To remain relevant you should create a content calendar of topics to stay in front of your target market and integrate with other media and marketing outreach such as newsletter or social media posts. This will help develop relationships with other key influencers.
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Promoting your brand or yourself as the brand can be both difficult and easy. With a website and social media you can broadcast your news, information and insight to the world or specifically target your target market with the right data and resources.
The community benefits when everyone is engaged. From the design stage to the public process in securing permits, in addition to raising capital and targeting potential retailers and other tenants, constant engagement is vital to the success of any high profile project.
Developing strategic relationships “early-on” helps minimize risk and helps anticipate barriers to seeing projects to their completion. Effective communications is vital to the public’s understanding of the project and the governments involved in helping the project move forward. Therefore, the company or consortium leading the project should be in control of the process and be proactive with their messaging and outreach.
There are so many apps and websites today that try to make you more productive and stand out from your competitors that it is difficult to find the right tool that meets your needs. You need to find something that is easy to work with and produces results and stick with it. At the same time, identify new technologies to improve your usability, widen your reach and position you in front of your key infuencers.
Here is a list of just some of the resources available to you:
VISUAL – Canva, Ease.ly
VIDEO -– Magisto, Wistia, EZGifs, Wideo, Giphy
INTEL -- Cyfe - Rival IQ – Oktopost
SOCIAL Sproutsocial, Buffer, Scoop.it, Triberr, Contactually, Insightly
KEYWORDS – SocialBro, Twtiterlet
CONTENT Stream Science, influenceandco, Onespot
BACKUP Mozy, BackBlaze
PASSWORD1 password, LastPass
PROJECT MANAGEMENT/CRM Asana, Nimble, Podio, 17Hats, Workfront, FullContact, XPLORE
TEAM COMMUNICATION Slack, Hipchat DOCUMENT COLLABORATION Dropbbox, Google Docs
MORE EFFICIENT EMAIL Boomerang, Rapportive, Sanebox
MARKETING COLLATERAL + EBOOKS+GUIDES Guides.co, Canva, Behance
*North Coast Strategies does not endorse or represent any of the companies listed above.
Timing is everything and if you are planning to launch a new product on today (June 15) or make a major announcement, I would reconsider. In launching a product, announcing an event or otherwise trying to make news in a time when reporters are working on multiple stories at once, while posting to their social media feeds, timing is everything.
Today we are more mobile than before and rely on our phones and tablets to check the latest news or check up on friends and family. As a result, we not only have to learn how to speak in soundest we have to learn how to say what we want to say in as few words as possible. That is we are starting to communicate more and more with photos and other images. Here is a brief guide from PRDaily to help you communicate.
Facebook - Posts with 40 characters receive 86 percent more engagement than posts with more than that amount - 40 characters
Blog headlines - People tend to only read the first and last three words of a headline - 6 words
Email subject lines - Subject lines that fall within this range average a 12.2 percent open rate and 4 percent click rate - 28-39 characters
YouTube videos - The average length of the top 50 YouTube videos is 2 minutes and 54 seconds - 3 minutes
Podcasts - Podcast listeners won't tune in any longer - 22 minutes
Domain names - The best domain names are short, easy to spell and remember, and don't have hyphens or numbers - 8 characters
Tweets – Shorter than 100 characters have a 17% higher engagement rate - 100 characters
Paragraphs – Opening paragraphs with larger fonts and fewer charcters per line make it easier for the reader to focus and jump quickly from one line to the next - 40-55 words
Hashtags – Don’t use spaces or special charcters, don't start with or only use numbers and be careful about using slang - 6 characters
Title Tags – Don’t exceed 60 characters or you will get clipped - 55 characters
News Release - Try to limit the content to 1,000 words. Optimal length that is short enough for people to read quickly and search engines to find is between 400-600 words or about a page and half (*Source iReach) - 1,000 words
Headline - 60 characters or you risk the headline cutting cut on a website, phone and tablet - 60 characters
*Source (unless otherwise indicated)
5 tips to limiting vulnerability to a cyber attack other rises
Then get back to the basics: Once upon a time there was a ________.
Every day, _____________.
One day, ___________.
Because of that, ____________.
Because of that, ____________.
Until finally, ______.
In a good story, reality is introduced. Conflict arrives. There is a struggle. The conflict is resolved and a new reality emerges.
What's your story?
