Know, Like, Trust

Know

Being known is essential to having clients. No one can call you, stop by your office or look you up online if they don’t know you. You can become known by coming up a Google search, conversation or even someone seeing your sign. If they don’t know you or of you, how can they possibly contact you or use your services?

Like

With all of the competition, it’s important for the customer to like working with you. Does your firm respond promptly to communications? Are you pleasant to talk with? Are you liked as an individual? If your company’s brand likable? If you’re not likable you’ll have a hard time winning potential customers based on first impression, which is often the only impression people have. 

Trust

Before someone hires and pays you, they must trust you. They have to believe what you say, believe you will help them and believe that you are who you say you are. If they don’t have trust they’ll go elsewhere and use a different company. What’s more, they’ll probably tell their contemporaries that they didn’t trust you or get a good feeling from talk with you.

Know, Like, Trust

Before others will like or trust, they have to know about you. Set yourself up for success by being active on Google Plus to get known, Facebook to become better liked and LinkedIn to foster trust. If you’re not known, liked and trusted you could be losing business.

FB Facebook is a great platform to show that you’re likable and well liked. Posting regularly helps your company stay at the top of potential customers and refers’ minds, while engaging others who may be less familiar with you. As a Fox News Anchor said, every day an individual or business is not active online is like a day they took off of work. This outlet is where you should post company milestones, charitable events and links to your blog. Facebook is your podium to make friends, let your brand’s personality shine and have fun!

FB Facebook is a great platform to show that you’re likable and well liked. Posting regularly helps your company stay at the top of potential customers and refers’ minds, while engaging others who may be less familiar with you. As a Fox News Anchor said, every day an individual or business is not active online is like a day they took off of work. This outlet is where you should post company milestones, charitable events and links to your blog. Facebook is your podium to make friends, let your brand’s personality shine and have fun!

LI LinkedIn is the place to be for credible businesses and individuals. By contributing to groups, posting comments and updates, and answering questions, it’s simple to demonstrate a depth of knowledge and expertise. This is the platform to establish credibility and build trust among peers, clients, referral partners and others. Developed with on the premise of professional networking, LinkedIn gives you the tools to connect with people you otherwise may not be able to access. Be sure to post both company and personal updates and make sure both pages are kept current.

4 Unusual Ways of Getting More Publicity For Your Business

You can’t try too many PR ideas. You never know what will stick, and you’ll definitely never know if you don’t try. Grabbing the attention of potential customers is no easy feat, and the methods used are changing on a daily basis. As customers’ lives grow increasingly busier, and as their attention span steadily declines, your work in grabbing their attention exponentially increases. As Einstein (apparently never really) said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” You can’t treat all your customers like nails, just because all you’ve thought to use is a hammer. You need the right tool for the right job. And to figure out what that tool is, you need to experiment.

Here are four PR Experiments you can try to get things started:

1. Events and Contests

Contests have a way of immediately capturing the imagination. The idea that “it could be you” is extremely powerful, and if used effectively, could greatly serve to increase your business and your brand identity. But a contest in isolation can be overlooked. The strategy is so ubiquitous nowadays that many potential participants cynically think to themselves, “What are the odds it would be me?” The answer is to turn your contest into something more. Turn your contest into an event. Forego the overused and now under-appreciated traditional route of “buy our product and be entered into a drawing.” That doesn’t capture the imagination anymore. Instead, tie your contest into a spectacular event. One that gets people excited – something that they’ll enjoy participating in, whether or not they win. Then it no longer matters “what the odds are” – because everyone becomes a winner. Check out this article on running contests for business.

2. Spread the Love

Nothing brings goodwill to your company like doing good for seemingly no reward. Build your company’s branding to show that you care about your community, and they will respond in kind. Donate part of your proceeds to charity, volunteer time and resources, or just send out a positive and uplifting spirit with every message you create. If people associate your company with pro-social behavior, they’ll feel compelled to stick with you through ups and downs, highs and lows. They’ll actively seek to support you, because you’ve shown you’re worth supporting.

