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PR Can Make Your Small Business Grow

A good press release can expand your consumer base.

A good press release can expand your consumer base.

One of the most cost effective ways a company can advertise itself is through good public relations. Unfortunately, many small businesses fail to include public relations in their business plan or in their advertising budget. For many, it’s simply because traditional advertising is front and center every day and public relations may only be a thought when needed to boost reputation, do some sort of damage control or risk management or when launching something that is new to consumers.
PRNEWSWIRE offers some advice about how to use public relations to grow your small business if you are weighing your options between advertising and public relations.
The first thing they point out is that it doesn’t always have to be an “either/or” situation. If done right, you can take advantage of free advertising or free public relations if money is a major concern. You may have to do some research or bartering to make it happen, but it is possible. An example would be reaching out to local bloggers and news outlets and asking if they would be willing to feature your business in exchange for a contest giveaway or some other sponsorship. Maybe they have a favorite charity and you could help out with that charity. This garners more free publicity for you and gives them a partner in the community. This is good for their public relations, too.
When it comes to advertising versus public relations, consumers can be wary of direct advertising because they know the whole goal of advertising is to sell something. Advertisers point out all of the benefits of a product, business or service. They may use language that seems or feels exaggerated or make claims that consumers may be suspicious of. With public relations, a consumer is more likely to believe a business’s statements to be more authentic and genuine if coming from a media outlet or another company/person like themselves. How many times have you, as a consumer, purchased something because the reviews from the consumers told you more about a product than the company did?
PR may also reach a broader audience than advertising. If your small company can send press releases and/or articles to the major players online (Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc.), you can maximize search engine results and increase your lead generation by thousands, depending on your keywords and tags.
For budgeting purposes, PR is less expensive than advertising and your small business enjoys more bang for the buck. Consumers are interested in stories. Advertising definitely can tell a story but the story has to be short and push a certain message, leaving the consumer no room to become invested in the business or make their own decisions about the business. Public relations can draw the consumer into your story and they become interested in knowing more, wanting more and wanting to be part of your success.
No matter what your goal is, public relations may seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. That’s where we come in – we can help you weigh the pros and cons of advertising versus public relations, look at your budget and formulate the plan that will help you and offer advice along the way.
Contact us today and ask about our special offer that will help you maximize your advertising budget!

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5 Angles to Pitch to Media

news_reporterWith so much emphasis these days on social media and the Internet as sources of news and information, many small business owners overlook the local news reporter as a potential platform for public relations. Reporters need stories to fill up their time slots, whether it be 30 seconds on the news or a recorded video for a website, social media page or other form of communication. Most news outlets are allocated approximately 6-7 hours a day of television programming, not including commercial teasers. That is a huge opportunity to pass by.

The Snyder Group Inc. offers some pointers on how to capitalize on the media.

Find something new or innovative that you want to announce. People seem to love the word “new” and are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest thing. So, if your small business is offering a new product, service or some change to what you have done in the past, get the local reporter involved. Push the “human interest” aspect of how this is going to be great for the economy, the community and for those who seek you out.

Offer your area of expertise in conjunction with another story they are featuring. Has a certain event been front and center on the news? Do you have some knowledge on that topic? Reach out to the local news station or newspaper and offer to share your insight. Let’s say you operate a child care center and are well-versed in children’s safety. During the summer months, you can offer tips on water safety or outdoor play or avoiding bee stings. Something that is relevant. Parents watching that story will remember your center’s name. The news reporter doesn’t have to hunt down an expert. The story writes itself.

Does one of your employees go beyond the call of duty on a regular basis? Perhaps you would like to recognize that employee for his/her service to you and others. You could ask the local news outlets if they would help you “surprise” the person with an award or recognition. Again, the positive actions of you and your employee make a great human interest story for the reporter and you get some valuable face time on the news.

Are you hiring? Are you thinking about hiring in the future? With so many people looking for work these days, asking the local media if they can feature your company shines light on you and your company. Get their buy in for how this will make the neighborhood better and how you are looking for people who care as much about the community as you do, people who are avid readers or watchers of the news station or newspaper that you love. This works well if there are competing news outlets in your neighborhood.

Is your company partnering with another company to do a charitable work? Or complete a project? If it’s local, it’s news. Let’s say you are a realtor who has helped a home buyer link up with a lender who specializes in a certain kind of loan. Let’s say that lender did an awesome job and your home buyer was impressed by you making the connection and by the lender making the loan. Tell someone about it. Tell the news you’d like to commend the lender publicly for helping a local family so quickly. Sure, you are putting the light on someone else, but you are also putting the light on yourself.

Public relations and publicity can come from a variety of sources once the imagination gets flowing.

If you need help brainstorming ways to reach out to the media in a genuine and authentic way that will make them just as invested in your business as you are, we can help.

