News That Means Business

December 23, 2014

No Matter What the Platform or Year, Well-Written Pieces Resonate With Target Audiences

When reflecting on the continued evolution of public relations in 2014, it is clear that as much as the menu of services has transformed and expanded, the core remains the same. Good, well-written pieces – be it news releases, blogs, newsletters or social media posts – resonate with target audiences, no matter what the year.

Forbes is the perfect example. It has boosted the readership of its magazine by nearly 30% since 2013, reaching 6.7 million and also has an impressive following for its digital platform. Forbes integrates and coordinates the print and digital versions, but does not employ a “one-size-fits-all” strategy. Instead, the magazine features longer articles with in-depth reporting while the website boasts up-to-the-minute commentary from industry experts. To learn more, read Mr. Magazine’s full interview with Randall Lane, the editor of Forbes.

 

 

Caryl Bixon-Gordon

As one of New Jersey’s top PR firms, Caryl Communications offers traditional and Internet marketing as well as strategic social media campaigns. The agency creates content with a purpose and delivers it in many forms and on a variety of platforms to cut through the clutter and leave a positive impression. Reach out to me at (201) 796-7788 or Caryl@Caryl.com to learn more.

July 30, 2014

Communicate with Confidence at Your Next Meeting

Words and Phrases to Make You and Your Messages More Powerful

“I think this new pricing strategy will double our sales by the end of the year.

“I believe this proposal represents our best course of action.

“I wonder if we should consider a new accounting firm.

You hear statements like the above in every business meeting you attend. You may likely be guilty of saying them yourself. The first two words in each sentence above cut the power from everything that follows them. Thinking and believing are fine, but they lack the sense of conviction needed to communicate with confidence. And “I wonder…” is the weakest of all. Ideal for brainstorming sessions, wondering is best to leave out of other meetings.

Substitute these opening phrases for “think,” “believe” and “wonder”:

“I’m confident…”

“I’m convinced…”

“I’m certain…”

Simply beginning your statement with a strong verb makes it more persuasive, enabling you to communicate your ideas with confidence. After all,  if you’re “confident,” “convinced” and “certain” about something, your audience will likely be as well.

Don’t Minimize

Here are more frequent comments regularly heard in the conference room:

“I just want to offer this alternative solution.

“We might not get another opportunity like this one.

“Let’s try to launch this campaign by December 1.

Inserting “just” into any sentence immediately minimizes the message. Instead say, “Here’s an alternative solution.” You’ll be much more likely to command the attention of the room, communicate with confidence and win adherents to your plan. “Might” and “try” also undercut the weight of your words because they scream uncertainty. “We won’t get another opportunity…” and “Let’s launch…” say that you’re proposing something people can count on.

Questionable Questions

Why do we do this: Make a bold statement and then throw cold water on it by raising a doubt at its conclusion?

“This is the best proposal we’ve received, isn’t it?

“March 3 is the optimum time for this e-mail blast, don’t you think?

Make a mid-year resolution now never to shut down the power in your statements with a weak, unnecessary question tagging along at the end. Prove it to yourself. Repeat the sentences above but leave off the final questions. Now you’re talking – and communicating with confidence!


Established in 1980, Caryl Communications is one of the most successful public relations firms in New Jersey. Services have evolved with the public relations industry, and today Caryl Communications provides traditional and social media, Internet and email marketing as well as event planning and marketing consulting. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter, and sign up for our blog to stay connected.

June 26, 2014

The Hardest Working 140 Characters in Social Media

10 Tips for Getting More Out of Twitter

You’re on Twitter… for all the right reasons… to engage your customers, find new ones, watch trends, make announcements, track your competitors, manage your reputation and create buzz.

And you’ve mastered the basic tweet formats, terminology, and tools. So your profile page is solid, and followers are growing.

To fly like a bird and soar even higher, following are some ways to gain altitude using this massively popular micro-blogging platform.