Commit to These Simple Marketing Tips • 3 Tweets per day
• 2 re-Tweets
• 3 Meaningful Facebook posts per day
• 4-5 Pinterest pics a week
• One tip sheet per month
• Blog a "How To"
• Create your own "Top Ten" list
• Solve problems on line
• Share quotes
• Write an e-book
And remember, news must entertain, inspire, start a conversation, teach how to do something or provide relevant information.
Today's New York Times reports that Harper's Magazine is "joining the growing list of media properties whose publishers are supplementing more traditional forms of advertising with sponsored content". With the help of public relations professionals or advertising agencies, companies will be able to write the news stories, features and product reviews that appear in magazines and on-line that look like it is part of the magazine (which it is), but is actually an advertisement. It is a new era in how we purchase goods and services. With advances in technology at our fingertips and on our desktops, we do our own research into what we purchase and what solutions it solves, we seek advice from our friends, read the reviews and compare prices before we ever step into a store or office, if we ever do step inside.
As a result, a company's marketing strategy should have, at its core, a content marketing strategy, to create content that is engaging and informative, humorous if appropriate and timely given the news cycle. How that content is distributed will depend on a company's budget and a company should do its own due diligence to determine the best media or channel to distribute that content on. For example, do your customers read Harper's, The Atlantic, New Yorker, Forbes or even the plethora of trade publications that only include native advertising opportunities for its content.
This is all part of a strategic planning process that your public relations counsel or marketing agency should take you through during your initial kick off meeting.
With the right content you can sell a product by selling solutions and in crafting the right messages, advertorial or branded content, you can take your message directly to those who you want to see it. However, depending who you want to read it and how you want them to see it will just depend on how much you want to spend.
Business Goals - Know what impact you want to have on the business and how you will measure it. Develop a strategy around your business objectives…but not a tactical plan that could become irrelevant. Embrace technology and project Management tools to keep everyone aligned during implementation.
Create a 'channel strategy' and determine how and what media, web, blog, social networks and email can all work together and reinforce each other.
Develop a 'content strategy' and figure out what type of content do you want your brand to be associated with? Who are your experts? What topics do you and your customers care about? And then create content that is new and easily digestible, perhaps even fun to read with some infotainment factor.
Build a system or editorial calendar that provides timely relevant content that is interesting and sharable.
Recognize your assets - a spokesperson, a product a customer a community and ensure they have the resources. Create brand ambassadors.
Create a process - So everyone knows what they are resonsibe for and when, what requires approval, collaboration and insight
Focus on quality not a high idea that will go viral - that way you will build a reputation as a thought leader rather than a one hit wonder.
Evaluate your work, re-adjust and continue to align your business goals with your marketing plan.
To often an organization creates a marketing plan that fits in a binder and gets shelved. Hours are spent defining your audience, studying the data and creating plans that do not have anyone following through. It is time to end the planning and begin with creating a strategic road map to reaching your core audience, centered-around your organization's values and focused on empowering the consumer to make a purchase, advocate or change their lifestyle.
To learn more about re-setting your marketing strategy to focus on your organizations core, while creating a road map instead of plan, see this presentation delivered today at the Michigan Society of Association Executive's (MSAE) OrgPro 2013.
“Know WHAT to say, WHEN to say it and WHO to say it to!” looks at the brand of an association and assists association leaders in re-defining their audience and setting objectives in creating an integrated communications plan. It will hit the high notes in terms of helping association leaders, from large and small associations, with marketing goals and strategies for defining the audience, crafting the message and identifying the appropriate media channels from traditional media, digital and social mobile. Association leaders will walk out as marketing professionals complete with a one page strategic communications plan to start working on when they return to work.
Today’s legal market demands a broad range of business solutions lawyers can provide their clients. A strategic communications plan can prove to be an extremely helpful tool lawyers can provide their clients, in anticipation of or during litigation, or just an overall part of their legal strategy.
Every Company Is A Media Company
Today, every company with a website, blog or social media presence is a media company and anyone with access to a computer, smart phone or tablet, has the potential to damage a company’s reputation. However, at the same time with digital and mobile technology, companies have more opportunities to take their message directly to the consumer, to protect, enhance and elevate their reputation.
For companies such as Domino’s and The BBC, to celebrities and politicians such as Lance Armstrong and Elliott Spitzer, lawsuits today are no longer fought in the courtroom. Cases are being tried in the media, with the potential to damage brands and reputations alike.
Clients Turn To Lawyers As Spokesperson
In general, a lawyer’s job is to represent their clients in a court of law, not in the media, and many are uncomfortable in talking to reporters. However, client’s today are turning to their lawyers not just for legal support, but to help protect their reputation and often speak on their behalf.
