Category ArchivePublic Relations Tools
Public Relations Tools 06 Oct 2010 02:37 pm
Nowadays, everyone is familiar with the phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. In today’s business world, networking has become the key to success whether your goal is finding a new job or obtaining new business prospects. But networking isn’t just about knowing someone. To truly be able to utilize a contact you must learn to build a relationship with that person. Here are some networking-building guidelines to keep in mind:
•Start thinking about networking long before you begin your job search. When you meet someone new, try to find out where they work, how they got their job and where possible opportunities might be within the company.
•Networking is not something that can be accomplished overnight. Develop a strategy and set goals for yourself. Decide how many contacts you want to make and target people in fields that interest you. A great way to meet potential employers is through after-work events such as chamber of commerce programs, local business functions, fundraisers, volunteer events, conferences and trade shows. Try to research as much information as possible on the event attendees and bring business cards.
•Once you make a connection, plan out when you’ll contact the person and what the method of contact will be (a telephone conversation, e-mail, lunch, etc.). Follow-up and be consistent. If you have lunch with someone, shoot them a quick e-mail afterward thanking them.
•Don’t underestimate the power of online networking. Meeting contacts online can be very beneficial if you make sure to keep in touch with them. Posting pertinent information or suggesting content and ideas can help get you noticed.
•There’s no telling where a new connection could lead. Networking provides you with the benefit of building a contact base with a variety of perspectives, ideas and advice. Even if your new contact doesn’t lead you to a job opportunity, you may be able to use your connection to gather more insight or information for a project or gain access to useful resources. From a business standpoint, networking can provide you with new sales leads, potential partnerships, opportunities for market expansion and a direct connection with your consumers.
Networking is a skill that takes time and commitment. It’s a way to develop and market your very own personal brand. Remember, as you are building your own network, other people are forming their own connections. By simply adding one person to your network you can become connected hundreds of others. Once you begin networking and building your reputation, you may find that you have become the person that people want to connect with.
The use of social media has revolutionized the public relations and marketing world. According to Facebook, its users spend 500 billion minutes per month on the site sharing more than 25 billion pieces of content. Other social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, have reported similar results. Re:NEW Michigan, a trademark of Eiler Communications, conducted a survey in April to further investigate the growing prevalence of social media sites among Michigan businesses.
The survey compared to a similar survey from December 2008. Not surprisingly, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn all saw dramatic increases in usage in the time period between surveys. The biggest leaps came from Facebook and Twitter. Facebook saw a 28.5% increase in usage, and Twitter saw a 30.3% jump.
A more unexpected and enlightening trend was revealed by the results. Michigan businesses reported heavily using social media websites in seeking news and information.
This is most likely due to news sites directly posting on social media sites or links exist between these social sites and news sites.
Whatever the reason, survey respondents admitted to using Facebook, Twitter and blogs just as often as they use more traditional news sites such as CNN, MSNBC and The New York Times when they seek news and information. Many even reported using social media websites as their primary source of information.
This information poses the question of what the future holds for this evolving issue, both social media and news information websites. No answers yet, but here are some observations.
The benefits of using social media websites for seeking news and information are obvious. They provide the instantaneous results demanded by people’s quest for instant gratification of information. The large amount of time spent on these sites and the great amount of traffic to these sites is favorable for spreading a story.
But are social media websites sufficient in providing a business with all the information it needs, or are they simply being used to find leads that require further investigation? Do social media websites have the potential to make news information sites obsolete? Re:NEW Michigan plans to address these questions and others involving social media websites in our next survey in October.
I’ve been trying to explain Twitter and Facebook to my parents for some time now, and despite my best efforts, they still find the lack of privacy a little unsettling. “You mean everyone will know when you go to the bathroom?”
Not exactly Mom, you don’t tell people everything you’re doing. But her point is a good one. Social Media (SM) allows individuals to effortlessly communicate and share ideas across broad networks, but some recent news has shown what happens when social media goes wrong.
Twitter’s rapidly growing population consists of celebrities, presidents, companies, neighbors and even pets. Charlie Villanueva, Forward for the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, has become an infamous Tweeter after two incidents last month. First, Villanueva or CV31 as he’s known on Twitter, posted a Tweet at halftime of a game against the Boston Celtics. Bucks’ head coach Scott Skiles quickly reprimanded these actions. (The Tweet can be read here.) For an encore, CV31 cited an inside source when he announced that Jim Calhoun, the coach of his Alma mater would coach in the next game of the NCAA Tournament for the University of Connecticut after health complications kept him out of the previous game.
“Juror Jonathon” ran into trouble in March for Tweeting details of a $12.6 million case from his cell phone. These Twitter updates, while not explicitly forbidden by courts, are believed to be grounds for a mistrial.
