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Highlights from “Big Publicity Ideas for Small Business” Webinar featuring Peter Shankman.

PRWeb’s “Big Publicity Ideas for Small Business” webinar featuring Peter Shankman was a fast paced, entertaining ride that packed more punch than Kool-Aid Man himself.

Some takeaways from the webinar include:

  • Unless PR (or marketing, advertising, etc.) is generating revenue, it’s not worth it.
  • Don’t let budget constraints keep you from a great idea.
  • If a funeral home can actively use social media and make it relevant, you have no excuse.
  • SEO is not utilized by small businesses and it should be. People are searching – you should be there.
  • You need to talk TO the audience, not AT them. This is true in social media as well as in marketing and PR. I would also say talk WITH them.
  • Treat customers well and they will tell the world how great you are. Make them feel they cut the line and have special access.
  • Ask your audience how they want to receive information and then do that.
  • When pitching media, do not say in the email subject line “Quick question for you.” There are no quick questions and they are busy.
  • Know your audience, keep the pitch short, use trends.
  • Journalists are busy. Give them helpful information and make their job easier. Offer your network as sources.
  • Ask “what’s in it for me?” from your audience and the media’s perspective. Provide value and you will build loyalty. Loyalty brings revenue.
  • When MTV was a music channel, the average attention span in the 80s was three minutes. Now it is 2.7 seconds!
  • Learn to write. Good writing is brevity. Bad writing has the potential to destroy your business. Social media requires that you write better.

I searched for other summaries of the webinar and only found one. Amy has good points about the webinar and wrote about it in her post “The Peter Shankman School for Kids Who Can’t Write Good.

One other great site for getting publicity is Peter’s Help A Reporter Out. Sign up – it’s free – and journalists send their queries for upcoming stories. Remember the advice here if you send a pitch!¬†Enjoy and good luck small businesses everywhere!

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Five Low-Cost Small Business PR Tips

Getting the word out about your latest company news whether it is a new product announcement or customer win is tough. If you don’t have a marketing or public relations department in-house, use a freelancer or outside agency, the task can be daunting. Where do you begin?

First, make sure what you are going to announce is newsworthy. Write your press release with all of the key components of who, what, when, where, how and why included in the first paragraph. This way if it is edited, all of your important news is included.

Once you have a release that is ready to go out, set up an account on Pitch Engine. It is free and you can create and distribute compelling social media press releases online. It even appears on Google News when it is posted.

What is a social media release? It is simply your press release with relevant links to graphics, video, web site links, etc. It offers a wealth of information for those interested in finding out more about your company.

You should also have a targeted media list of relevant contacts in your industry and for local, regional and business news, if relevant. Building your list is an ongoing project and if you don’t have a subscription to a database like Vocus or Bacon’s, you can still build it from going to media web sites and finding the journalist that covers your particular industry. Be sure to read a few articles to make sure they are the right person to contact.

Once you have this list, also send a short pitch with bullet points and a link to your Pitch Engine press release. Include your contact information as well and don’t include attachments. When writing your pitch, think from the perspective of the journalist and ideally, their readers – “What’s in it for me? Why should I care about this?” To learn more about pitching, check out the Good Pitch Blog,¬†Bad Pitch Blog and see an example of a great pitch on Peter Shankman’s Help A Reporter web site.

You can also post your press release on a blog, include keywords as tags and then go to Technorati and claim your blog. This helps when people search your industry keywords. WordPress offers free blogs and a neat dashboard feature to track web traffic.

Set up a free Twitter account and find and follow people in your industry. Listen and engage in conversation – not to sell but to be part of the community. Offer expert advice and links to relevant industry news. LinkedIn also has a question and answer section where you can help people with relevant questions in your industry.

If you want to take it a step further and try to pitch journalists looking for story sources, subscribe to Help A Reporter (HARO) a free PR newsletter, and look for relevant queries. There are strict rules and if someone pitches off topic, you will be removed from the list.

And that is a great start into the world of public relations. Small steps. It is also a doorway into social media – the best way to learn it is to try it. One step at a time. You might like it!

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Help a reporter.com

As a public relations person, I am always looking for ways to connect with journalists. Here is a great web site and newsletter for journalists seeking experts and sources. Peter Shankman is hilarious and started it out of the goodness of his heart. He also offers humor and insight into the curious world of PR. Check it out.

http://www.helpareporter.com

The new Press form can be found at www.helpareporter.com/press

HARO rules!!!