Author Archives for PR over Coffee

Seven podcasts for PR professionals that are eager to learn

Podcasts are a great way for PR professionals to stay current while they are on the go. Podcasts inform them about the latest trends, discuss books they really need to read, offer insights that challenge how they think about certain issues and much more. We selected seven podcasts that ambitious PR professionals cannot miss.

Wag the Dog

This podcast is presented by Philippe Borremans. Every episode encompasses an interview with a corporate or PR agency thought leader on a topic that concerns corporate communications, crisis communications, social media, internal communications or change management.

Brainfluence

Roger Dooley is the author of ‘Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing’. On his podcast, Dooley interviews guests to talk about topics that are as diverse as list building, negotiation skills, branding and affiliate marketing. Guests are often authors of recent books and the show has had many big names for guests thus far.

For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release (FIR) is hosted by Shel Holtz. Holtz invites in each episode a panel of thought leaders to discuss a variety of PR related stories that were in the news in the preceding week. FIR will keep you current and save you much time scanning other sources.

On Brand

On Brand is a podcast for branding professionals that is hosted by Nick Westergaard. Each episode features an in-depth interview with a branding thought leader or a practitioner from a notable brand. Conversations focus on ‘the art and science of branding today’.

Young PR Pros

Young PR Pros caters specifically to young PR professionals with advice on how to advance their careers.  Among the many topics that have been covered in 120+ shows are building your portfolio, work/life balance, and accreditation. The show is hosted by Kristine D’Arbelles, Julia Kent, and Ross Simmonds.

Inside PR

Inside PR is hosted by Gini Dietrich, Joe Thornley, and Martin Waxman. This Canadian podcast takes a weekly look (we are at episode 488!) at public relations and where it intersects with business and technology. A recent item that is typical for the stories you will find on this podcast concerned Amazon’s problems with Bot reviews and the problem with fake online reviews.

Social Pros Podcast

This popular podcast is hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown. Each episode includes insights from a leading social media strategist plus current trends and ideas in the social media industry which are then discussed by both hosts. At the end of each episode, there is the The Big Two piece where the guest gives his or her rapid-fire answers to two important questions.


This post is based on an article that appeared earlier on Science for PR.

News media outlets are not dead, they’re just hyper-local

Much has been made about the demise of the news media in the age of the Internet and social media. Contrary to popular opinion, however, many media outlets are surviving, and some are even thriving. What’s their secret? A hyper-local focus on covering news.

Local media outlets that have done well in recent years tend to serve a small geographic area or cover niche topics for a community. They are far more interested ‘backyard issues’ affecting residents of their communities than covering stories with national scope.

That means small businesses in local communities still have a tremendous opportunity to get news coverage. Here are some ways that enterprising entrepreneurs can grab their share of the news to help build their brand and drive more business:

New location

Small businesses that add a new location are showing signs of growth, and that interests media with a hyper-local focus. Whether it’s a bakery expanding to an up-and-coming community or a nursery that opened its second location across town, the local media will want to let its audience know about the upcoming location openings.

Bought a business

Not every entrepreneur starts a business from the ground up. Yes, it’s a path that many do take, but many other successful entrepreneurs left careers at Fortune 500 companies in search of the American Dream on Main Street. Thousands of military personnel retire monthly and some look for franchises or existing businesses to buy rather than trying to find a job elsewhere. Even Millennials are getting in on the action. There are 75 million of them according to the Kauffman Foundation, and many took courses on entrepreneurship in high school or college and have the desire to control their own economic destiny.

Won an award

It’s not uncommon for small businesses to win awards for what they do. Some hyper-local media outlets hold annual fan favorite contests where readers vote for local businesses they prefer. Any consumer-facing business can enter these contests, but it takes a concerted effort to get customers to vote for the business. Still, it’s well worth the effort. Winners will get local media buzz, and the social validation that comes with the award will net even more loyal customers. Other awards can help establish the credibility of small businesses, including annual chamber of commerce awards, competitions and industry awards. A gelato shop that wins an annual national gelato competition will find it far easier to get the attention of a TV news anchor (especially one with a sweet tooth) than one that hasn’t done something nearly as remarkable.

