SKC Insights

 

 

Overwhelmed No More – PR & Marketing in 2 Steps

It’s 3 in the morning. You’re wide awake and your mind is besieged. Your competitor just sent out a new funding press release. How do you match that? Why is it so hard to reach the right investors? The right customers? Your team throws ideas at you. Dazzle with 3D presentations. We better be everywhere – on TV, on TechCrunch, on Facebook, LinkedIn, at tradeshows, everywhere! And don’t forget blogs, white papers, case studies, and email campaigns! And on and on and on.

It’s now 4am and sleep eludes you. You’re overwhelmed. Why are PR and marketing such enigmas? You know you need it to truly grow and attract investors and customers. But how? Where do you start? To think you once thought asking Rita to the prom was the toughest thing you ever did.

Sure, PR and marketing may feel daunting. But we’re here to say it doesn’t have to be. Take a deep breath, let go of everything you think you have to do. Instead, focus on just two steps that will make all the difference: First, build your foundation, and second, build your house.

This is what we mean:

1. Build Your Foundation, aka Build Your Story

A solid foundation ensures your company stands strong while forces around you wreak havoc. The secret to PR/marketing success boils down to this: know thyself. Who are you? Who should care? What can you offer?

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5 Reasons Why You Should Care More About PR & Marketing

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two -- and only two -- basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” – Peter Drucker

For far too many companies today, the main focus is on engineering and product development. This laser focus bodes well for creating breakthrough innovations. And while these products may indeed change the world as we know it, without marketing and PR, no one will ever know about them. This gives companies with better PR and marketing, but not necessarily better products, a competitive edge.

If you’re not convinced, here are 5 reasons why you should care more about PR and marketing:

1. Stand Out or Fade Out

First up is the debilitating syndrome called “failure to communicate.” Many companies hunker down and release seriously powerful products that surpass their competitors — something that would really make them stand out – but blow it because they do not communicate their message in clear, concise and compelling fashion. They simply bleed to death through their failure to market themselves and their products. Many companies sell razors, but Dollar Shave Club stands out in a crowded market with a clear, concise and compelling message—“An Amazing Shave for a Few Bucks.” Stand out, don’t fade out.

2. Establish Your Industry Leadership or Someone Else Will

Have you ever seen a keynote speaker and wonder what they have that you don’t? You have more experience or have made bigger strides in your industry, so why weren’t you invited on stage? Chances are these speakers are seen as industry/thought leaders. When computers were just giant machines in building basements, consider Bill Gates’ and his vision to “have a computer in every home.” Elon Musk’s promise that “we will not stop until every car is electric” pivoted the world in profound ways. Both had established thought leadership in their industries. A good thought leadership program—with speaking opportunities, contributed articles, guest posts etc.—can go a long way to getting you that keynote role, and to paving the way for your company and products to dominate your industry.

3. Earn Credibility, or Risk Skepticism

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Keeping Your Edge - 14 Books to Read About PR

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

While this quote comes from the pop culture explosion that is Game of Thrones, it doesn’t make it less true, especially when it comes to PR and marketing! Reading the techniques and strategies from seasoned professionals keeps communication skills sharp and inspires new ideas for your business. PR is constantly evolving and there is always something new to learn.

Here are SKC's list of 14 books related to PR that are must-reads for the executive eager to learn.

1. Cases in Public Relations Strategy by Burton St. John, Diana Knott Martinelli, Robert S. Pritchard, Cylor A. Spaulding

Case studies are most helpful when you're looking for ideas and thinking of ways to approach your next campaign. This collection analyzes cases using the RACE (Research, Action Planning, Communication, and Evaluation) model and breaks down how each successful campaign used best practices.

2. The Business of Persuasion by Harold Burson

As a giant in the PR industry for 70 years, Harold Burson reflects on his long career and how he built standards for the industry. The Business of Persuasion gives a peek at the behind-the-scenes of prominent communications events, including turning around Coca-Cola after New Coke and helping restore trust in the U.S. Postal Service after the anthrax scares following 9/11.