“An attorney’s duties do not begin inside the courtroom door. He or she cannot ignore the practical implications of a legal proceeding for the client. Just as an attorney may recommend a plea bargain or civil settlement to avoid the adversarial consequences of a possible loss after trial, so too an attorney may take reasonable steps to defend a client’s reputation and reduce the adverse consequences of an indictment, especially in the face of a prosecution deemed unjust or commenced with improper notices. A defense attorney may pursue lawful strategies to obtain dismissal of an indictment or reduction of charge, including an attempt to demonstrate in the court of public opinion that the client does not deserve to be tried.”
In today’s media saturated environment, where we can share pictures or Tweets from our phone instantaneously with the world, that may even end up on CNN or FOX News, many clients will turn to their lawyer for advice, counsel and a response. So lawyers should have a basic understanding of interacting with the media, on line and off.
Balancing advocacy for clients and legal ethics
The Bar is concerned that attorneys often speak with authority and that whatever they say can help shape public opinion. As a result, a good rule of thumb in talking to the press or in any public arena is to stick to discussing the facts or explaining the process. In making statements to the media during or in anticipation of trial, a lawyer, or their client’s spokesperson, should avoid making any statement that would "have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding."
In other words, “don’t say anything you couldn’t or wouldn’t say in court.” This includes speculations on a criminal defendant’s guilt or innocence, opinions on any participant’s credibility and character, conjecture on why a participant would not submit to examination, and, generally, any information that is not likely to be admissible – Just stick to the facts. For example:
- The claim, offense or defense involved
- Information contained in a public record
- That an investigation of a matter is in progress
- The scheduling or result of any steps in litigation
- Undisputable facts
- A request for assistance in obtaining evidence and information necessary of the investigation
- A warning of danger concerning the behavior of a person involved.
A lawyer, however, may make statements that may be required to protect a client from substantial undue prejudicial effect of recent publicity not initiated by the lawyer or the lawyer’s client. A statement should be limited to such information that is necessary to mitigate the recent adverse publicity.
Crisis + Litigation Communications
The sands have shifted in the practice of law. Gone are the days when clients were only concerned about the legal ramifications of a lawsuit or legal quagmire. Today, clients are often also concerned with how they are judged in the public eye and perceived by their customers, vendors and by their own families.
A litigation communications plan, blends both legal expertise and media savvy, by helping to frame messages during the litigation to help preserve, protect and enhance the reputation of the parties. It also helps to monitor what others are saying about the case and the company and works to control the message, address concerns and build relationships to help the company emerge from the litigation with its reputation intact. An effective litigations communications strategy, works to enhance legal efforts by providing clarity on complex legal issues, before and after litigation. However, the process should start long before a matter goes to trial and even before the firs documents are filed. The goal of litigation communications is to guarantee that the client's public image is completely aligned with the legal team's efforts and strategy, while ensuring the company's message is understood outside the courtroom. As a result, communications experts should be retained early on in the process, to monitor the media, craft the messages for key audiences, respond where and when appropriate and otherwise be involved.
In retaining a public relations professional, it is important that you find someone who understands the interplay between the law and legal process on one side, and the media and public opinion on the other. Managing these complex communications in a timely and efficient manner can play a vital role in the cost-effective mitigation of a crisis or legal matter.
Tips for dealing with the Media
Despite certain rules imposed on lawyers, reporters, journalists and bloggers may contact you based on a case that you are working on or a client that you represent, or perhaps even the issue areas you work in everyday. Alternatively, you may contact them, to help position your client in the public eye or to promote yourself as an expert on an issue that is receiving a lot of attention in the news. Regardless of how a reporter comes to you, in dealing with the media it is important to understand what they want and how you can best work with them.
The media is interested in a story that others want to read, watch or listen to. News is something that is:
- Relevant, and
- Sometimes entertaining.
Reporters will most likely report on stories that are:
- Unusual or unique
- Involve celebrities, kids or dogs and
- General human-interest stories.
When the reporter asks you if he or she can ask you a few questions, try to get a little more information from them. Find out what the reporter wants to know. Depending on when they call, they are most likely on deadline and looking for a quick sound-bite. If you need to, ask if you can call them back and think about what you want to say. Then call them back in a timely manner.
Here are a few more tips in terms of working with the media:
Know why you want to talk to the media -- What do you hope to achieve in talking to the media? Before you talk with a reporter, know what you want to accomplish, even if they catch you by surprise.
Know your audience -- Then understand who your audience is. This will help you craft the appropriate messages that resonate with the right audience.