Funding

Some small businesses grow through an influx of capital from investors, which is often a strong indicator that future expansion is afoot. For instance, a local snack foods company that sells in the community and its outlying areas may get a round of funding to begin expanding in grocery stores statewide, or even nationally. Media outlets will report on the funding event because it’s a clear signal that a home-grown company is doing well and planning an aggressive growth plan that could include hiring more employees and moving into a larger facility. Media outlets care a lot about jobs and real estate because the economic impact tends to be incredibly hyper-local, not to mention it happens to be a great way to measure the health of a local economy.

Special event benefiting a non-profit

Some creative small businesses find ways to get local media interested in them by running special events. For instance, a local restaurant might partner with a high-end chocolatier and offer a special menu in order to raise money for breast cancer awareness or another worthy cause. Local media, including TV news outlets, will often keep a certain amount of news open for local non-profit causes. Creativity can go a long way toward doing good for those in need while also helping build brand awareness in the community.

Health benefits

Last but not least, there are always opportunities for certain kinds of businesses to get hyper-local media coverage when it comes to helping shed light on health and wellness topics. Media outlets take their role as educators very seriously in the community, which means if a small business (e.g., a fitness studio or premium olive oil retailer) has a product or service that can help lower cholesterol, and it happens to be National Cholesterol Education month, then the media may be open to doing a story.

About Alyssa Bowholtz: Alyssa is a marketing and communications intern at Manzer Communications. She writes for the PR over Coffee blog and also helps with everything from managing social media activities to growing the company’s Austin Startup over Coffee map. Manzer Communications is an Austin marketing agency for tech companies seeking full sales funnel support from lead generation to sales enablement. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy, marketing automation, PPC, email marketing and media relations.

Don’t let your marketing head home for the holidays!

When the weather outside is frightful, your holiday vacations become so delightful! Whether it’s time for a little R&R in another city, state or country, it doesn’t mean your marketing should go on a two week hiatus as well. After all, people still open their smartphones and laptops, keep up with the occasional email, read their social media streams…well, you get the idea.

Here are 5 quick and easy tips to maintain your marketing presence even as you head out for the holidays.

 

Have your social calendar filled out BEFORE you take off

Social media calendars are extremely useful, even when you aren’t going on vacation. They help map out what, who, why, how, where and when you are going to post to each of your social media accounts. The internet is swimming with social media calendar templates that are easy to use! Fill out the information for the days you will be gone, including the message you are sharing, link you will use, image to be included and time to be posted. Don’t forget to specify which social media platform you will post the messages to.

 

Link your business Twitter from your personal cell phone

Assuming you already have the free app on your phone, you can link your personal and business account on your cell phone. To do this, pull up your Twitter account and tap on the profile image. There is a little blue arrow by your profile name, tap it and tap “Add an existing account.”

Once your accounts are linked, you can switch back and forth by tapping the profile image at the top of your screen. Send tweets, retweet an interesting article, or update followers with your experiences on vacation. Follow the calendar you created before you left, and your vacation will be a breeze.

Word to the wise: just be careful you’re in the right account before you tweet a personal opinion to your business account. It’s an easy, but avoidable mistake if you take the extra second to check which account you’re in.

 

Utilize Facebook’s “scheduled posts” feature

If you don’t subscribe to a social media distribution service that allows you to schedule social media posts, Facebook has a scheduling tool that is stress-free. Gather the content from your calendar and head to Facebook and enter each post, link and image into the post generator. Once you are ready, click the little arrow next to “Publish.”  A drop-down box will appear that has a few different options. You will select the “Schedule” option. From there, you can choose the time and date that the post will publish to your followers. It’s as easy as that!

 

Choose “topics” for Twitter

When inputting the information into your social calendar, coming up with specific Twitter posts is nearly impossible.  The goal is to deliver accurate information that happens at the drop of a dime. Instead of putting the exact message, image, and URL into the calendar, focus on selecting various topics instead.

