Using Social Media as a Newswire

We recently participated in a survey by TekGroup who were interested in finding out how social media users are following, sharing, posting and monitoring news on various social media outlets. In their ‘2015 Social Media News Survey Report’ -survey respondents indicated they are using social media tools habitually with more than 90% saying they use Twitter, Facebook, and blogs on a daily basis to follow and monitor news and information. We thought we would share some tidbits we found interesting.

Image of news release with soical media icons Where do social media users go?

73% use press releases when following, sharing, or posting news info. Your news releases must be available on your online newsroom when you use social media for distribution. Links from Twitter and Facebook should go directly to your online newsroom and your branded press release.

Controlling your own story on social media

84% of survey takers believe news gathered via social media sources are more timely than traditional media. It is imperative that you update your corporate social media sites regularly so that you are in control of your own story. Being able to publish your news content on your online newsroom and then making it immediately available on social channels will increase your chances of reaching your audience in a more timely fashion.

Gaining visibility

88% believe social media tools are important for following/monitoring news and information. A lot of people are alerted to breaking news using social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter. By including your own corporate news on these channels, you give your organization more visibility in the social media universe.

Just how important is social media to news content

With 95% of users finding social media an important vehicle for sharing and recommending news and information, it is essential that you have social sharing icons readily available on all of your news content, not just press releases, but also photos, videos and other news assets.

The key take-away?

More and more bloggers and journalists are writing about companies every day – both positive and negative stories. Comments on Facebook and message boards also are becoming more commonplace as areas to discuss products, services and companies. Make sure that you are involved and engaged with posting and writing content on a regular basis. You can download the full report here: http://www.tekgroup.com/social-media-news-survey/

Are you fully taking advantage of social media to share your story? We can help! Contact storylinePR and tell us your story.

_______________
About the Author Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

3 Essential Steps to Media Coverage

Image of keyboard with news buttonGetting media coverage for your story is hard work. It takes initial and continued effort to build your relationship with reporters and media outlets.

Below we provide you with 3 essential steps to telling your brand story to media. From laying the ground work to pitching your story and following-up, we outline best practices along with some helpful links to our blog.

Step 1: Lay the groundwork

Step 2: Pitch your story

Step 3: Leverage media coverage

_______________

About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Surprise and Delight your Customers

a supriseWe are big fans of ‘Surprise and Delight’ marketing. How can you not be? The impact is emotional and powerful. The term is fairly new to the marketing realm, but the concept isn’t.

Designed to be fun, ‘Surprise and Delight’ is a marketing strategy where companies randomly select an individual or group to receive a gift or experience.

The unexpected “wow” factor, coupled with a personal touch, is what makes marketing human and memorable.

Not all brands have the kind of budget to pull off a campaign on the same scale as some of these examples, but with the right strategy in place, you can create an impression with your customers in creative and cost effective ways.

Here are a few of our fav’s.  These should get the creative juices flowing. Enjoy!

Westjet

Thanks to a team of merry WestJetters and the power of technology, Westjet showed their customers miracles really do happen with this video. Read their blog post to learn more about the making of this video.

TD Thanking Machine

TD turns ATMs into ‘Automated Thanking Machines’ to create some very special moments for customers across Canada using the hashtag #TDThanksYou

Tropicana

Tropicana brings the sun to the Canadian Arctic after 31 days without sunlight in their “Brighter mornings for brighter days” campaign.

Coca-Cola

A Coca-Cola delivery truck is converted into a happiness machine on wheels delivering “doses” of happiness in the streets of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Honda Loves You Back

In appreciation of  fans, Honda set out to put a smile on a few faces. Watch what happened when they paid the parking fee for some Honda lovers at a recent NHL hockey game.

Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons surprised customers by taking away their senses and inviting them to Get into the Dark. What happens next is an experience with Tims Dark Roast that no one saw coming…

Dove Real Beauty Sketches Campaign

What women in the world didn’t fall in love with this campaign? As women, we are our own worst beauty critics. Dove decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.  Talk about surprise and delight.

What’s your fav?

Makes you want to go out and surprise and delight your customers right now doesn’t it? What’s your favorite surprise and delight marketing campaign? Share here in the comments.

_______________

About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

How to connect to reporters through social media

Journalists are leveraging social media to distribute news content and engage their communities. They are also looking for news stories.

Media outlets have made it very easy for you to connect with reporters by listing the bios of their journalists as well as links to their social media accounts and email addresses.  Here are a few examples:

CTV News Ottawa
CTV News Ottawa provides a list reporters with links the outlet’s Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts. If you click on an individual reporter, you’ll have access to their bio, Twitter account and email address.

Image of CTV Ottawa(click to enlarge)

The Ottawa Citizen
Many outlets maintain Twitter lists of their current reporters. The Ottawa Citizen is one  of them.  Nine times out of ten, reporters will outline what they cover along with contact details in their profile. This is a great way to quickly find the reporter who covers topics that will be relevant for your business.

