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Keep the Conversation Going

September 14, 2011

You are a small business professional who has been posting a blog for your company and have a following that demonstrates their continued interest in your company and your opinions.  You’ve followed the advice of top social media gurus Michael Stelzner, the Social Media Examiner and  Guy Kawasaki, writing and posting frequently and responding to comments to increase traffic and rankings.  People are reading your blog and downloading your e-books.

So, what’s next?  Think about why you have added social media marketing to your program.  If you are seeking to increase business with existing customers, your presence on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin will serve to maintain your credibility in your marketplace.  What you need to consider is what will it take to keep your audience engaged and wanting to return to your sites again and again. Your goal of course is to convert them to consumers.

To keep the conversation going you can increase your use of posting videos, stories that illustrate your industry expertise and write effective posts  that are meaningful and valuable.  Don’t always post about the company but do post blogs and posts that are about relevant topics that will make a difference to your audience.  I recommend choosing a theme for the week and encourage discussion on that theme on numerous platforms. Keep abreast of your local and regional associations, charitable organizations and special events that have a relationship to the work you do.  People are usually pleased to learn about the philanthropic activities of a company that they respect and enjoy doing business with.

Whenever possible, post or retweet and inspirational story or happening.  These types of posts show your humanity and, to an extent, make you approachable and someone who others will desire to follow. The value that adding social media marketing to your corporate communications program is measured in the increase in your sales and your customers responses to promotions and product launches. And keep in mind that by posting, blogging, and networking using these powerful marketing tools, your efforts will have a positive impact on your business.  The results?  Growing your client base, closing more sales, creating good will, and benefiting from your customers gaining a better understanding of who you and your company are.

Now get started or call someone who can make it happen for you!









Be Patient but Persistent in Growing Awareness.

August 17, 2011

When it comes to publicity generation and the practice of using public relations services to enhance the public’s knowledge and awareness of a
small business, the most important “must haves” in addition to a marketing budget are patience and persistence.

Cynthia Barton

A professional public relations consultant or agent will discuss a number of topics with you in order to generate an understanding of your
products and service and how to reach your intended customers. We recommend outlining what you may be planning for the year or a six month period and creating a plan that includes one or two distinctly different campaigns that will differentiate your firm, and highlight the best of what your brand delivers. Take advantage of the promotional tools within your local communities including group coupon portals and co-sponsored events.

Keep in mind that any successful public relations program should include articles that feature your leadership’s expertise in the industry you work in and a variety of ongoing creative, engaging public relations pieces that promote a new or updated service or a different apporoach to meeting customer needs that is perceived as unusual or particularly effective. What should follow is consistent communication with the selected media that are most appropriate within your market segments. If you do not receive response from your initial story pitches or press releases, try again, and again, and again.  You must create contact touches that are professional, helpful and meaningful to the reporters who are writing for the audiences that you wish to reach.  Over time, you will begin to develop a repoire with the media that you will rely on to create the visibility and public awareness you desire for your company.

The end game?  To be contacted by media outlets bcause your company comes to mind first when they need to quote experts in your field.   You will also reap additional rewards  that come in many forms. From the increased credibility that comes with an enhanced public perception of who you are and the value and advantages of working with your company to the “feel good” peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a service that people want, need and appreciate. Once the word is out, it must be reinforced. Your messages need to be clear, concise and tell your story in a compelling way.

To meet that objective, your company should be active on numerous platforms simultaneously so that your brand is easily recognizable and desired online, through mobile marketing and social media platforms as well as through traditional broadcast and print media. Professional PR agents can oversee a full scope program that touches each of these communciation platforms.

Finally, the circle is not complete until the concept of frequency is fully understood.  Often times, even the most successful business firms miss the
importance of frequency.  Whether you are mentioned in a local business journal, the daily or weekly newspapers in your community or within your state, you must keep the news fresh and newsworthy. Keep those stories about your customer wins, new technologies, or best practices front and center. Think about the new customer-focused service you have just introduced and assess how it has affected your business relationships. This may be of great interest to the business and professional readers who are your prospective customers. If the published story, whether seen online, on television, via social media such as Facebook™ or in a newspaper, is framed in such a way that is easy to understand the value of your offering, the phone will ring.  You will have achieved connection and will supplement your paid advertising initiatives (paid radio, tv, internet ads) by reaping the benefits of earned media exposure through public relations.

Decades ago eager journalism students heard the following:  “the medium is the message.”  This statement which was coined by Marshall McLuhan in his most widely known book, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man,   which was published in 1964, is truer today than ever before in the world of marketing, business communications and public relations.

Consulting with a professional agent will open up a world of ideas that will enhance your current marketing programs and provide a path to
increased sales and enhanced viability in your marketplace.

Integrate, Innovate and Inspire for New Sales and Better Relationships

August 14, 2011

It is easy to say you understand how important advertising and marketing is to a growing company large or small. It is difficult to define goals, and to assess the right places and types of venues that will deliver the level of results that translates into sales and great ongoing business relationships.

Recently, I have returned to the practice of reading “Ad Age” on line at least once a week in addition to the numerous traditional and social media marketing gurus that are our teachers, mentors and inspired practitioners. The article, written by Jim Louderback, CEO of Revision 3 Internet Television, discusses how mashing up media, or using a combination of several platforms and traditional media venues to reinforce and target advertising messages, is becoming extremely popular in today’s “it just changed again today” world of advertising.

He says, “Paid, earned and owned media:  It’s becoming commonplace. Any company worth its salt is figuring out how to optimize for each of these categories, as a way to drive awareness, consideration and purchase. There’s just one small problem — each is mostly being looked at as a silo. Sure, messaging in one silo will reinforce and amplify those in the other two, but in many cases a hybrid model can often lead to far superior results.”

In many markets, successful, progressive ad and pr shops have been integrating media campaigns for years. They have found that adding video content capabilities, new media design, and social media platforms have brought increased value to their clients’ traditional marketing and PR efforts on both consumer and b2b sides of their client portfolios.

Practitioners now write strategic plans with an eye toward including hybrid models: paid/earned, paid/owned and earned/ owned.  Regardless of which hybrid is eventually selected, it is vital for the agency and client to agree on the long term expectations of the initiative , how its success will be measured, and the market spend they are willing to invest to inspire new sales.

The article may be found at