandra D’Aiello, social media manager at Perspectiv3

The A to Z guide to social media

alphabet stamps

alphabet stamps (Photo credit: river seal)

Sometimes it’s worth getting back to basics.  Here is a compact roadmap to social media – compiled as an easy-to-follow A to Z guide.

Access. Some companies still deny access to social networks at work.  According to a Cisco study, 33 percent of college students and young professionals under the age of 30 say they would prioritize social media access over salary in accepting a job offer.

Balance. Brands and people should balance the amount of time they spend on social media and the amount of time they spend on each of the different social media networks.

Channels. Don’t get caught up in social media channels – instead develop a social media strategy.

Democracy. According to some reports, social media has sparked democracy. What do you think?

Engagement. Social media provides brands with direct access to their primary audience: customers. Read 21 rules for social media engagement.

Facebook. Despite some people getting frustrated with Facebook, it is still the top social network a majority of us still use. According to Business2Community, 77 percent of B2C companies acquired customers via Facebook.

Google+. This is now the second-largest social network. Google+ is appealing to many because of three reasons: search results, hangouts and the new Communities.

Humanize. Social media is humanizing brands. Humans connect with humans – not with brands or logos. Social media helps tear down the traditional walls that large organizations put up. Read 10 ways to humanize your brand on social media.

Instagram. Despite Instagram recently losing 25 percent of its daily active users, it is still the choice of photo sharing today. Read 5 things brands can learn from the Instagram fallout and 3 ways to grow your Instagram community.

Journalists. We are all now citizen journalists. In other words, we all play an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. Remember how social media played a big role in the US Airways airplane crash into the Hudson River.

Knowledge. You can learn a lot on your social networks. As a job seeker, you can learn about your future company before you interview with them. As a brand, you can learn about the digital body language of your customers.

LinkedIn. This network keeps growing with more than 200 million users. It is the top social network for many B2B companies (read 7 steps to LinkedIn success for B2B companies). Their new endorsements feature has negative and positive reviews but the jury is still out. In the meantime, you may want to read how to make the most of LinkedIn endorsements.

MySpace. Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back to MySpace. But is it enough? Only time will tell but it is worth keeping an eye on. Read 5 things marketers will love about MySpace.

News. People now go to Twitter or other social networks to find out their news since it can break faster than through the traditional media outlets. Read how social media is taking over the news industry.

Openness. Whether you like or not, you are learning a lot about your friends and brands than you ever did before … the good, bad and the ugly. Social media is breaking down the traditional “walls” of information that friends or brands put up.

Pinterest. This network has exploded. It is on its ways to becoming a household name in social media. Pinterest is addictive and it recently launched business pages. Read 5 ways brands us Pinterest to authentically connect.

Quora. With the death of LinkedIn answers, this Q&A site has a lot of potential. Bing has integrated it into its social search. Read 9 ways to get more out of Quora.

Relationships. This is what social media is all about. Connecting with others.

Slideshare. This is the most underutilized site out there. Read 7 reasons why B2B marketers should love SlideShare and 11 ways to use SlideShare for content marketing success.

Twitter. Twitter is where a lot of news breaks these days. According to Twitter, there are over a billion tweets sent every three days.

Universe. Social media opens up your world to the entire universe, not just your city, town, neighborhood or street. You can connect with people all over the world with a couple of clicks.

Voice. It is important to find your authentic voice in social media and craft your own voice. Read how 5 brands crafted their social media voice and 5 tips to strengthen your company’s social media voice. Have you developed your own personal social media voice? What about your brand’s voice? Read 20 great social media voices and how to develop your own.

Widgets. Social media networks have developed stand-alone applications that you can embed into other applications like a website or a desktop. Some of the top social networks widgets: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.

X-factor. Social media is changing the game. It can be hard to truly describe social media’s influence on marketing, public relations, organizations and people but social media is changing worlds.

YouTube. Gangham Style video on YouTube now has more than 1 billion views. Need I say more about the popularity of this social network?

Zest. In other words: vigorous and enthusiastic enjoyment. This is what social media is all about. People enjoy spending time on social media. In the United States, people spent 121 billion minutes on social media in July 2012, according to Nielsen’s 2012 social media report. That is 6.5 hours per person (if every person in the U.S used social media).

What would you suggest as alternative letters to this list?

5 ways to create expert content with limited resources

 

In the world of tighter budgets, less staff and more workflow, who has time to write content?  How much do you have to write to be effective? Why write it at all?

A recent business study showed that 75 percent of buyers are likely to use social media in the purchase process and 55 percent of B2B survey respondents search for information using social sites.  Remember all those social platforms you put up for your company? Better have something to say on them, or better yet, have something to pass along. Content is your currency, make it worth sharing within your target community!

