Tag Archives: social media

PR Pitching 101

As a PR pro you want to find influencers, pitch stories and gain coverage for your client.

How Do I Find Influencers?

The best way to find influencers is to ask yourself what your end goal is. Are you interested in making a new connection? Are you pitching a story? Do you have a new client or are you expanding into a new industry where you don’t have any contacts? These questions should help guide you when looking for new influencers.

Take the Time to Know Your Influencers

Once you have narrowed down your search it’s time to learn a little bit more about your influencers. See what they have recently written. Start following them on Twitter or connect with them on LinkedIn. This helps them remember you when it comes time to pitch. Also, editors and reporters might tweet personal things like, “At my kid’s soccer game,” or “enjoying my vacation.” This is a good way to know that they probably aren’t going to have time to read or respond to your pitches. Interacting with an influencer on Twitter also helps when trying to achieve the elusive Twitter pitch. A Cision research survey of reporters and editors shows that, “Twitter pitches go smoothly when you have already engaged with the editor or reporter on Twitter.”


After you have done your homework it’s time to pitch. When pitching, whether it’s be email, phone or social media try to be as helpful as possible. Offer to schedule any additional interviews with a client/expert, be able to answer any questions he or she may have or even offer to write or package content for them. You want to make it as easy as possible when pitching your influencer. Also, as a  rule of thumb, never send attachments. Send everything in the body of an email. Editors and journalists do not have time to open your attachments and large attachment files may slow down their email.

Organizing your coverage

Once you have pitched your influencer and they have agreed to place your coverage make sure you ask them when you can expect it to appear. Do this for every piece of content you place regardless of how big or small the coverage is. Gather the coverage and organize it neatly and concisely in a coverage report. This shows you client ROI. 

Google and SEO, What You Need to Know Part I




In my last blog I wrote about the importance of content marketing for business growth but content marketing can also drastically improve SEO — Search Engine Optimization — that determines where your company’s web postings rank in a Google search. Traditionally, website structure and keywords alone impacted SEO results.. In 2011, Google launched its “Panda Update,” an update that changed Google’s ranking algorithm to focus on user experience. This meant that while the structure of a website was still important, content was even more important. This is where content marketing comes into play. Businesses can improve SEO results by revamping their website and focusing on the quality of content.

Something to remember regarding content marketing is consistency.. Google analytics can see when you are continually uploading content and that will start to improve your SEO rankings. If you stop uploading content your SEO results will drop.

Constantly creating new content is challenging which is why re-purposing your content is a good idea.  One way to do this is to write blog, white papers and case studies about your industry and then re-purpose them into shorter posts, an infographic, an email newsletter and tweets. Spread these posts out over the course of a few weeks. If you post everything at once it will help your SEO for only a short amount of time. Pace your content.

In 2012, Google launched a follow up update to Panda called Google “Penguin.” Again, this changed Google’s algorithm. This update looked more at links and shares from social media. It took into account the sources that picked up a story or press release. When those get picked up, it shows Google that specific content is useful and enjoyable and as a result, you will get better SEO results.. Don’t just build links or use fake accounts to increase content reach because Google can tell. The important part of sharing your content organically is that it helps you build a relationship with reporters/ bloggers in your industry. Once you establish that relationship it will be easier for your future stories or releases to get more traction.

Another way to increase your SEO results is to update your Google Plus page. After you’ve created content, post the story or the link onto your G+ page and share it. You can also go onto Google Author and establish yourself as an author and cite your works. This helps give you and your work name recognition in Google — again giving you better SEO results.

Google also has a Webmaster Tool that allows you to see your impressions and clicks on your company’s website for free.

SEO now relies on both technical structuring of websites as well as content marketing. Remember, create content that people are interested in, post it regularly and watch your SEO improve.

-Niki Perri


If You Could Do Your Banking on Facebook – Would You?

Image: digitimes.ie

From time to time, I might ask close friends and family members for a financial advice, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought about the possibility of “social banking.”