These two incidents are yet another example of technology moving faster than regulatory rules (or just a lack of common sense). Social media is a great public relations tool, providing ways for businesses and individuals to control their messages. But as more companies and businesses enter the social media circus, they must be wary of information leaking to the public through blogs, podcasts, Facebook pages, MySpace, Twitter, etc. The traditional walls of privacy my parents are familiar with are being torn down in favor of faster communication. Until rules are in place to control the expansive social media capabilities, remember to balance networking with personal responsibility and common sense.
Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Corporate Communications &Leadership &Marketing &Public Relations Tools &Social Media &Technology PR Insights 24 Mar 2009 04:26 pm
“What’s on your mind”? With this simple query that appears on the front page of Facebook profiles, Facebook has thrown down the gauntlet. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had Twitter on his mind for a while now, and struck back at the up-and-coming social networking site two weeks ago. The much anticipated and incredibly hyped Facebook profile changes appeared on browsers everywhere on March 13. How BIG were these changes? As you can see here, the evolution of Facebook’s façade earned Zuckerberg an invite to appear on Oprah. Clearly, dorm room tech geeks aren’t the only ones noticing the social media frenzy.
Where’s all this buzz coming from? Well, Zuckerberg’s changes mark the latest chapter in the clash between Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has built its reputation on simplicity since CEO Evan Williams launched the site in 2006. Zuckerberg threw subtleties aside when he joined the 6 million on Twitter with a username of his own (thezuckerberg), apparently researching the micro-blog from the inside. (For those scoring at home, add “Espionage” to the list of professions social media has transformed.) The most obvious examples of Facebook’s robbery: When users sign on to Twitter they are greeted with the eerily coincidental question, “What are you doing?”. Facebook’s revamped look helps companies develop a presence on the site beyond the traditional “Fan Pages”. With Facebook’s improved business-oriented functionality, look for Facebook’s membership to spike in the upcoming months.
In the past six months, Twitter has really found its stride attracting celebrities, musicians, politicians, professional athletes, news agencies, businesses, and even President Barack Obama (username: BarackObama). This diverse, informational, and entertaining Twitter population was growing so much (752% In the last year!!) that Facebook looked to purchase the site last year to the tune of $500million in stock. Twitter and Williams rebuffed the offer, proclaiming that “Twitter is just getting started”. Facebook’s offer and subsequent rejection is even more astounding when you discover that Twitter is not a revenue-generating machine. Perhaps these are the changes Williams’ and his team foresee.
What’s the next step in this titanic clash of social media giants? It’s hard to speculate, but definitely fun to watch. Stay tuned.
About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Electronic PR &Leadership &Marketing &Media &Michigan Public Relations Firm &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 20 Mar 2009 03:51 pm
Are you a thought leader? Thought leaders are credible, insightful industry professionals (often heads of companies) with the expertise to comment on industry trends and issues…basically, the leaders of thoughts. This is highly desirable brand position requiring a focused public relations (PR) effort and a commitment to hard work.
Thought leaders provide insight and vision and therefore, are “go to” sources for members of the media often providing quotes and commentary for news coverage. Highly visible examples include Steve Jobs of Apple, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Larry Page of Google, Richard Branson of Virgin Megastores, or Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook. These leaders provide insight of global scale due to their product’s popularity around the world. It is also possible to carve out a niche for your company’s product or service locally or wherever you define your target market.
A few thought-leadership tips from www.skmarketing.com, a Minneapolis based business-to-business marketing agency:
1. Availability: Respect the hectic schedule of the journalists and other members of the press and return all calls ASAP.
2. Preparedness: As a thought leader, you are expected to possess wisdom and a familiarity with a wide variety of topics in your field. It is advised that you prepare talking points prior to any media engagement/interview.
3. Be Opinionated: Donald Trump might be the best example of this type of thought leadership. Thought leaders are expected to bring something new to the conversation without sitting on the fence. Be bold, compelling and dramatic.
4. Persistence: Create your own fortune through thought leadership tools. Examples include determined press releases, knowledgeable speaking engagements, effective social media, white papers, by-lined articles, and/or case studies.
Eiler Communications has practiced these skills for over twenty years, establishing brand messages and thought leadership strategies for local and national businesses. David Mielke, Dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business, is an example of a local thought leader Eiler Communications works with consistently. Mielke has established a voice in the business community writing articles in the Ann Arbor Business Review and on www.MLive.com, often times commenting on the current state of business ethics. Mielke also serves on a number of economic and business boards.
So, are you ready to be a thought leader?
What Does Twitter Do For My Business?
