Category Archives: Media Relations

How a blog can help your business generate more publicity

Competition for available media coverage continues to increase

Competition for available media coverage continues to increase amid a sea of press releases and publicity efforts, according to an article by Ian Felton in SEO Chat.  As a result of this competition, Felton details, it`s “harder than ever for a business to gain much needed publicity.”

“Getting someone to hear the message is half the battle”, Felton explains. “Having the members of the media consider it newsworthy is the other half. Somewhere, there must be another vehicle that can gain the attention of an already swamped news editor. Help for the publicity seeking business person has arrived in the form of the blog.”

And global public relations consultancy Burson-Marsteller has explained the increased importance of blogs to generating news stories:  “Traditional and Social media are being used in increasingly sophisticated ways to draw attention to issues and mobilize opinion; anyone can now broadcast their views instantly and broadly using the panoply of tools freely available. And with journalists and other opinion-formers using blogs, micro-blogs and other web-based media as core tools to track news and trends, seemingly anodyne issues can be amplified instantly.”

Unique features that make blogs useful for public relations efforts

Felton identifies 4 key elements of blog technology that help make it uniquely useful for amplifying your organization’s messages

  1. A blog can provide an instant pipeline directly to interested news media outlets when combined with an RSS news feed, which employs the same technology as stock market and weather forecasts.
  2. A blog is a search engine optimization vehicle requiring minimal additional effort. The regular addition of relevant and keyword rich content provides a powerful boost to your business in the search engines.
  3. Other blogs and blog-based news sites will often link to content they source for information – which increases your exposure.
  4. High-ranking sites send a message of importance to reporters.  Hence, you may well be regularly called upon as a source as a result.

Consistent, sophisticated content will make a blog a regular source of news stories

Making your blog a source of consistent, well-informed opinion will help it grow to be regarded by journalists as a must-read source of expert opinion on your industry and specializations.  But reaching that pinnacle takes very hard work — which organizations must understand and genuinely commit to before embarking upon any blogging effort with such a lofty ambition.

Felton sums up the blog`s importance with a message about authenticity:  “Blogging as a public opinion medium [leaves ‘spin’ behind] and [instead] presents a message in a conversation with the reader…In that sense…blog[s] cultivate public opinion…with increasing transparency.”

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

If there’s ever been a time to build your own audience for your company…it’s now

Frank Strong, writing recently in Sword and the Script Blog, details how traditional advertising and social media have become, except for the very well-funded brands – more difficult to utilize to promote companies.

Without well-researched, trustworthy written content, Strong explains, companies without deep budgets will have a hard time building an audience.

Crowded news and information markets makes building an audience difficult

As Strong details, the ad has been replaced by sponsored content. And social media channels are crowded with numerous brands, individuals and companies all vying for attention.  

At the same time — earned media coverage – the type most commonly driven by traditional public relations efforts to court journalists to write stories which might highlight a brand — is much more difficult to secure.  Why?  Because traditional media outlets will often select promoted content over traditional stories as a means to generate revenue.  And important for companies to keep in mind — trust in traditional media is waning, which is making earned media on traditional channels less appealing.

Strong calls this set of circumstances a “perfect storm” for companies seeking to generate awareness via both traditional news outlets and increasingly crowded social media channels.

Create your own initiative to build a loyal audience

To build an organic audience Strong recommends companies consistently create and publish content that is substantially different and passionate, utilizing case studies, white papers and webinars – as readers now consider them to be the most trustworthy forms of content.  

Patience required as this is a long-term strategy

Finally, he advises patience — as content production to support corporate goals – including sales – is a long-term strategy – whose full measure must be taken over time.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

Digital engagement seen as key to expanding the influence of Think Tanks

Digital engagement is seen as increasingly important to the success of public policy think tanks — according to industry experts.

Writing recently on LinkedIn PulseDermot Finch (@dermotfinch) of Great Britain’s Prince’s Trust and a founder of Centre for Cities think tank — see’s successful think tank’s now “engag[ing] directly with voters.  Sitting on a think tank panel in Whitehall or a party conference doesn’t really cut it any more. So the demand for think tank platforms has diminished somewhat”, he explains.  Successful think tanks, he writes, are increasingly demonstrating a deeper, nonpartisan expertise.

