News That Means Business

February 6, 2014

The Staying Power of The Press Release

Filed under: pr,public relations,Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 3:47 pm

The Staying Power of The Press Release
By Evelyn Weiss Francisco

Our commitment as PR professionals is not only to our clients but also to media. The press release has been the standardized method of delivering the full story of a client’s worthy news to media outlets. With the consistent structure of a well-written press release, it has been, and can continue to be, a tidy package with all the necessary components (who, what, when, where, why).  A reporter or editor can either publish the story as-is or re-package it. If a release includes the added bonus of background material, a reporter may even find a future concept or content that can be used to fit another trend or feature.

For example, we recently sent a press release announcing an executive promotion. Within an hour, a number of trade publications had published the release as it was written.  Another daily newspaper called for an interview and added “exclusive” quotes and printed their customized article the next day. Also, a great number of online news sites ran the press release as written.

However, in the age of social media, a high dose of snippets of information are all many reporters will endure, but readers may want to know more, especially readers of print publications. An updated version of the release uses a social media template with short bullets that summarize the key points as well as links or embedded images that include more. Social media actually becomes an additional delivery method for the release as PR firms like ours now reach an expanded audience of reporters as well as the public.

Ideally, a good PR firm with seasoned writers will include the key elements of a story in one package – a well-written, concise press release. At the same time, social media tools will expand the dissemination of the news, reaching media and the public at the same time.

December 12, 2013

Building a Better Signature Block

Filed under: communication,pr,social media — Caryl Communications @ 5:06 pm

Looking to promote your brand or business at no cost?  Don’t overlook your email signature block. This small piece of electronic real estate has the potential to showcase your capabilities with each and every email you send. The most common elements of the signature block include contact information, logos and other graphics, tag lines, quotes, and links to your website and social media.

If you are using all of these, however, you probably have too much of a good thing going on. Consider reducing the amount of information in your block because:

1.) more than one link in the signature block can mark your email as spam and cause your communication to bounce to the recipient’s spam folder, and

2.) some email systems will “hide” elements of lengthy signature blocks causing recipients to see only a portion of your block.

Start the trimming process by asking what links are absolutely essential.  For the majority of businesses/brands, a link to the website alone, where all the social media links will be prominently displayed, is sufficient.  Use of a single link will keep your email safe from the spam filter.

If you believe more links are necessary, add just one-but only if it is essential to defining you to your audience.  For example, if you are an active blogger, you may want to link to your blog. If your company is a visual business (design, photography, retail or architecture), then your Instagram or Pinterest link may be a plus.  The inclusion of LinkedIn is a good choice for consultants, professionals, and industry leaders.

Evaluate the other elements in your block according to their relevance as well. Are you including extraneous contact information that can be found on your website? Have you tested any graphic elements to make sure they are rendering properly on different email systems?  A tag line that defines your business is probably a universal keeper.

Pare down your signature block and you’ll discover, like I did, that less is more. Your streamlined block not only will communicate your brand message more clearly-but with fewer links your email will more likely reach its intended destination.

September 24, 2013

Both B2B and B2C Companies Benefit from Social Media

Filed under: social media — Caryl Communications @ 3:29 pm

Social media (social) plays an ever-expanding part of our digital world. On a regular basis, your customers and clients – prospects too! – turn to the Internet to learn about the latest products, services and industry news. For businesses, both B2C and B2B, social serves as an invaluable tool when it comes to:

  • brand exposure,
  • community and relationship building,
  • lead generation and increased sales, and
  • search engine optimization (SEO).

So here’s the question: what is the key to taking advantage of these opportunities? Across platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others, maintaining a consistent presence and adding valuable content, i.e. not just a sales pitch, is essential. On the consistency front, that means posting regular updates, daily if possible, and responding quickly to messages. Various platforms will likely play a role in your company’s overall social media campaign. That said, LinkedIn is particularly important for B2B companies while Facebook deserves a keen focus when it comes to B2C.

Why LinkedIn for B2B?

Click Here for More

Facebook Reigns Supreme for B2C

Click Here for More

 

February 15, 2013

Establishing Social Media Guidelines For Your Company

Filed under: social media — Caryl Communications @ 1:33 pm

The use of social media for business continues to grow exponentially, seemingly on a daily basis. It’s no surprise as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter enable companies to connect with their target markets in real-time, be it B2B or B2C. Whether your company is just getting its feet wet in social media or is already an established entity, putting conduct guidelines in place for employees is essential. Your employees are your company’s key ambassadors within these very public forums.

First things first though. Decide whether or not a manager’s approval is required before an employee actively participates in social media outlets on a professional level. Once that approval process is defined, here is a set of guidelines to discuss with employees:

  • Use common sense and practice sound judgment.
  • Do not post sensitive information, such as company details that should not be released to the public yet. Only post items that are fine for everyone to read.
  • Keep in mind that what is put on social media can never be deleted. Even if it is removed, it can still be retrieved.
  • Focus on the audience and write for them.
  • Remember the “Golden Rule.” Be sensitive to others, always respecting their opinions and ideas.
  • Add value to conversations by including facts and figures.
  • Be mindful of copyright and fair use laws. Give credit where credit is due.
  • Respond to comments and questions as soon as possible, preferably no later than 24 hours.