3. New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott

Now in its sixth edition, this book covers the best and most relevant tactics to optimize PR skills, and the step-by-step action plan can be used for any size business. The internet changed the landscape of PR and marketing, and new rules had to be defined. David Meerman Scott took on this challenge and created a classic that spent six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list and is available in 29 languages.

4. The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations by Larry Tye

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5 Tips to Create Media Buzz During the Holidays

Sometimes “bad timing” can be “good timing.”

Conventional wisdom dictates that companies should avoid media pitching and outreach during the holiday season. The belief is that everyone, including consumers, reporters, and editors, is too busy and distracted to hear our story pitches, look at press releases or read news articles. The truth is this is an ideal time. The news cycle is slower, creating content holes for reporters. For companies, the holidays are the perfect time to gift news outlets with story ideas.

Here are 5 tips for getting yourself some coveted coverage during the holiday season:


1. Wrap-up the Year with a Special “Wrapped” List

If your company had a great year, why not celebrate it with your customers? Share how they benefited over the past year with a summary of what they saved, enjoyed, or gained from your business. Spotify announced their aptly named “Spotify Wrapped” stats of the most streamed artists of 2018 and are giving subscribers playlists of their personal top songs. It didn’t take long before Spotify started trending on Twitter and featured in top outlets like TechCrunch, CNET, and Newsweek. Cap off the year with your own version of customer favorites. Turn it into a press release and perhaps even an infographic, and share it with local, trade and national business press. (Don’t forget to let your own customers know, too, by sending them an email and posting the roundup on your social media networks). 

 

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6 Hard Truths About PR

We hear you. The marketplace is brutal. Customers are fickle. Competitors are breathing down your neck. And worse, some prospects have never even heard of you! You need positive press coverage and brand awareness yesterday — there’s simply no time to wait.

We wish we could come in and magically wave a wand to get you some visibility right now. But, unfortunately, public relations doesn’t work this way. PR, like so many other business processes, rewards the companies who approach it with preparation, commitment and time.

Getting rid of misconceptions and myths — and facing these 6 hard truths about PR — will help you gain traction and take advantage of all it has to offer.

 

Truth #1: PR Takes Time

Effective PR takes time. Like the sales process and growing a pipeline, PR is something we can’t do one day and walk away from the next. Companies in the know start by building a solid messaging and story foundation, creating quality content and relevant news angles, and cultivating the right audiences. This takes ongoing commitment and a regular sharing of your story in a variety of interesting ways to achieve PR success. The best results come to the companies who stick with it.

 

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14 Reasons Why Companies Embrace PR

When Steve Jobs received his first big investment for the Apple – $250,000 from angel investor Mark Markkula — it was meant for the development of the new Apple II product, the first major Apple product to hit the masses. However, before he started investing in new hardware, Jobs hired the best PR professional in Silicon Valley, Regis McKenna. Jobs knew before he could focus on building the products that would launch his company that he needed to have a PR plan in place.

Jobs embraced PR, and so do Richard Branson and Bill Gates. How about you? In fact, Gates once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” And these business titans aren’t alone in their fervent faith in PR. Many executives from companies feel the same.

Here are 14 reasons why:

 

1. Master Your Message

If you don't tell your story, others will tell it for you. Avoid negative or misleading press by presenting the best version of yourself with public relations.

2. Differentiate Yourself

With so many products and services out there now, it is far too easy for customers to get overwhelmed. Good PR programs can make you stand out from the pack. As Seth Godin says, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

3. Create Buzz (and Adoration)

Do you have a product coming out? Start building that fan and customer base by influencing the influencers. Stoke that excitement with social media, bloggers, journalists, grant interviews, offer reviews and you’ll see awareness evolve to adoration.