  1. The Top Tip

    Twitter is a community, not a billboard. Overtly promotional tweets are the equivalent of spam email. You can describe your products and services – that’s why you’re there – but use helpful, informative terms. Otherwise, advertise and pay for sponsored tweets.

  2. Get Re-Tweeted

    When followers re-tweet your posts, they engage with you and amplify your message to their followers (which can bring new followers to you). Make this happen with quality tweets. Use 120 characters, instead of 140 to make it easy for a re-tweeter to add a comment. Re-tweet others whenever you can, as well, and thank people who re-tweet you.

  3. Incorporate Images into Your Tweets

    Use infographics, photos, and video links to receive more re-tweets and click-throughs.

  4. Use Hot Words

    The most re-tweeted posts on Twitter contain the following 12 words/phrases: “you, please, retweet, free, help, great, 10, follow, how to, top, check out, and new.”

  5. Use Hashtags

    A hashmark (#) preceding a word or phrase will organize tweets into easy-to-find subject categories. People searching for information on a specific topic (like tax preparation or fitness bands) will find you more easily through a relevant or original tag. But limit them to no more than two per tweet.

  6. Get in on Conversations

    Twitter is all about conversations, so jump in, and reach beyond your current followers. You’ll reach new targeted audiences, get your name out there, and learn more about your market. Explore hashtagged topics or trending topics, and read to find out what others report and how you can contribute. You can start a conversation as well with a provocative question or a request for opinions.

  7. Timing Is Everything

    Tweet when your audience is engaged. In general, try Monday-Thursday from 1 to 3 PM – a known prime time, and avoid Friday after 3 PM. More specifically, consider the habits and time zones of your target users. Try a service such as Tweriod to identify your unique prime time slots. The cost is minimal and worth it. Other services such as Buffer, HootSuite, or Sip Social can pre-schedule your tweets so you don’t have to be on 24/7.

  8. Be Active but Not Too Active

    Three to seven tweets per day in 50-minute intervals is a suggested activity rate.  Tweet too much, especially with promotional messages, and you’ll quickly find yourself un-followed.

  9. Put Links in Your Tweets

    Provide links to other social media and your website. If you’re sharing news or an article, link to it. Shorten links with bit.ly or use the link shortening function at Twitter.com to keep it brief.

  10. Monitor Your Performance and Fine-Tune Your Tweets

    Monitor your Twitter activity (and all your social media) in real-time with Tweet Deck. Other popular, multi-featured monitoring services can be found on Sprout Social and Hootsuite. Study your Twitter performance regularly (just as you do your web analytics) with Twitter Analytics or with services like TweetReach, Buffer or Tweet Deck. Base your future tweets on past performance.

With its symbols, space limits and unique glossary, the Twitterverse is a world of its own. It may present a steeper learning curve than Facebook or LinkedIn, but it’s a must-have marketing tool. Take time to master it and put all its power to work for your business.

Reach out to us with any questions at (201) 796-7788 and be sure to follow us on Twitter at @CarylComm.

June 10, 2014

Getting Started (or Re-Started): Your Social Media Primer

So you’re thinking of not just “getting into” social media, but of committing to it as a business communications tool? There are so many platforms to choose from – where do you start? Maybe you’ve already experimented with a few, maybe you’ve taken on everything that’s out there. And maybe the returns are not what you expected. Let’s step back for a moment and re-assess. First things first: Define your objective. What do you want to accomplish with social media? Do you want to raise brand awareness, enhance customer service, build your email list, drive traffic to your company’s website, build community? Maybe all of those or maybe a few?

What you want to do will determine the platforms you should choose. Unless you have a dedicated social media staffer or a specialized outside agency, choose a manageable number of platforms. The following “primer” will help guide you to the best ones for your needs and to the kinds of posts that “work” there.