Below are five ideas on how you can create expert content, with limited resources:

1.    Curate

This is the cornerstone of a robust content management program. Similar to a museum curator, you don’t create the artwork; you collect and assemble it into a relevant showpiece. This involves organizing just where you are going to get your content from, and that’s not Wikipedia. A well-organized collection of useful information will motivate your audience not only to read, but also share with others.

Just ask Guy KawasakiHe’s a master curator, employing a staff to help sort through the mountains of information buzzing across the web. In fact he uses Twitter to send folks to his website at Alltop.com by tweeting links to his “online magazine rack,” in other words, the content he has aggregated from original sources.

Trusted, credible sources are key to curating good content. Start by building a go-to list of sites that you rely on regularly. For me, as a social businessperson, a few I subscribe to via email for updates are:

In addition, I use Facebook to like pages such as Mashable.com/tech to get all the technology news by the master curated site on the web.

2.    Crowdsourcing

Here’s yet another way of collecting knowledge from different sources, where the aggregated collection is the value. You’ll want to ask subject matter experts in your network a specific topic based question or two and aggregate your findings. Here’s an example of expert shared tips, which makes for a perfect published piece: Laptop Life Tips: Experts Share 10 Tricks To Make Your Computer Last Longer.

Or you can take a more public poll. Facebook recently added a Poll app called “Ask a Question.” Survey Monkey also allows free surveys and gives you a link to drive traffic to. LinkedIn Answers offers a chance to ask industry professionals for feedback and opinions.

Here’s a question: “What percentage of your marketing budget are you going to use on creating content this year?”

3.    Comment

I just read a story about Big Data and where it’s headed. Well, if I’m a systems architect, I just may have a lot to say about that. I cite the story, and then add my commentary. It’s also good practice to notify its author and build a warm relationship. Follow him/her on their social sites as well, you’re building press credentials for later.

4.    Use Numbers and Lists

Research shows that the highest rated posts on the web organize their content into numerical lists. 5 ways to create content, 3 top server consolidation methods, 7 of your favorite blogs (this one included). A list that is well sourced and has meaning will inspire your readers to comment and engage.  No room for fluff here. Quality is the key as shown in this article by HubSpot, “The Top 10 Qualities of High Quality List Posts.”

5.    Interview

My colleague, Kathy Tito, from New England Sales & Marketing does this very well. In “The Bootstrap” blog, she finds people of interest in technology marketing and interviews them Q and A style in a candid, no-nonsense way. Not only does it make for some great storytelling, but also she has acquired some great business contacts along the way.

What would you add to this list? How are you creating content with limited resources?

This post is courtesy of guest blogger Anita O’Malley, who is a social and marketing business communications expert. She recently curated her own company, Perspectiv3. She can be reached at anitaom@perspectivmarketing.com

When is the best time to tweet?

A typical Deutsche Bahn railway station clock

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We all want our tweets to get noticed, read and retweeted—whether they are your personal tweets or you are tweeting on behalf of a brand.

The purpose of this blog post is to give you some information about what research says about the best time to tweet and show you some tools so you can tailor your tweeting times to your followers’ habits.

Time of Day

According to the Twitter vs. Time infographic produced by the marketing company Lemon.ly referencing Twitter and Sysomos data, the most traffic on Twitter occurs between 9 to 11 a.m. ET and 1 to 3 p.m. ET. According to Hubspot Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella’s research, the best time to tweet is 5 p.m. ET. The takeaway: Spread your tweets out throughout the day with an emphasis toward later in the day.

Time Zone

Pulling data from Dan Zarrella, the Science of Social Timing infographic created by KISSMetrics, shows that the breakdown of tweets in U.S. 48% of tweets are from the East Coast, 33% of tweets are from the Central time zone and 14% are from the West Coast. It is important to remember that nearly 80% of the general U.S. population is located in the Central and Eastern time zones. The takeaway: Think East Coast time.

Day of the Week

According to Dan Zarrella’s How to Get More Clicks on Twitter, you are more likely to get clicks on your Twitter links toward the end of the week and weekends. From my personal experience, I have been successful with Sunday evenings. In terms of followers clicking on your Twitter links, followers are more likely to do so on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The takeaway: Don’t forget about the weekends.

Tools

Optimizing you or your brand’s daily tweeting habits is important in making sure you reach your followers. I found 13 tools that can help you figure out and maximize the timing of your tweets.

1. WhenToTweet. This tool will help you figure out when most of your followers are online.

2. TweetWhen. This free tool shows you the best times to tweet based on your past 1,000 tweets.

3. Tweriod. This free tool looks at you and your Twitter followers’ tweets to provide times on when you should tweet.

4. TweetStats. This free tool will show you detailed analysis of your best tweeting time.

5. Timely. This free tool analyzes your past 199 tweets and figures out the best time slots for you to tweet.

6. Tweue. This free tool is basically a Twitter queue that will evenly space up to 10 tweet from 15 minutes to eight hours apart.