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4 Reasons for Becoming a Thought Leader

Before the internet was everywhere, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had a vision of selling books, then everything, online. While people were happy with cell phones that were only used to make calls, Apple Founder Steve Jobs had a vision of a phone that was much smarter. And Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had a vision for women in the workplace to “lean in” and take charge of their careers.

Bezos, Jobs and Sandberg…not only did they forge new paths, they were inspiring teachers and extraordinary thinkers. And they’ve made an imprint. They’re leaders that others most want to meet, learn from and emulate.

They are thought leaders.

Just telling people you are a thought leader doesn’t make you one. Thought leaders are people who have visions and strong degrees of expertise in particular subjects, topics, or issues. But more than that, they have publicly and relentlessly demonstrated their bona-fides over time by taking a stance, having a perspective, and voicing their views and opinions.

Being a thought leader takes time and effort. But by embarking on a strategic thought leadership program that integrates public relations and digital marketing, all the time and effort will be worth it, and here are 4 reasons why:

1) Become Well-Known by Those Who Matter

Imagine you are a startup and you’re trying to sell a new type of software that you believe will change how people interact with computers. Now imagine you’re the CEO well-known in this industry, speaking at events, being sought out by reporters and those seeking to learn more from you. How much easier will it be to have business opportunities come your way? Peer recommendations are still the most trusted across ages and countries, so having a foot in the door with your thought leadership is a great way to take advantage of that.

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8 Tips for Creating Newsworthy Content

 

 

"Sorry, that's not news." Have you ever stumbled when a journalist tells you what you have to offer isn't newsworthy enough? You gulp. Here you are, with an exciting piece of news or scintillating insight, ready to strut your stuff, but they decide "it's not newsworthy" and don't give you a clue on what makes them tick. 

Well, we can't generalize for all media, but in our many years of working with hundreds, if not thousands of them, we have developed a good sense of the types of news and information that companies can create and package to pique the media's interest, earn their trust, and get written up in their news stories.

Here are 8 tips for creating newsworthy content:

1. Dazzle with Facts & Figures

Journalists love hard data. And that's a fact! Shining the spotlight on facts and figures, preferably with announcements about reports that shed light on industry trends, can entice a reporter to write about your organization as part of a larger trend story or even lead them to creating news just on your content. Survey data works great. When ACUHO-I's Annual State of ResNet Report was published earlier this year, media outlets picked up the story based on the strength of the numbers and infographic provided. One outlet, Campus Technology, even used the report in not one, but two articles, drawing from various newsy aspects of the report to cover multiple angles.

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The 8 Must-Haves of a Great Media Pitch

Great media coverage starts with a great email pitch. It introduces and excites the journalist to various facets of your company -- be it your products, your founders, your unique proposition for a changing industry, your customer successes and/or your insights or predictions about the future. A pitch needs to be short and sweet, informative but not overwhelming, but what does it actually look like? For our post today, we've whipped up an imaginary pitch to aid our discussion, and broken it down into the 8 must-haves of a great media pitch:

1. Make Them Feel Special

When it comes to pitching, personalization comes in two parts. First, while it may save time to list all your contacts in bcc and send one email, journalists find mass email blasts to be impersonal and often delete such emails without even looking at them. Avoid the bcc line and you'll avoid the spam folder. Second, make sure you use the name of the contact you are trying to reach. A vague "To whom it may concern" or (heaven forbid) the wrong name tells a contact that you haven't put in the time or effort to get to know who you're emailing. Let them know that you care by taking the time to personalize your email.

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5 Ways to Build Reputation

What separates the haves from the have-nots in the business world? The simple answer is "reputation," an intangible that fortunately isn't unattainable. Chances are you already have most of the components to build your company's identity and reputation. One thing is for sure, no matter how good your product or service, you don't stand a chance in the business world without a solid reputation.

Here Are Five Ways To Build Reputation:

1. Know Thyself

Laser-focus on the niche that gives your company its competitive advantage. Knowing where you stand in the competitive landscape is the first step to developing your company's key messages and a larger strategy for building your company's identity and reputation.

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