Where will you be at midnight tonight?
May I suggest that you may want to consider being at your computer at that time?
Why? Because Facebook has something going on at that time that is vital for you personally and your business that's far more important than sleeping ever will be!
As a PR person and marketer, you know the power of branding and controlling your brand name.
Tonight at midnight, Facebook is staging one of the greatest branding grabs ever - giving the opportunity to own your own name on Facebook.
But, you say, I already have my name on Facebook. But, what's key here is not your name, it's your URL.
Every time you want to send someone to your Facebook profile or page (remember profiles are your personal section on Facebook, pages are your business side, and you can have unlimited numbers of pages) you currently have to send them to a URL that looks something like this:
www.facebook.com/people/Your-Name/52446540 (That's an inactive URL, BTW, so don't click it.)
Wouldn't you rather be able to send them to www.facebook.com/yourname ?
That's what's Facebook is making possible tonight - the ability to own your own name, or more importantly, your company or brand name on Facebook.(Can you imagine someone else owning your brand name on that vital site?)
And the fact that Facebook's making this a first come first served situation, this is why it's also vital that you're awake and at your computer tonight, who needs sleep anyway?Continue reading "Protecting Your Brand Name Online"
A great deal of your success on Twitter is based on what you choose to Twitter about.
We covered this a bit in last week's article, but it's worth reconsidering and going deeper.
The key is to recognize that every follower you have on Twitter is earned, and that every post you write has the potential to attract more followers or to drive off the ones you already have.
First some don'ts:
- In last week's article we stressed the importance of NOT filling your Twitter feed with totally personal items that nobody cares about. Don't greet the world when you get up, tell them what you had for breakfast, or when you're going to bed. Unless you're a celebrity, who people actually get paid for taking pictures of you doing those things, twittering on those subjects will just push people away.
- Don't do inside jokes that only a few people will understand.
- Don't complain about the world. Nobody likes whiners in real life, and they certainly aren't going to continually follow you if you do it online.
- Don't use it as a place for spouting off on whatever subject is on your mind at the moment. Think, then write.
- Unless your audience is following you because of your religious or political views, you generally should stay away from those subjects. Sorry, I know. You'll never believe how hard it was for me to not hit the enter key after writing some amazing posts during the recent US election...
Now some do's:
I sometimes wear ties. Mind you, I'm dragged kicking and screaming into the ancient and abominable art of male torture through neck binding, but I still occasionally put one on. And I get bored with them, so I'm always on the lookout for good looking ones.
So when I saw a Facebook ad offering Four Quality Ties for $1, they got my click.
(Notice that they specifically say "No hidden fees!" in the ad.)
By doing so I got wrapped up into one of the best examples of how to deceive and annoy your customers that I've seen in weeks.
The landing page seems well designed with a photo at the top, 18 ties that you can select, an order form on the bottom left and testimonials on the bottom right. The bottom of the page even has a guarantee and trust-type seals.
No mention of shipping charges, no mention of any other obligations. It appears on the surface to be a program designed to allow customers the ability to buy a sample of their wares at an inexpensive price.
It looked good, I was about to reward good marketing with my order. I was about ready to start choosing ties, when I noticed that you are required to check a box stating that you have read and agreed to their terms & conditions. I click that box, and the real deal is reveled:
Are you actively using http://www.twitter.com to build your business?
If you're not, you're probably making a huge mistake.
Twitter, in case you're not aware, is a service where people post up to 140 character updates on topics of interest to them. Those updates go out to the people who have chosen to "follow" them.
In essence, Twitter is a place where you build an audience of people who have similar interests to yours, then communicate quickly and efficiently with them.
It's taking the world by storm, growing at phenomenal rates, and more importantly, becoming a key communications element in the lives of many.
I have to admit, when I first looked at Twitter, I didn't get it. I saw a bunch of people there cheerfully announcing that they were going to eat lunch, that they were having a great day, and that they had just broken up with their boyfriends. There was no way I was going to join any service that helped me to more efficiently waste time, even if it didn't cost me anything.
But my attitude, and the world of Twitter has now totally changed.Continue reading "Using Twitter To Gain Publicity"
Boilerplate language is a media release refers to what is traditionally the final paragraph of the release, which provides generic information about the company. It usually tells whether the company is publicly or privately traded, its stock ticker, where it's based, the brands it owns, what it does, etc. Basically, it's a piece of copy that is designed to communicate the basics about the company that gets routinely pasted on the end of each media release.
Consequently, it's usually the first thing that gets cut if the release gets run, but that's a totally different discussion.
Here's a sample of boilerplate language from a recent AT&T release:
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world's most advanced IP-based business communications services, the nation's fastest 3G network and the best wireless coverage worldwide, and the nation's leading high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of their three-screen integration strategy, AT&T operating companies are expanding their TV entertainment offerings. In 2008, AT&T again ranked No. 1 in the telecommunications industry on FORTUNE® magazine's lists of the World's Most Admired Companies and America's Most Admired Companies. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.