3. Do Something Strange

When people are going through their day, anything that seems to fit in place is easily ignored. Walking down the street, there’s no reason to pay attention to what a store’s offering just because they have a sign in the window. Every store has a sign in the window. It’s commonplace, and whatever’s commonplace will never grab anyone’s attention. Try doing something strange or unusual. Something that will make someone stop in their tracks and give you a second look.

A good example is the phone system “Grasshopper,” for entrepreneurs. When the company, formerly known as “GovVMail” rebranded as “Grasshopper,” they sent 5,000 leading bloggers and reporters chocolate-covered grasshoppers. The response was huge. Everyone was posting photos and blog entries about the campaign, daring people to eat one. “Grasshopper” could have sent those same bloggers and reports a traditional PR letter, but by including something strange and out of the ordinary, they got everyone talking – about them.

How about something like aerial advertising? While not exactly strange because big brands like AAA and Amex have been doing it for ages, it isn’t exactly your run-of-the-mill advertising method.

4. Partner with Other Companies

Nothing beats a good joint venture! It’s easy to get so lost in the competition of your ecosystem that you might wind up thinking that fighting for territory is the only way to play. Not so. Figure out what you have to offer to any other company out there – whether it seems immediately apparent what they could do for you or not. The reality is, the more relationships you can foster, the better. If you make a good impression on a company in a different industry, and you form a good relationship with them, you might just become the go-to company for YOUR industry to THEM. You can build tiny monopolies with dozens of other companies – and all their customers. You might not be the leader in your industry, but to these specific people, you’ll be the industry leader to THEM. So don’t focus too much on fighting with the lions – the tigers might just want to strike a deal.

Conway Cares Non-Profit Orlando – UCF Students Donate Food to Local Non-Profit

Conway Cares Non-Profit OrlandoCommunication is crucial for organizations to thrive. If they don’t effectively communicate their message and brand, how will anyone know who they are and what they stand for? Images, words, community involvement all send a message to consumers. While reaching consumers is important, making them care about you and your organization is more important.

 

We recently learned about Conway Cares a Central Florida nonprofit organization. Their mission is to feed local hungry children who’s parents can’t afford food. This issue hits close to home, for Bree Gotsdiner, founder of Publicly Related, who worked with starving children in Chicago, Pennsylvania and India. When she was approached by a student to incorporate a food drive into class, the public relations professional was happy to oblige.

 

The student shared Conway Cares’ compelling story and moving video, which tugged the heart strings of Publicly Related’s founder Bree Gotsdiner’s University of Central Florida digital media class. She then showed the Central Forida nonprofit’s wishlist with crackers, apple sauce and juice, and asked her classmates to bring in donations.

 

The Orlando students showed incredible generousity and brought in bags and bags of food for the children. Their public relations professional prof was blown away. They went above and beyond and posted images of their donations, complete with hashtags (#ConwayCares) on social media. The Central Florida community will surely be impacted by their compassion and the children will have food for another week.

 

 

How Do I Find a PR Agency to Launch My Startup?

Media coverage is as competitive as ever. To claim a stake of the coverage you might need to bring in a PR firm. It could be that you or your business has an in-house PR staff, but they are overworked. Perhaps you need a consultant to help polish your public branding and get results. Whatever the reason, it has occurred to you that it is time to bring in dedicated professionals.

 

The Decision

 

Hiring a public relations firm is a time-consuming and detailed choice. Rushing into a decision could result in being forced into a long-term business relationship with a potentially lackluster firm, and no one wants that.

 
 

How to Hire a PR Firm

 

1)    Research your Options

Spend time researching for the best public relations agency for your industry. Look for firms with clients that are similar to your business (size, profession, etc.). Remember that public relations is all about the relationships, so choose a relationship that will advance or improve your business.