Contact us today and ask about our special offer that will help you reach the media and the public in meaningful ways.

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PR Ideas for a New Product Launch

product launchMost consumers expect a flood of new products in the fall, in preparation for Black Friday and the kick off of the holiday season. Marketing opportunities are around every corner, from traditional advertisements in the newspaper to infomercials on television. Planning for these new product launches begins months in advance.

As a business owner, you need to think outside the box when it comes to getting your share of attention in the midst of everyone else trying to get consumers’ attention.

Cision.com offers some tips for being a little more creative with your PR and marketing strategy for your new products or services.

Don’t overlook the impact of a trade show. Yes, you will be surrounded by other people with similar ideas, but it is the quickest way to get the attention of the largest number of people in one place without investing your entire advertising budget. Your audience will consist of reporters, bloggers, consumers, critics, buyers for large retailers, buyers for online marketplaces, and a whole host of other curiosity-seekers who may see your product and spread the word.

Create something consumers didn’t know they needed until they saw it. This comes with some trepidation as you don’t want to be the product that ends up in the close outs section of some store a year from now; however, if you can think of something so ingenious that people will wonder why they didn’t think of it, you have a foot in the door. You can create some buzz, some anticipation. People will be curious to try it out and you’ll get some valuable PR and advertising. If you can give away some free samples of the product and have product testers provide reviews of the item, you can feature real world feedback about the usefulness of the product.

Something Old. Something New. Maybe you are not in a position to develop a brand new risky product, hire testers and then collect feedback data. Perhaps your business just isn’t in the business to take a chance on risky innovative things. You can breathe new life into something that already exists.  Perhaps your business is selling men’s fashion ties. You may think that there is no way to re-launch that and get some new interest. Ties are ties. People either buy them or they don’t. But… what if you found another use for those ties in fashion? What if you featured a different demographic? What if you jazzed up your patterns and styles? Then, you could have a contest for the most creative non-tie use of the tie as a fashion accessory. Buzz created. Minimal risk and effort on your part.

Take advantage of the consumer’s interest in videos. Short, impactful, creative. People spend hours trending and hashtagging their favorite videos, which could be as short as a few seconds or as long as a few minutes, as long as you have something to say. Once upon a time, people waited until the Superbowl to see innovative commercials, but now, thanks to YouTube and other video hosting sites, you can search for new product videos all the time. People share fun videos. Aside from the production cost of the video, your advertising dollar can be stretched in ways you probably hadn’t thought of.

Think about rebranding. If the reaction to your products and services just aren’t catching the eye of the consumer, perhaps it’s time for a little bit of tweaking. A new logo. New colors. Updated website. Value added content on your website. A virtual storefront for your products. This can be a time-consuming endeavor and may require some capital, but if done right, the rewards in buzzworthy public relations and marketing will be worth it. “Have you seen the new site for XYZ? Amazing!”

We can help you think outside the box and think of ways to launch your products and services. We have proven success in helping others with Public Relations and can help you, too.

Contact us today and ask about our PR special offer.

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Visual Trends in PR

lightbox imageHow many times have you been looking at something online or in a printed document and an image caught your attention and made you stop and read what was going on or what the image was about? How many times have you skipped something completely because it didn’t have an image to break up the words or because there just wasn’t anything to really catch your interest?

If you aren’t using visuals in your marketing and public relations, then, unfortunately, you are missing an opportunity to catch the attention of a potential customer.

We have become a visually stimulated society. Brighter images. Bigger images. Large numbers of images. We love them. Infographics on Pinterest are very popular because they sum up an entire topic and/or pages of research into a concise and often entertaining visual.

PR NEWS advises that using visuals in PR is a growing trend for 2015. In a recent article on their website, they state that press releases, which are usually free of images unless it is a business logo, will evolve to include visual content to be more stimulating. The same article also goes on to state that video budgets will increase in 2015 as professionals strive to get their message across in ways that are more visual, like educational and informative videos. Many marketing agencies are producing quick value-added videos and clips to help their businesses promote services and products.

Meltwater.com chimes in with their own take on using the visual in PR – specifically, social media PR. They advise that adding attractive, relevant and compelling images to your social media campaigns will increase your exposure. Think of the routine status update on Facebook. You could post that you were launching a new product, all-text, and possibly get a few likes. However, if you post a photo of the new product along with the text, interest will increase and you have the possibility of more likes. Photos in a newsfeed make people stop and look. Words… not so much.

If you are unsure as to how to boost your public relations presence using visuals, we can help. How many is too many? How do you pick the right image to convey a message? When and where do you use them?

Contact us and we will help you create a visually stunning public relations plan that will make heads turn.

Ask us about our special offer that will help boost your overall PR.

