Before You Pitch

Today I want to welcome guest blogger, Emily Sidley from Three Girls, a PR firm that specializes in Media Relations. Too often people slap together a few random items and flood the media channels in hopes that someone will pick up the news. Follow these steps and you’ll have a much better chance of being noticed.

Securing media coverage takes time. A lot of consumers think getting coverage is just a matter of calling up a reporter, but in reality it takes a lot more work behind-the-scenes to be ready to contact the media.

Reporters are busy people. They have constant deadlines, and don’t have the time to wait for you to compile info or take photos, so make sure you’re ready before you approach them. Anticipate what they’re going to ask for so you can send it right away when they ask.

For each campaign we put together at Three Girls, we have a checklist of items to prepare prior to press pitching:

  • A Virtual Press Kit: This document includes contact information, information about the company in who-what-where format and high-res images. We always recommend posting it online so anyone you’re talking to has 24/7 access to it (see our client page for an example). If you don’t have a place to post a press kit on your site, you should at least have it ready to go in case information or images are requested.
  • 3-5 High-Res Images: Although these are included in the Virtual Press Kit, I wanted to go into more detail. It’s important to have several images for the media to choose from. For print publications, they need to be at least 300-dpi and 3×5 in size, although larger is okay too. We also recommend a plain white background so the media outlet’s art department has more options (they can drop it into a collage of products, make the background whatever color/design they want, etc).
  • A Sample Letter: This document is most of the same information in the Virtual Press Kit, but limited to one page. We have clients send this one-page information sheet in every single package they send out to provide the journalist with vital information they can reference quickly.
  • A Sample Package: Prior to press-pitching, we make sure all our clients have Sample Packages that will really “Wow!” the press. They don’t need to have a lot of bells and whistles, but they do need to be clean, sharp and look professional. Before you contact the media, make sure you have everything you need to ship a few samples, including boxes, tissue paper, packing tape, etc.
  • A Fact Sheet: For clients that offer a service as opposed to a product, we create a Fact Sheet to send interested journalists in lieu of a Sample Letter. This is the same information that’s in the Virtual Press Kit as well, but formatted more like a bulleted list that is easy to skim and pull specifics from quickly.

Did I miss anything? What else would you make sure you have ready to go prior to pitching?

Twitter Chatter: Optimize Marketing with Metrics

By Lauren Carlson – CRM Market Analyst

In ye olde days of marketing (a few years ago), marketers had limited tools for tracking metrics. They could monitor simple things such as open and click rates for email campaigns, but they didn’t have much visibility beyond that. With modern technology and tools, such as marketing automation software, marketers have access to actionable marketing analytics that give them visibility into how marketing campaigns are performing and directly affection ROI. Lisa Cramer of LeadLife Solutions contributed a post to the Marketing Automation Software Guide site outlining the most important metrics to measure and how marketers can use that data to improve performance and better understand their impact on revenue.
In the past, organizations had a very limited view of the funnel: qualified opportunities to sales. However, this view omits important steps in the lead life-cycle. In order to send the most highly qualified leads to sales, marketing needs a complete view of the lead life-cycle, tracking lead origin and intent based on area or level of interest. Finally, they need to see what percentage of leads generated turned into closed deals so that they can measure the effectiveness of their efforts.
This seems like a lot of data to track, but new systems and processes make it possible. Let’s say, for example, that a marketer sends out an email campaign that links to a landing page. That landing page is linked to similar pages of interest. Here are some metrics that marketing should be tracking:
  • Clicks and opens (old school, but still important)
  • Most popular links, if there were multiple
  • How many clicks turned into conversions
  • What other pages did visitors navigate to?
  • Time spent on other pages.
The next step depends on your lead management process. Leads need to be scored based on behavior/demographic information so that you can determine if they are “sales ready” or not. Let’s say that your system scores leads automatically. With this next set of metrics, you can gain insight into how well-targeted your email campaign was overall, as well as drill down into individual aspects such as engagement, timing, content, etc.
  • How many leads were considered “sales ready”?
  • How many leads never converted?
  • How many leads were passed to sales and over what period of time?
  • How many “sales ready” leads moved on to become opportunities?
  • How many opportunities became closed deals and what revenue came from each?
  • What was the total amount of revenue attributed to the campaign?
Tracking these metrics helps marketing understand how well they are performing. Why is this important? Because more and more, companies are realizing marketing’s impact on the company’s bottom line. With access to these new systems and metrics, marketing can better track their performance, improve their method and help drive company growth.
You can read the article in full on the Marketing Automation Software Guide blog.

The Next Social Media Trend: Geolocation and its Business Application.

By Johanna Stutz

Consider for a moment the speed at which the tech industry evolves. If you are not part of the newest “thing”, then you are behind in your online marketing potential.
The most difficult part of following these trends in not identifying them, but leveraging them for business.

Let us consider the new attention to geolocation sharing sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Both sites use GPS to verify their uses location to their “check-in.” Both are claiming tens-of-thousands of new users weekly.

Often referred to as location-based social networking, these sites build off of the use of smartphones, status updates and connecting with people you know by highlighting your current location.

But how do you leverage this behavior in the business world?

Option 1: Your Website

WordPress has already built an inventory of plugins and widgets that can identify the geolocation of the visitors of your site. Web content or ads can be altered depending on the region, city or neighborhood of each viewer.

Option 2: Email Marketing

Automatically segment your email mailing list into geolocation groups and tailor marketing campaigns to the needs of these different groups. How? Through Mail Chimp WordPress plugin.

Option 3: Play the Game

The most enticing aspect of joining these Geolocation sites is the users ability to turn real life into a game. Users earn “badges” for checking-in to specific locations or types of location numerous times. Some businesses give out discounts and other rewards to the current most-frequent visitor (mayor) or individual who have reached a minimum required number. As a participating business you gain valuable information on the demographics of these individuals who have digitally confirmed to the world that they visit your place of business.

There are other possible applications for location-sharing –a travel blog comes to mind.
However, successful marketing with this new service, as with any other, requires that you make it work for your needs.

Twitter Chatter: Dealing with Findability Disaster

Dealing with Findability Disaster
At some time every business owner will have to deal with an unhappy customer. That unhappiness can be heard even louder over the internet. You must know how to quickly and effectively drown out the negativity with the positive voices of your many satisfied customers.