 

2)    Meet with the Firm

Request a meeting with the principals of the public relations firms you want to hire. In a perfect world you would request two meetings – one at your place and one at theirs. You need to find a public relations team that matches your corporate culture and understands your goals. Do you want to hire a public relations firm that is playful and creative, or do you prefer a firm that takes a sophisticated approach to your business?

 

3)    Share your goals

So you made the hiring decision, and now you have expectations of the firm will produce for you. Share these expectations with your new PR firm before you hire them. Both you and your PR team need to have the same expectations before a misunderstanding happens.

 

4)    Be open to counsel

You may have strong ideas as to how the relationship between you and the public relations firm should work, but remember that you are hiring public relations professionals. They have made PR their chosen career, and they have knowledge, insight, and experience that you lack. Make sure you listen to their advice and support them with availability and responsiveness.

 

5)    Commitment

At some point in the business relationship, you may feel engaged to your public relations firm. This is perfectly fine; moving forward in this way puts your public relations firm in charge. With your consent and approval, the public relations firm will feel free to work on the plan you all agreed to. This is also your opportunity to introduce your firm to the people important to your firm. Put your PR people in touch with key staff, important customers and industry contacts. These contacts are critical to inspiring your PR team.

 

6)    Reflection

After this careful research, you’ll be on your way to great media coverage with your new public relations firm. Take time to develop the relationship with support, evaluation and encouragement and you will benefit from a long and fruitful team-up.

What is Media Relations?

We are often asked “What is Media Relations?”

 

It is tempting to confuse media relations and public relations. While both are fundamentally about relationships and valuable connections, the two have different emphases.

 

Public relations builds a mutually beneficial relationship between organizations and the public. Media can be an important tool in implementing this relationship, creating a connection between a group and the public, but Media Relations is a different communication process altogether.

 

Media Relations involves working with various media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization’s mission. It is where public relations professionals work with members of the media to publicize companies and through earned news coverage in print, broadcast, and online media.

 

This is different from simple advertising because there is no fee to place a news story. The advantage a public relations firm has over a marketing team is that earned media helps establish credibility for a company. Studies show that people are more likely to believe a news story than an ad. This comes from the fact that journalists are expected to objectively analyze the news they report on, while an ad is expected to be biased.

 

While the communication between the media and the organization can be started by either party, it’s important to note that the media cannot be controlled. The best media relation agency will have the connections that are vital to the success of the media relations team.

 

Organizations often compile what is known as a media list, or a list of possible media outlets who may be interested in an organization’s information. The media can consist of thousands of magazine publications, newspapers, and TV and radio stations. Therefore, when a “newsworthy” event occurs in an organization, a media list can assist in determining which media outlet may be the most interested in a particular story.

 

Working with the media on behalf of an organization allows for awareness of your entity to be raised. This also allows the ability to create an impact with targeted audiences. Wide ranges of media become engaged and are used to encourage audiences of both large and small sizes.

 

While a public relations team will encompass more than earned media, the best media relations firms will have strong, developed relationships with media officials. This will give your efforts a strong ‘signal boost’ over other public relations agencies that do not have said connections.

DIY (Do It Yourself) PR

It takes time and effort to create an effective public relations blueprint. There are plenty of factors to consider: finding industry journalists, cultivate a social media following, create your own advertising.

 

In a nutshell, it helps to understand the value of public relations:

  • Credibility – Getting coverage in the news is more influential than any advertising.
  • Better visibility – For the exact same reason as above, being on the news beats any ad.
  • Pays for itself – A good PR campaign leads to consumer goodwill, which leads to greater business. It is one of the best investments you can make.

 

But should you endeavor to run a ‘Do It Yourself Public Relations’ campaign? The market rate for a bare-bones PR investment is $3,000/month and can climb to $10,000 or more for a national campaign. It does not seem too complicated to for a DIY Public Relations run, and the temptation to do so is understandable.