Know what you want to say – Once you know why you want to approach the media, and who the audience is, know what you want to say. Have a few key messages written out that you want to convey to the reporter and think of a few questions they may ask -- and be ready to respond.
Do your homework – Know what the reporter writes about and covers. Be familiar with their latest story and angle. Go on their website, perhaps they have a blog or check them out on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.
What not to do with the Media:
Never say “No Comment” or “Because a lawsuit was filed we cannot comment on active litigation.” Instead say something more general and stick to your messages, or “I can’t tell you that now, but what I can tell you is..."
- Don’t repeat a negative question or phrase
- Stop using jargon or technical lingo
- Try not to go “off the record”
- Never lie
- Don’t attack competitors or sell yourself
During the interview – Think of it as a debate not a conversation, unless you are talking to Stephen Colbert:
- A reporter is using it to gather information or to find a story
- Know your objectives and stick to your key message
- If the reporter gets off message, bridge back to your key message
- Answer only the question asked
- Stick to your messages
Don’t hide anything you don’t want them to find later. When speaking to the media be concise and thorough and tell them everything that you can with in reason. You do not want them finding out information on their own and then confronting you when you are not prepared to answer their questions.
If you don’t know, don’t tell and don’t worry – Don’t panic if you are asked a question during an interview that you do not know the answer to. Be honest and tell them that you do not know the answer but that you would be happy to look into it and get back to them. Never attempt to make something up.
Silence. When being interviewed, once you have made your point do not be intimidated by silence. Silence is not a bad thing during an interview, it’s a tactic used by reporters to get you to talk, in the hopes of getting you to say something that you shouldn’t have.
“Off the record” or “For background only” – As a general rule, if you don’t want it in print then don’t say it. However, an ethical reporter will respect what you are trying to say and will work with to make sure what your saying is accurate. It helps to know the reporters covering the issues you are working on and have a good working relationship with them. It also helps to not be confrontational and to respect them for having a job to do and that you want to work with them in preparing their story.
Timing – Just as a lawyer sticks to deadlines prescribed by the court, reporters have deadlines to keep and times they need to either file stories or air them. You will develop better relationships with a reporter if you are sensitive to their deadlines.
Preparing for an ambush – If a reporter catches you by surprise, stop in your tracks, address the reporters questions (you can be vague if you want), then let them know that you have another commitment and that you will get back to them by their deadline. If a reporter calls by phone take their message, find out what they want and when their deadline is, and get back to them in a timely manner.
Working with the media – It is about relationships.
Corrections -- Don’t be afraid to correct the reporter or ask them to revise their story to be accurate.
Monitor the media – Know what is being said about you, your clients, your firm and your industry.
Anything else? – This is always the last question in any interview, so be prepared to summarize your key messages; say anything that you forgot to say before; or clarify any statement that needs further explanation. s not deserve to be tried.”2
Social Media Tips
Social media is becoming more than a tool for us to stay in touch with our friends or family, it is becoming a new area to look out for our client’s interests and/or a new medium to promote our practice. It also is our opportunity to control the message and to clarify misinformation. However, interacting with those using social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or YouTube, is a little different than working with the traditional media.
Know the influentials – There are millions of people using a variety of social media sites that it is important to know who the influential people are. There are a number of social media sites that you can use to track the influentials.
Monitor the chatter – Once you know who to follow you should monitor the chatter. Listen to the tone of the comments and questions and participate where appropriate. A good way to monitor the media is to create Google Alerts, Twitter feeds or Facebook updates. Even if you don’t join the conversation, be aware of what people are saying about your company on different social media platforms.
Engage the community – Once you are able to gain an understanding of social media and how it works, go ahead and begin to engage the community. However, in using social media one’s credibility is gained through transparency, honesty, relevance and value.
If a crisis ensues, you may not have the time to monitor social media sites and find the right time to engage people on line. Should that be the case, you should be more proactive, reserve the various domain names with your name, your companies name and variations thereof so should something happen, you can go on line and communicate directly to the masses.
The documents you file in court are public documents and subject to FOIA. Don’t be surprised if you see the language from your depositions, motions or others in an article or even on a graphic on television. So, if a reporter asks for a document, it will go along way if you just give it to them but feel free to redact sensitive or privileged information.
Hiring PR Counsel
Lawyers need to understand what is news and how to best communicate that news to the public. If attorneys will not provide such services, then they should build strategic partnerships with public relations firms to help them. To meet the needs of today’s businesses, lawyers will need skilled advice regarding how to position their clients before the media, while legally protecting their clients. Seeking PR counsel is an important aspect of any legal strategy. Even if the issue is a small matter, there is no way we can tell how public opinion can or will shape the outcome of a case. Therefore, in engaging public relations counsel:
- Have the lawyer retain the PR firm as opposed to your client directly, to try to preserve attorney-client privilege.
