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.

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June 16, 2014

Tap the Power of LinkedIn: 7 Steps to Success in the World’s Largest Online Business Community

It’s a community of over 300 million professionals in 150 industries worldwide – many of whom make key decisions for their companies. And it offers unique tools for reaching the key people on your business radar. Invest a little time in mastering this leading B2B platform and you’ll reap some unique returns. Here are seven steps to help you get started on LinkedIn or enhance your current experience there.

  1. The Company Page
  2. If you own or manage a company, this page is your storefront, your business card. It communicates the essence of your brand and tells your corporate story. Through it, you can connect to your network of current and potential customers and keep your organization top of mind through updates to your page. Through LinkedIn’s search function, other members can find your products or services easily.

  3. Content is Key
  4. Your success depends on strong content that describes what you do and why you’re unique. This content should be succinct and share-able. Every time a visitor engages with your content by sharing it with followers, your message is amplified, your reach extended and your profile raised.

    What makes content share-able? Useful information – tips, trends, offers – will likely be shared. If that useful information is paired with an interesting visual, the likelihood of sharing increases. Include video demos, case studies, free downloads, white papers, e-books on your company page. What’s not likely to get shared are promotional posts (unless they are very entertaining ads). This doesn’t mean that you can never be self-promotional on your page. You will want to make new product announcements, for example, and include client endorsements or testimonials. Be guided by the 80/20 rule that says 80 percent of your content should be informational, and only 20 percent promotional.

  5. Update and Target
  6. You’ve created a great page, but now the work is just beginning. To keep it effective, you need to continue posting regularly, at least a couple of times a week. This keeps you and/or your company alive on the pages of your followers and keeps your own page looking active and current. Where will you get enough content? First, remember that quality of content is more important than quantity. One substantive post is better than five spammy ones. Consider a tip of the day or a comment on industry news, preferably in the morning when LinkedIn members are most engaged. Share a post from a follower or comment on an interesting article and include its link. Share relevant comments from your page or share a post from a thought leader. Pull in content from your company or personal blog or Twitter feed. Invite reviews of your products/services. Start conversations by replying to comments. Or post a provocative question to your followers (their answers might make great future posts). You’ve got more content resources than you think you have.

  7. Win the Search Game with Optimization
  8. Optimize your LinkedIn company or personal page just as you do your website, seeding keywords throughout your text. These keywords will point LinkedIn members searching those terms to your page. The Google search bots also scan LinkedIn pages. Select a word or phrase that describes your core offering: “copyright attorney,” “online security software,” “commercial real estate management.” Then add a few variants or use a few of the key words on your website. Incorporate keywords into your main description and repeat them frequently in the first paragraphs of the descriptive text and in sub-heads.

  9. Build a Following
  10. What’s a LinkedIn page without followers?  Expand yours by constantly reminding your contacts of your LinkedIn presence. Put the “Follow Me” button on all your outreach content: website, blog, all social media, corporate stationery and business cards, print ads and collateral, annual reports and in the email signature block of your entire staff. Mention your page via your social media accounts. Call attention to your latest LinkedIn posts on your blog. Invite your customers, partners and prospects to follow you. If you have a company page, encourage your staff to have personal LinkedIn pages. Personal pages have automatic links to the member’s company pages, giving you amplified exposure to the networks of your team.

  11. Use Metrics to Measure Your Company Page’s Performance
  12. If you use Google Analytics for your website, you know how useful performance metrics can be. LinkedIn’s analytic system will deliver the same type of data for your company page. Review these reports regularly and revise your content according to the keywords, visuals and topics commanding the most engagement. Among other valuable feedback, these stats will also give you a picture of visitor demographics and provide you with a comparison of your page vs. others in your industry or market.

  13. Get Known as an Expert
  14. LinkedIn is known for its discussion groups, where business people and professionals “meet” to exchange advice and share information and ideas. There are over 2 million of these, covering thousands of industries and special interests. Participation is limited to individuals, so you can’t join a group or comment as a company, but your executives can join and comment from their own pages. Encourage their participation in relevant groups to build your company’s name and reputation through the expertise of your management.

    Thought-leader status is earned by consistent participation and a helpful attitude. Answer questions, share experiences, but DON’T sell or promote your products/services overtly. Your expertise and attitude will drive customers your way, not your sales pitch.

Don’t miss out on LinkedIn. Get more active, using the seven tips above. Once you engage with this unique platform, you’ll find you can’t do without it.

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.

April 10, 2014

Boost Your Search Engine Ranking: The Inside Scoop

Filed under: SEO,social media — Caryl Communications @ 4:44 pm
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Boost Your Search Engine Ranking: The Inside Scoop

By Don Campbell, founder of DJ Campbell Marketing

When you research a topic using a search engine such as Google, Yahoo! or Bing, you get a list of websites to click on. You probably already noticed that the top few listings, and those along the right side, look somewhat different than the rest of the sites on the list. That is because they are paid listings or ads. Bing and Yahoo! display them in a box. Google identifies them with an icon. The ones below these paid listings may seem to be in no particular order. Actually, they are not at all random. These listings are known as organic search results, and the ideal location for your company’s website is right up on top. So what determines the order, and how do you get your site in one of those prime spots? Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO).

Here’s a quick look at how a search engine works. The leaders – Google, Bing and Yahoo! – use “crawlers” to find relevant sites in response to an entered search term. The “crawlers” operate according to a sophisticated and frequently changing set of algorithms. A number of SEO methods ensure the “crawlers” will identify your site as relevant to the search and place it in a prominent position on the searcher’s list. Here are a few examples of SEO tactics:

–    cross-linking between pages of the same site, specifically to the site’s key pages

–    writing content that includes frequently searched keyword phrases, making the site relevant to a wide variety of search queries

–    updating content regularly

–    adding relevant keywords to a web page’s meta data

SMO is similar to SEO in its goal to drive traffic to a site. Search engines are now using the recommendations made by users of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to rank websites on the results pages. A “like,” “share” or “retweet” on a social network is viewed as a “vote” or endorsement of a webpage’s quality. Search engines are using such “votes” to rank a site on their results pages. A few important tips for boosting SMO include:

–       reviewing analytics to determine what kinds of posts get “liked” and “shared”

–       tailoring content to your target audience

–       increasing the number of followers

–       scheduling posts and tweets frequently to ensure consistent visibility

Although the algorithms utilized by search engines are ever-changing, the tips above will help in optimizing your company’s site for SEO and SMO. I hope to see you at the top!

Please reach out to us with questions. You can reach Caryl Communications at 201-796-7788 or Don Campbell at 908-262-7070 and don@djcmarketing.com.

May 18, 2012

Social Media for Event Promotion

Filed under: pr,public relations — Caryl Communications @ 3:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

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.

November 2, 2009

Social Media

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caryl Communications @ 10:03 pm
Tags: ,

We have officially taken the plunge into social media to build on our traditional PR and media activities. Our new updated website/newsroom, Blog and Twitter page expand media efforts with the goal to push more traffic to clients’ websites and ours. We’re also creating LinkedIn and Facebook profiles. Please become a fan of our Facebook page by clicking here. Special thanks to our talented Director of Client Services, Evelyn Weiss-Francisco (Evelyn) who is spearheading our new media activities. We’ll continue to report results as we leverage the power of the almighty web!

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