Some examples would be:

  • Retweet an interesting, industry-relevant article
  • Share a new blog post
  • Tweet a picture of your travels
  • Share an old, but still relevant blog

Use your social media calendar to keep ideas for what you want to post and when. Additionally, the search feature on Twitter allows you to find articles or tweets on the topics you choose right from your cell phone since you now have linked accounts. The person you left in charge of the campaign will also be able to easily locate and publish tweets with a guide for what topics to cover and when.

 

Repurpose relevant blog posts

If you know you already have quality content that can be reused or repurposed while you are away, don’t be afraid to share it again! Be sure that if there is any data in the blog, it’s updated, and the topic of the original blog is relevant to today’s audience. What’s the point of having all that information if you only share it once? If a certain article really captivated your audience the first time, it may reach new followers that you’ve acquired over the recent weeks or months. Change the headline slightly or use a different message and photo when posting to social media. Even though you are using content you already have, make sure to tailor it slightly to match current wants and needs of your followers.

 

Those were our five easy tips to help you keep up with the campaign while you are on holiday. Vacation should be about relaxing and spending time with the ones you love. Don’t let the pressure of maintaining your holiday PR campaign stress you out. Plan ahead, make posting accessible, and share quality content you already have. Most importantly, enjoy your vacation!
About Alyssa Bowholtz: Alyssa is a marketing and communications intern at Manzer Communications. She writes for the PR over Coffee blog and also helps with everything from managing social media activities to helping grow the company’s Austin Startup over Coffee map. Manzer Communications is an Austin marketing agency for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and PPC, email marketing and media relations.

Speak Up: Building a Brand Voice For Your Business.

 

In any business venture you have many decisions to make. Type? Mission? Name? Hours of operation? Etc. The good news is that since you’ve decided to start a business or just want to improve an existing one, then you have overcome your first major hurdle.

So what’s the next step? Before you can start to market your services and dive head first into social media to let the world know how great you are, you first have to define your brand’s voice.

What do we mean by a brand voice? More than simply words and phrases, your ‘brand voice’ is the overall tone of your business and how you connect with your customers. It’s important that you craft a voice which clearly identifies with your business and its customers.

Here’s some good news: it’s time to get creative! Your voice can be whatever you want it to be. Formal? Humorous? Conversational?

So now the big question: how do you establish your own brand voice? Consider that it will impact all of your business communications, which means you will need to spend some time on it. Sounds daunting?

Not to worry! It’s easier than you may think, especially if you review the following.

 

Know Your Audience

What does your customer look like? What are their interests? You can’t begin to develop your brand voice if you don’t have a clear picture of your audience. More than simple demographics, you really need to take a deep dive into who they are, how they talk and what they believe. Customers have more options than ever these days to find products and services that align with their own values and interests. If you can’t define your customers and what they want, someone else will.

Say you own a store that sells clothing and gear for babies and toddlers. Your brand voice would naturally include a reassuring tone, friendly, even nurturing. You want new parents in your community to see you as a trusted resource for baby clothing, baby gear and other items to make the parenting experience easier.

 

Know Yourself

What is your brand? What are your company’s values? In order to successfully market your business and create a cohesive tone, you absolutely have to know everything about your business. Whether you’re a huge conglomerate or a small home-based startup with one employee, effective outward communication starts within. Consider this step your communication mission statement. What image do you want your business to reflect? Only you know.

Say you are a former Army Ranger or Marine and recently launched a CrossFit gym based on the kinds of day-to-day fitness challenges you experienced on deployments in Afghanistan.  Well then you might want to create a brand voice that has a rugged, never-say-die quality. The business is built on your identity, after all. The more your brand voice reflects that the truer it will be to your experience and the more it will resonate with customers.

 

Know Your Competition

The next step after identifying who you are and what your business represents is to know everything about your competitors. Unless you are creating an entirely new space, you will need to spend time researching the marketplace. Will you copy others or will you create unique content? Clear messaging is crucial but you must first decide what that messaging will be and if it will be presented differently from those who have come before.

For instance, say you are a custom software development company but instead of working with disruptive technology companies like your competition you tend to focus on older, more traditional companies in need of software modernization. In that case, your brand voice would skew toward a more mature, level-headed and even conservative tone and style designed to appeal to executives in traditional industries like manufacturing, distribution and financial services.