Which Platforms Are Right for You?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube all demand consistent and constant updating with valuable, share-worthy content. On the consistency front, that means posting regular updates, multiple times daily if possible, and responding quickly to comments and messages. Consider this time factor carefully when deciding how many platforms you want to use. Better to be great on one or two than mediocre on four or five. Here’s a look at the Big 5.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional online networking site, has more than 300 million members, including the decision-makers of many companies and industries. The site features both company and personal profile pages you can use to attract new clients, establish expertise, and build a valuable business network.

Deliverables:

  • Establish credibility as an industry expert
  • Connect with business prospects
  • Publicize company updates and industry news

Execution:

  • Build your network by continually finding and connecting with colleagues, business prospects, and industry leaders
  • Join industry Groups from your personal page and start/participate in discussions
  • Share company updates and industry news

Facebook

Companies large and small capitalize on Facebook – the most popular of the social networking sites – by communicating directly with their customers who flock there by the millions and share content they like with their friends and followers.

Deliverables:

  • Build awareness of and loyalty for your company and its brands
  • Showcase your company’s top-notch service through open dialogue
  • Publicize company news and industry happenings

Execution:

  • Respond quickly to customer inquiries and comments
  • Engage your audience with an open dialogue including questions and calls to action
  • Share company updates and industry news

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging social platform known for its real-time information, connecting users to the latest stories, ideas and news.

Deliverables:

  • Build relationships with customers, prospects and the media
  • Get the word out on both company and industry happenings
  • Find “trending” news, ideas, products and events and leverage if possible

Execution:

  • Tweet frequently and consistently 140 (or fewer) characters
  • Retweet to build relationships
  • Use hashtags and keywords
  • Share company updates and industry news

Pinterest

Image-oriented and appealing to an audience (more than 70 million) dominated by affluent females in the 25-45 demographic, Pinterest is the perfect platform for any business producing products or services with eye-appeal. Fashion and beauty, home-related products, real estate, travel, personal services (catering, event planning), food and beverages are all naturals on Pinterest.

Deliverables:

  • Showcase for products with visual appeal
  • Strong driver of e-commerce traffic
  • Find trending products

Execution:

  • “Pin” (post) high-quality images
  • Freshen your page (called a Pinboard) with regular pins
  • Re-pin followers’ content to build relationships

YouTube

Don’t underestimate YouTube. True, it is the world’s biggest repository of funny pet videos, but it’s also the world’s second largest search engine (behind Google) with over 100 million views daily. Consider joining the top businesses and industry influencers who have YouTube channels.

Deliverables:

  • Build awareness of your company, its brands and its leadership
  • Establish credibility and expertise in your industry
  • Boost your search rankings via video content

Execution:

  • Post good-quality video
  • Use animation as well as live-action
  • Feature your management team as spokespersons
  • Create valuable content (how-to’s, tips, insights), NOT ads

Next steps? Explore each of the Big 5 above. Check out what businesses are there. Determine where you fit best. Weigh the time involved in managing each account. Once you have made your decision as to where you want to be, you’ll be ready to develop content, create a content calendar and launch an integrated online marketing campaign. We’ll have tips on how to do that here on our blog.

August 25, 2011

After the Earthquake: A Multi-media Moment

By Caryl Bixon-Gordon
When the earthquake hit on Tuesday in Paramus, New Jersey, like many northeastern residents, I didn’t know what to do. I thought about having our staff stand in doorways as I remembered that advice from an earthquake I experienced in California. But since the shaking had stopped, I decided instead to find out if it was an earthquake, and we all agreed, the quickest source we could access was online. So we opened Twitter.

The first Tweet came about 1 minute after the quake with a tsunami warning for the Gowanus Canal. We were perplexed. I knew the Gowanus Expressway from traffic reports but didn’t know it also was a body of water. And a tsunami? So much for the credibility of Tweets.
Out of curiosity, I searched the Gowanus on Google and found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gowanus_Canal.