- The public relations counsel should consult with both the client and attorney at every step of the process.
Once a public relations firm is engaged, they will, depending on the strategy: help with messaging and identify the appropriate media to communicate those messages or even act as your client’s spokesperson. They also should monitor the media and find ways to enhance, protect and further your client’s reputation.
I am not going to join an association if I don’t find value in it. As both the Democratic and Republican parties look to re-build they need to re-engage their members. Like any organization, its leaders need to communicate the value membership brings while constantly giving people reasons to join in its mission. This can be accomplished through the benefits they provide or the stories they tell to help people connect emotionally to the organization.
To be effective at that the organizations need the infrastructure and refine their business operations to reflect the reality of their industry, their membership and the world around them. In addition the organizational leadership needs to build a sustainable organization to help attract a new generation of members.
Once the infrastructure is in place the messages need to be crafted to communicate organizational value. The agenda needs to resonate with the right audience and be communicated in a way that they will listen to it. The messages should be action-oriented. People join an organization because they share common values but also because they want to belong to something. So, give people a reason to get engaged.
Today, associations must also Re-Evaluate how it uses emerging technologies and the various media platforms around them to their advantage. We should only look forward in how we do things.
Once the messages are developed, now you can go out and raise money or increase membership. However, this too takes a new way to think about the how and why you approach others. As an organization, you should rethink your members or donors as “investors,” and work to create a donor relations program to keep them engaged in organizational activity – year-round.
While the organization raises money or seeks new members it should work diligently to find new candidates or younger members. The MS Society has created a Young Leaders Group, there are programs like Leadership Detroit and also the Michigan Political Leadership Program (of which I am a fellow and board member). But other organizations, including political parties can work harder at nurturing the next generation of leadership.
In restructuring a political party or an association, it will taking rethinking how the organization is structured, what the messages are that needs to be communicated, rethinking how you embrace membership and donors and finding ways to raise a new class of leadership. However, todays realities demand we re-think how we manage our lives and our associations.
Gone are the days when you found a job and stayed in that job until you retired. Today, the workforce is more mobile, in part due to the economy and the need to go where the jobs are and in party due to technology. As times change, so too must our political system and our political leaders should work harder at communicating their vision for improving their world. But that vision should not be theirs alone. It should be consensus-driven so that others can stand with the Mayor, Governor and others in supporting that vision. Once they have that vision, they can now create their agenda. What issues will become their priority and how will they go about implementing that agenda.
So communicating that vision and agenda will be vital to seeing it through. Why is this the right thing to do now? Does it reflect reality so that I can get others to rally behind it?
To lead the conversion, our leaders need to lead the conversation, but also listen to what others have to say and adjust their plans to reflect the political and economic realities. People are looking for solutions. Solutions that are immediate but also pro-active with long-term benefits
Change is never easy, but in order to change we have to know where you are going. To help you in the process we need to understand the why, the what and the how. We need to become emotionally-connected through common values. We will help you only if we can trust you and for that we need to start developing a relationship.
Once we begin the discussion and build the trust we will come to realize that we are all in this together and we each have a role to play -- So let’s support each other.
As Republicans and Democrats convene their conventions this month to affirm or select new leadership, one thing is certain, both parties need to work harder at building a brand and sustaining a movement. A ‘move-ment’ is a series of organized activities towards a common objective.
How do you create a movement – With just one big idea.
That idea should be simple. It should be something that you and others can be passionate about.
Now that you the idea, you now need to get people to care about it. And it also will need its own identity to give people something to talk about.
Now its time to “Ignite the Movement,” and provide even more reasons to talk about it.
From a political party perspective, to sustain a movement, everyone should be on the same page. The House and Senate Caucuses should work in sync with the established party so that everyone is working to compliment the other, reinforce the messages, engage the public and build a movement by getting people who are interested engaged.
The American Electorate is frustrated with politics as usual, the name-calling and the lack of progress in state capitols and in Congress. Instead of being against what the other party is for, each party should create a platform to engage the other side in a solution-based discussion about where to agree and where to move on.
I recently read that “a credible idea makes people believe. An emotional idea gets people to care.’ Given the right agenda, Democrats and Republicans can create the right stories to bring outsiders inside their movement and in the end they will get the right people to act to help us all move forward.