According to the IDC (Premier Global Marketing Survey Company)Internet users spend an average of 32.7 hours online each week. That’s close to half the time they spend on any media (70.6 hours), twice the time they spend watching TV (16.4 hours) and close to eight times as much time as they spend reading magazines and newspapers (3.9 hours). The two fastest growing categories are video and social media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Wikipedia, Blogs, YouTube, etc).
Clearly, attention is shifting on-line for all of our social and business needs.
Abrams Research recently asked over 200 social media leaders at the Social Media Week 2009 conference, what social media site would you recommend your business to pay for
(if they had to)? Twitter beat Facebook by more than two to one. Why? One of the most typical responses was, “ It is the quickest way I’ve seen to spread information virally to a wide scope of people attached in a lot of random ways.”
So, what is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time and is one of the fastest growing communities online. It allows people to send public or private messages in 140 characters or less via the web or mobile phone. Think of it as a Facebook status update on steroids. The idea is to sign up and find people that you want to follow. Once you follow them, you receive updates minute by minute on whatever they “tweet”. A “tweet” is a 140 character or less statement or link to information.
For instance, I follow people that are relevant to my business. By sharing quick bits of information, I can stay connected to them, know their interests and appeal to them for my professional or personal needs. The key is to “tweet” about relevant topics. No one cares if you are having coffee (unless of course you own a coffee business and are sharing your favorite brew). As a Twitter courtesy, if you follow someone they usually follow you back so, get out there and start following and watch your site grow! Think about this. If you send out one “tweet” that directs your followers to relevant news about your business, which directs them to you or your website- you can reach thousands of Twitter followers by the minute.
The key: No one likes a constant sales pitch. Twitter about relevant issues that pertain to your business or your interests. This will position you as an expert and drive traffic to your site.
It’s hard to turn on ESPN these days without a report on Michael Phelps or Alex Rodriguez. Both superstar athletes have suffered massive blows to their public image in the past few weeks, but each has taken a different approach to managing their respective crisis.
Various media personalities heralded Phelps as the greatest athlete in Olympics history (a modern history dating back to 1896) after he swam to eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics. Equally captivating was the recently released picture of Michael holding a bong at a college party in November. The Phelps camp has been frantically trying to save the swimmer’s reputation ever since the picture hit the internet. Strategically, Phelps management agency, International Management Group (IMG) is playing the “youthful spirit” PR card, asking for understanding and forgiveness…a very sound strategy. But the drawn out saga that has unfolded probably wasn’t in their plans. Every additional apology Phelps’ issues goes straight to the front page; every informal poolside press conference has Phelps out of breath and un-groomed. Phelps needs his character and integrity reaffirmed, but neither his coaches nor friends have displayed support to the media. More proactive PR tactics are needed in times of crisis management.
Alex Rodriguez and his PR staff were far more aggressive in handling his recent admission to steroid use in Major League Baseball (MLB). Sports Illustrated broke the story on Sunday and Rodriguez disclosed all in an interview with ESPN’s Peter Gammons on Tuesday. He attacked the allegations and tried to minimize the damage by giving answers to questions sports fans were asking. Pulling a page from Phelps’ book, Rodriguez blamed his humanity for “making a mistake”. While Rodriguez’s image will never be the same, he was able to control the story, instead of letting the story control him.
These two sport-related cases offer lessons in crisis management. While the public will never forget these two incidents, savvy PR practices can minimize the damage to their respective reputations. Basketball’s Michael Jordan was able to stay in the public’s favor for years despite gambling allegations. Many businesses, company leaders, athletes, celebrities, etc. make mistakes because they are human. PR specialists must realize this fact and build a plan to emphasize the way individuals learn from mistakes.
It is increasingly difficult nowadays to be recognized for ones expertise in Michigan public relations, hi tech companies, and communication world with the amount of information that is out there. However, there is hope, and it has been around for a while: blogging. Interactive market positioning is oftentimes key to giving people the needed information they seek. The importance of blogging rests on six principles:
First, blogs are easy to publish on the web. The ability to upload thoughts, ideas, or general information is just a few clicks away, allowing for a mass flow of information across a wide spectrum.
Second, blogs are inexpensive. Especially in today’s economy, Michigan PR companies don’t have to spend vast sums of money getting their names out.
Third, it is quick and efficient. There is not wait time. The information is “published” fast and allows for instant reactions. This works especially well with a public relations organization like Eiler Communications to respond to industry and client needs.
Fourth, similar to my third point, blogging grabs the attention of search engines. The more the company blogs the more hits they might get and the more attention it receives via non-paid publicity, a huge bonus for the organization.
My last two points are tied together in that it both positions the company in a favorable light in the eyes of client, industry, and public to treat them as an expert and as a result, hopefully, increases its profits and notability.
