Public Relations: One Quick Way to Maximize Your Tradeshow Dollars

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Reports on the death of tradeshows has been greatly exaggerated.  I don’t think Mark Twain would appreciate the adaptation of his famous misquote, but you get the idea.  We’ve been hearing for a long time that tradeshows are going away.  They’re too expensive and take up too much time. In this digital constant-connect age, where we wear our cell phones like body parts, we shouldn’t have to travel hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles to meet people.  We have email, conference calls and even sophisticated video conferencing if you want that face-to-face experience. 

So why are we still schlepping to these things?  Packing business clothes, going through the ever increasing hassles of air travel and ending up in places like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas only to spend the entire time on a convention floor or at a nearby bar.  We all have the sore backs, tried feet and drawers full of promotional pens, squeeze balls, lanyards, lip moisturizer and breath mints (otherwise known as chachke) to prove tradeshows are alive and well.

I am not sure I have the answer to why tradeshows still thrive, but the convention industry estimates there are more than 10,000 in the United States each year.  Probably, the simplest answer to the question is tradeshows work. We seem to still be social enough creatures that meeting people in person and getting a hands on look at a group of products in one place facilitates business.  That need may be die with upcoming generations.  I keep reading articles about millennials with phone phobia and if you’re freighted on the phone I can only imagine what meeting in person would do to you. It could be the ox-and-cart trade fairs of medieval Europe that have evolved into the digital-interactive-80-inch-high-def-screen events of today will, in the future, dissolve into online virtual events complete with avatars.  It’s been tried.

So, for now tradeshows are here whether we like them or not.  It’s a huge marketing expense with companies spending up to a half-million dollars on booths, displays, shipping and travel.  You would think that companies would look to maximize those dollars, but too often they don’t squeeze everything they can out of their tradeshow spend.  One often overlooked area is public relations.  I am not talking about putting out a news release with a photo.  I am talking about getting to know the editors and writers who cover your Industry and forging longer-term relationships.  They attend these events and are actively looking for industry news. It only makes sense to meet with them just like you would customers and prospective customers. By working with them you get the word out to a much wider audience and you can highlight specific products, projects, services and your overall company profile.

Here are a few ways to start:

·       Do a little research on your media.  Who are the editors of your trade publications?  What is their target audience – end-users, consumers, vendors, resellers, etc?

·       Look at what you have to offer. What’s new?  Do you have new products or services? Are you seeing new trends in the industry or do you have any success stories you can discuss. 

·       Once you have identified your news match it up with the appropriate editor. A resale trade publication is usually looking for a different angle than an end-user magazine.

·       Line up your SME (subject matter experts).  Who in your organization is the appropriate spokesperson for each of the topics?  It can be your president or a product manager depending on the depth of their knowledge and the story angle.

·       Now you’re ready to contact the editors to set up a meeting at the event.  Let them know you want to meet, what your news is and who the SME will be.

·       Put together talking points for each interview to make sure everyone is on the same page and all of the messages are delivered.

·       You will also need to follow up with each editor on any promised photos, materials or follow ups.

This process takes time and it helps if you already know your industry media. That’s why many companies use public relations firms to put together and manage this process.  It becomes the PR firm’s job to set up the interviews, manage the schedule and handle all follow up.  The result is better coverage for your news, a higher profile in the industry and long -term relationship with editors more likely to reach out to your company in the future.

If you are going to all the expense and hassle of a tradeshow it only make sense to get everything you can out of it.  A nice article in a valued traded publication is a far better takeaway then any highlighters, bottle openers, cup insulators or other giveaway you can score at a tradeshow.  Although, my favorite tradeshow swag was a Duncan Yo-Yo.  I still have it and my kids loved it.

     

We’re Hiring! Do you have what it takes?

Daum Weigle is searching for an outgoing and driven individual currently living in San Diego to work as a full-time Media Relations Specialist.

 

Job qualifications:

 

  • A bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications or a related field
  • 1-2 years of public relations or media experience
  • The ability to develop strong ongoing working relationships with the media
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience with Facebook, Twitter and WordPress
  • Proficient in MS productivity tools
  • Experience working in the media is a plus

Job responsibilities will include:

  • Pitch story ideas to local, national and trade media
  • Develop and maintain a media distribution list using PR contact programs
  • Maintain current editorial calendars
  • Develop strong ongoing relationships with media
  • Write posts for Facebook and Twitter
  • Meet and interact with client contacts
  • Create interview briefing materials for clients
  • Maintain coverage reports
  • Internet research
  • Supervise other team members

Salary

  • Commensurate with experience

Contact

Send your resume with a cover letter to pr@daumweigle.com. Please no calls or faxes. Only those considered will be contacted.