We stayed on Twitter for a while on Tuesday, and we also went to online news . . . and we called our mothers, husbands, kids and friends to find out if others felt what we did. They did – in Tenafly, Fair Lawn and Manchester, New Jersey; the personal first-hand reports were definite proof that the event was bigger than our office. Then, we turned on News 12. We kept it on the rest of the day as we all were somewhat unnerved; we wanted local news, and getting back to work just didn’t feel like business as usual.

On Wednesday, I turned on the Weather Channel as I always do. The meteorologists were tracking Hurricane Irene and highlighted topics from Twitter as part of their new social partnership. (I found myself impatient as I wanted to see the track of the storm.)
Broadcast news also used Tweets and Facebook posts, bringing a combination of local, regional, national and international perspective to their reports.

As a public relations professional, I drew three conclusions from the experiences of the earthquake: First: Social media is a valuable immediate news source, although not the last word and not always credible. Second: Traditional media sources continue to embrace social media, testing new ways to integrate these evolving sources of opinion and fact into their medium. Third: multi-tasking is fun.
And so, my preference for news is multiple screens and sources, like Tuesday, when one staff member was on Twitter, another on Facebook, several on the phones and one watching TV. It was a true multi-media moment at Caryl Communications.

March 18, 2010

Leverage Your News to Build Credibility with Customers and Prospects

Filed under: communication,public relations,public relations company — Caryl Communications @ 1:04 am
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One of the greatest benefits of PR is news exposure in the media, which builds credibility for your company, services and/or products. To leverage this exposure with your customers and prospects, use online links and email to your audience.

Today, many programs like Constant Contact (which is the program we use), as well as other e-mail systems, enable you to easily manage a list and send messages to a target audience. Posting a link through any e-mail program will allow the reader to open the article, which usually remains posted online with an active URL for several days or more. And since you are accessing the original media source with the URL, there is no need to obtain permission, as you are not reproducing the article in any form.

Most daily newspapers keep a link up for a week or longer. After the article is removed by the publisher and replaced, the original link often will lead the reader to a media archive, many of which remain on line for extended periods, even as much as a year or more.

To maximize interest from your readers, select news clips that position your firm in an authoritative position and contain updates regarding your industry. You can explain a bit about the piece in your own email.

Develop a timely method for disseminating news about your company by drafting a template and modifying it based on the specific news item you are sending. Paste the URL into your own e-mail message to create a simple e-mail blast that highlights your Good News!

February 16, 2010

Public Relations: What you can expect from your agency in Today’s Environment

The public relations industry, which includes a broad category of marketing activities, has become even broader by today’s definitions. The growth of new media and the critical role of the Internet along with the worst economy in more than three decades have created challenges and opportunities for individual organizations looking for PR services, and for the professional PR practitioner.

Some firms that recognize the power of PR but want to cut costs in the current recession may decide to try to bring it in-house as their business has slowed. The mistake in this reasoning is it diverts the professionals from their first order of business and dilutes their effectiveness in their work and in their PR results.

Navigating the current ever-changing landscape of PR, incorporating strategic integrated activities, and achieving measurable results ultimately requires a tremendous time investment. It is far better to negotiate fees now with your current agency or look for a more reasonable firm that is willing to work in the recession to help you achieve exposure into the recovery and then grow from there.

The goal is to use a PR agency to provide expertise and creativity to refine and achieve your immediate and long-range business goals. PR integrates with other marketing disciplines and because of the credible nature of the news industry, media exposure is integral to any campaign. By highlighting a company’s core competencies, a well-planned PR program will distinguish your organization from the competition and increase credibility for your products or services.

The client’s primary responsibility is to work candidly and confidentially with the agency to define their goals, business activities, strengths, weaknesses and key people.

The agency’s job is to support its marketing goals and determine the real news, trends and activities that are appropriate for promotion through public relations. The agency then develops themes and story concepts and generates compelling copy in their work with the media. In essence, the public relations professionals is a reporter for clients, who is always ready to leverage real news and reach direct consumers and can prospect audiences, and help the client become a valuable resource for diverse media outlets.

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