FOLLOW THE LEADERS: INFLUENCER CAMPAIGNS DONE RIGHT

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By Skai Blue Media

Social media is one of our favorite things to talk about here at Skai Blue Media, and for good reason: it is perhaps the most valuable and prolific resource available for brands to communicate with audiences.

Whether you are launching your brand, debuting a new product or simply looking to gain exposure, the first thing experts will tell you about any social media platform is to get to know the players. This means reaching out and fostering relationships with relevant users and established brands.

Aligning yourself with key personnel not only provides insight into what works for your target audience, it creates valuable opportunities to access and leverage the large following of these major brands through influencer campaigns.

Mogul, the user-generated, global information-sharing platform for women that reaches over 18 million people per week, is a shining example of influencer relations done right. We recently worked with the Mogul team to plan and execute their successful #IAmAMogul campaign, and have consolidated our expertise into these 5 steps for a successful influencer campaign:

1. Define Goals

Before you begin tweeting every big name in town for shout-outs, consider what you want to accomplish with this campaign, and be specific. “I want to gain exposure” sounds great, but how can you measure that? For #IAmAMogul, we established more concrete, metric-oriented goals such as “drive traffic to the site” and “increase social media followers.” This helped to focus the planning and execution of the campaign.

2. Qualify Influencers & Inspire Participation

The best influencers for any campaign will be authoritative and relevant to your brand and audience. Justin Bieber has an outstanding Twitter following of over 79.9 million, but that would not necessarily qualify him to discuss topics like gender equality for #IAmAMogul. Instead, we sought out 39 prominent women whose voices and experiences called attention to women’s issues and who are representative of the Mogul brand, such as Kelly Osbourne, Alysia Reiner, and Shiza Shahid.

It is imperative that you do not contact influencers for the first time asking them to participate in your campaign. Ideally, brands should begin fostering these relationships far in advance, allowing them to grow organically.

3. Plan and Co-Create Content

It is important to choose the appropriate content and medium to compliment your brand and influencers. Mogul’s mission is to provide women with information to become the best versions of themselves as possible, so we asked #IAmAMogul influencers to contribute op-ed style guest blogs to the platform or share special custom graphics on their social media pages.

4. Measure & Optimize Performance

Remember that you chose an influencer campaign to access larger audiences and enhance your brand’s performance, so simply asking influencers to post on your behalf will not accomplish the specific goals you set., You need to interact with new audiences by following them, answering their questions or even just saying hello. Assigning one team member to check and re-check all social platforms and track campaign metrics daily via Sprout Social or another media management tool is a smart move.

For example, actress Jessica Biel did not directly participate as an #IAmAMogul influencer, but still viewed and re-tweeted #IAmAMogul content via via WomenCare Global CEO Saundra Pelletier. Her single tweet was one of the most impactful posts from the entire campaign, earning over 780k impressions.

5. Repeat

Influencer campaigns are centered on relationships, which should not be conditional. Therefore, it is important to continue to leverage new relationships after campaigns end. At the very least, reach out and thank influencers for their participation and make yourself available for contact in the future. This helps strengthen the association between your brand and your influencer in the eyes of their audience.
No one succeeds in a vacuum and choosing the right allies for your brand is critical to social media campaign success. Keep these steps in mind when you are ready to assemble your VIP dream team and view case studies and learn more about #WhatWeDo on our website.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

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From Reporting to PR: Lessons Learned

By Larry Miller, Ceisler Media

In my job as special projects manager for Ceisler Media and Issue Advocacy, I frequently work with reporters. I think I have a good understanding of what they want and what they need. Because not too long ago, I was one of them.

I’m a guy who crossed the street, transitioning from a journalism career with the Philadelphia Tribune to one in PR here at Ceisler Media. Doing both jobs has helped me. I understand the roller-coaster relationship between people who write the news and those who want their stories told – or maybe not told.

And I think I can offer a few tips to both sides.

First, a little about my background. I was raised here in Philadelphia. I graduated from Overbrook High, hung out in Germantown as a young man and remember taking my girlfriends to dinner and a movie in Center City for just $50. Ancient times, right?

I studied journalism at Philadelphia Community College, and quickly learned the profession was tough to break into. So I knocked around professionally – working in construction, helping out at Drexel’s bookstore and freelancing as much as I could.

I was banging out two or three freelance stories a week for the Philadelphia Tribune when I finally got my break in 2004. They hired me fulltime.

I remember my first story on the job. There had been a homicide in the city, resulting from a fight between black and Cambodian kids. I went to the site and there was blood in the streets.