Are you making a fool of your brand on Twitter?

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 11.06.10 AMLast week the Twitter-sphere was a buzz about the “Why I Stayed” hashtag. It went viral after a video surfaced of now suspended NFL running back, Ray Rice, punching his then finance in an elevator. Many people took to Twitter using #WhyIStayed to share their personal stories of domestic abuse. Unfortunately, DiGiorno did not get the message and used the hashtag to promote pizza sales. After much backlash, DiGiorno took down the tweet and later apologized, saying that they did not know the meaning of the hashtag prior to posting. Although this was a large- scale embarrassment that doesn’t happen everyday I think we can all agree that we have been guilty of Twitter blunders. Here are some common mistakes we all make:

1) Improperly using trending hashtags

Sure, you probably haven’t angered everyone on Twitter by making a joke about domestic violence, but companies often attempt to use trending hashtags that have nothing to do with their brand. Just because a hashtag is trending doesn’t mean you have to use it to get noticed. You can customize your Twitter trends based on your location and your industry to get your hashtags noticed by the right people.

2) Not reading what you are retweeting 

Retweeting is key to organically growing your Twitter account. That being said you need to be smart about retweeting. It’s easy to look at your newsfeed and retweet the first headlines that relates to your industry without reading the link. Often companies tweet out self- promotional content disguised as helpful insider tips. While this information may be valuable to your industry and your followers you don’t want to promote your competition.

3) Not planning your tweets

If your tweeting content that isn’t time sensitive plan out your tweets in advanced to insure you’re putting out the best content. You can still leave plenty of room for spontaneity.

4) Not scheduling your tweets

This is similar to number three. Not only do you want to plan out in advanced what you say, you need to plan when you want to say it. You want to be tweet at least three times a day. Tweets are most likely to be seen and retweeted from 1 to 3 p.m. EST. Use a Twitter platform like HootSuite so you can schedule your tweets in advanced. You want to space out your tweets at least an hour apart from each other. The worst thing you can do is put tweets out back to back. People will start to view you as spam.

5) Not adding pictures

Visual culture is crucial in getting noticed. In a sea of texts it’s always refreshing to see a photo. Tweets with photos get 2x the engagement rate than those without.

 

Tips for Building Up Your Business on LinkedIn

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An average of 45 million profiles are viewed on LinkedIn each day.  As a result, LinkedIn has become a key tool to help market your business and professional life. LinkedIn company pages don’t have the accessibility as a personal LinkedIn profile. Joining groups is one of the key ways to put your company’s name and expertise out there as well as gain new connections and opportunities. 

 Tips for LinkedIn Groups

1)    Don’t join too many groups.. Join five to six groups at most  so you will have time to participate, engage and build a strong presence with each of them.

2)    Join Content Niches. Be specific in your posts to find people who have similar interests.

3)    Connect with people who frequently talk/ comment in your groups and conduct private conversations, follow them on Twitter or other forms of social media.

4)    Add “Follow us on LinkedIn” on your company website and email signature.

5)    Don’t just join communications or PR groups. Join groups that relate to your clients interests as well.

6)    Follow the rule of thirds. What’s that in this context? I remember learning about it in photography class

Tips for Company Pages

About 80 percent of LinkedIn members want to connect with company pages. Even though company pages do not have the same accessibility, it is still important to have them.

1)    Brand your page to make it SEO friendly. Google previews will show 156 characters of your description page text. Use industry keywords in your description. Members will find your company page by searching those keywords.

2)    Post in the morning. This is gives your post a longer shelf life and insures that more people will view and engage with it. Updates with links have a 45 percent higher engagement rate.

3)    Link your website and other social media on your LinkedIn page to ensure that potential clients can easily find you.

 

Meh? No, this is a good thing

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One of the fun things about language is that it constantly changes, driven by new words derived from the culture and technology of each generation.

A good example is the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, released recently by the dictionary kings, Merriam-Webster.  It’s been 10 years since the 66-year-old board game’s last dictionary update.

The result: 30 additional pages and 5,000 new words. With the right tiles, you can now spell “hashtag,” “webzine,” “texter,” “buzzkill,” ’selfie” and my favorite, “meh” without a successful challenge.

It’s all about keeping the game relevant to a new generation of players. Without regular updates, Scrabble would follow the path of dial-up modems.

That’s also true about the way businesses communicate with each other and with consumers. Those of us who communicate for a living have to stay current with the daily language. Even the way people communicate — social media, the Internet, texting — continues to change. That’s a good thing as it helps keep our language vibrant.

