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Why Clear Communication Matters Now More Than Ever

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If there’s one thing we can agree on right now, it’s that messaging and communication over the past few months regarding COVID-19 has been anything but consistent.

As a professional communicator, it can make you shake your head.

Let’s take the messaging regarding wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the virus as an example. When all this started back in March, we heard from the CDC that it wasn’t necessary to wear a mask.

Somewhere along the line, that message changed to, “Yes, you SHOULD be wearing a mask when you go out.”

Has this caused confusion? (Yes.) Does everyone understand what they’re supposed to do? (No.) And even if the directive has now changed, does that mean that everyone will adhere to the new guidelines? (Definitely not.) Have some people – because of the confusion and mixed messages – simply given up on even trying to figure out what they’re supposed to do? (Undoubtedly yes.)

What’s the point, you may ask? Continue reading Why Clear Communication Matters Now More Than Ever

How Can Small Businesses Prepare for the Recovery? Nine Marketing Pros Give Their Best Advice

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Marketing during a crisis can be a challenge. As small businesses struggle to get their bearings, many wonder how to market themselves.

More than 60% of small and medium business owners surveyed said they felt their revenues would shrink for the next six months.  Given the shaky economic conditions, they want to retain current customers and appeal to new ones, but how to communicate without sounding opportunistic can be tricky.

So what can they do to market effectively now and as we move forward? To provide some help and direction, I asked nine marketing and communications pros for their best advice.

I asked: “If you could give one piece of advice to small businesses as they prepare for the recovery, what would it be?”

How Can Small Businesses Prepare for the Recovery?

Continue reading How Can Small Businesses Prepare for the Recovery? Nine Marketing Pros Give Their Best Advice

14 of the Best Budget-Friendly Tools to Help You Master PR, Content and Social Media

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With the new year well underway, many small business owners and freelancers may be looking for ways to streamline projects and squeeze more productivity out of the workday.

As a public relations consultant and freelance writer who sometimes dons a reporter’s hat, I’m always interested in trying out tools that allow me to get more done — but as a solopreneur, I’m also cost-conscious.  I’m often asked what my favorite free or low-cost solutions are to accomplish communications-related tasks.

Here, I share 14 of my top picks. Continue reading 14 of the Best Budget-Friendly Tools to Help You Master PR, Content and Social Media

Freelancing in 2020? Here Are 11 Valuable Tips from the Pros

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The freelance businessperson faces many challenges. As a long-time self-employed consultant – or freelancer, as it’s sometimes called – I know what it’s like to struggle with the questions that come up when one is trying to run one’s own business. So, I started #FreelanceChat in Sept. 2018 to help bring together freelancers interested in supporting each other as we address some of these challenges.

Over a year later, the Twitter chat is going strong. In 2019, we had a number of guests join us to chat about topics ranging from how to find clients to how to market yourself to how to get paid on time.

I asked some of these experts what advice they’d share with freelancers as we head into a new year. Here’s what they said:

Continue reading Freelancing in 2020? Here Are 11 Valuable Tips from the Pros

Caution Ahead: How a Good PR Pro Helps You Avoid Trouble

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The benefits of having an experienced PR pro on board – be they a team member or a hired hand like a consultant – are clear.

We help brands build, maintain and promote their reputations by sharing news and information via a variety of channels.

But, beyond the initiatives that skilled public relations practitioners generally handle, they bring something else to the table.

How a skilled PR consultant can help keep you out of trouble

 Whether they know it or not, companies without PR counsel are taking a risk. They could be one bad decision away from a crisis.

If you work with a public relations consultant on a regular basis, he or she can help advise you on any number of matters. And avoiding trouble is always better than trying to do damage control.

Here are some examples: Continue reading Caution Ahead: How a Good PR Pro Helps You Avoid Trouble

How Social Media Lurkers Can Boost Your Business

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Tracking the effectiveness of social media has caused many a marketer to shake his or her head in frustration. How can we PROVE it’s effective so that clients will see the value?

While much has been written about tracking its value, I’m going to make another argument – maybe the most significant benefit of social media comes from the views we CAN’T track. I refer to these as “lurker” views. Lurkers – you know, the people who see and read your content – they just don’t like it, comment on it or share it.

While that can be frustrating, its benefit still needs to be taken into account. Why? Because the lurkers may be the ones hiring you or buying your products or services.

Why should we care about social media lurkers?

Continue reading How Social Media Lurkers Can Boost Your Business

You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway

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Here’s a question I see A LOT in the public relations industry. “Are press releases still necessary?”

Now, if you follow me, you’ll know I’m a fan of press releases. My first guest post ever was for PR Daily on this very subject (Enough with the death of the press release already). So, when I hear talk of their demise, I always feel as if it’s coming from someone who’s just tired of writing press releases.

While I DO believe in the value of press releases and reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, the truth is, you don’t always need to write one whenever you have news to announce, as my recent piece for Muck Rack discusses.

But, even if you don’t really need one, it can be valuable to write one anyway. What do I mean? Let me give you an example. Continue reading You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway

7 Ways Manufacturing Companies Can Take Advantage of PR

Manufacturing companies need PR, too

If you have a company in the manufacturing or industrial markets, PR may be an element that’s missing from your marketing program. Many companies in these verticals overlook PR because they may feel it won’t be worthwhile for them. They may think, “What in the world do we have to talk to the media about?”

The truth is, a lot! The trick is figuring out the most effective way to leverage PR to make it work for you.

For example, I’ve worked with many companies in these markets who have interesting stories to tell. What they needed help with was unearthing these stories, then figuring out the best channels to use to get them out.

“You need to not only create great content, you need to make sure people see it,” says Jay Scheer of Thomasnet.com. “Too many manufacturing companies seem content waiting and waiting for those prospects to magically find their websites, pick up the phone, and sign on the dotted line.”

Traditionally, manufacturing companies have turned somewhat of a blind eye to marketing and PR. But, “As vendor loyalty erodes in the B2B market, manufacturers find ‘they’re almost having to resell their clients,’” said a recent article in Crain’s Chicago Business.

What PR approaches work for manufacturing businesses?

For manufacturers who want to take advantage of public relations, here are seven ways to get started: Continue reading 7 Ways Manufacturing Companies Can Take Advantage of PR