Digital engagement seen taking two forms

Recent political campaigns in the UK and US have highlighted the importance of digital engagement and the success it might bring those seeking to influence the public policy landscape, according to Aidan Muller, Founder & CEO of Daimon Communications, writing in Public Affairs News.  

Muller identifies digital campaigning and digital intelligence as they two key pillars of digital engagement required for modern public affairs campaigning success.  Digital campaigning, he writes, is characterized by “leveraging third-party channels” — which has the effect of taking messages far beyond your immediate community.  Online influencer engagement, media partnerships, paid promotions on blogs, content discovery platforms or social media platforms are all a part of digital campaigning.  Digital intelligence is an often overlooked tool, according to Muller.  Digital data, he details, “is probably the area which is changing public affairs the most.  Each social media post, each share, each search leaves a digital footprint.”  And this data — Muller explains — “is there to be harvested and analysed”.

How one prominent think tank has used social media

While social media engagement is just one component of a holistic digital strategy, the experience of the Brookings Institution is one example of how seriously some in think tanks are taking digital engagement.

Barbara Ray of HiredPenInc interviewed the Brookings Institution’s David Jackson (@davidvjackson) in 2011 — about “how [Brookings is] using social media to get their research findings out to policymakers, journalists, and the public.”  Jackson is now Communications Director for the National Association of Counties.

Jackson told Ray that while “media gatekeepers still exist…[with social media] there are [now] many more ways into an issue or an audience you’re engaging with…[beyond] the traditional press release and follow-up.”  A good blog and an active Twitter account have helped make op-ed’s no longer necessary.

At the time of the interview, Brookings was maintaining both personal and institutional Twitter accounts.  They were also doing video conferences and podcasts.  Engagement of individual scholars was vital to the amplification of their messages, Jackson explained, as “social media is about individual voices”.  “The personal brand has become even more import than the organizational brand”, he said.  Brookings at the time was staffing their social media monitoring with 10 staff members.

Think Tank social media “a work in progress”

Jackson told Ray that: “Overall, though, we’re still carving out how to do this. It’s a work in progress. Anyone who claims to be a social media expert or guru is a little bit ahead of themselves. I don’t think anyone is an expert on something that is evolving so quickly. There’s no one-stop rainmaker who can tell you, ‘If you these three things, you’ll be successful.” There is no “one size fits all” in this realm.  

No matter what strategy you decide on for social media, remember that it’s part of everyone’s job. It is an organizational commitment. You have to constantly feed the beast. That’s the hardest part.”

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

How social media is being used to successfully promote international trade and investment

Organizations supporting international trade and investment facilitation are “exploring new platforms and showing greater confidence in their abilities to use social media effectively”, according to a recent Holmes Report, citing a study by Kellen and ComRes.

International Social Media Brings Unique Challenges

And as Business Wales explains: “Social media can be a great way to connect with customers abroad, building your brand, providing services and reducing the distance between your company and its markets.”  But they also caution that as in any form of international business — “conducting conversations around the globe on Facebook, Twitter and the like brings new challenges. The good news [is] – as [is] so often [the case] with social media…most of these primarily need thought, rather than investment.”

As they detail, the prime steps in establishing a presence include defining your goals and how your social presence can help you achieve them, choosing the right channels, planning a content strategy, choosing people to manage day-to-day operations and regular updates – and importantly, constant monitoring.

Seek to emulate the World Economic Forum

Perhaps the most successful example of social media use by an organization seeking to facilitate international trade and investment is the World Economic Forum (WEF).  As Andy Vale (@AndyValedetailed in an extensive article for the Content Marketing Institute — the WEF has established a robust social media presence in an effort to promote its’ work on a global scale.  

As a part of his article, Vale interviewed Henry Taylor (@henryctaylor), the social media producer for the WEF.  Taylor explained to Vale how WEF’s prime social media activity is content from their blog.  Too, WEF has several large meetings per year, which Taylor and the WEF social media team actively promote across their branded social networks – marshalling support from a range of influencers across a variety of platforms all helping to amplify the message of each event.  They also support conversations online by direct mail and direct engagement with journalists via Twitter’s direct messaging system.  The social media success of it’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland is a prime example of the fantastic success the WEF social media team have helped the organization achieve on a global scale.