7. TweetReports. This free tool gathers the stats from your top 25 influential followers and analyzes the times where keywords are talked about the most, and when you may want to participate in these conversations.

8. Lookacross. This paid tool (30-day free trial) to find the best time to reach people.

9. 14Blocks. A paid tool ($5-$49/month) that analyzes your followers’ activities to find out the best times to tweet each day of the week.

10. Socialflow. A paid tool ($1 for first month) publishes your content when it will resonate the most with your Twitter followers.

11. Hootsuite. A free web-based social media dashboard that allows you to queue up and post updates in a timely fashion.

12. Buffer. This free app allows you to add articles, photos and videos to it anytime of the day and then it automatically shares them throughout the day

13. TweetDeck. This free tool allows you to schedule tweets and can help you manage your social media platforms.

Conclusion: Success Lies in Frequency Not Timing

In the end, success on Twitter does not rely on when you tweet but how frequently you tweet. Not too much but not too little. If you post at least 5 times a day, spaced throughout the day, you will mostly likely achieve the maximum impact of your tweets.

The 7 habits of highly effective people on Twitter

Free twitter badge

Image via Wikipedia

A lot of what Stephen Covey writes in his bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People applies to the habits of the top influential Twitterers. So here are seven behaviors to repeat regularly to increase your influence on Twitter.

Habit #1: Make Each Tweet Count

Mark sure each tweet or update you send is relevant. There is an increasingly amount of noise on Twitter so you need to make sure each tweet you send grabs the attention of your followers. With limited time and lower attention spans, compelling tweets are a must. Hint: try to follow the 9 simple formulas to creating killer headlines.

Habit #2: Know Yourself

Discover and clarify your values and goals. What are your trying to accomplish from Twitter? Think Guy Kawasaki and his Twitter strategy.

Habit #3: Plan Ahead

Plan and execute your tweets for the week ahead. Schedule some tweets using a third-party platform like Hootsuite or TweetDeck (which is now part of Twitter).

Habit #4: Know Your Following

Know your Twitter followers and what they like about your tweets. The third-party platforms mentioned above show you which tweets are the most popular and shows which topics your followers like and don’t like.

Habit #5: Listen

Listen well. Follow trending topics on Twitter, popular hashtags and take advantage that Twitter inherently reports news before traditional media does. Create a reasonably large amount of Twitter lists to better segment your followers so you can better understand your different types of followers.

Habit #6: Grow Your Influence Slowly

Your following won’t dramatically increase overnight. It is a marathon not a sprint. Follow these tips on how to grow your Twitter influence (another post I wrote).

Habit #7: Develop a Sustainable Strategy

Twitter takes a lot of time and effort to be successful. You are only as good as your latest tweet. You have to continually to produce re-tweetable content. Know how to get more retweets by taking advantage of research by social media scientist Dan Zarrella.

What habits would you add to this list?

7 ways social media is changing PR

Social media is a game changer for public relations. It is bringing new challenges and opportunities to the profession and to savvy pros. I have outlined seven ways that social media is changing PR.

  1. Two-way conversation. PR pros can no longer blast out information about their brand or client and expect to succeed. Consumers and journalists have come to expect that they won’t be “spammed” and will be answered quickly and in a personal manner. Timely, two-way communication is the “new normal.” Listening, engagement and thought leadership are now three areas that PR pros manage.
  2. Digital communication. PR pros need to know the latest digital tools, including social media monitoring tools, Twitter, Google Analytics. They need to understand blogging and the tools that come with that. We need to understand the nuance of communication for different online communities. (ie. between communicating on Twitter and/or Facebook.)
  3. Research. The social networks offer a wealth of information to PR pros on target markets, customer service, and media they want to pitch. They can now create new opportunities that may not have been available before without social media.
  4. Journalism is changing. Traditional media is no longer the “go to” source for information. The news can “break” from anywhere and the general public has become citizen journalists. For example, look at the U.S. Airways crash into the Hudson River or Michael Jackson’s death. The consumer no longer relies on big news organizations to be on the scene for news. Companies are, in essence, becoming media companies and their PR pros are becoming publishers. Be sure to read How is Social Media NOT Journalism?
  5. Faster and more visible communications. In our 24/7 customer-centric world, social media has increased the potential for complaints and the visibility of this negative outcry. Since we live in a social network, crises happen faster, and response time must be as well. It is important for PR pros to develop their organization or client online presence BEFORE a crisis happens. Because technology is always changing, the crisis plan needs to become a “living” document that helps give an immediate and well-informed response to the latest information.
  6. Analytics. PR pros need to understand and use math everyday. Social media can better help track the return on investment, including direct costs of staff time spent using the tools, and measurement of the traffic it drives to a company’s website.
  7. Organizational hierarchy change. Internal and external communications have been democratized thanks to social media taking out the extra layers such as a direct line to the CEO if you are an internal or external stakeholder.

