Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5 Keys For Writing A Successful Business Blog



Here are five simple rules to follow for anyone thinking about writing a blog for business.

1. Create a goal of what you would like to achieve.
Like any other business or marketing tactic, a blog should be part of an overall strategy that helps you connect with your targeted audience. Rather than just blogging for blogging sake some thought should be given as to the intent of one’s writing. Will the blog be used for general branding, thought leadership with key executives, or a method of moving a prospective customer further down the sales funnel. Once a goal has been established you can use words and phrases specifically designed to generate the desired result.

2. Write what you know.
A blog for business is exactly that, an outlet to communicate with your audience from a business perspective. If you are an engineer write about engineering. If you are an accountant write about tax tips or ideas to help someone save money. If you are a plumber you can write about preventative maintenance to avoid clogged sinks and drains. Though you may have strong opinions on a variety of subjects this is not a place to opine about politics, religion or movies.

3. Keep it short and succinct.
A business blog is not a whitepaper or an elongated essay. A good rule of thumb is to error on the side of brevity. In most cases 300-500 words should suffice. Sentences should be succinct and the message clear. In most cases one should start with an overriding lead in of what you are trying to convey then follow it up with facts, examples or supporting information.

4. Maintain Consistency.
Many businesses begin a blog then abandon it a month or two down the road. The challenge and time constraint of generating usable content can become problematic, especially for a small business where staff members are already juggling multiple projects trying to meet customer demands. Determine your comfort level for completing blog entries whether it be once per week, every other week or once per month. Outsource this task if necessary. Your goal will not be reached if you do not maintain some type of consistency with your writing.

5. Use a visual(s) to engage the reader.

Nearly all research now points out that any type of article, blog or written piece generates more readership with a visual attached. Check out Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Do you even care to read any material that is not accompanied by a graphic, photo or video? The proper use of visuals, in line with the intent of the article, will help engage readers and encourage them to stay with your blog from start to finish.

For addition PR and marketing tips visit http://www.solomonturner.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is Your Bad Elevator Speech Killing Your PR?



I had the opportunity to watch a friend and speaker, Fred Miller,
 http://www.NoSweatPublicSpeaking.com deliver a great talk recently on how to craft an elevator speech.
The elevator speech, as defined by Wikipedia, is a pitch, speech, or statement used as a short summary to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.
It says the name "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.
The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator is interesting and value adding, the talk will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business card or a scheduled meeting. If not, the two will go on their way.
In most cases today the elevator speech is commonly used at networking events, chamber of commerce meetings, and other business functions. 

Those of us who attend dozens of these events on a regular basis hear hundreds of these introductions per year. Some, who may use Fred’s model or something similar, do a good job of explaining what they do and communicate their value proposition. Others sort of stumble through it and don’t really create a hook or reason to elicit further conversation.

Then there are those who really don’t have an elevator speech at all. Instead they are more apt to introduce themselves, hand you a business card, ask what you do and walk away. Nothing is really communicated. No follow-up action is prompted.

Savvy businesses should make “Networking 101” part of their basic sales training. The objective is to carry over the firm’s mission and unique selling proposition into a nice 30-60 second conversational package.

This can be accomplished by analyzing your web site, standard sales pieces, and marketing materials.

These materials can yield some nice nuggets of what makes your business unique and why clients hire your firm.

Then you can meld in that information with your name and your own personal expertise.

Once you feel comfortable make sure to write it all down. Then time it for length. A standard rule in broadcast copy writing is that about 7 to 7 ½ lines equal 30 seconds. 15 Lines should equal around sixty seconds when spoken at a normal pace.

Once you are pleased with the end result make sure to test it out. You can role play it a few times with a colleague or close business associate. This gives you a chance to fine tune your speech before taking it public.

As companies spend thousands of dollars per year on brand building efforts they should also ensure their team is adequately prepared for short but valuable introductions with prospective clients.

The goal is to maximize the selling effort and communicate value no matter when, where and how long these golden opportunities occur.

Feel free to visit Fred’s website for more information and for PR Tips visit http://www.solomonturner.com


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

4 Quick Lessons Learned From PR Students




I was honored to host a series of roundtables with other public relations professionals at PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Career Development Day in St. Louis.

Each PR professional was asked to facilitate a small roundtable with area college students seeking a career in public relations or communications. The goal was to gain an inside look at the public relations business from a variety of different perspectives.