Financial giant, Citibank, is however thinking about the possibility of “social banking,” as least as far as Facebook is concerned. The bank recently posted an interesting message to its Facebook page, asking fans if they would bank through Facebook, testing consumer appetite for “social banking.”

The post has already garnered nearly 800 ‘Likes,’ but comments on the post are overwhelmingly negative – here’s just a small sampling (positive and negative) of my favorites:

  • “100%”
  • “No way.”
  • “Yes, absolutely.”
  • “Over my dead body”
  • “No. That would just give hackers an incentive to hack Facebook. In the long run, I get my information stolen, and Facebook AND Citibank lose their reputation for keeping your information safe.”

It’s clear, we live in an ever more-connected world. We check-in, hangout, Tweet, ping and snap photos all day and all night. We can already deposit paper checks into our accounts with mobile banking apps and transfer money with a touch.

That convenience has improved the way we do business and streamlined money management, but is a good idea always worth taking to its logical extreme?

Facebook’s questionable privacy history, combined with the obvious security questions raised by many Facebook users in the comments on Citbank’s post, come together to create what could either be a disruptive partnership that changes the way we think about banking, or, it could be a behemoth privacy disaster.

So, what do you think? If you could do your banking on Facebook, would you?

– Marrissa (@marrissam)

I Want This Brand – My Friend Follows It on Twitter

Would you choose a jar of pickles based on your knowledge of a friend or family member following the brand on a social media site such as Facebook or Twitter? Close to one of five American consumers (18 percent) said they would when asked as part of a multinational study.

That survey from Ipsos OTX and Ipsos Global @dvisor didn’t specifically focus on pickles, it did provide clear evidence of the power of social media to drive buying decisions.

And it looks as though that influence will grow as nearly one in four (23 percent) younger respondents – those 35 years of age and under — said they would buy a brand based on a friend’s social media followings. Only 9 percent of those between the ages of 50-64 gave the same response.

There was virtually no difference between males and females. However, American companies may not be as quite as effective in using social media as their counterparts in other countries.  Worldwide, 22 percent of all respondents said they were influenced by friends’ social media brand likings.

Still, the survey shows the value of cultivating brand advocates through carefully planned social media campaigns. And if these numbers are accurate, it only stands to reason that a business-to-business social media effort also could prove to be worth the effort.

– JD

Follow me on Twitter @jdaum









Can English Survive Social Media?

Is the informality of email and social media leading to the ruin of the English language? Is proper grammar and correct spelling going the way of the wired telephone? The answers to those questions are troubling many corporate communications executives.

We have come to accept slang and shortcuts in our electronic communications.  The grammar used is often spotty and let’s politely assume that the numerous misspellings we see are typos.

So a tweet contains “c u l8er” instead of “see you later” in order to save space in a message with a maximum of 140 characters.  Later in a text message you might read “Mary and myself will handle that.” Then a news release posted on a company Internet site may include that the “Acme Corp. is known for providing their customers with world-class service.” That may not be a problem among friends, but that same writing style is unacceptable when used in external corporate communications.

The blame for our eroding standards is often placed on younger employees who have been raised in a social media era. That’s not entirely fair. All of us regularly engaging in social media take many of the same shortcuts and make many of the same grammatical and spelling mistakes.

We just have to consider social media communications as a different language.  The way we communicate to friends via Facebook or Twitter is fine. But, for the time being, that informality has no place in the way we communicate on behalf of or our employers or clients.

In time, much of the social media vernacular will become an accepted part of the language. But until then, we need to remind ourselves — and our employees — of the need for accurate and clear communications in a business setting.

— JD

Twitter: @Jdaum

Let Me Weigh In on This

Image: healthybackblog.com

It’s amazing all the great new ideas really bright people keep coming up with to integrate social media into more aspects of our lives. Then there are some others that give me pause.

I just read about two new bathroom scales that will give you your weight and body mass index (your body-fat percentage) and offer other useful features such as keeping track of your daily weigh-ins on your computer or smartphone. So far so good.  But here’s the deal breaker for me — both have Wi-Fi capability that allows them to also post the results on your Twitter and/or Facebook accounts.

