PR Essential You Need to Know

When dealing with Public Relations, you never stop growing professionally and even personally. With every new development in the business, you adapt and take in a bit of information every time. With the right skills and motivation, a successful career in PR isn’t hard to come across, however, which essentials are needed in public relations? Follow along for a list of the top skills a PR must have.

  • Communication – From being a good listener, communicating with others is something that will happen every single day. As a PR person, you must be able to pick up on the slightest tone or emotion during a conversation. Aside from not allowing your emotions cloud your judgement, having a clear way of speaking and choosing words carefully, allows you to build a relationship with your client.
  • Expert in Social Media – The social media is redefining communication today as we know it and being knowledgeable about social media is an important factor. Knowing your client’s voice is vital to their needs, and knowing how to brand that out on social media is what they will need. Making use of Google Alerts and other tools keep you on top of the hot issues and on top of the competition.
  • Research Skills – A good researcher, in order to communicate accurately, needs to be knowledgeable about their clients and what their needs are. This allows you to keep track of a fast-paced markets and keep you up to speed with current affairs.
  • Be Creative – As a PR professional, not only will you be creative in writing, but being creative in ways to promote new businesses and approaching new clients. As a profession that is always calling for fresh new ideas, having a creative streak is a crucial skill to have. If you can think out of the box, you’ll make your clients happy.

Better Photos for Your Website Using A Smartphone

Ever wonder how people take these wonderful and bright photos on their phones? How could they get a perfect angle, with the right amount of light without a fancy camera? You look through their Instagram and Flickr for inspiration and next thing you know, you’re trying to take pictures like them. With practice and patience, taking top notch pictures on your phone will become a habit for you. Here are some tips to try to get a better photo without the use of a professional camera!

  • Use Grid to Balance – The grid is your bestfriend. Using the grid is great to help improve the balance and focus point of your photo. With a series of lines on the screen of your smartphone’s camera, based on the rule of thirds – a photographic composition principle that says an image should be broken down into thirds, vertically and horizontally, giving you nine parts in total to use. By  points onto your focus, your photo will become more balanced, leveled, and focused.
  • Edit, Don’t Filter – Why use the same filter many, many people are using as well? Branch out and be creative. By editing your photos, you can get creative with lighting and choosing what colors are going to bring your photo to life. There are several helpful apps that are perfect for editing to help you get perfect exposure, filtering, convert to black and white and help get rid of blemishes and unwanted spots. A few apps that are free and great for editing are VSCO and even Snapseed, which is great to use for tools like removing any unwanted object or to enhance the mood of your image.
  • Focus on One Subject – The best photos always include that one subject, whether it be a plate of food or one specific person. In which case, spending extra time on the shot is an important key. By tapping on the screen, it allows the camera to instantly focus on your subject, helping you ensure the right focus and lighting.  Always remember not to let your focus take up too much of the frame, but instead allow two-thirds of the photo to be negative space – letting the focused subject stand out even further.

With these helpful tips, you’ll be able to get the right focus, with the perfect lighting and edits to get your picture perfect!

Ways to Get your Content Shared

Posting informational and helpful materials on your social platforms means nothing unless people are reading and sharing that content with others. In order for the content to be deemed as valuable it needs to be viewed, but with so much being shared on social media, it’s easy to have materials go unnoticed and get buried under other status updates and video sharing. Because of this, we have developed a set of tips to help create value to your content. Read along to learn how you can get your content shared.

Some basic points to keep in mind are headlines, the type of social network the content is being posted in and the purpose of the content.

Headline:

Build a strong and interesting headline for your content. The title should give an idea of what your content is about and create interest in what you are sharing with others. Play around with different headlines to see which one sounds best.

Type of Social Media:

Each social network is different and should be treated as so. Just because some content did well in one platform, doesn’t mean it will do well in all platforms, at least not if it’s presented in the same way. Tailor your content to the social media you plan to share it on. For example, Twitter expects short and to the point information, unlike Facebook where more details are shared.