Students rotated from table to table every thirty minutes. They were able to ask questions from those in corporate communications, in non-profit communications, with large public relations firms and with small public relations firms.

The roundtables revealed a few interesting perspectives from the students at my table.

1. Selective social media plays a key factor in the students’ lives. No surprise here but contrary to recent studies many of the students utilize Facebook to a great extent. This contradicts some recent research that indicated teenagers and young adults were abandoning that medium for other sites. Some, closer to graduation, are starting to utilize LinkedIn. Instagram was also mentioned along with YouTube and Twitter.

2. Internships are crucial to securing a job. The students realize they need to have work experience in public relations to enhance their chances of finding full time employment. Some indicated it is important to have two to three internships just to be considered by larger more selective PR firms.

3. Pursuit of a master’s degree is becoming a necessity. Several of the students commented that a master’s degree is almost like the equivalent of what a high school diploma was in the past. Companies have a large pool of candidates to select from and a master’s degree places the student on at least equal footing with others. In some cases it can elevate them above the pack.

4. Students realized they have to make their own breaks. Most understood they have to take an aggressive approach in their pursuit of job opportunities. We were asked repeatedly about potential job openings and internships at our firm. Many of the students have even followed-up with us with connections on LinkedIn.


Overall I was impressed with the background and aggressive nature of most of the students. It left a positive imprint with at least one PR pro that the future of the public relations profession will be in good hands.

For more information on public relations visit Solomon/Turner PR

Monday, February 24, 2014

5 Marketing Lessons Learned From Generation "Like"



The PBS Frontline program “Generation Like” was one of the most revealing documentaries on marketing we have seen in years. While its main focus was on today’s teenagers and social media, many of the marketing strategies and approaches can apply across a wide range of age group segments. While some of the program’s insights are known to most marketers, so much is not. This is what you should know…

1. Today’s teens, and probably a multitude of adults, have become empowered through the use of social media.  Programs like MTV’s TRL once told kids what songs and products were “hip” and “cool”. They communicated what you should listen to, wear, and see in order to be “popular”.  But that has changed and replaced by a new kind of online currency of likes, re-tweets, comments and YouTube viewership.
These likes define today’s teens as who they are. Where once a t-shirt and a bedroom poster where what really mattered, as the program said, “Today you are what you like.”

2. Teens love to interact with their favorite brands, movies, film stars and recording artists through various online methods. Many youngsters are quick to jump to these fan websites where they can compete for online badges and virtual prizes. Other sites encourage them to simply sign-up and get discounts and first-to-know news about their favorite products. Corporate marketers have taken note. They use these type of games and contests to amass large amounts of information on each individual and the teens are anxiously willing to give it to them.

3. Savvy marketers are actively designing campaigns based on your personality profile comprised of your likes and your friends’ likes. Most online consumers are watching this evolve before their eyes. Once you like a brand the marketing experts can decipher what other types of products you like and send you messages pertinent to your age and what you find important. “Like” skateboarding for example and you may get messages and offers from helmet manufacturers, athletic shoe and sporting goods companies. “Like” a certain clothing store and you could get messages from jeans companies, cosmetic firms and jewelry shops.

4. Brands are increasingly using social media created celebrities to communicate messaging and move product. You may not have heard of Tyler Oakley, but if you have a teenager chances are they have. Oakley is an Internet sensation whose views on life are watched by millions of youngsters on YouTube. Speaking of likes Oakley has 1 million+ likes on his Facebook page. As the documentary pointed out brands like Taco Bell are jumping on the Oakley bandwagon and finding ways for him to incorporate product into his videos. These YouTube segments have not only created a sense of empowerment for Oakley but also a nice source of income for the social media star. Marketers have realized that a positive endorsement from Oakley can carry a lot of weight in the shopping aisle.

5. Teenagers use the same marketing techniques used on them to use on each other. While teenagers are bombarded by ads on TV, radio and Internet they don’t mind shouting out some of those same messages to their online friends. Get a message on social media about the launch of a new of athletic shoe, a new movie, or a new fast food burger and surely you want to enjoy the empowerment of being the first one to tweet it to all your online friends. Those friends suddenly begin re-tweeting that news as well and the brand keeps extending its reach infinitely. In essence teens are not only the target of the marketing message they become major players in the campaign.
The benefit of all this to the marketer of course is that they can watch it take place in real time and study analytics to measure the success of their effort.

