Tag Archives: PR

Can You Get the PR You Need Using Only Twitter?

Are you familiar with the social media challenge – where you have to keep up with the news without access to newspapers?

Well how about a PR challenge where you have to get your message out there using nothing but Twitter?

Those of you who are still not plugged into Twitter will be shrinking away in horror – but for many people this is the new reality. Many PRs have already switched over to social media as their main promotion channel and it is not as daft as it looks.

I am actually part of a Twitter only PR campaign right now after busy clients asked me to look after the micro blogging side of things for them. With a restriction on the number of hours I am allowed to spend and only Twitter at my disposal (there is a great Facebook page but marketing do that) I have been forced to think hard about how you achieve your goals using only one tool.

Here are some of my thoughts:-

  • Set goals and choose people to follow based on achieving them i.e. are you selling a product to a niche or raising awareness or hoping to build relationships with other professionals?
  • While you shouldn’t get sucked into the numbers game following new people steadily, does seem to generate attention so keep it going.
  • Look at other people’s followers – sometimes you will find one person with a brilliant list,all of whom seem to fit the profile of your customers. These people are like gold dust – follow their followers and nurture them.
  • Twitter is great for getting direct access to your audience but you might want to follow some journalists as well – they may not follow you back but at least you can see if they are appealing for information on stories you can help them with. You could also use hash tags on your tweets like #pr or #journorequest which many PRs and journos now use in the hunt for stories and contributors.
  • Be friendly and unafraid to chat about trivial stuff. I hear corporates say they don’t want to talk about nappies with a bunch of women – well I am happy to actually – and the school play and what’s for tea. Think of it like this, if you want to reach blokes who like tinkering with cars then you are going to have to talk about car parts.
  • Getting to know people is fun and should include random acts of generosity but if you are going to ReTweet or say how great someone’s site is, make sure you mean it. I suspect sometimes that people don’t always read the blog posts they Retweet and that is not on.  You may see a great headline and Retweet it to your followers in a hurry but if the content doesn’t live up to the billing then you are the one who looks silly for passing it on.
  • Go for synergy with brands and products that your target audience will like. If they are into fashion and cosmetics then re-tweet news from Mac and Bobby Brown but don’t forget to look out for smaller companies too that you can help by exposing their brand to your audience.
  • People should help you back – over time – if they don’t and you feel they owe you a favour, just ask.
  • If you are going to promote a particular offer via Twitter you are going to need to direct them somewhere. Is there a web page that gives customers all the information they need and a clear set of instructions for getting it?
  • If you are appealing directly to journalists you may still need a press release of sorts, ready to go, that you can e-mail when asked for more info.
  • Use Twitter to get people to do something – whether that is respond to a simple question, open a link, read your blog or visit your Facebook page.The more time you spend together the better!

There you are – my initial thoughts on a Twitter only PR campaign – do you have any direct experience or ideas you can share?

This Much I Know

What is the sum of my knowledge from this past year – what do I know now that I didn’t before?

Truly? Get out of here – I can’t tell you that! OK I’ll tell you the bits that are relevant to the part of my life spent trying to earn a living.

  • Make Real-time Your Goal. Opportunities are there but they move pretty quickly and it’s no use responding to an appeal someone put out on Twitter last week. In travel PR requests sometimes go out for information on certain types of holiday and even when there is a generous deadline giving you time to get your information together, the prized editorial always goes to the first relevant replies. The same goes for writing jobs where it’s a first come first served world. Got some exclusive information? Don’t sit on it – get it out there now – even when you don’t have a competitor racing you for it, it just looks so much better when you act like a news operation. Real Time is still relevant! 
  • Words Still Matter Video is getting all the glory at the moment and where would we be without images? But to my mind (and I would say this) words  still can’t be topped. We can move people with words, conveying rich, complex ideas. Words work so hard for us, don’t ever give up on using them.
  • Twitter Doesn’t Work Unless You Talk to People  I’ve said it before but really, Twitter is a lonely place unless you communicate. Don’t be the bozo at the party – people want to talk. 
  • Your Blog Will Still Carry On Without You for a limited period if you have to take a break. I had some sad family news recently and had to let the blog live on without my help for a bit, which it did admirably. Past posts came to the rescue and kept the pipes warm until I could get back to it. Did you miss me? 