 

Be Flexible

The marketplace is dynamic. Businesses like yours have to be ready to adapt and change quickly. Maybe a new disruptive product is being launched or a new app is forcing you to create a new strategy as you currently only exist in brick and mortar. Whatever the change is, you must be prepared and that includes adjusting tone and style of your brand voice as needed. What worked yesterday may not work today and likely won’t work tomorrow.

For example, today we are seeing a steady push toward egalitarianism in the marketplace so adopting a male-centric voice may not work unless you happen to be selling athletic gear designed exclusively for men. Even The Home Depot’s brand voice, while still distinctly male, has softened to encompass the female DIYers that make up their customer base.

Bottom line: Your brand voice matters. To make yours stand out from the competition, be authentic to who you are and, most importantly, who your customers are and what they expect from you. A fine-tuned brand voice will allow you to speak much louder than your competitors and it will help you to resonate better with your customers, you just need to take the time to find it.

 

About Dave Bennett: Dave is a marketing and communications professional at Manzer Communications. He supports clients with social media, blogging and tech marketing and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications is a digital marketing agency in Austin for tech companies companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and PPC, email marketing, and media relations.

Personal branding tips for founders and executives on Twitter

Twitter is an effective social media platform to help build and bolster the brand of startup founders and business executives. While it may not have as many users as Facebook or Instagram, Twitter is hands-down the best social network for sharing opinions and news with a large group of people. In short, it offers the best opportunity find, follow and engage with influencers, customers, bloggers, reporters and more.

Unless you’re already famous, however, building a significant following on Twitter isn’t easy. The thing is, getting people to pay attention to your content isn’t just about tweeting interesting content, although that certainly plays a major role. It’s also a question of learning how to get other people’s attention, either by interacting with them or sharing their content — preferably both.

The following is a brief excerpt from an Insights note on personal branding for C-suite and founders on Twitter released today by Manzer Communications.

What should you be tweeting about?

Post about topics that are relevant to your brand. That doesn’t mean you should you shy away from posting content relating to other interests or events, especially those in your own life.

While your primary offering to the Twittersphere is indeed your knowledge and expertise, people actually enjoy experts they can relate to on some kind of personal level. So don’t be shy about sharing a more personal side — your favorite coffee or tea, a view of you networking at an industry conference, even a favorite food truck when you’re traveling on business. Just be sure that those personal moments convey a coherent identity and personality that aligns with your corporate brand.

Caveat: No sense in showing a trip to a tattoo parlor if you happen to be a CEO of a staid financial services company handling retirement accounts for seniors. But if you’re a founder of a BMX accessories company in Boulder selling mostly to a younger customer base, go for it!

What should your content look like?

There are three distinct categories of Twitter content (Production, Curation & Aggregation), and your Twitter content should feature a mix of the three. That said, always strive to put a personal touch on as many of your tweets as possible. Retweeting another person’s content will often be noticed, appreciated and sometimes reciprocated. For the most part, however, that serves their brand, not your own. The ultimate goal is to have others do the same for your original posts. Hence the need to share valuable content in the form of insightful opinions about trending topics.

Want to learn more? Download the Insight note on executive and founder branding on Twitter today!

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications is a PR and tech marketing agency in Austin  for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Mythbusters: Marketing Edition

b972ce7e359d54e2dd3b3e805a6a92214bd25d17As the marketing industry changes and develops, it’s only natural that misconceptions will come out of the woodworks.

Whether you’re an emerging brand or a veteran of the industry, it can sometimes be hard to determine which marketing myths should be taken with a grain of salt, and which should just be completely ignored.

Here are five myths busted, so you can be properly informed when going into your marketing planning.

Marketing is the same as advertising

If you go around believing that marketing and advertising are one and the same, keep reading. While the two go hand in hand, they are still very different. According to the American Marketing Association, “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Marketing focuses more on the technical process of creating awareness and understanding your customers by getting inside of their head. It is much more overarching than advertising. Advertising is a component of marketing. It is focused on the creation of actual items to drive promotions through mediums such as print, radio, television, billboards, etc. If you use the terms marketing and advertising interchangeably, it’s time to stop.