As one of the world’s pre-eminent trade and investment facilitation organizations that’s also successfully leveraged social media to amplify its’ message and achieve its’ goals — the WEF is well worth emulating.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click here for more information or to arrange a discussion.

How to become a regular business news commentator

Whether you’re in corporate management, a lawyer or other professional – becoming a regular news commentator can be very helpful to the success of your business.

Many will be familiar with leading lawyers or corporate CEO’s who regularly contribute commentary on television, radio, in newspapers – about areas of interest where they’re seen as experts.  These sorts of appearances provide the news media with a regular source of knowledgeable opinion – and also help those commentators build recognition and standing in an area of expertise in local, national and international markets.

If you maintain an expertise and would like to be regularly called upon for commentary by traditional news media– as well as new and emerging digital media news sites powered by social media – you can be – with a well thought out plan properly implemented.

Basic steps to becoming a regular news commentator

Beyond maintaining a recognizable expertise in some specialism, designing and implementing a custom media relations strategy is required before you find yourself being asked for that commentary.

Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer), a technology expert and well-known blogger, has written in Quora about what it takes to get and keep the attention of journalists, who often work on tight deadlines and need unique expertise on short notice.  Scoble’s recommendations can be applied to any industry sector specialist seeking to become a go-to expert for the news media.

Scoble noted that in his capacity as a tech journalist, he accepts about 1% of stories that he’s contacted about.  Some of his recommendations (adapted to be industry neutral) include:

Things to do before contacting a journalist about your expertise:

  1.  Find and follow at least 50 journalists who regularly report on areas where your expertise may be important to their readers.
  2. Ensure your expertise is something each journalist you contact – will have an interest in.
  3. “Know why said…. journalist MIGHT cover you and HOW he/she might cover you (IE, have an interesting story). If I was trying to get into the New York Times, for instance, I’d read at least 500 articles written there first and I’d even start putting them into buckets. Know what bucket yours will go in.”
  4. Keep it short
  5. “Make it easy to dive in. Do you have a blog? A video?” Etc
  6. “Work hard on a great headline. Lots of us get 1,000 press releases a day. Think about how to stand out.”
  7. “Get someone we trust to refer you”
  8. “Be persistent, but not overbearing”

Succeed with your expertise and hard work

With some hard work and dedication to thoughtful and considered outreach to journalists, you too can become a regular commentator in your area of expertise.  But always keep in mind what social media consultant Jeff Bullas (@jeffbullassummed up in his article entitled: 50 surprising tips for getting attention in mass media: “Be the purple cow. If you’re not different, there’s no reason for editors and publications to cover you.”

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click herefor more information or to arrange a discussion.

8 reasons why your company should be on Twitter

Companies are increasingly using the internet as a means by which to communicate with key audiences.  And as Ed Adler (@eadler12recently outlined in PRWeek, Twitter may be the best place for corporate executives to begin online engagement.

Importantly, as Adler notes, as a result of the rapid acceleration of internet adoption by consumers around the world, corporate executives “leave them[selves] and their companies at an increasing disadvantage” if they don’t adopt a considered online presence.

Social media usage greater than traditional media

Adler cited statistics which reflect that “by 2020, Millennials will make up 50% of the workforce. Today, 71% of Millennials check social media sites at least once a day. Twitter has more than 316 million active users, LinkedIn boasts 400 million members, and the population of Facebook (1.5 billion monthly users) is larger than that of China. The number of users is more than 150 times the combined daily circulation of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Forbes, and Fortune.”

Twitter, Adler notes, provides companies with a superb means by which to:

  1. Deliver news;
  2. Manage crises;  
  3. Identify influencers;
  4. Raise awareness;
  5. Generate recognition;  
  6. Increase loyalty;
  7. Engage employees; and
  8. Control the narrative.

Twitter is unique among social media channels

Adler noted in particular that Twitter has the unique quality among social channels of serving as a stand-alone real time news platform where “industry influencers can truly change company positioning with just 140 characters”  He noted how “Goldman Sachs… no longer distribute[s] press releases on the wire, but [instead] use[s] Twitter to release its results.”

Social Media usage is seeing 25% year-on-year annual growth

He concluded by noting that social media usage is growing 25% year-over-year across all age groups (citing ComScore) — making it an essential component for the communications strategy of any company and its senior management going forward.

Need help with creating content or managing social media?  Click herefor more information or to arrange a discussion.