 

Capability

 

Before you attempt DIY PR, ask yourself: 

  • Do you have the time to identify media contacts in your industry – editors, journalists, bloggers, commentators, reporters – that could potentially cover your story?
  • Do you have the resources to obtain the contact information of these people?
  • Can you recognize newsworthy parts of your company’s business and create an eye-catching pitch and/or write a press release?
  • Do you know how to get the press release to the contacts that have the greatest chance of reaching your target customers?

 

In-House Staff?

 

If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions, it is time to consider hiring your own communications and marketing team. This can be as few as one person, and hiring an expert at PR who focuses exclusively on you.

 

Is it truly cheaper though?

 

Remember that you will have to recruit, hire, and possibly train new staff. While the current hiring economy is an ‘employers’ market, and salaries are lower as a result, the Department of Labor places the median salary of PR specialists at $57,000. On top of salary are benefits, Social Security, and Medicare taxes at around 7 percent of the base salary. Benefits will likely include health insurance, sick/personal leave, and holidays. The Department of labor states that benefits can bring up the cost of an employee’s actual cost is about 2.7 times the states salary.

 

Then the employee(s) will need resources of their own. Office space, printers, computers, supplies, phones (personal smart phone and office phone). They will also require specialized software, databases – which sometimes require monthly subscription fees – that contain lists of journalists and other influencers and their contact information. They will need expense accounts to buy lunches, attend conferences and other meetings.

 

A more extensive PR team will end up being even more expensive. Think about that…

 

It adds up real quick. If you run a small to medium-sized company, $3,000/month no longer sounds so bad, does it?

 

Hire the Pros

 

Dedicated Public Relations firms work full-time to generate earned media coverage for their clients. They know the public relations best practices. They can craft a proper campaign for you that bring the best results.

 

Good PR firms are up-to-date on SEO optimization, social media management, corporate responsibility, creating polished press releases. They know the best ways of completing media follow-ups, and would know how to pitch your company in a way that is more likely to get media coverage.

There is no rule saying you cannot do your own DIY PR campaign, but it is more likely you will make better use of your time doing what you were hired to do for your company.

Should I Hire a Specialized PR Firm?

It stands to reason that if you want to hire a PR firm, it would be smart to hire a specialized firm to better accomplish specific tasks. Think again; while hiring a public relations agency is usually a great idea for your business – especially if you are launching a product or have a new announcement.

 

However, if your choice is to hire a specialized firm or a general firm, your best option is to pick the general public relations agency. Here is why you do not want to hire PR specialists.

 

1)    They Likely Work With Your Competitors:

 

If your organization decided to seek out a specialized firm, the odds are good that a competitor of the same size also did the same thing. Aside from potential ethical problems from representing two similar clients, how can you expect to stand out? The agency hired by your competitor will employ the same ideas and tactics to both of you, even if they are not trying to.

 

2)    Media Bombardment:

 

Even the best public relations firms have a regular set of journalists they reach out to. A specialized firm, also employed by your competitor, will be distributing materials for both your company and your competitor.  This will overwhelm industry journalists and reporters, who could overlook your story in favor for your competitor.

The best public relations agency will have a national reach, and will not be limited to a specific pool of industry or journalism contacts.

 

3)   Lack Diverse Experience

 

For the same reason the public relations agency is specialized, it follows that they have a much more narrow experience and knowledge base. A firm that is spectacular at media saturation might be lacking during a crisis situation, taking much longer to adequately respond for your company.

 

A PR firm should have a broad knowledge base and experience with many industries in order to handle any situation. Being able to adjust and adapt to fast-moving circumstances is an invaluable benefit to your company; a benefit you don’t want to suddenly miss in a tight spot.

 

4)   Lack of National Media Attention

 

Your company may only work in music, or agriculture, or sports apparel, or social media. A public relations firm that specializes in your industry is likely to only have industry contacts. In the event your company hits the national spotlight, you will need the best public relations agency possible that has national media contacts.

 

Selecting a specialized firm is a tempting idea, but it is fraught with pitfalls. Selecting a generalized firm will bring with it a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge. The ability of a PR firm who can readjust and adapt to new developments will be one of the greatest assets to your organization.