Image of Ottawa Citizen(click to enlarge)

The Globe and Mail
Every Globe and Mail reporter, columnist and contributor has a page on the Globe and Mail site that feature bios, contact information, RSS feeds and Twitter feeds.  What we like about this outlets’ page is that after linking to a journalist, it provides a  list of their ‘latest stories’ so that you can get a sense of their writing style and what they cover to better target your pitch.

Image of Globe and Mail(click to enlarge)

We recommend building a relationship first before pitching to journalists directly through Twitter or Facebook. It’s a great way to find the right media contacts and craft the right story to pitch through traditional channels.

_______________

About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Tell your story with photos for better media pick-up

Compelling photography can help tell your story and enhance your key messages. The more interesting your photo that accompanies your news release, the greater your chances of media pick-up.

CNW Group offers some great tips in a video entitled ‘Photos the Media Will Notice’ with some great examples of the following:

  • Be creative. A shot of the shop floor is more interesting than the “grip and grin.”
  • Be bright. Lighting can make the difference between a spectacular photo and a terrible one.
  • Use tight, detailed shots. They add flavour to the story, creating intimacy with the viewer.
  • Capture actions and reactions. Don’t stage your photos!
  • Include a caption. Give your photo context.
  •  Let a professional do it.

Do you have an eye for effective PR photos?

Vote for the winner of CNW’s 2013 Photo of the Year Contest!

After you vote, you’ll see if your number one choice is garnishing the most attention.  How did you do?

_______________

Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Are you investing in all your media channels?

When we think of channels, we often think social and online channels. Business owners rarely think in context of media channels, but they should.
Image of hand written notes Channels should be thought as owned, earned and paid media. There’s a difference not only in the way you attract attention to your products and services, but also who you attract as well as the dollar investment you make.

  • Owned media is when you leverage a channel you create and control, speaking directly to your customers and prospects with email and direct mail, on your company blog, website, and social media channels.
  • Earned media is where print / broadcast media and the public share your content. Your customers, prospects and news outlets become the channel.
  • Paid media is when you pay dollars to leverage a third-party channel, such as sponsorships and advertising.

Earned media is obviously the most attractive to businesses. With owned media getting harder and harder to break through the noise, good publicity in trusted media is a powerful tool for building recognition with customers, potential customers, suppliers and investors. As good as old-fashioned ‘word of mouth’, it’s usually considered more credible than paid and owned media and can be achieved cost effectively.

However, it’s equally important to be ‘investing’ in all three media channels or order to optimize traffic and customer growth. Ideally, businesses should be investing 50% of their efforts into earned media and the balance split between owned and paid media channels, depending on your resources and budget.

How much of an investment are you making make in your media channels?

_______________

Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Tips on DIY media outreach

Finding the right media contact is not an easy task, especially as of late, with media continually evolving  and reporters changing roles and outlets.  One would think that it would be easier given the digital media landscape with information literally at our  finger tips – but that’s not necessarily the case. Twitter accounts with profiles descriptions such as “Ottawa Citizen Reporter” are not overly helpful in finding the right media contact at The Citizen to share your story, am I right?

In a perfect world, reporters would update their social media accounts with bio information that described what they cover in more detail. Here are a few examples of Ottawa Citizen reporters who do this well.  (Most reporters from the Citizen and other outlets also do this well – we chose these three examples – there are others.  In addition, many twitter accounts for media outlets also provide twitter lists of their reporters by topic).  

At a quick glance, you can tell if your story is the right fit for these reporters:

Image of Janet Wilson's twitter profileImage of Pauline Tam's Twitter profileSome even provide email addresses to share story ideas and invite followers to other social media channels as in this last example.

Image of Meghan Hurley's Twitter profile

3 Steps to a Successful Pitch  

Beyond the obvious of delivering news value, the key to pitching  is to understand reporters and what they’re really looking for. I recommend that if you want to dabble in DIY media outreach, that you follow these three steps.

  1. Read the tweets and Facebook updates from media outlets.
  2. Watch the conversations being created around the news that is being reported.  Follow Twitter feeds. Be an observer of news for your industry.
  3. Follow the source of the news. Find the names of the reporters who cover your specific topic and search for articles by those reporters.  Subscribe to their feeds. Get a sense of their writing style, what they do and do not cover to better target your pitch.

One last thing…

When pitching a story idea, it’s important to understand the life of a reporter. Here is a link to an older post you might find helpful, or at the very least – insightful.  http://storylinepr.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/a-reporters-job-and-yours/

Reporters, I ask you this…

Wouldn’t it be nice to read ONLY pitches on topics you cover? Granted, this approach of full disclosure on social media profiles, may open the floodgates to more pitches. It will also not stop the non-news marketing pitches being disguised as press releases, nor will it stop those who do not do their homework, but don’t you think it will lessen the number of times you have to hit the delete key? Who knows – there may be gem or two in there that you would have not otherwise received!