August 15, 2012

Fighting Childhood Obesity is a Family Affair

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 7:28 pm
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In my experience, children learn best by example. They watch what we do as parents much more than they listen to what we tell them to do. With childhood obesity in the news everywhere this week, the challenge and responsibility we have as parents occurred to me, and how we can help our own children stay focused on health and fitness by serving as a role model. While not always easy as we often get sidetracked by the daily stresses of our busy lives, the benefits of eating right and exercising will help us cope, physically and mentally, while we can take pride in the way we lead our children by example.

 

On September 8, the Sax Macy Fromm (SMF) Foundation has planned a great event to do just that and more, with our kids. The 4 Miler at Garret Mountain is a run/walk event for adults and children to support one of the busiest hospitals treating youngsters in the region – the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Sponsored by the SMF Foundation, the fundraiser will benefit the hospital’s  Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Department, which provides services for children who suffer from cancer and serious blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia.

The Saturday morning event will feature a 1.5-mile trail walk and kids’ dashes, set amid the backdrop of one of the region’s landmark parks and most magnificent vistas – The Garret Mountain Reservation – as well as a 4-mile run on a scenic USA Track and Field Certified race course. Prizes will be awarded for all levels of participants, and the festive atmosphere will include a DJ, kids’ activities, healthy food and beverages. Tech t-shirts will be given to participants while supplies last.

The SMF Foundation is absorbing all expenses associated with the event in order to donate 100 percent of the proceeds directly to St. Joseph’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Department, and sponsorships are available as well. To register for the event, or become a sponsor, visit www.smf-cpa.com/events.aspx or www.facebook.com/SaxMacyFromm .

Or call (973) 472-6250 for more information. Make a difference for yourself, your family and for children in the region.

May 18, 2012

Social Media for Event Promotion

Filed under: pr,public relations — Caryl Communications @ 3:18 pm
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Social media in advance of events is a great way to network before you are even there. This year is the most activity I’ve seen in advance of the ICSC Las Vegas conference. Between LinkedIn discussions for the ICSC and Tweets, we’ve been able to set up interviews for our clients with media who are attending. In addition, an ongoing dialogue of contacts is being made through the ICSC LinkedIn group. I have my settings so that I get emails for discussions in this group, and it really has worked well for us.

May 10, 2012

Grammar Note: Alls they need to do is drop the ‘s’

Filed under: communication,pr,public relations — Caryl Communications @ 4:41 pm
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In a world dominated by texting, casual emails and social media, good grammar is not always the highest priority. But in working with media we need to respect good grammar, verbally, and of course, in writing. Because the better something is written, the better chance the writer has of seeing it published, somewhere.

Speaking to media also calls for good grammar and usage. So here’s a simple tip about a common verbal usage mistake: Alls we need to do is drop the ‘s.’ And that’s the tip.

I was driven to write this when I heard a sportscaster use the word “alls” this morning in speaking about yesterday’s NBA results. The “s” was soft and subtle, but it was there. Most listeners probably didn’t even hear it, but since good PR is built on good writing, it jumped out at me.

In fact, I hear it often. Some of the most educated people use it commonly in speaking. But you never see it in print. Unless it’s a contraction as William Shakespeare used it in his comedy All’s Well That Ends Well. Coincidentally, I also heard a broadcaster say this today while I was writing this blog. She said: “All’s good.” These two words demonstrate proper usage in a full sentence and are totally correct.

An interesting footnote: when I wrote “alls” for the first time ever, in this post, my grammar check in Microsoft Word didn’t pick it up. So I looked in Merriam Webster’s dictionary and in Word Central. There were no entries.

“Alls” is, however, in the Urban Dictionary. It is listed as “the coolest way to say all.”

I realize I don’t necessarily embody “cool,” and I also know when the next generation of texters and Facebook users are in the business world, grammar concerns will likely be considered archaic. But in the field of public relations, today, we need to practice good grammar every day.

So enough writing about this non-word, and hopefully, I don’t sound pompous. All I want to do is help!

Watch for more common writing and grammar errors in future posts.

May 4, 2012

The NJ Small Business Development Centers: A Valuable Resource for NJ Small Businesses

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 4:43 pm
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In my quest to grow Caryl Communications as a company and update my own personal marketing skills, I attended a seminar this morning sponsored by the New Jersey Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), called “Marketing Upstream – Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.” We had a small group of diverse entrepreneurs and a strong leader to direct the group. The course included marketing theory and practical advice and perspective, as well as good action items.

 

I learned at this seminar that the SBDC is a valuable resource for small businesses in New Jersey. Created by President Carter and expanded by Ronald Reagan, the SBDC offers programs in marketing, finance, business planning and more. Even better, SBDC provides FREE one-on-one counseling about any topic or business challenge you have. They have 10 locations in NJ with programs provided in collaboration with our state’s community colleges and universities. I will be doing more with SBDC and will keep updates coming.

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!

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