— JD

Twitter: @jdaum

 

Part Two: What does our visual culture have to with your company?

Recently I explained why multimedia is important for companies to leverage coverage in important traditional and social media… In this blog, I’ll explain how to use photos/videos to get the best results with the media and your audience.

Start at home with the company website:

The 2014 Business Wire Media Survey shows nearly 80 percent of reporters and editors turn to a company’s online newsroom when researching an organization.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your online space constantly updated and relevant… Have a blog section? Keep it updated with lots of photos showcasing your work and expertise.  Have an online news section?  Make sure you are providing video links with photos of new product and events.   It isn’t a bad idea to dedicate a space to all multimedia. Collect it, organize it.  Either way you choose to do it, consider your own site a deep well of information- the starting point of all that you do online.

In your press release

Another interesting statistic from the BusinessWire survey is that 90 percent of responding journalists used a press release just within the last week.  That means that while journalists are seeing your content – that’s not a guarantee they will publish it.  Here’s how to increase the chances that they will:

When distributing a release on:

·       A groundbreaking: include a photo/video link showing the ground breaking/new facility

·       A product release: include photo/video link demonstrating product

·       An event: include plenty of action shots/key people

I advocate using photos/videos for good reason – reporters are more likely to see and use your news if there are accompanying visuals. This touches back on the fact that we’ve become a highly visual society.  Pictures are like shiny objects, they catch our attention and encourage us to click and explore.

On social media

At Daum Weigle, our experiences adding photos in social media – particularly Twitter – have been very positive. When we use more photos on our @dwpr and @Security_Update accounts, our analytics reflect more interest from our followers.  A good general rule of thumb: try to include/feature at least one photo in the Facebook/Twitter daily rotation. And don’t forget LinkedIn and Pinterest if they apply to your client’s business.  The photos will get more attention, which is what you are after, right?

Part One: What does our visual culture have to with your company?

 

It’s no secret that with the rise of social media, a highly visual culture has emerged. High quality, sharable images reign supreme online. One of the biggest mistakes a company can make when posting or distributing a press release/product/general announcement is to do so without an image.  It’s like throwing a needle in a haystack. There are several reasons why.picstitch

Picture-focused social sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook show how valuable photos are because of the “sharable” factor. Posting images can help increase engagement.  For example, photo posts account for 93 percent of the most engaging posts on Facebook. They average 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more click-throughs on links than text-only posts. Check out how American Express uses strong visuals to “capture” and engage its audience. The page is interesting and makes you want to stay and explore.

Social media isn’t the only online space to consider when it comes to photos.  According to PR Newswire, a study analyzing more than 10,000 press releases showed the more multimedia you include in a press release distribution, the more views it receives.   In my experience, pitching releases is easier when you have accompanying photos. Editors know they increase readership and will be more likely to run your news.

Also, images are proven to affect local searches. Consumers are more likely to contact a business if there are accompanying images attached to any news/company blog site because it simply grabs their attention.

Aside from distribution and social media, maintaining a visually pleasing company blog and website are equally important.  Most companies have a specific goal in mind when it comes to their home page: to drive website traffic to it.   The most successful websites use photos in a way that makes cross posting on social media a breeze. You don’t want to make your social media sites look great only to drive traffic back to a stark website with nothing to see.

In my next post, I’ll discuss how to use photos in each capacity – for media distribution, social media and your company website. 

Make Some News

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the value of content — company news and opinion — in driving potential customers to a small to medium business website or social media platform. One of my favorite headlines is “Content Is King.” Now I’m not much into royalty, but I totally agree that self-published content can be a huge asset in helping to grow an SMB.

There are a couple of factors driving this. One is that the major search engine — Google — no longer gives much weight to news releases, long the staple of a public relations campaign. The theory is that a release put on a wire service and picked up en masse by relevant and non-relevant outlets can be accomplished by any company willing to pay the wire charges.

However, algorithms known only to a few Google computer engineers do notice original content. A 20-inch company profile in the New York Times or two minutes to pitch a new product on the Today Show is still a big hit. But let’s be realistic, those opportunities don’t come along very often.

Industry trade publications still need news to fill the space between ads. But increasing numbers of editors are doling out their coveted spaced to those SMBs that advertise. It’s becoming known as the “No pay — No play” rule.

I’m sure your SMB has something to share with your current and potential customers, but how do you reach them? Make your own news. Tell your unfiltered story through a blog page on your website and by using social media. LinkedIn, the social media site for professionals, recently adding blogging capabilities that let’s you communicate directly with your connections. But no matter the platform, plan for regular posts that will increase your online visibility.