No other reporters were there, so I went up to the victim’s family and spoke with them. I was not emotionally prepared for that. But I had to talk to them like they were my own family. It was among the toughest stories I ever had to report.

Over the years, I covered the police beat, education stories and lots of trials.

And, of course, I worked with public relations people.

The first thing I’ll say about the give-and-take between news media and PR people is this – relationships matter. Interpersonal connections are supremely important. Always carry your business card and hand it out to everyone.

Media is transient, especially in television. So you need to constantly network to keep up with all the changing faces. Make all the contacts you can in both the print and broadcasting end.

Now, networking has changed, of course. These days, social media is such a huge part of it. There’s no way to survive without it. There are people I might never contact on the phone – but when I reach out on Facebook, I’ll hear right back. Social media may sometimes feel like a necessary evil, but it’s critical.

The more you know people, the more you know what they need to do their job. When I was a reporter, I regularly dealt with Brittany Tressler at Ceisler Media. Because we spoke so often, she always knew the kind of stories I was looking for. When she called, her story usually ended up in the paper.

Hey, relevancy matters. During my days at the Tribune, I would sometimes be amazed when a PR person called trying to sell me on a story that had no impact on my readers or my community. If you’re pitching me, make sure it’s something I can use.

A smart PR person will keep up with the news and try to make a reporter’s job easier. Maybe you’ve got something I can weave into something else I’m working on. Broadening the story always makes me look better with the community I’m covering – not to mention my editors.

Have I mentioned trust? That’s supremely critical. No one wants to be lied to. And often you won’t get a second chance. Media and PR can sometimes be adversarial, but most disagreements can be worked out if you trust the other person is at least telling you the truth.

Kirk Dorn of Ceisler Media was a PR person I always trusted in my newspaper days. When Kirk would give me something from the Philadelphia Housing Association, a group he still works with, I knew I could believe its accuracy. And I knew he wasn’t wasting my time.

Kirk called me in December 2015 and offered me an interview to come work here at Ceisler Media. I wasn’t sure what it would be like to cross the street. But I felt it was a good time for a change. And I knew this job would incorporate many of my skills as a writer and someone who enjoys talking to people.

There are certainly nuances on this side of the business. When you’re a reporter, you’re seeking as much information as you can. When you’re in PR – well, don’t ever lie, as I said earlier. But sometimes you’re privy to information that reporters want to know, but you might be wise not to tell them. Discretion is key.

Of course, there’s the other side of that, which I learned by working at the Tribune. Sometimes, a good PR person needs to show clients that it’s in their interest to be more transparent. I think I can now see this from both sides and strike a good balance.

It’s important now for me to always realize that I’m speaking for the client. Sometimes, I might be the face on TV answering the questions, and my client trusts me not to make a misstep. Savvy and an ability to think on my feet can really help the client.

I know how reporters think. I’m not saying that as a bad thing, but I need to be prepared if they throw me a question that I might be smarter not to answer. I have to know when to stay on script. I can anticipate the tactics, the pitfalls. Hey, I know where a question can lead you.

Being in PR gives me a broader perspective. I’ve always liked being in the middle of things. On this side, I’m often on the inside. I see the total picture.

Knowing the city, its issues and its important players really helps. Hey, the more you know, the better you are. That’s true in every business.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

Your Website Looks Marvelous! (But is that really good enough?)

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By Debbie Albert, Albert Communications

If you’re like me, a fan of Billy Crystal, you’re probably familiar with his exaggerated impression of the Argentine-born film star Fernando Lamas, famously spoofed with his line, “It is better to look good than to feel good,” which Lamas shared on “The Tonight Show” many years ago. While that may be true for people, it’s not the case when it comes to websites. Today, a good-looking website simply isn’t enough, and can actually be a detriment if it isn’t “working” for you. Now may be the time for that website redesign you’ve been putting off.

If you’re from the generation which existed before websites, you’ll know they’ve evolved significantly over the years.

Today’s site need to be mobile-optimized, many should have an SSL certificate and be GDPR compliant. Terms and conditions should show up on the footer. Having a physical address is important. Clean lines are safer. Less is more, but sometimes more is more. No more hiding search terms in white on a white background. And Google is god. Period.

Got it? Good, because that’s just the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

A few years ago, a professional services firm asked us to “fix up” their website. Before the meeting, we reviewed the site and were pretty sure it had been developed years earlier when websites were new to the scene. In a word, it was awful. We soon discovered it had only recently been launched, having retained a firm that pretty much ripped them off. It was a disaster.