Content’s Purpose:

What is the purpose of your content? Are you trying to inform others on a certain subject? Are you trying to entertain your audience? Whatever it may be that you are sharing, make sure you are not sharing the same kind of content consistently. You don’t want to bore your followers. Remember that you want to be interesting to your followers in order to get your content shared.

Aside from content-specific tips, here are some other alternatives to also incorporate to help get your content shared:

Ask Influencers and Employees to Share:

Build a relationship with other social influencers and ask them to feature your content. If you build a strong enough relationship, you may not have to even ask. Doing this, as well as asking employees to share the content, can help get your content shared by others while also increasing your company’s visibility.

Happy Posting!

Networking Organizations We’re a Part of: North Shore Chamber of Commerce

This month we will highlight North Shore Chamber of Commerce as one of the networking organizations we’re a part of. This organization is the largest business organization in our region and the most influential at that. It was established in 1918 and currently has more than 1,500 businesses and professional firm members of all sizes, different industries and occupation.

As a business located in the North Shore, we have been a part of this organization for 8 years, which qualifies us to attest to all the great benefits this organization has to offer.

One of the great benefits, which we have enjoyed, is being a part of the North Shore Business to Business Expo. This is a 2,500-person conference and exposition that features close to 100 exhibiting companies and speakers. Some other benefits include:

Executive Breakfast Forums where over 225 business leaders attend the breakfast to network with others and listen to important community speakers.

Speed Connections is similar to well-known speed dating. Here, attendees with other business professionals for 6 minutes at a time to network.

North Shore Business Journal is where all business issues, events, programs, and new member listings are published. This is prime location for business promotions, especially since thousands of North Shore businesses and firms are a on it.

Human Resources Employment Issue Workshops are available for the HR department of their member businesses. These are monthly discussions of issues that impact local businesses.

New Member Campaign is a great feature for all new members. Here you get to meet new professionals, get sales training, develop relationships while building your membership, win prizes and getaways, and-most importantly- gain exposure.

As a North Shore Chamber of Commerce member, you get many networking opportunities, exposure to firms in the area, referrals to your company, advocacy for your business, and education and training to help progress your business.

Among these, there are many more benefits that come with being a member of this organization. If you would like to learn more about the organization and where to sign up to become a member, visit here

How to Advertise on Instagram

Have you ever scrolled through your Instagram feed and liked a really cool picture just to notice 5 seconds later that it was a sponsored post? This is part of what makes advertising on Instagram a much better than other social media platform’s advertising.

Instagram’s first advertisement appeared on November 1, 2013 in the U.S. and later expanded to the U.K. that September. Like mentioned above, what makes Instagram advertising better is how they look like regular photos, making them feel less invasive. Many times users don’t realize that the photos are ads until they look above the picture to find the “Sponsored” mark on the top right corner of it. Another cool thing is that users can actually like the picture or decide to follow the company’s account in order to see everything they post on their feeds.

If you were not already aware, Instagram is the fastest growing social media site around the world. There are currently over 400 million members of the site in the 18-early 30s age group, which is perfect for targeting teens and young adults. According to Hootsuite.com, the Instagram per followers engagement rate is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter.

One of the first companies to advertise on Instagram was Ben & Jerry’s when their new flavor Scotchy Scotch Scotch was released. They generated 4 advertisement pictures in eight-day-periods and made it so each user would see 3 of these ads on their feeds. After this was done 9.8 Million U.S. users were reached, there was a 33-point increase in ad recall, and 17 percent of users became aware of the flavor and associated it with the company.

Now, having a sponsored ad on this site can be pretty costly and, at the moment, only brands with a “successful Instagram following” are chosen to advertise anyway. If you can’t afford to advertise on Instagram, yet, or don’t fall under that category, do not be discouraged! Having a public Instagram account for your company with amazing photos can be a great start for advertisement. If you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas from sponsored advertisements:

  • Tell a story about your product. Because Levis has been around for many generations, they shared photos of their older products that were handed down to newer generations by family members.
  • Share “personal photos” of customers or employees using your company’s products/service and give them a shout out! Ben & Jerry’s shared photos of customer eating their ice cream and tagged them on the photos.
  • Do behind-the-scenes look of employees working on your products – like packaging it, creating it, putting it together – or providing service for your customers. This helps give customers incite on your company’s culture.
  • Be inspirational by sharing photos of cool adventures. Adidas did this by sharing photos of people wearing their gear on a hike, rock climbing, and more.
  • Think outside the box if your company is about providing service rather than products.