I don’t want my friends and business associates seeing that I didn’t resist those three huge meatballs with my spaghetti last night. And I think they don’t really care to watch me seesaw up (mostly) and down (occasionally) in the never-ending battle to maintain my weight. Public humiliation may work for some people, but not for me. My embarrassment will only cause me to eat more.

I’m not even sure even my immediate family members need to know what I weigh. Aren’t there still a few things about our bodies that we should only disclose to our doctors? How much of our private lives are we willing to share with close friends and passing acquaintances?

Nice try guys, but I’ll settle for a scale that keeps my weight private.

– JD

Follow me on Twitter @jdaum

PR: There’s an App for That

Almost everyone has a smart phone, most likely compete with tons of downloaded apps.  I recently sat in on a discussion about which mobile apps are most useful for PR industry pros from Cision.  Here is the top ten list:

1.     Bump

Bump is like a virtual business card that allows you to swap info with people just by launching the app and then physically “bumping” your phones together.  It’s perfect if you’re on a time crunch and want to make a quick connection.

2.     CardMunch

This app allows you to take pictures of business cards and convert them into contacts right into your address book. The top perk to this app is that it will also show you LinkedIn profile information as well as any connections you have in common.

3.     Dropbox

This is a very popular and free service that lets you store/access your photos, docs and videos anywhere and share them easily. It’s so convenient to pull files your Dropbox account from your phone and share with others on the go.

 4.     Evernote

The Evernote app helps you remember your ideas, projects and experiences across all the computers, phones and tablet platforms you may use.  It captures text, photos and audio and then synchs it via the cloud.  These files can then be shared, edited and used to collaborate with your co-workers.

5.     TweetDeck and HootSuite

Either of these two apps are a great way to keep track of journalists’ feeds and also handy when you need to manage your Twitter/Facebook presence while travelling.  As far as layouts go, it’s really a Coke vs. Pepsi thing.

6.     Yammer

Yammer is an enterprise social network service and is used for private communication within organizations and pre-designated groups. This is a private way to collaborate with your co-workers and send them messages.

7.     Google Analytics (mobile)

This app gives you instant, mobile access to your Google Analytics.  It’s perfect if you’re travelling but still need to report back to the office about how a post is doing.

8.     Word Press

This app is compatible with almost every operating system.  For this reason, it’s a great way to update any blog on the go.  This is awesome if you are blogging from a trade show and want to share timely updates.

 9.     Tripit

If you travel frequently, this app is a lifesaver.  It basically takes and organizes all of your trip details (flight, car rental, reservations and anticipated weather) and puts them in one place where you can share those details with others and print out your tickets.

10.  Media Database Apps

If you need to look up a media contact and you aren’t by a computer, it’s helpful if the media database service you use has a downloadable app.   MyMediaInfo, CisionPoint and Vocus are among those that have them. Great for a last-minute pitch.

Do you have any good apps to add to this list?

Follow me @saraalisia




Twitter: It’s Not All About You.

There’s no question, social media (primarily the “big three” networks: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) is integral to a successful, comprehensive PR campaign. However, as corporations get more comfortable with social media, we’ve noticed that many of them still have a “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha…” approach to Twitter. To those organizations I say, “Newsflash: it’s not all about you.”

That may sound a bit harsh, but what I really mean is that social media, Twitter especially, should not be used as corporate air horn – only for broadcasting company news, white papers, case studies or executive accomplishments. Twitter is capable of much, much more. That is IF you take the time to step back, think about what interests your followers, engage with them and share relevant news and stories – even if they’re not about you.

I’m not recommending a complete kibosh on sharing corporate news and marketing content. I am however, endorsing restraint when it comes to tweeting corporate news. Take your average enterprise Twitter handle: with 3-6 original tweets per day, no more than half of those tweets should be self-promotional.

What else should you tweet if your not sharing news about your company?

Great question. Twitter is perhaps the fastest way to directly connect with potential customers and even members of the media – they’re all there, and if your talking about a subject that interests them, you just might open the door to your next sale or major feature story.