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Benefits of Public Relations

folded-newspaperWhether you are a small company or a large, well-known corporation, the number one way to get the word out about whom you are and what you do is through public relations. You may have an entire team dedicated to PR or maybe you’ve included it in your marketing plan. Either way, you know that it has value. By definition, it means establishing a relationship with the public – through advertising, press releases, marketing, word of mouth, online reviews, etc. A business needs some form of PR to flourish and grow.

According to Bitesize PR, there are several benefits to Public Relations.

Credibility. You want to be believable. You want to be trusted. Consumers are becoming less trusting and more skeptical about businesses. Advertising’s job is to sell. PR usually comes from free sources which lends to your credibility. A consumer is more apt to buy something that someone else gave an unsolicited 5 Star Review than something that is heavily advertised to be the greatest thing ever.

Target Market. We hear all the time in advertising and marketing that you need to know your audience. This is crucial with PR. Your PR plan can work with the right media sources to present your business and your products in front of the right people at the right time. If you are trying to launch a new financial product, buying advertising in a sports magazine may not be the best bet; however, having someone make an insightful statement about the benefits of your product during an economics or financial segment will earn you some attention.

Leads. Most small business owners do not have the time to canvass the neighborhood looking for consumers or calling people to spread the news about a new product. PR can help you gather some quick leads in a short period of time. A blurb about your new promotion shows up during the 6:00 news with information to call you, email you, visit your website, etc. People will remember that and jump on it. Even better if the media outlet also has a link on their website or social media feed. People can click and share. You get the leads.

Image. PR takes your business and puts it front and center for everyone to look at and admire. You do want to be seen and liked, right? A good PR program will create an image of your company and present it to the public. If your image is interesting and engaging, consumers will check you out. That’s a good thing.

Contact us today and we can help you enjoy the benefits of a good PR plan. Ask about our special offer to help you customize your PR plan.

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Captivate your Audience with Personalized Marketing

Marketing MessageAs the amount of good (and free) content increases, the competition for audience attention increases. Therefore; producing great content isn’t enough anymore to create a lasting impression.

We’ve compiled three tried and true ways to help you connect with your audience by personalizing your marketing message.

  • Utilize Existing relationships:  Do you have a handful of people with whom you have a good working relationship? If so, link to their content and ask them to linkback to yours.

 

  • Respond to mentions:  Avoid using automation when responding to tweets. Remember, not all ‘mentions’ are positive so it’s important to be able to analyze the true meaning before responding.

 

  • Craft pitches to individual publications:  If you are trying to get your company’s name in the spotlight, be sure to customize your pitch based on the publication as well as the reporter. Don’t send mass/generic emails! Be sure all content is easy to read and conveys why the reporter should choose you as his/her source.

 

 

What steps does your company take to personalize their message? Share your best practices below!

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Using Public Relations to become Relevant

 

This quarter, Einstein Marketing Group is focusing entirely on the subject of Public Relations. We’ll be answering all of your questions related to PR, such as:

  • Why do you need it?
  • How much should you spend on it?
  • What are some ways to integrate it?
  • How are results measured?

This month, our PR experts will be sharing ideas about how to make your company relevant – specifically, tips for pitching newsworthy stories. After all, you want articles out there that will provide buzz, excitement, and interest in YOUR company, right? And it takes a skilled professional who is positioned in the right circles to get your stories seen in the industry’s top-tier media outlets.

You might be asking yourself, “But, what does PR have to do with my marketing campaign?

The short answer: EVERYTHING.

The landscape of marketing has changed dramatically in the past few years. The evolution went like this: marketing, PR and social media all went from being distant cousins to co-dependant, symbiotic, mutualistic partners. Marketing now needs PR, PR needs marketing, both of them need social media, and of course social media needs strong marketing and PR efforts.

So, let’s break it down even more….

Marketing: The way in which you communicate your products for the benefit of increasing sales.

PR: Getting your name mentioned by a convincing third-party outlet to build credibility

Public relations relevance

A skilled PR professional will get you noticed for all the right reasons

 

On the internet, getting a link from a major media site will do wonders for your website SEO. So, if PR experts are concerned about media hits and marketers are concerned with increasing exposure, then you see how this is a match made in heaven.

Better PR -> Better SEO -> better brand awareness -> more conversions. Couple these formulas with the extended reach of social media, and now your PR/ Marketing efforts can be liked, favorite-d, and shared with a worldwide audience.

So what makes your business relevant? If the media were to print flattering stories about you, what should they say? Click here to view our portfolio of clients’ who’ve recently made the news to get some ideas of what we can do for you.

Next week, we’ll dive deeper into how we develop those all-important newsworthy angles.

For this and more information about public relations, please subscribe to our blogs here  and visit our website a http://www.einsteinmg.com.

 

 

 

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How Online Reputation Management Affects Brand Awareness

With so many American’s wired to the internet 24/7 and everyone being on constant social overload, online reputation management has become more important than ever. For many businesses, trying to maintain their good name online is now becoming an integral part of their internet marketing strategy.