Regardless of the reason a PR organization uses blogging, it can be an extremely important tool in the sphere of high tech communicating. And what better way to prove that the company knows media and the field of communications than actually communicating!
More than ever political candidates nowadays are seeing the huge advantages of market positioning and high tech PR via social media. Once in a while a candidate comes along and is a breath of fresh air. There was no better time for Barack Obama than now. With the 2008 election finally over, to the relief of many, we can sit back and assess the impact this positioning and PR had on candidates and nominees.
We are a society of pop culture and instant downloads where information is accessed at astonishing rates. News an hour ago is not news anymore and we are constantly searching for updates.
President-elect Barack Obama is an incredibly charismatic individual and plays well into this culture. Here is my thinking: I don’t think that policy and issue play as large a role as it should have and did in previous presidential elections. Although unfortunate, I feel image is a larger determining factor for the voting population.
Using these ideas, media relations and market positioning are just a couple of ways to build a fan base that can promote a candidates influence in multiple venues. Examples of this type of social marketing would include viral videos on YouTube, vlogs, internet forums, podcasts, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr, just to name a few. Videos seen on YouTube of campaign rallies were free PR on a national scale. In fact on his home website, there is a link to “Obama Everywhere”, which lists all the above and a handful more of places where you can learn and discuss Obama. His campaign took advantage of this social market positioning and used it in their strategic plan for success. He reached out to the numerous constituents and gained their attention and respect by understanding that technology is continuous and evolving.
It was in this sense that Obama was able to fundraise from micro donors (and in return allowed him to disclaim lobbyist influences in government). Furthermore, according to a CNN.com exit poll, 66% of all 18-29 year-olds and 52% of 30-44 year-olds voted for Obama. These are the same typical demographics that are familiar with and use social media as both an outlet for discussion and information seeking; the so-called “internet generation”.
The reason this is relevant in politics today is because you will not find a single candidate out there who does not have a website and/or numerous spin off sites. For example, Obama teamed up with Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes to create My.BarackObama.com, in which users could join an online community that boasted over a million members. Using these high tech venues one can find local events, contact undecided voters near you, and share stories via blogs. The thinking is this: candidates, especially at the presidential level, can be, and oftentimes are, impersonal. My.BarackObama.com removes that a little bit and makes him and his campaign feel more about you.
Obama positioned himself as a beacon for change. He spoke with an intelligence that articulated respect. He symbolized a new beginning or at the very least a fresh start from the turmoil of the last 8 years. Obama had a strong grasp of the power public relations and high tech devices to campaign in new ways. From my viewpoint, someone who understands the way people think and seems to have a direction definitely gets my vote.
About Eiler Communications &Ann Arbor, Michigan PR Firm &Blogging &Business and Economy &Business of PR &Corporate Communications &Marketing &Marketing Communications &Michigan Public Relations Firm &PR Firm for Economic Development &Public Relations Tools &Social Media 07 Oct 2008 09:42 am
Public relations is the art and science of establishing relationships between an organization and its key audiences. In today’s business world and economy who doesn’t need to establish long lasting loyal relationships?
It is always amazing to me that in times of hardship in a company or small business the first thing to get “cut” is public relations and marketing. When business is slow, isn’t the objective to attract more business? The pieces don’t seem to fit in the logic of cutting what drives consumers to your business.
There are many different forms of marketing to reach your audience, but the first thing that should come to mind is positioning your company. Marketing positioning strategy is when marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization. In other words, try to say something that is so profound or shocking (but true) that you clear enough space in the brain of your consumer to make them forget about all of the other competition.
Sounds pretty simple right?
In most cases, it is not that simple.
That is why it is so important to use a mix of marketing methods, one of them being public relations. PR reaches your audience in a much different way because it is not a paid advertisement. It also helps you to reach an audience that you might not have been able to reach or afford to reach with traditional marketing methods. Public relations also uses diverse techniques such as opinion polling and focus groups to evaluate public opinion, combined with a variety of high-tech techniques for distributing information on behalf of their clients to the target audience.
What if you wanted to reach the audience that reads the Wall Street Journal, but your marketing budget wouldn’t allow you to spend 40k on a small black and white ad? PR will help you to reach an editor at the WSJ with a compelling story and get it published. Wouldn’t you be much more likely to read an article written by a third party rather than a paid advertisement and find more value in that?
Think about the different forms of social media these days! Blogging, Twitter, MySpace, Facebook! If you are not staying with the changes in technology then you will be left behind. All of these groups of social media are forms of PR and a good way to reach your audience or at the very least, hear what they are saying about your product directly.
Here is one more thing to think about. What if you had a major public relations crisis in your company and no one on your staff knew how to talk to the media? Wouldn’t you regret not having a PR firm?