In order to do that, you must share your knowledge with the ‘Twitterverse.’ No corporate news or product launches this quarter? No problem. What’s going on in your industry? Do you see a major industry challenge on the horizon? Have you noticed an interesting trend in customer buying preferences? These are just a few of the things you can (and should) be blogging about.

Draft a quick blog (100-200 words) and tweet it out. If you’re interested in the topic, chances are, the people following you (including influencers) are interested in it as well. If you regularly share your knowledge, you will be repaid in spades on Twitter. You’ll gain a) Credibility as a thought-leader; b) Trust of customers who are used to being bombarded by marketing messages c) The interest of members of the media looking for expert sources.

Finally, a point on engagement. It’s simple really – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That means, thanking someone for a retweet or for following, responding to tweets in which your brand is mentioned and asking questions.

When you learn that Twitter is “not all about you,” you’ll gain the social media respect you deserve.

– Marrissa (follow me on Twitter: @marrissam)

Move Aside, Gallup, Zip It, Zogby – Leave It to Twitter

Hardly a day passes without a new survey from national pollsters reflecting our changing attitudes about Barrack Obama and Mitt Romney. With more than five months to the general election, this is already getting tiresome — even to a bit of a political junkie.

Several months ago, during the heat of the Republican primary season, one research organization attempted to measure the candidates’ use of social media to pick a winner. In hindsight, the results were very inconclusive at best.

But undeterred, another group has compared Obama’s and Romney’s Twitter-only following. Here’s a look at some of the results.

  • Obama has almost 16 million Twitter followers, while Romney counts just over 500,000. Nearly half of the Obama followers live outside of the country. About 90 percent of Romney’s live in the U.S.
  • About seven of 10 Romney followers are men. Obama’s followers are split fairly evenly between the sexes.
  • Based on percentages, Romney followers are wealthier. Obama’s are younger.
  • The top industries represented by Obama’s followers are hospitality, law and marketing/PR. Romney draws more support from followers employed in the fields of software, insurance and fashion.
  • The influence of each candidate’s followers (as judged by connections across 60 social media sites) give a clear edge to Obama with a “pull” measurement of 5,461, compared to Romney followers and their 466 rating. Yet while Obama has about 30 times the number of followers, they only have about 12 times more pull than Romney’s.

There is even more detail in the report, including a look at swing state followers. So what does this all mean? How do these numbers translate into electability?  I doubt anyone can say with certainty. But it does provide us with one more set of statistics to debate.

But before we learn the winner on Nov. 6, I think we’ll all be begging for relief.

– JD

Twitter: @Jdaum

Vancouver Harley Davidson Dealer Rides a Tsunami Toward More Well-Earned Positive PR

Ikuo Yokoyama's Harley motorcycle washed ashore on Vancouver Island. Image: Peter Mark / AP

It’s no secret the Harley Davidson’s marketing team is doing something right – the company has a passionate social media following and passionate customers, but one Harley Davidson dealer on Vancouver Island, British Columbia just earned some well-deserved PR, not as a result of a major media campaign, but because it decided to do something good for someone who had lost almost everything.

A Vancouver Island resident recently came upon an unexpected find washed ashore on a local beach – a damaged, heavily rusted Harley Davidson motorcycle in a Styrofoam-lined storage container.

Japanese writing on the license plate gave clues to the bike’s origin – turns out it had floated over 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean – washed out to sea by last year’s devastating tsunami in Japan.

After a bit of research and collaboration between a Harley Davidson dealership in Vancouver and a Harley representative in Japan who saw a television report of the bike’s discovery, the Harley Davidson company hatched a plan. They would restore and return the bike to owner Ikuo Yokoyama, who lost three family members, his home and all his possessions when the tsunami battered Japan’s northeast coast.

Harley Davidson’s decision to restore and return the bike makes for the best possible type of PR – the kind generated by companies that know the value of their product or service, appreciate their customers as people (not just dollars) and most importantly – show good, old-fashioned human kindness; because it’s the right thing to do.

So kudos to Harley Davidson! A company that’s gone out of its way to restore and ship just one motorcycle halfway across the world – you’ve just given the term “earned media” a whole new meaning.