There was no intuitive navigation, no content offers, no pop-ups. Photos of the staff had all been taken at different times with different backgrounds. There were no matching stock images on the site. To find what you needed – as a client or a prospect – was just about impossible. And it was completely unattractive to boot!

These were not stupid people, but they didn’t know what to ask – or what their website development firm should have been asking them. They had no relationship with the firm, no trust, no references, and certainly no idea where they should have even begun.

We had to redo the site from scratch, not what either of us originally wanted or anticipated, but the site had been built on an antiquated platform and most of the site could be categorized in a blog titled “What not to do with a website.

Before we began our work, we listened, asked a lot of questions, and gave the firm time to think about what they really wanted – and needed. We always start with a deep dive on the intended audience, but it was crucial to know a lot more about the firm, its practices, how it wanted to be perceived, how frequently they planned to add content, and much more. The discovery phase can and should take as long as needed to craft a plan and site map that can solve the needs of the client.

If you haven’t given much consideration to your firm’s website over the past few years, now may be the time. We often encourage people to use their down time on the beach, in the mountains, or on a plane to really give thought to what their company is, the story it tells, and mostly, how it’s different from its competitors.

Look at your site and ask yourself a few questions.

1.     Is our website working for us?

2.     Is it driving customers to us, keeping them on the site, capturing their email address, and positioning us as experts in our industry?

3.     Does our site show what differentiates us from our competitors?

4.     Are we offering content – free content – that will keep people on the site longer and possibly encourage them to reach out?

5.     Do we use a back-end tool to capture email addresses so that we can follow up with potential clients and customers?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, it may be time to consider updating your website. Google it. There are a million ideas out there on how to do it, when to do it, and what the site should have in a redesign.

But before you take that leap and make the investment, we invite you to answer the questions on this worksheet (questions we’d be asking you first). It will give you and your leadership team time to think about what you want in a new site – and what you don’t. Not everyone or every business needs to blog. Not every firm needs to have a back-end tool like HubSpot of Marketo. Not every business needs a custom-designed site. But every business does need a website that works for them.

When the time is right, we invite you to talk it through with us as a start. Even if we’re not the right firm for you, before you invest, talk to people you trust.

With apologies to Fernando Lamas, what you don’t want to hear is just “You look marvelous.” You want to hear your phone ringing.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

Aligning Sales & Marketing

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By Jamie Allebach, Allebach Communications

Marketing vs. Sales—an age-old rivalry. “Sales are down because ‘marketing’ isn’t supporting our brand with the consumer.” “The new product launch failed because ‘sales’ didn’t do their job!”

How many times have we heard both sides of the story?

Can’t we all just get along? After all, we do have the same end-game in mind—to grow the brand!

Unfortunately, this is a very common scenario with food and beverage brands; sales and marketing, each working in their own silo.

There is a better way, but it takes work and commitment from upper management, and a “can-do” attitude from both the marketing and sales teams.

Here are some thoughts on building unity between the teams and making the process more successful for the overall brand.

Better Communication Improving communication is always a great first step. Schedule regular meetings with marketing and sales to keep the lines of communication open, the ideas flowing, and to address challenges. Quarterly power-sessions are also great for team-building and for long and short-term planning.

Collaboration is Key When there’s a campaign, new product launch, or any significant marketing initiative, bring the sales and marketing teams together at the same table, as early in the process as possible. Early collaboration will pay great dividends to both teams and it will incubate a higher chance for success on all levels. With this approach, everyone is vested in the process and final outcome.

Coordinating Sales Promotions with Marketing Programs There’s nothing worse than a lack of communication when it comes to your marketing programs and when your brand is on-deal. It’s kind of like giving your product away. Every brand has a marketing calendar, and every sales team has a promotional calendar. Here’s a novel idea…why not bring them together?

There’s a lot of software options that can bring this together efficiently or simply have a master calendar.

Shared Goals Every major marketing initiative should have shared metrics and KPIs between marketing and sales. Agree on what success looks like, long before the consumer launch, and this will not only eliminate most of the finger-pointing afterwards, but it will have common goals for each team to rally around.

Data Sharing A huge part of success is being on the same page when it comes to reading data. Everyone in sales and marketing receives the data, but how many are sitting down, together, and coming to a clear understanding of what success looks like? What are our goals in our core market? What are the best opportunity markets for us to go after? Data is only worthwhile if it can be turned into valuable, actionable insights.