Should PR Leave Bloggers Alone?

Bloggers are the “big it” right now and just about everyone wants a piece of them and front of the queue are PRs

Why? Because bloggers provide the potential to reach audiences other media can not. Many people are becoming harder to reach because they no longer read a  newspaper every day, we may also fail to consume other mainstream media in the old patterns which used to be well understood.

If a blogger can be persuaded to become a conduit for PR messages, then this message stands a good chance of spreading. Add in retweets and link sharing on social media and the message can potentially flow into a huge hinterland previously untapped and it all sounds like a very good idea indeed.

The problem is that in many cases neither side really “gets” the other. PRs are frequently guilty of cutting and pasting a list of Britain’s top bloggers in the relevant sector into their to do list before hitting them en masse with a press release and expecting the blogger to be grateful.

But of course, the majority of bloggers don’t blog in order to please third parties, they do it because they feel compelled to write, because they love their subject or because they feel the need to share. They might be persuaded to blog about a product in the right circumstances but that is not why they are there.

At this stage I must point out that I work in PR but I blog as well so I can see  both sides and having spent time talking to bloggers about the subject I have begun to wonder whether PRs shouldn’t just leave bloggers alone.

But of course things are not as simple as that.

Sometimes the marriage between blogger and PR message can be very good indeed. If I were a blogger who talked about how to make life easier for mums with small children then a product review for something which did just that would be great. But I would not expect to be told what to say and I would  want to see the product I was reviewing – in most cases I would expect to keep it too.

Bloggers want something in return and content is not enough. That is the message I have been getting loud and clear. One thing that’s easy to forget is that journalists get paid by the publication they write for, bloggers do not.

So treat bloggers with care and respect. Read what they write before you hit them up, make them a good offer and don’t fall off your chair if they turn you down.

How Long do You Need? Or, How to Make it Happen Now.

You need to have fast reactions in the always-on world. Opportunities bubble up out of no-where and disappear just as fast.

This week I am in the middle of my very own living case study about the need to move quickly and make things happen now…I blogged about it here a couple of weeks ago.

As you know, the marketer, PR or business person who doesn’t seize the day is one who’s out of a job, so when I was asked to help implement a campaign for a client I was on it like a shot.

The activity we are planning and  promoting doesn’t kick off until next year, so there’s plenty of time to sit back and polish the ideas you might think.

Not a bit of it. To catch the press in this particular sector we have to be ready by next week, including input from collaborators who don’t even know we want to work with them yet!

Am I mad you might ask?

No, I don’t think so, because the alternative is to fold our arms and say “oh dear” – we’ve missed the boat – we’ll just sit here and scratch our elbows until the next opportunity comes along.

There is no reason why businesses can’t turn on a dime, especially small ones with good contacts and social media already in place.

True, I am relying on my potential collaborators to be able to see a great opportunity and move as fast as us over the next week or so and events may not be straight forward, but in this always on world you could say “How long do you need?” or you could just make it happen now.

How to Build a Content Bridge

I am taking it for granted that the service you offer is excellent. It’s of the very highest quality, in fact it’s the best of its kind.

And yet, you don’t have the public profile you’d like.

You want to be known as the first port of call for this product or service but you’re not in the market for a hugely expensive national ad campaign and you’re running out of fresh ideas for media news releases.

This is where social media and content marketing can come to your aid.

You don’t have to beg the media to write about you or engage in hugely expensive ad campaigns because now you can communicate directly with your audience yourself.

Many people already blog and use Twitter to connect directly with potential customers, but you could go one step further and build a content bridge.