Safe Harbor Statement:Continue reading "What is meant by the terms boilerplate language and Safe Harbor Statement in a media release?"
It seems you can’t turn anywhere today without bumping into talk of economic stimulus. Whether you’ll be entitled to some of that money or not, you can use it to build your business.
How? Through using it to get more PR!
Here are some story pitches that astute marketers like you can use the economic stimulus talk and Obama’s new Presidency to build your publicity:
- Right now, before it’s set in stone, pitch a story about how the plan will affect your business. That pitch could show how you would benefit from it, how you wouldn’t, how you should get it, or even how it will be a waste of money in your industry.
- Pitch your corporate environmental policies and improvements. Tell reporters about the changes you’ve made and how they will affect your bottom line. Show how they will increase employment, and how they will impact the environment, especially if those changes cut greenhouse emissions. Remember that those emission reductions don’t necessarily have to come from you, they can come from suppliers, customers, or even from the eventual disposal of the product. The extra work to calculate those numbers will be worthwhile, because they will likely be a lead element to your story.
- Pitch any new U.S. employment initiative you participate in, even if those initiatives just preserve a job that might otherwise be lost to foreign workers. Again, remember, those initiatives don’t have to be just within your company. If you order a new machine that replaces one on your shop floor, you may not add a job, but the manufacturer of that machine may, and there’s a story there! Clearly communicate the number of new jobs, or the number of jobs preserved in your pitch, don’t leave it up to the reporter to do the calculations. And don’t be afraid to make estimates and assume that the money you’re spending won’t trickle down to others in the economy - the government accounting offices are!
Continue reading "How To Profit From Obama’s Economic Stimulus Program"
“The power of bloggers to influence thought, to reach large numbers of people and even to eclipse the impact of traditional media is huge and will grow even larger in the near future,” Blogging and Social Media expert Don Crowther announced today at the 2007 Blogword and New Media Expo in Las Vegas.
“What the traditional media doesn’t recognize is that many bloggers, though unrestrained by traditional journalistic methods and ethics, have audiences and actual readership larger than many newspapers, television and radio shows,” Crowther said. “Plus this audience is often more loyal and able to be influenced than that of traditional media, giving bloggers tremendous power to shape opinions, actions and purchasing behavior.”
The implications of this power are far reaching. Crowther indicated:Continue reading "The power of bloggers to increase even further"
Using outrageous online video to promote your business
When Andy Jenkins wanted to promote the product improvements in his online traffic and conversion training system called StomperNet, he decided to use a powerful new online tool - online video.
As a marketing professional, you're probably already aware that:
- Video is huge - YouTube is one of the top 3 sites in the world!
- Tons of people are accessing it - over 63% of those with broadband in the US are watching online videos, which has increased 18% over the past year
So how do you get your story seen in online video? One way is to add entertainment to your message, which is precisely what Andy chose to do.
I recommend you watch this video on SEO and online traffic building to see what I mean. It's clearly a spoof, but it's generating a ton of buzz online. Plus, he's also added another interactive tool on the page, to further involve the viewers.
Not badly done!
I was shocked this week to see an ad by Ford for their Mustang. It shows a father and son in a dark parking lot. The son's driving, he peels out, runs a bit, then stops. The father turns to him and says "That's what I'm talking about. This is not a toy! Want to go again?" Both laughs and they peel out again.
Now I'm sure this ad strikes deep to the heart of a few fathers who want their sons to relive the father's teenage streetrodding experiences. And, when they dragged those fathers into focus groups the ad was probably met with applause.
But what's clear is that they didn't test the ad with others - the moms, the families who have lost a child to being hit by a teenage driver, MADD members, and those who look for our teenagers to be law-abiding. To them, this ad is not only offensive, but it constitutes "fighten words".
The ad has already been pulled in at least one market where recent highly-publicized teen accidents have raised awareness of the dangers of telling kids that it's ok to drive cars recklessly "as long as they don't get caught."
Want to judge the spot for yourself? Watch it here. It's the one with the grinning man's face.
This ad is just another in a recent trend towards offending one market segment while seeking to attract another. Carls Junior's Paris Hilton ad was one we recently commented on.
Sephora has recently done the same thing with coffee cups with a lipstick mark on the rim, making them appear to have been used.
Frankly, I don't get it.Continue reading "Creating Advertising That Offends Your Customers: I Don't Get It"
Want to use a picture of a person in your marketing? Here's how to make your choice.
Psychological and marketing studies tend to reveal similar results, which state that when you choose a picture for an advertising or publicity campaign look for: (Please don't consider this sexist or get offended, it's what the data says)
- A picture of a woman (men prefer pictures of women, women don't care, pictures of women win)
- Mid to late 20's (something about the age your mother was when you first saw her - things get real Freudian here...)
- Attractive, though not necessarily sexy. Sexy turns women off, attractive appeals to both men and women.
- Dressed nicely, but not sexy. Same rationale.