I don’t need social media

Social media seems to touch every part of our lives, so neglecting it for your business is a mistake. Social media isn’t just a way to connect with friends, but is an asset for sharing your business’ content and information. Customers like to conduct online research about products before making a decision. 74% of people will consult social media to help decide which product to buy. Typically customers will see it as a red flag if your business does not have some sort of social media presence. Social media is a way to provide customer service and connect with your customers on a more personal level. Even if you feel like you’re not in an industry where social media is necessary, don’t neglect its importance.

Marketing is too expensive

While it’s true that you will eventually have to spend some money for an effective marketing campaign, you might not need as big of a budget as you may think. Depending on which area you want to spend your time and money (social media, paid media, inbound marketing, etc.), there are ways to cut expenses when needed. Take influencer marketing, for example. Many brands feel the need to shell out the big bucks for big-name influencers and celebrities to promote their product when there are plenty of smaller, niche influencers who will charge a lot less for a partnership. Some will even take non-monetary compensation! If you don’t have a hefty marketing budget, get creative with how and where you want to spend your money.

It worked for them, so it will work for us

While there are general strategies that should be implemented for most marketing campaigns, not everything will work for everyone. For example, a B2B tech company wouldn’t utilize an Instagram campaign like a consumer retail business would, because that’s not where their audience is. Their audience is most likely on LinkedIn, which means they’re better off focusing their time and energy there. To get the most out of marketing, your brand has to utilize the tactics that will reach the right audience, in the right way.

All you need is a good website

Your brand could have the best website in the world, but that doesn’t matter unless people know it exists. That’s where good marketing comes in. Through social media, content marketing, SEO and other tactics, your website can be seen by a much larger audience than if it just sits there on its own. To increase traffic to your website, start by feeding it into as many places as you can — social media, blog posts, contributed posts, etc. And even if you’re not an SEO expert, you should at least know the basic keywords related to your industry and utilize those to increase the chances that your brand will show up during Google searches.

 

How to prepare for an interview with a reporter

smiYou’ve reached an exciting point for your business! You’ve been approached by the media to participate in an interview about your company.

This can be both exciting and nerve wracking for you, especially if you’ve never been interviewed before. Make no mistake, an interview with a reporter can open a lot of doors for your company. Media coverage can transform your company exposure and brand awareness in your geographic or industry market, so you definitely want to be on your A-game for the interview.

Leave a positive impression of your business and dominate your upcoming interview with these tips.

Anticipate questions

Whether you’re being interviewed about company news, a product launch, or for thought leadership, you need to anticipate questions of all kinds. You never know what kind of curve balls could be thrown your way, so try your best to do enough preparation for the tough questions. Research previous interviews that have been done by the reporter you will be interviewing with to get an idea of their style. They may ask similar or even the same questions. Look up common interview questions online and prepare answers for the questions. The more preparation you do in advance the less anxious you will be about the interview.

Research industry trends

When being interviewed, you want to be seen as an authority figure in your field. One way to do that is by staying up to date on the current industry news and trends. Before your big interview, it’s a good idea to brush up on current events outside of your own company.  It is better to be over prepared, because the last thing you want is to be in the dark on an important current event. Spend the week leading up to your interview surfing the web for relevant articles about topics in your field. The more you know, the more confident and knowledgeable you’ll come across.

Outline a clear message

Before your interview, take the time to outline your key purpose. What do you want people to gain from watching your interview? Keep this question in mind throughout your interview to stay on track. It is always a good idea to organize your thoughts before anything, from writing a memo to giving a presentation, to being interviewed by the media. Understanding your message will make it easier for you to answer tough questions. It will also cause you to be less nervous and appear more confident. Outlining your central theme ahead of time will make you less likely to contradict yourself when under pressure.

Practice

Practice makes perfect! Interviews can be tough because all of the focus is placed on you, but it’s a great chance to get your name out there and create buzz for your business. The more comfortable you are during your interview, the smoother it will go. Ask your family, friends, or coworkers to run through some practice questions before the interview. You can also practice alone by talking in front of the mirror. Whatever you do, don’t jump head first into an interview without any sort of preparation. You can’t take back your words, so be sure to practice enough to choose them wisely.

 

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

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