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Are You REALLY Ready for a PR Push? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself First

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It’s a noisy environment out there. With EVERY brand competing for a customer’s attention, it isn’t easy to stand out.

Often I talk with prospective clients who think public relations will be the answer to all their visibility challenges. Alas, it’s not a magic potion.

A very important question to ask yourself is: Are you really ready for PR?

Of course, as a PR pro, I want your answer to be yes, because I believe so strongly in the value of public relations as part of a thought leadership effort and digital marketing program. But sometimes, you may think you’re ready….when, in fact, you may not be.

PR can help a company capture a prospective customer’s eye – and it’s more credible than ads. 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads. And digital PR is something every client is interested in.

As the PR market grows (10.2% growth was projected in 2021), it’s reasonable to expect that more companies than ever will consider embarking on a public relations program.

But – it does take some effort to get where you want to be.

10 Questions to Consider to Determine If You’re Ready for PR

Think you’re ready to try a PR push?

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself to determine if you’re truly prepared to start a public relations effort: Continue reading Are You REALLY Ready for a PR Push? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself First

Journalists Sound Off on How PR Pros Can Improve Media Pitches

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While we hear PR pros talk about how often their pitches go ignored – we don’t always hear the other side.

Journalists have some REAL complaints about practices public relations practitioners engage in that make their jobs more difficult. Unfortunately, these missteps can also make it tougher for PR pros to develop the relationships they want – and need – to do a better job of landing earned media coverage on behalf of clients.

We know that securing stories is more difficult than ever (the struggle IS real), but sometimes, those who practice public relations can be their own worst enemies.

During a recent Twitter exchange with Ellen Chang, @EllenYChang, a journalist who writes for U.S. News and other national media outlets, I was surprised to learn of behaviors practiced by some PR practitioners that sabotage those relationships.

In the spirit of helping public relations pros improve their relationships with reporters – and in turn, their results for clients – here are some basic PR 101 tips for those who pitch stories, directly from Chang and a few others who offered tips.

Pitching Tips to Help Land Earned Media Coverage

Continue reading Journalists Sound Off on How PR Pros Can Improve Media Pitches

5 Marketing Lessons to Learn from Oatly’s Outside the Box Approach

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Have you heard of Oatly?

I’ve been an admirer of the Swedish oat milk brand for a while now. No, I’m not a customer of theirs, but I appreciate how they do things differently.

Oatly has been both praised and criticized for its approach to advertising and marketing. It must be doing something right, with sales up 106% in 2020 – and it was named to the 2021 Time 100 Most Influential List. The company is now worth $12.5 billion after its initial public offering in May.

Even though Oatly is newer to American consumers, the company is nearly 30 years old (its founders invented oat milk in 1994). So when CEO Toni Petersson joined the company in 2014, he rebranded it and decided to market Oatly in the U.S. With the plant-based milk market growing here, it turned out to be a good bet.

Oatly is an example of how sometimes marching to the beat of your own drummer can set you apart – in a good way.

How Oatly Is Finding Success by Marching to the Beat of Its Own Drummer

Continue reading 5 Marketing Lessons to Learn from Oatly’s Outside the Box Approach

Is PR For Sale?

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There’s an unsettling trend in the PR industry that’s causing frustration for PR pros AND clients alike.

PR appears to be for sale.

Publications selling articles. Organizations hawking awards. Broadcast media peddling placements.

Public relations pros are shaking their heads. As if it weren’t already hard enough to explain what we do, now we have to explain that true earned media isn’t for sale.

True Earned Media Never Comes with a Guarantee

Continue reading Is PR For Sale?

Proactive PR Versus Reactive PR: Which Should You Focus On?

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Public relations is enjoying a bit of a resurgence. As businesses strive to stand out in a noisy digital environment, they’re turning to PR to help achieve those goals.

Why is PR seeing a spike in popularity? “The rising need to gain competitive advantage is driving the public relations market,” says a survey published by Wise Guy Reports. The report says the market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7% from 2021, reaching $117.8 billion in 2023.