Short Recap Sizzle Video One of the things that I’ve seen go a long way in team-building between sales and marketing is producing a short sizzle video that recaps a campaign, product launch or other marketing initiative. I’ve seen these types of videos shared, with enthusiasm, within organizations, with retail partners, board members, and other stakeholders. This is also a great communications tool to tout your success, company-wide and with business partners and stakeholders.

Too often, we quickly move on to the next thing without communicating to the team and company the outcome of the marketing program.

We’re all in this together—sales, marketing, and the overall brand team. Working together will make your brand more successful. Let’s work at aligning your marketing and sales teams.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

Is Social Media Working for You?

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By Erin Jay, Flynn Media 

This guest blog is from my good friend and networking expert Biba Pedron, also known as the Connection Queen. I was a member of Biba’s networking group Biba4Network when I lived in New York City. She is an amazing businesswoman. In this blog, Biba offers savvy social media advice for those of you who are trying to figure out how to best use this new medium. Thanks Biba!

Many of my clients, both French and American, wonder how I can write on multiple blogs plus Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites everyday in both languages. It must look like I spend all day, everyday managing my social media because I hear some clients tell me “Biba, I am not like you, I don’t have time to spend hours everyday on social media!”

In reality, I don’t spend hours a day, it just looks like it because I have a system. In fact, I only spend 15 minutes a day, both languages included. Then I need just a couple of hours a month to write articles for each blog.

As solo-entrepreneurs, it is very important to maintain a presence and give people the feeling that they see you everywhere. Your job is to appear as an expert in your field to gain more and more credibility. You can have the best product or program in the world, but if nobody can find you, you also have the best secret in the world as a result no one will buy from you.

How to create a system to use social media effectively without wasting your time?

1. Determine your niche and target market. I say it all the time, but before you start anything in your business you need to determine your niche and target market, so then you will be able to know how to communicate effectively. You can’t sell to just anybody. It is very important that you know your target market very well, to know their challenges, their pains, their obstacles, to be able to become their problems solver and to be seen as an expert.

2. Constantly communicate with your audience, your contacts and your clientsThrough Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, but also by publishing articles on your website, your blog and article directories (most of them are free, so no excuses). One of the secrets is to know how to recycle your work. You should be able to work once and use the information to generate money multiple times.

Example – One simple article can be posted as an article but can also become a podcast, a base to do a video, or become a free report. And multiple articles can become an ebook or a course. Each time you write an article, try to see all the possibilities you can use it. What are the various media that will attract your audience? Some people prefer to read, others to listen, others to watch a video (millions of people watch videos on YouTube every day, so make sure to integrate this in your business).

Make the habit of spending at least 15 minutes a day on social media to post new information. Make sure to deliver valuable content, don’t sell each time. Use the 80/20 rules, inform 80% of the time and promote a product or service 20% of the time. Use quotes, retweet other people’s valuable information, post resources, inform about your events or teleclasses each time you add a new post on your blog. Show people how you can help them to solve their problems.

3. Combine networking and social media – When you meet people at an event, the next day connect with them on social media. Invite them to join you on Facebook, Linkedin and twitter, to be able to communicate with them on a regular basis. So even if you don’t see each other for a while, you will be still informed on each others businesses. Also invite them to sign up for your newsletter. Always make sure to drag your contacts from social media to your own list. You never know what will happened to your account or page, if for some reason your Facebook account is deleted or blocked for example, you will be still able to communicate with your own list.

When you get the chance to schedule a live meeting with somebody that you met on social media don’t hesitate. I work mainly via internet and social media on my various businesses but there is always a special extra when I can meet people face-to-face, it brings a little plus to the relationship. This is not only for the people in your city but if you travel try to connect with your contacts, or if they travel take time to meet them. Go “from Facebook to face-to-face”.

Always make sure to develop a relationship with your contacts for them to get to know you, like you, trust you and know that you will be there to help them and will be their problem solver. When you build a strong relationship, they will know that you are the expert in your field and when the right time comes, they will contact you and nobody else. It is always more effective to attract people to you because you are known as an expert instead of chasing them and begging them to buy your products or services. Then you can be assured that you will have loyal customers for life and raving fans who will send you like minded referrals.

Want More Tips To Get More Clients, Make More Money & Get More Time For Yourself ? Download my 3 Free gifts:
-A series of 6 videos “Marketing Made Easy”
-A 60mn audio “Networking Made Easy”
-My ebook “15 Ways to Instantly Skyrocket Your Networking Results”

At http://www.theconnectionqueen.com

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.