The foundation of public relations is relationships — specifically, forming, developing and maintaining them. Our relationships with journalists are as important as they are delicate. But whether you work with journalists or clients, you must conduct yourself as a business professional.
First and foremost, be relevant and stand out. No one wants to pass along information that is considered outdated. Your customers and clients want to share content that makes them sound like thought leaders. Update your audience with new data, share your community relations efforts or discuss what’s happening in your industry and how it affects your customers. Share anything else that positions you as a leader.
Before sending anything to the media, follow these simple tips:
- Do lots of research. Be clear about what a reporter covers before contacting one.
- Check out media websites. Review titles and departments so that you call the right person. When in doubt, speak with the department manager or secretary and ask who your point of contact should be. This shows you did your homework and that you respect the journalist’s time.
- Be courteous. During each and every conversation you have with a journalist, thank the individual for taking time to speak with you. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and you will appreciate the publicity you snagged for your business.
How have you been able to build strong relationships with the media? Share your success stories in the comments below.
If someone tells you a story, will you remember most of it in an hour? In a day? A big part of public relations is listening to what your client has to say and not just hearing them. A recent article in The New York Times said, “The difference between the sense of hearing and the skill of listening is attention.” Today’s world is full of distractions that pull us every which way. Now, more than ever, we need to hone our listening skills.
Whether speaking with a client, a staff member or a friend, it’s important that we go beyond hearing someone and really internalize what they have to say. So how do you become a better listener? First, remove all distractions. Turn your phone to silent, put your laptop away and be present in the moment. When someone needs your attention, be mindful to not to be consumed by your thoughts — give them your undivided attention.
Another tip is to read between the lines. Often, we say one thing but mean another. Pay attention to body language, facial expressions and word choices: These will give you further insight into what a person means — not just says. To avoid confusion, feel free to ask a lot of questions and clarify what you heard. This way, you can be sure you received the right message.
What do you think makes a good listener? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Many businesses are still recovering from the recession in 2008. It’s been a roller coaster of uncertainty. Revenue is down and costs are high at your organization, yet other companies are doing well. So what are they doing differently?
While you’re looking inward and spending as little as possible, your competitors are investing in new products and services to meet market demand. In addition, they’re implementing brand strategies and setting long-term goals, regardless of the current state of the economy.
Don’t risk becoming obsolete. Consider the following strategies to strengthen your brand:
Aim high. Think big and set ambitious goals. Focus on expanding your business and consider ideas you haven’t tried before. For example, you might decide to double your sales, increase your Web traffic by 100 percent and attend two more events than you did last year.
Polish up your sales strategy. Even small changes can help increase your sales. Try these two tips:
- Blow the dust off your sales pitch. Pitches that worked years ago may not be effective today. Tweaking your pitch with phrases such as, “We work with companies like yours” and “We understand your challenges,” can improve the value of your brand. Think about updating your elevator speech and include benefits and success stories rather than your name and job title.
- Make your sales presentation shine. Simple updates to your presentation materials can give you an advantage over your competitors. Make sure your materials stand out from those of your competitors.
Revisit your marketing initiatives. This step goes hand in hand with updating your sales presentation. Your marketing should align with your brand strategy. If they don’t, an overhaul could be in order.
Attend relevant trade shows and events. Networking is key to expanding your leads. Get out there and meet prospective customers. Make sure you’re going to the right shows: Take time to research them before you register.
Add value. What differentiates your brand from your competitors? You must show how your business is unique. Focus on this differentiator and include it in all your materials.
Growing your company in a volatile economy can be a challenge. No matter what business you’re in, there are always obstacles to overcome and opportunities to be made. Always keep your customers top of mind and you’ll do fine.
How do you keep your name in front of customers during challenging economic times? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
When people visit your company’s website, they take it for granted that the content is authentic. If you say that you fill orders in 24 hours, readers believe it. Some embellishment is a given when promoting your business, but don’t take liberty with the facts.
Credibility is crucial to your company’s success. Prospects and clients need to know that your business is legitimate and that you’ll do what you say you’ll do. Similarly, if your site contains glowing customer testimonials, they’d better be real quotes from current or past clients. Assume that prospects will contact every individual for more information. (more…)
Blogging appears to be on the upswing among leading businesses in the United States, a new report from The Center for Marketing Research (CMR) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Inc. magazine shows.
According to the new “Social Media and the 2012 Inc. 500” study, 44 percent of companies in the Inc. 500 had a corporate blog, up from 37 percent the previous year. Leading the charge? Corporate brass increasingly are getting in on the blogging fun, the new CMR report shows. (more…)
Is there a correlation between food and successful deal making?
Lakshmi Balachandra, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College in Massachusetts, recently conducted a series of experiments in which MBA students were provided identical business deals that required additional negotiations. The participants, who were instructed to maximize profits, were divided into even groups and asked to conduct these negotiations either in a restaurant, in a boardroom with food, in a boardroom without food, or while cooperating to complete a jigsaw puzzle – also without food.
The results of the study suggest that eating during the negotiation process increases a deal’s final value by almost 9 percent. (more…)
What clients see when we present a website we’ve designed for them is the culmination of hours of work. Few know what exactly goes on during those hours. What happens between the first conversation and the final presentation? Let me give you a brief glimpse. (more…)
As 2012 draws to a close, it is worth reflecting on a number of milestones and trend lines in the world of B2B marketing and advertising that emerged this year, developments that may make a big splash in how businesses interact with their current and potential customers in the coming years.
Mobile tipping point?
More than two years ago, Wired set off an existential crisis for tech types and marketing/advertising executives with the article “The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet.” In it, the magazine speculated that the then-recent advent of smartphones, tablets and other portable, app-based devices would soon send Web browsing, Googling and other 1990-era Internet trappings the way of the Dodo. (more…)
People fear public speaking.
The nervous, queasy, uneasy feeling before you are about to stand in front of a crowd – or, really, anyone. The fear of presenting to a prospect or client can be just as bad. How do we overcome this? How do we present ourselves in a positive light?
Recently, I attended an luncheon for the International Association of Business Communicators with broadcast journalist Bill Moller as guest speaker. He was an impressive presenter, but he said this wasn’t always the case. He still feels the fear and pressure. To overcome this, he had to practice suppressing the anxiety in order to exhibit self-assurance. (more…)
Every project begins with the first step – and it’s tough to overstate that first step’s importance.
Many marketers are all too familiar with the perils of diving into a new initiative unprepared. Companies pull the trigger too early on projects for lots of reasons – they’re pressed for time, they figure the details will fall into place as they go along, they don’t understand the elements critical to the project’s success. Whatever the reason, the results can be bleak: astronomical costs, blown deadlines and squabbling team members.
Never fear, though. Taking the time to prep goes a long way toward avoiding these mid-project woes. To start your initiative on the right foot, consider these factors first. (more…)