As PR pros everywhere will probably tell you, while this is good news, it’s not without its challenges. More competition for the attention of journalists makes it tougher to land earned media coverage for clients.

On that note, more than 42% of journalists reported receiving 11 to 100 pitches a day, and almost 5% receive 100+ email pitches per day, according to research conducted by Fractl.

As public relations pros, we have to discover which methods are most effective at catching a reporter’s eye. A solid media relations strategy should encompass proactive and reactive approaches to increase a client’s visibility. Let’s take a closer look at each, specifically as it pertains to media outreach. Continue reading Proactive PR Versus Reactive PR: Which Should You Focus On?

Making 2021 Marketing Plans Knowing That Change Is the Only Constant

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The new year has arrived. But what will it hold? As we make 2021 marketing plans, how can we place bets on the best way to organize those plans when there are still so many questions to be answered?

This time of year, many marketers make predictions on what businesses should focus on as we face the new year. But in this instance, can we even begin to predict what lies ahead?

Instead, let’s take a look at what we do – and don’t – know that can help us construct our best marketing plan.

What We DO Know As We Make 2021 Marketing Plans

Continue reading Making 2021 Marketing Plans Knowing That Change Is the Only Constant

21 Influencers Share Stellar Advice for Digital Marketing in 2021

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As we prepare to enter a new year, we all wonder what lies ahead.

2020 was anything but predictable. But what can we learn and apply to our digital marketing and communications strategies in 2021?

I asked 21 influencers to share their thoughts on this question: What one piece of marketing advice would you offer to brands as we head into the new year?

Here’s what they had to say.

Advice for Digital Marketing in 2021

Continue reading 21 Influencers Share Stellar Advice for Digital Marketing in 2021

5 Reasons to Over-Communicate With Your Audiences Right Now – and What to Say

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As we catch our breath from the past few weeks of dealing with the coronavirus quarantine, one thing has become apparent – companies are anxious to keep in touch with their audiences. They’re just not sure what to say to them.

With our daily routines as we know them on pause for now, brands are searching for ways to stay in contact with their employees, customers and other stakeholders.

And, some are in doubt about the best way to do this. Should we post on social media? Should we email? Should it be business as usual?

The answers to that question are differ from brand to brand. In this time of uncertainty, no one formula works for everyone.

The worst thing companies can do right now is to stop communicating. If anything, now is a time when you should over-communicate.

5 Reasons You Want to Over-Communicate With Your Audiences

Continue reading 5 Reasons to Over-Communicate With Your Audiences Right Now – and What to Say

Media Pitching in the Age of Coronavirus – Should We? Or Shouldn’t We?

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As we navigate these uncharted waters together, PR pros, we have questions.

One question I see coming up a lot is – can I pitch the media my non-virus related news? Or should I hold off for fear of overwhelming journalists or the news getting lost in the flood of COVID19 stories?

As fellow public relations professionals continued to ask me about this – and I was also wondering – I decided to take the question to Twitter to ask journalists and communicators for their take.

The responses were mixed. Let’s look at some replies on both sides of the issue. Continue reading Media Pitching in the Age of Coronavirus – Should We? Or Shouldn’t We?

5 Ways Manufacturing Companies Can Ramp Up Their Digital Marketing Game

Does your manufacturing company need PR

Today’s manufacturing and industrial companies face a marketing challenge. Many seem to be stuck in the past, when relationships were the key to closing deals and winning new customers.

Now, with the advent of digital marketing, some manufacturers are caught unprepared. Their websites aren’t mobile-friendly. They’ve done little or no content marketing, social media or PR. They may be wondering what to do to catch up with their internet-savvy competitors.

“As vendor loyalty erodes in the B2B market, manufacturers find ‘they’re almost having to resell their clients,’” according to an article in Crain’s Chicago Business.

Buyers Are Changing

Continue reading 5 Ways Manufacturing Companies Can Ramp Up Their Digital Marketing Game