In the form of a website or blog, separate from anything you might already do as a company, a content bridge is a place where you and your audience can meet on relatively neutral territory. It is a stepping stone towards the service that  ultimately you want them to buy.

So, for example, if you are a society of butchers and your aim is to sell more meat, then your content bridge will be a website where people can get advice on the best way to cook cuts of meat, to exchange recipes and to chat about issues to do with the product.

As the host, you are in a position to provide expertise – after all, your members know everything there is to know about the subject and can afford to be generous with their knowledge.

When your customer decides that it is time to buy (and that may not be for some time) you can put her in touch with a wonderful supplier. It is up to you to make that process as simple and obvious as possible, when the time is right.

The content bridge can work for anyone – you don’t have to be an umbrella organisation, you could be a solo butcher or baby food supplier or dressmaker or school. As long as you are discussing your area of expertise, sharing information of value and engaging with potential customers, you are set fair to win in the long run.

You will need to let people know you exist and you can publicise your content bridge on Twitter, by guest blogging on related sites and via the established media. 

The important thing is that your bridge exists, to carry and guide people towards your service, which you have already told me is the very best of its kind.

Why You Need To Act Now In An “Always On” World

Have you heard of David Meerman Scott?

He specialises in real-time marketing and talks about it on his blog Web Ink Now

His main point is that we live in an “Always On” world. We encounter opportunities all day long as we meet people and  interact via social media and as a result we need to be fleet-footed and flexible enough to seize those chances whenever they appear. Waiting to run ideas past the board is going to cost you dear in the “Always On” world.

As someone with a background in 24 hour news, this makes perfect sense. If a story drops on the newswires you need to check it, verify it and broadcast it as soon as possible, because if you don’t, another channel will.

News did not always move this fast. There was a time when a journalist in the BBC Radio Newsroom would be given one story to write first thing in the morning, which would not be due on air until 6.0 clock that night. He or she would literally have nothing else to do all day and consequently could afford to spend a good part of it in the pub.

By the time I came along, news bulletins were every half an hour. This meant that if a story broke we could actually broadcast it then and there instead of waiting until the next major bulletin, which could be some hours away.

In his book “Real-time marketing and PR” David Meerman Scott exhorts us to both live and respond in the here and now. There’s no point sitting around scratching your head about an opportunity that comes your way. You need to respond instantaneously and have the clearance and the confidence of your boss/clients to do that.

This means listening to conversations online to find out what is current  and acting on it – engaging the media about what they are going to write, not what they have already written – and using your social media relationships to make the most of all opportunities.

In a world which is always on can you afford not to be first with the news ?

How to Build Momentum

There’ll be  no talk of mass and velocity here. This is not a physics lesson.

Momentum for my purposes, is the energy behind an idea or concept that propels it to the next level.

We could all do with some momentum behind our business ideas because once things start to take off they build up an energy all of their own, taking you to some very exciting places.

I am no football fan, but there is a moment when commentators say; “There’s going to be a goal soon, it’s got to happen, they’ve built up a momentum and nothing can stop them now.” 

This is the point we need to reach to achieve success, the point where winning appears inevitable, it’s just a question of when. The best way to get to this magic place, apart from/as well as, sheer hard work, is with a media boost.

A PR injection at the right time can deliver major results.

For example, a hotel that gets even one favourable review can fill their rooms for the rest of the year. That kind of exposure is worth thousands.

People don’t necessarily know you exist until you tell them – so don’t rule out a short sharp PR injection. Spending  just a couple of days thinking solely about promotion could give you the push you need.

Make sure you’re ready for it though. Contacting the press, sending out samples to bloggers and hitting promotional full steam ahead can backfire if you aren’t ready to handle the interest. Could you manage a flood of orders or deluge of bookings?

Make your promotional push proportionate. If you are a small operation target the  people you promote to carefully,maybe start local with papers or niche publications before you get more ambitious.

And if you think it’s a great idea but are not sure what to do – get someone in. Or you can call me.

Feel free to share you successes or let us know what didn’t work so well.