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Posts Tagged ‘public relations’

For any business wondering whether to implement a public relations strategy, the timing could not be more perfect or more critical. A new era of social media, a new way of thinking about (and implementing) public relations, and a shifting economy are all road signs pointing to why tackling your communications agenda should be a priority for you now rather than later. Here, we discuss in a little more depth.

  • The economy has changed, and with these new times come both anxiety and opportunity. Employees, investors and clients may be feeling a tad insecure about job security, direction and  your next move. Trained communications professionals can help you design and implement perfected messages that communicate to each of these groups in a way that re-invigorates trust, good-will and business overall.

 

  • While many are bemoaning the slump, several new opportunities exist now that didn’t before.  In terms of public relations and messaging, a new environment has opened up a treasure chest of business-related story and messaging possibilities. Take advantage of the inclement weather that may have rained out some of your competitors by increasing the level of exposure, quality and creativity of your brand to put you at the forefront of consumer thinking.

 

  • The media is now comprised of thousands of new online outlets, in addition to traditional press. These outlets are both goldmines … and landmines. Knowing how and what to communicate to these different groups can inspire fans, increase word-of-mouth brand awareness and put you in front of groups who are ready to buy or invest in you. While it’s tempting (and in some cases even advised) to reach out to traditional or social press on your own, what you don’t know can hurt you–and your chances of being heard. PR professionals have updated information on thousands of journalists worldwide, including their preferences for how and when to be pitched. Don’t make the mistake of calling when they prefer to be contacted only by email or vice versa!

 

  • One of the most significant reasons to choose public relations over another form of communicating (i.e., advertising) has to do with the underlying current of the way people receive information. Traditional advertising has its place, no doubt. But it is considerably more costly than PR and it consists of a one-way dialogue in a medium that’s also one-way. Most people today get their information online, even if they still subscribe to print and glossy publications. Online and “earned” media exposure allows for a conversation to take place, and for you to be a part of that conversation.

 

  • Public relations firms are starting to get it: You don’t have $50,000 a month to throw at a PR machine. Firms that are now entering into the market are doing things differently from the old regime, have set their sights beyond the traditional and have cut a lot of the excess fat from processes and retainer fees.  Sometimes, firms will even offer you custom, targeted packages that focus on just one or more areas of PR. When vetting experts, ask yourself these questions:  Do they ask a lot of questions? Are they flexible? Do they love your product/service as much as you do? How do they measure results? Are they passionate about what they do? Do they have references, portfolio or clipbook samples upon request?

What can we do for you? Find out by calling (916) 538-4146 or emailing cassiacomm [at] gmail [dot] com.

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As you may have well realized by now, building it doesn’t always ensure they will come. You must entice, endear and sometimes entertain “them” – your customers – and do so in a way that is heard above the roar of competitors.

One of the most basic goals of the new era of marketing is becoming “top of mind.” Essentially, this means communicating with your customers creatively, effectively and consistently so that when they think of X widget, they think of you.

To occupy this space, first look to the basics of traditional marketing, the first step of which is a clear plan. No stumbling around bare-footed or blind here. Create a laser-focused plan by asking many questions and defining what you want to achieve. Align all other elements, tasks and messaging around this piece.

Speaking of messaging, every company needs to have a cohesive, core message that is clear and easily communicated (can it fit on a matchbox?). Perfect messaging is like perfect lighting. Without it, no one sees the ultimate beauty of the object it illuminates. Messaging should reflect your brand’s tone, personality and value it brings to the customer. It should be creative and fresh, and inspire your prospect to take action! Then, extrapolate what you have created to other areas of your business. Be consistent.

In the past, marketing was almost synonymous with selling or public relations. Today, this is less true. While the end result still includes increasing positive public awareness and essentially sales, the marketing landscape has shifted dramatically over the last few years. The easiest way to sum up the new philosophy is this: Give first and ask (sell) last. Disseminating useful information on your field, donating product/ services/time to an event, and even nurturing relationships are all included here and will get you in the game – if not ahead of it.

Get creative here – and “talk” about what you are doing as much as you actually do it. It’s also important to know exactly how your brand “plays” in your market. Getting to know your target audience can help you determine this. Many companies and communications firms used to rely on market analysis firms to help them identify consumer groups’ thoughts and behavior. However, with the avalanche of user-generated content on the web (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, industry forums), you can get a very eye-opening picture of customers’ sentiments. (Though be prepared to dedicate a significant number of man hours to this endeavor!)

Your website can also act as a feedback loop and should be the hub for all the internet outlets you use to broadcast, so make sure it is up to snuff. Based on the communication areas you want to implement –traditional marketing, guerrilla marketing, public relations, social media, web development or all of the above – figure out what skill set, hours and resources you will need.

With new technologies arriving every day, this is an industry that changes more than it stays the same. Staying abreast of trends, tools and techniques is time consuming, but will give you an edge. We suggest hiring a firm or expert who can manage part or all of this process for you. If you have questions, please reach out to us at cassiacomm [at] gmail [dot] com. We are happy to hear from you.

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Hiring a communications firm will help manage your budget and your relationships

If you are one of the millions of businesses in the U.S. right now affected by the downturn, then now is a good time to implement or re-evaluate your communications strategy.

The right communications firm can help you speak to concerned employees, hesitant investors, the elusive media and consumers. These were tricky waters to navigate before, but now, with non-existent job security, evaporating investor funds, and word-of-mouth press, the effects of a well-defined, well-executed communications plan can make a tangible, real difference in the success of your company. The right messaging combined with an effective strategy can restore faith, secure funds, bolster reputation and save you precious time and money.  

But, you may be thinking, “How can we afford to outsource, now?” You may be surprised to learn that you can’t afford not to.

Communication firms worth their salt will consult with you free of charge to help you draw a clearer picture of your desired outcome and the map to get you there on time. This will save you countless man hours, money and headaches in the short and long term.

A targeted plan begins with the right questions – and plenty of them. Some of these questions, like “what do you want to communicate?” and “who is your audience?” are no-brainers, while “what’s the problem?” (What? I have a problem?) or “what is the frame of mind of your targeted audience?” are not so intuitive. An outside firm can help you get off to the right start by answering these critical questions and finding the message your audience will hear.

Need a few other reasons to look outside the office?

  • Time is money — and now more than ever.  Your time is probably already maxed out generating new business, saving that certain project, focusing on your staff, and of course, figuring out how you are going to wiggle around in this uncertain, “new rules” economy.
  • Money is money. Considering salaries, benefits, insurance, training, etc., a dedicated in-house option will cost you thousands more per year than hiring out. Plus, most communications firms will offer some, or most, of their services “a la carte.”
  • Contractors provide additional, third-party expertise and an outside perspective. Often, this vantage point allows them to offer fresh ideas, solutions and strategies you might have missed going it alone.
  • One less project for you to manage. The firms you vet should present you with the option to manage the project start to finish for you.
  • Stellar firms will have an army of expert resources at their fingertips in several areas of communications such as marketing, social media, public relations, website development, printing and of course, top-notch writing and editing ninjas. (Who doesn’t want a ninja on their team?)
  • Hiring a firm gives you a lot of flexibility. You choose how involved you want to be in the project, whether it’s a short-term gig or long-term relationship, whether you want full-service or a la carte, and of course, the flexibility to switch firms — because sometimes, you just want change.

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