What would you add to this list? How do you think social media has changed PR?

This post originally appeared on the blog Spin Sucks.

7 ways to avoid common PR campaign pitfalls

Managing a PR campaign takes a lot of hard work and effort.  To ensure success of your PR campaigns, you should avoid these seven common pitfalls or mistakes.

No integration. A campaign is more than a news release.  Most successful campaigns know how to take advantage of a multi-channel campaign that uses online and offline PR tactics, including developing a media kit, writing a blog post, producing a video and/or podcast, organizing a Tweetup or event for key stakeholders.  If all the components of the campaign don’t integrate, the campaign has a lower chance of being successful.

Lack of alignment and availability. Think about the key stakeholders in your organization and how they are going to be affected by this PR campaign. Is your key spokespeople who works in another department available to talk at moment’s notice on a blog, to traditional media, answer Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn questions?

Lack of proper positioning. There is nothing worse than not understanding how a PR campaign fits into your overall marketing strategy.  Marketing positioning is very important for a product, brand or organization.  What is your company’s identity and how will this campaign reinforce an image that has been branded into the minds of your target audience?  How will this campaign help with Search Engine Optimization? In other words, does the PR campaign highlight all the keywords that your audience may type into a search?

Too self-centered. Make sure that you solve your customer(s) problem(s) with the PR campaign.  Make sure you think about how this will help your target audience.  A journalist is more likely to write about something if the PR campaign can help its audience.

No newsworthy components. As a PR pro, you need to put on your journalist hat and think like the media.  Why should anybody care? Or what is in it for me?  Be sure to read: What Makes a Story Newsworthy? It is very important that you read, listen and/or watch the media outlets you are pitching for the PR campaign.

Not sustainable. Often times, a PR campaign is great at creating initial buzz but is forgotten months later.  You should create what is called the PR longtail on the Internet. Making sure that the content you write today can still be applicable in some way tomorrow is important for long-term success of the campaign.   Also, make sure the concept of the campaign is created in a way that it can be adapted to many different audiences.

Don’t know target audience. Who is the audience for your PR campaign?  Make sure that you not only know what target audience you are trying to reach with the campaign but what media outlets or online influencers would most likely be interested.  Make sure you do your homework.

What would you add to this list?

Image courtsey of DoktorSpinn.

10 tips to become a more successful PR pro

In today’s ultra-competitive PR world you need to find ways to stand out. Following are 10 things that continue to help me become a more successful PR pro. I hope they help you, too.

  1. Do your homework. A mass pitch never amasses a lot of coverage. Before you pitch a journalist or blogger, know what they cover. Research their past stories and fine tune your pitch to appeal to their audience.
  2. Learn something new. Take a training course. Sign up for a conference. Go back to school. Take an online certification like HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification. You may find out you know more than you think.
  3. Become a better writer. Practice being a “headline communicator” by learning how to hook your audience with your first five words. Find creative ways to flex your writing muscle. Become a contributing author to an industry publication. Start your own blog or write for your company’s blog.
  4. Develop deeper relationships. Remember how powerful and memorable handwritten thank you notes are in today’s online world. Look for new and creative ways to keep yourself top of mind in the eyes of your stakeholders. Don’t forget that relationships are best built face-to-face than over the phone or on a computer.
  5. Learn how to better manage the yes. This is a twist on managing the no. Learn how to better manage the expectations of others. Make sure that you set the scope of work and discuss desirable outcomes. Make sure you always under-promise and over-deliver.
  6. Prioritize. When you feel overwhelmed by multiple large projects, step back and remember what’s most important to accomplish today. Create a to-do list at the end of every day, so when you come into work the next morning you know what you need to do first.
  7. Be more resourceful. If you can’t reach a journalist or blogger over the phone or by email, search for them on Twitter and send them a message. Find creative ways to pitch beyond the standard press release. Seek out the stories journalists are working on by using services like HARO and NewsBasis.
  8. Take advantage of social media. More journalists are using social media to find story ideas and sources. Use sites like Muck Rack, MediaOnTwitter, and Journalist Tweets to find out who’s online and how to contact them.
  9. Network, Network, Network. Join professional PR associations like PRSA or IABC or Ragan. Become a member of your local Social Media Club. Participate in Twitter chats. You never know when a relationship may help you with your current job or finding a future one.
  10. Use free PR tools. Read Jeremy Porter’s 13 PR resources you may have overlooked post. There are many tools out there that can help you deliver tremendous value to your brand or client – without spending a dime.

What tips would you add to this list?

This post originally appeared on the blog Spin Sucks.

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