And if you think your business is too boring or technical for blogging or social media, think again. Let’s look at one example. Plastic pipe extrusion won’t make lively party conversation, but a search of the term on Google brings back more than 1 million hits. Somebody out there wants news about making tubing and pipes of different sizes and shapes.

So get out there and create some content about your business. If you don’t have the capability on staff, find a good writer to help you tell your story. There’s no longer any excuse for sitting quietly and letting self-publishing competitors pass you by.

– JD

Follow me on Twitter @jdaum

 

6 Tips for Email Marketing

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Content marketing is one of most important trends in public relations this year. It’s all about promoting your business to followers with useful content. A great way to do that is through email marketing. But, are a few things you should know before you start.

First, think about the direction of your message/content. What type of information do you want subscribers to see?  Is your content beneficial and informative?

Choosing a Platform: Choose an email-marketing platform. This is essential because you do not want your emails to automatically go to spam if you are sending them out to a large group of people.  Email marketing platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp are an easy and inexpensive way to help build and polish your content and keep it out of the spam folder. Create multiple test emails and send them out before you choose a particular platform. See what you like.

Finding Contacts: You should already have contacts ready to go to start a marketing campaign. However, you want your contact list to expand. Think about who would be interested in the services/ information you have to offer. Do your research and build a good contact mailing list. In addition, make sure it’s easy for potential subscribers to sign up for your email service – whether that be on your website or your social media platforms.

Crafting your Email: Make sure your emails are written and designed so that they are clear and concise, and the design is mainly neutral colors. Emails should be a “readable” length and if they are too long the will more than likely not be read or read all the way. Try to make it so that your reader only has to scroll down one or two times while reading any given email.

Integration: The key to growing your influence is integration. Create a Twitter account, a Facebook page, etc. for your newsletter. Make sure to advertise your social media when the newsletter goes out. Also use your social media sites to tweet or post updates from your newsletter. Post or tweet a link to your newsletter subscribe button as well. 

Tracking your Emails: Many email-marketing platforms will allow you to track your emails. You can see how many people opened it, what links they clicked on, etc. Every week you should be tracking your progress. See who’s opening your emails and what they are doing after that. Are they clicking on your links? What type of links get the most hits? All of this is important in maintaining a successful email marketing campaign. Use the statistics you collect and modify r accordingly. Remember, email marketing is all about what the subscriber wants to see.

Be Consistent: The key to all content marketing is consistency. Plan out which days and approximately times you want your email to go out. When you start your email- marketing campaign write a welcome email to let your subscribers know what they can expect from you.

– Niki Perri

What NOT to do on Social Media

 

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We’ve all seen lists telling us what do to increase your social media influence…but what shouldn’t you do? Knowing what not to do can be just as important as knowing what tactics your company should be using. Here’s what not to do on social media and some simple ways you can fix these common mistakes.

 

  1. Don’t post an irrelevant Facebook status to engage with your audience. Your audience has followed or liked you on social media for a reason and they expect consistency from you. Asking a question or posting a quote that has nothing to do with your business or field confuses followers and hinders engagement.

Fix: Try to engage with your audience by asking questions that are relevant to your field and can also help your business grow.

  1. Only talk about yourself. Sure, you want to grow your business and show your followers all the amazing products/ services you have to offer. However, talking only about your company comes off as egocentric and could keeps you from making connections with other businesses or customers.

Fix: Rule of thirds. One- third of the time post created content. One- third of the time, share content from others. One- third of the time try to have a conversation with your followers (see rule #1).

  1. Spam followers. Followers want updates about your latest project or important news regarding the industry. However, when companies post back- to- back social media posts it can start to annoy your followers.

Fix: Use a social media platform like HootSuite or TweetDeck to schedule your posts. Try to spread them out at least an hour apart.

  1. Post vulgar or inappropriate content. Human error happens. We’ve all seen posts where an employee posted something on their company page when they meant it for their own personal social networks.

Fix: Make sure your employees do not have their personal social networks attached to social media platforms, like HootSuite, where it might be hard to differentiate between accounts.

  1. Don’t have too many social media outlets. It’s great for companies to expand their reach to multiple social media outlets and try to up their SEO. However, if you have too many sites, chances are you aren’t consistent across the board. Someone might stumble upon your dormant Facebook page and think your aren’t serious about social media.

Fix: Limit the amount of social media outlets your have. If you know you can only commit to one or two sites then simply have those one or two site and post content regularly.

  1. Not cross promoting. If you have a large Twitter following but are lacking in Facebook likes you are doing your company an injustice by not promoting the Facebook page on your Twitter account.

Fix: Cross promote your social media sites. You want to have a good number of followers or likes in every outlet, not just one. 

– NP