The Power of Taglines

images-4Short catchphrases or slogans known as taglines,  are all around us.  Despite a prediction in AdWeek in 2013 that the “tagline is dead,” taglines have continued to be a critical part of successful marketing strategies.  Let’s look at the basics of taglines:  what are they and what role do they play in your overall marketing plan?

What is a tagline? Tagline Guru defines a tagline as a succinct phrase, situated under or alongside your logo, that communicates a single but powerful brand message designed to resonate strongly with an intended audience. Taglines are also referred to as slogans, mottos, strap-lines, and end-lines. While taglines may take a lot of effort to create and market, they should be easy to remember and sometimes even sing!  We have all probably gotten a tagline stuck in our heads and repeated it continually.  That is a successful tagline!

What is the objective of a tagline?  A tagline is an important tool in branding your company. Taglines accomplish several things including:

  1. Convey your brand’s qualities and character.
  2. Express the meaning of your organization’s vision or mission.
  3. Emphasize a key differentiators or competitive advantage.

Why is a great tagline important for your company?

  • Some brands are recognized by their tagline.  This customer recognition will lead to higher sales and more conversions. A catchy tagline will help consumers remember your brand when it comes time to purchase.
  • Taglines are a communication tool that helps your products/service differentiate itself from the competition and highlight key benefits in a short phrase.

Take this abbreviated tagline quiz to find out how much taglines have impacted your life.  This quiz comes from Tagline Guru.

In 1979, AT&T unveiled a new tagline, “Reach out and _______someone.”
(a) hold; (b) call; (c) touch; or (d) hug

General Electric introduced a new tagline in 1981, “We bring _________things to life.”
(a) good; (b) great; (c) bright; or (d) new

“You’re in good hands” is a tagline used by which of the following insurance companies?
(a) State Farm; (b) Allstate; (c) Met Life; or (d) Prudential

Whose tagline is “That was easy?”
(a) Office Depot; (b) Home Depot; (c) Costco; or (d) Staples

Which company is known as the “King of beers?”
(a) Miller; (b) Pabst Blue Ribbon; (c) Budweiser; or (d) Coors

answers: 1-c 2-a 3-b 4- d 5-c

Creating iphone videos for web sites

If you manage a web site that creates educational webinars, video casts, video blogs or video “how-tos”, you have probably thought about how to create, and share your video productions.  With the ever-increasing digital abilities of the iphone, it is no wonder that many people are producing their own videos right on their own phone.  Here are a few tips and app recommendations for any of you who enjoy making your own masterpieces for your business web site via your iphone.

  • Audio – If your needs only include a basic video blog the Apple Voice Memo app works just fine. If, however, you are looking for optimum audio, you may want to invest in a Mini iphone microphone.  This will give you a quality volume and clarity.  Read More.
  • Lenses – Invest in a few iPhone external lenses if you want to create pictures/videos that don’t look like an iphone took it.  By purchasing  fish-eye, macro, telephoto and wide-angle lenses a whole world of cinematic effects.
  • Retouching Apps – There are apps that let you crop, alter colors, reduce the “noise” in a photo/video and basically take a normal shot and make it look pretty darn cool. There is an entire page of apps at the app store but many favor Photogene. For video editing a favorite is iMovie.  Once you have created the final version of your masterpiece, you can download directly to your site or publish directly to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, or CNNiReport.  For more resources on creating and posting your own videos follow these links.

Game Your Video

iMovie

 

Search Vs Display Advertising

In the world of advertising, most companies spread the budget around to many channels to attract the targeted consumers. . . including: tv, print media, and of course internet advertising.  With a vast majority of Americans buying (and researching online before buying) it is no wonder that internet advertising has tipped the balance of most marketing budgets.  Online marketing is a bit more measurable than say, tv advertising since millions may be spent on one commercial and a company will have no idea how many customers purchased as a result of that commercial.  Let’s look at two such advertising techniques online and see how they can translate into brand awareness and ultimately purchases.