New Year’s Resolutions to Kickstart your PR

image of 2013 clockDo you have New Year’s resolutions set for your business in 2013? I have many. On the top of my list is face time. Personally, I plan to get out from behind my computer screen and set more appointments for coffee / lunch with cherished colleagues, (who I have cancelled on far too many times in 2012 than I care to admit). I want to reach out to new contacts that I have established a rapport on social media & have been wanting to meet in person to further build on those relationships. 

I also intend to work smarter, not harder. Here at the office, we’ve been really focused on our new business model. We’ve been testing various elements of storylinePRO for several months now and are very excited about our 2013 launch. Details to come.

Does your PR need a kickstart in 2013?
We’ve highlighted the following New Year’s resolutions for you to consider to kickstart your business PR profile.

Write Better Headlines

Whether it’s a blog post, a news release, email campaign or a Facebook or Twitter update, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about restructuring your headlines in 2013 to appeal to a broader audience.  There are a couple of reasons for this… 

a)  
The headline is what journalists see first in news room wires and the first thing your audience sees in RSS feeds, email in-boxes and status updates on social media. You have to make it compelling to ensure your message gets the attention it deserves. 

b)
Search engines place extra weight upon the text at the top of the page and only index the first 65 characters of the headline. 

Addressing both these issues when creating headlines can be challenging, but can be accomplished keeping these tips in mind… 1. Think like a journalist 2. Point out the benefits and 3. Be concise.

Stop ‘Selling’ and Start ‘Telling’ your Story

Great communication is about telling stories well. Some of the largest and savviest organizations are using “stories” as a core foundation of their marketing efforts and are discovering that storytelling is very powerful in the world PR. Public Relations is no longer about developing messages to be pushed to the media. Rather than tug on the sleeves of the media and beg for mentions, tell your story – everyone has one, what’s yours? In this issue of ePRnews, we shared some tips on understanding the use of stories in PR.

Add  More Video

And speaking of storytelling, video can bring your stories to life, creating emotion and visually stimulating assets to drive home points that your audience cares most about. It just takes a little creativity, a good story and solid planning.  Here is a recent ePRnews newsletter on this very subject.

Evaluate your Social Media PR Channels

Journalists and bloggers who are at the top of your pitch lists – consume content digitally. Sharing on social media can have a lasting effect on the online visibility of your message. Ensure that you have the right set of social media PR channels to tell your story.  Of course, it doesn’t make sense to invest time and effort in a particular social network if your clients are not there. How do you determine where they spend their time? The easiest way is to ask.  Compile a quick survey!

Build Relationships with Media

Invest time in building relationships with reporters, not just media databases.  Watch the conversations being created around the news that is being reported in your industry.  Follow the source of the news. Find the names of the journalists who cover your specific topic. Search for articles by those journalists and start engaging.

Target your Pitch

Remembering a media survey we stumbled across a few years back, it revealed startling stats….  ‘Over half of journalists say unsolicited pitches result in a story only “1% to 20%” of the time and 44% say only “0 to 25%” of the pitches they receive are related to what they cover’.  On behalf of my industry, “tisk.. tisk…” You will have invested a lot of time and research into ‘the perfect pitch’, so make sure you are sending it to the right media contacts that would have a genuine interest in your story.

Our Thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions
Setting goals is a wonderful thing for your business and your spirit. A new year ahead with nothing but promise and inspiration is rejuvenating. What other New Year’s resolutions have you planned for your business that will kick-start your PR profile in 2013?

Storytelling and digital deal breakers for business

Image of thumbs up and downIn today’s digital landscape, companies are all about storytelling, engagement across multiple platforms and increasing their online presence.  As consumers, we no longer let our fingers ‘physically’ do the walking, but rather, we Google companies and follow them on social media when we are in the market for their products and services. But as a business owner, have you ever considered using Google search when a new prospect lands in your lap? We have… and we did. Here’s our story… 

Read more

10 tips for building your online newsroom

In a recent issue of ePRnews, we featured some key benefits and quick tips for building an online newsroom on your website. Since then, we’ve received calls & emails from our readers asking to learn more, so we thought we would post those checklist items with a little more detail here to benefit all.  

Image of news headline

Here are a few facts to you should know up front 

  • Social PR communications tools are vital in today’s digital media landscape.  As journalists have converged into the digital realm, creating a content rich and up-to-date online newsroom is key.
  • Online newsrooms provide journalists and editors with background information that’s needed to develop accurate and timely news stories.
  • Statistics tell us that journalists and editors are searching the web for information on companies, just like yours, more and more everyday. If that isn’t motivation enough to get your online newsroom up to snuff,we don’t know what is!

We hope you find a couple of good nuggets of information on what to include in order to build an effective online newsroom.

Read more