This information rich documentary is valuable viewing to anyone in advertising, branding, marketing or public relations. To watch the entire video visit PBS  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/PBS Frontline Generation Like

For more public relations and marketing insights visit Solomon/Turner PR Solomon/Turner PR












Thursday, February 13, 2014

Six Reasons to Use Photography in Your PR Campaign



The dynamic use of photography can play a large role in any public relations or marketing campaign.

Most PR professionals understand the importance of photos when used to introduce new corporate executives and key staff additions. However the use of this medium should not stop there.

1. Photos can be used to add clarity and vision to any marketing initiative. “Action” images of products in use, executives speaking to groups or organizations, and employees at work and/or company outings, can add a different perspective for stakeholders and target audiences.

2. Photographs are ideal for use on corporate websites, blogs, email newsletters, and marketing materials. They also are a perfect fit for social media purposes and can be linked on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.

3. Photos can be made into a video. A digital album of photos at a product demonstration or event can be easily made into a video for either in-house or outreach purposes.

4. This task should be assigned to a skilled professional photographer who understands the perspective, outcome and goals desired. We are not talking “selfies” or “Anyone have an  iPhone” type photos here.

5. A well skilled photographer has the right equipment to accurately capture the moment and add depth and value to the presentation.

6. Done properly, a set of well executed photographs adds warmth, understanding, and assists in the perceptive value associated with the overall strategic goal of the campaign.

It can take the marketing initiative to a whole new level. Well beyond what just words can provide.

For more visit Solomon/Turner PR     http://www.solomonturner.com


Photo courtesy freedigitalimages.net Woman Holding Camera bigjom

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

4 For 14: PR Tips For The New Year


 The new year is upon us and that means it’s time to take a hard look at your public relations and marketing strategy for 2014.

Four trending topics stand out to help you better connect with your targeted audience, confirm or change perceptions with stakeholders and clients, and convert more prospects into customers.

1. Use more video.  










Statistics indicate that the use of video is one of the fastest growing marketing segments.

This includes not only posting your videos on your website but using them as tools spread across a multitude of social channels.

YouTube is certainly the leader of that pack. It has become the number two search engine. According to YouTube statistics more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month. You can read all about it here
 http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html

Video channels do not stop there. Depending on your targeted audience you could also consider
Daily Motion, Instagram, Veho, Vine and more.

You do not need a video that goes “viral” to be successful. In fact shorter, more frequently distributed videos can do much to reinforce your message and bring a more human element to your communications strategy.

Studies have shown that videos used in email newsletters greatly enhance open rates by as much as 60%.

It is also relatively easy to measure the return on investment as the video channels can provide viewership  numbers and, depending on the package utilized, click through rates and more.

2. Use more audio. 













Video is getting most of the headlines but audio podcasts can also be an effective strategic tool.

Audio podcasts are easier to produce and the investment in equipment is a lot more affordable than building a video studio.

Unlike video, you can bring in experts and other sources from distant locations and interview them as part of the production.

Similar to video the audio podcast is great for messaging and is shown to enhance open rates in email newsletters.

3. Create PowerPoint presentations. 















Once thought of only as a tool for conferences and seminars, a PowerPoint is a great way to connect with your audience through online methodology.

Slides can be created that are much more than text. You can add attention grabbing graphics, photos and even videos to the presentation.

Microsoft Office and other software programs have many templates to assist in the process.

Once completed, the PowerPoint can be uploaded and shared to dedicated sights such as SlideShare

The benefits are many including establishing yourself and your firm as experts in your field and providing excellent content to use in emails, sales calls, trade shows and other vehicles.

4. Do More Storytelling.  














The growth of social media is having a far reaching effect on how individuals wish to receive their information.

The growing number of social savvy consumers is creating an audience that wants to be “spoken to”, not “talked at”.

This includes more than sending out press releases on social sites concerning your latest product introduction but rather explaining the human element behind it.

Instead tell a story using photos, graphs and charts. Add video or audio. Explain the “why”, and how it will benefit the user.

Increasing the use of video, audio, and PowerPoints with a storytelling approach will help lay the groundwork for a successful marketing and PR strategy in 2014.

For more click here Solomon/Turner

photo of video camera courtesy of njaj at  FreeDigitalPhotos.net
photo of microphone courtesy of kittisak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
photo of man reading news in laptop courtesy of David Castillio Dominci at FreeDigitalPhotos.net