  • Search ads– Search Advertising is a method of placing online advertisements on Web pages that show results from search engine queries. Through the same search-engine advertising services, ads can also be placed on Web pages with other published. Search advertisements are targeted to match key search terms (called keywords) entered on search engines. This targeting ability has contributed to the attractiveness of search advertising for advertisers.

One of the major benefits of search ads are that they are the most measurable form of online advertising, thus allowing a company to see the return on their investment.  Search ads can translate directly into clicks (which are quantifiable on metrics) and purchases by placing a product before the consumer at the exact moment they are making a purchase.

  • Display Ads – Display advertising is graphical advertising on the World Wide Web that appears next to content on web pages, IM applications, email, etc. These ads, often referred to as banners, come in standardized ad sizes, and can include text, logos, pictures, or more recently, rich media. Targeting by behavior and demographics in this type of advertising allows for fantastic targeting of your audience.  Metrics such as impressions and clicks help track the performance of this ad.

Display ads—such as banner ads on websites—are much more visible but are less likely to translate into direct clicks. By raising brand awareness, however, display ads may contribute to a consumer’s eventual decision to click on a search ad. Thus search ads get much of the credit, according to Google, for the  sale, but the display ad may have driven the consumer to the company to begin with.  Used in combination search and display ads can help raise brand awareness and put your product in the path of your desired consumer!

 

 

 

SEO Plugin for WordPress

WordPress “out of the box”  is technically wonderful but adding plugins can customize and improve your WordPress experience.  Last month we looked at the Events Calendar Plugin for WordPress.  This month we are discussing how to improve your SEO by fully optimizing your WordPress site using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin,  Ranked 4.7 stars out of 5, this plugin was written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects.

According to WordPress.org, this SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere. Writing better content is easier with this plugin as well.  It allows a preview of what your post or page will look like in the search results, whether your title is too long or too short and your meta description makes sense in the context of a search result. In addition this plugin checks Page Analysis for example on: images in your post and whether they have an alt tag containing the focus keyword for that post.

Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin has the most advanced XML Sitemaps functionality in any WordPress plugin. Once you check the box, it automatically creates XML sitemaps and notifies Google & Bing of the sitemaps existence. These XML sitemaps include the images in your posts & pages too, so that your images may be found better in the search engines too.

Local Searches

Remember when using the Yellow Pages was the way to look up business information – especially addresses and phone numbers? That seems like eons ago.  In fact most people would be hard pressed to find a Phone Book in their house anymore.  With the ease and access of search engines on our mobile devices the hunt for local business has changed completely!  So let’s look at Local Searches: what they are and why they are so important for your business.

What are Local searches? Local search is when someone ‘searches’ the Internet for a local business or service. If your company does business locally, whether it’s through an actual storefront or some other means, you will want to optimize your local visibility. Keep in mind that in order to do this, you’ll need to make sure that your website is optimized for local search. Searches with local intent are more likely to lead to store visits and sales within a day.

Why is getting listed locally so important? New Google research says that 50 percent of mobile users are most likely to visit a store after conducting a local search, while 34 percent of consumers on tablets or computers will go to a store. And Google says these people are ready to buy once they are in a store, as 18 percent of local searches lead to sales, compared to 7 percent for non-local searches. Find more statistics about local searches in Google’s Research. 

How to get listed locally. Google’s local search results can be seen in Google Maps and as localized results in universal search. You can create a free local business listing on Google+ by logging in and navigating to Create a Google+ Page, but first you’ll need a Google Account. Google My Business is Google’s new unified interface designed to make life easier for local businesses as well as brands to be better found within Google. It’s a big, huge change. Other search engines provide similar tools to make it easy to find your company when entering a keyword and your city/town. or state. Add a new listing at Bing Places for Business or Yahoo’s at http://local.yahoo.com.