Companies are no longer limited to receiving feedback through their website or customer service departments. In 2013, information about your company’s services can be shared instantly on social media. Good or bad, it could become a hot topic of discussion for an audience of millions. Before your PR professionals even have time to blink an eye, there could be pictures, videos and scathing complaints that go viral in a matter of hours.

While, it’s unlikely a small business will be thrust into the spotlight because of poor online reviews, you should still be aware know how negative internet chatter can affect your reputation with present and future customers. There are several ways to approach customer complaints and online reputation management on a small budget:

First, you need to be on social media. Good or bad, people will talk about your business, so you need to have a channel where they can directly communicate with you on a 1-to-1. Don’t just troll the sites looking for mentions, but use them to also ask for feedback on products and services. It’s better to initiate the conversation because customers want to know that are always considering their needs.

You should also respond to any feedback given, good or bad. If someone leaves a negative review on Yelp or Twitter, then answer it. Apologize for whatever their bad experience might have been, and provide a solution or explanation for the complaint. Perhaps go even further, and ask for their personal contact info in a direct message if you need to send a coupon or refund as an apology. Likewise, if your company is praised for a product or service, make sure you thank the poster. Customers will appreciate seeing a human dialogue between you and the public. Remember to always answer your comments quickly, and in a polite manner.

If you have more questions about how to use social media for your company’s online reputation management, please contact Einstein Marketing Group today!

http://www.einsteinmg.com

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JCPenney Apologizes in New Marketing Campaign

Retailer JCPenney began apologizing last week via a huge social media and television mea culpa marketing campaign aimed at bringing their customers back to the store. Last year, recently-ousted CEO Ron Johnson tried to reinvent the JCP brand, making huge changes to the setup of stores, eliminating coupon promotions, and discontinuing fan-favorite brands. The results were disastrous and customers abandoned the store in droves. In Q4 2012, JCPenney had a total loss of over $4 billion, which was over 30% of their holiday revenue. Is it too late for JC Penney, or will a PR-driven ad campaign built around an apology help to bring back customers?

The company is now taking the high road by saying they are listening to what their customers want, and they are sorry for previous mistakes. They are utilizing social media to initiate direct conversations with the public to find out exactly what it will take to bring them back. On the JCPenney Facebook page, a poll was posted asking customers to vote on which discontinued brands they miss the most. The people voted, and JCP is staying true to their word by bringing back a popular clothing brand. On Twitter, the company is using a unique hashtag, “#JCPlistens,” to encourage users to communicate their ideas and concerns, and they are quick to respond to all tweets.

Mea culpa marketing has worked for other big-name brands in the past. Dominoes pizza saw a 14.4% boost in sales and their stock prices rose over 200% shortly after they launched an apology campaign in 2010. Dominoes admitted their product was not up to customer’s standards, and as a result they made changes to their pizza recipe. Their CEO said at the time, “Great brands going forward are going to have a level of honesty and transparency that hasn’t been seen before.”

JCPenney’s social media and TV ad campaign has already generated big buzz and brand awareness for the store’s retooled marketing plan. An apology is a great first step to making customers feel like a company is human, and actually listening. Time will tell if this latest PR move will, in fact, bring JCP’s former customers back in to the store.

If you want to discuss public relations services or a new marketing campaign for your business, contact Einstein Marketing Group today.

http://www.einsteinmg.com

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Can PR Rebuild Lance Armstrong’s Reputation?

The recent cheating admission by cyclist Lance Armstrong has many public relations experts weighing in on the future of his brand and marketability. His sponsors dropped him months ago, and some PR analysts feel the lack of empathy shown during his televised confession and impending legal battles will damage his image for a very long time.

One thing all PR experts can agree on: Armstrong needs to show he is really sorry. His public image stands no chance of being rehabilitated if the world doesn’t believe he is remorseful. He also needs to find a new purpose. Much of Armstrong’s work with his former Livestrong Foundation was based on the mission to “inspire and empower” – something many people now feel was a total dupe, as Armstrong’s success story wasn’t so much miraculous as it was deceitful. He’ll have to find a new cause to support, or figure out a more honest approach to supporting cancer victims.

He might want to attempt to prove he can win at something again, without cheating. Other disgraced athletes or celebrities have redeemed themselves in the public eye by letting their abilities win back the fans. Though Armstrong is no longer able to be competitive at his former sport, perhaps he could look for ways to use his cycling ability to endear himself to the public once again.

Armstrong’s blatant acts of defiance are on record forever, and they will not be forgotten easily. The only thing he can do is trudge forward. While apologies and an image makeover may not generate the marketing dollars he once saw at the height of his career, perhaps with the right PR and lots of time, he could reshape his battered image.

Contact Einstein Marketing Group today to discuss your PR strategy for 2013!

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