- Smiling lightly, though not toothy grin. The best pictures are the ones where the model looks approving, like they're happy with you, not hitting on you, more motherly "I'm so glad to see that you're home!" looks that make you feel loved
- Ideally her body should be turned to a bit of an angle to the camera
- Most important - her eyes should be looking directly into the camera. The eyes are important. There's something, particularly in men (eye-tracking research) that shows that our eyes are drawn to eyes that are looking at us. So a model looking into the camera (especially if her body is turned slightly so it appears that she is having to work a bit to look at the camera, tying back to the previous point) draws your eye to hers. Side point here - really focus on the eyes in your pictures. It's possible to look at the camera without looking into the camera lens. You want them focused right on you. My friend describes it as "looking deep into your soul."
In short, study your possible pictures carefully. You should feel your heart do a slight leap when you see the right one. If it does, you've got a winner.Continue reading "Tips For Using People Photos That Get Results"
Here's an announcement about a 40th wedding anniversary:
"Mr. And Mrs. Ron Tennell of Flat Rock are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. She is taking a trip to Europe while he will be gambling on a riverboat in southern Indiana."
Isn't it nice to see a close couple? :<)
Those of you who have been in contact with me for awhile know that I'm a huge fan of pay per click marketing. It's one of the greatest marketing tools currently available to generate huge numbers of targeted potential buyers to your webpage or online sales letter.
One of the keys to success in pay per click marketing is running your ads on thousands, and in many cases, tens of thousands of keywords.
This strategy not only results in less expensive click traffic, but higher quality customers at the same time, because those who search for more specific keyword combinations tend to be farther along in the buying process than those who search for the generic term that describes the category.
Though this is a powerful, results-generating strategy, it comes at a huge price - the time required to sort though huge lists of keywords, culling out those that don't apply, and putting them into logical ad groups for keyword advertising.
Frankly, to do this process right costs between 5-10 hours of mind-numbingly frustrating work. Seriously, you can't hand-process keyword lists for more than about 20 minutes before your eyes start crossing and every line starts to look about the same.
As a manager of a number of high-powered, huge, expensive campaigns, I've done my time, spending far too many late nights slogging through yet another list.
If you've ever done it, you know exactly what I'm talking about...
So, you can imagine my excitement about two months ago as I talked for the first time with a guy I met on a pay per click teleconference named Richard East.
In that phone call Richard told me about a new program his team was creating that was designed specifically to handle the challenge of sorting through huge groups of keywords for pay per click and/or page-building programs.Continue reading "New Program Simplifies Online Advertising"
I like my neighbor, with one small exception - he raises pit bulls. He's got 8 of them, with 3-4 rotating in to live right next door all the time.
Justified or not, the entire neighborhood is scared of them, with parents being unwilling to let their kids play outside unsupervised (a first in my small subdivision.) My wife's terrified of them, and if she's outside when he lets them out to do their business she goes inside until they're done.
It's even gotten to the point where calls have been made to the police several times by various neighborhood members for various infractions.
So I admired the way he pulled off a public relations coup this week.
Most of the neighbors were out enjoying a summer evening (hey, when it's too cold to go outside for much of the year, we Northerners take advantage of every nice evening we can get!), watching the kids play and enjoying parental conversation, when the neighbor walked out of his house carrying a laundry basket onto his driveway.
That attracted a few eyeballs. But when he reached inside and pulled out a 10" long, 4-week old puppy, it took just a few minutes before the entire neighborhood was gathered around, and each of the 8 puppies had someone cuddling it.
They were awfully cute puppies and they did what puppies do naturally - they captured the hearts of everyone.
As I was holding the puppy, I mentioned to him that I should get my wife to try to remove some of her fear of the pit bulls. He not only thought that was a good idea, but told me to take a puppy to her. A few seconds later, my wife was right in the midst of the cuddle session.
It's been interesting to watch my neighborhood ever since. Each night, the puppies come out, and everyone gathers around. Barriers are being broken, fear is being reduced, comfort is increasing.Continue reading "Removing Fear Through Effective Public Relations"
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is which press release distribution service we recommend.
First, let me make a distinction. We have found that there are two types of press release distribution services.
- Ones that get your release out to lots of different sites on the web.
- And those that get your release into the hands of print and broadcast reporters.
Frankly, we've not been able to find one service that does well with both. Either they do a good job online, or they do a good job reaching reporters, generally not both.
This article will focus on the only one we've found that does a reasonable job of doing both at a reasonable price. In future issues we'll discuss some of our other favorite tools.
The service is called The Yearbook of Experts and it's one of those gems that few people know about, but really seems to work.
The Yearbook of Experts provides you a number of services, just one of which is a press release distribution service. You get:
- A profile in the printed Yearbook of Experts
- A profile in their online online ExpertClick directory
- Inclusion in their Power Media BlueBook and CD-ROM and online access to their database
- Training in how to use their service
And, the part you've been waiting for
- The ability to send out releases and articles through their NewsReleaseWire.
A recent study designed to measure whether people perceived men or women to be safer drivers came up with an interesting answer:
"As a passenger, I feel safer with:
35% a male driver
23% a female driver
What's an other? Apparently, whatever they are, they drive really safely!