Advertising with Groupon

Groupon is the original group discount outlet that uses grassroots collective purchasing power in an effort to secure 50-90% off deals for its membership. Members subscribe to receive exclusive deals each day from local retailers and service providers. If enough members show interest in the deal, it becomes available for all members to purchase during that day, only.

What this means for advertisers is that they have the opportunity to offer what amounts to a bulk discount to the members of their local or regional Groupon. The advertiser offers a product or service for at least 50% off of face value and splits the proceeds with Groupon after the deal has closed. The advertiser receives approximately 25% of the value of the item offered. Because of this elimination of almost any profit margin, a Groupon deal is an example of what is known as a “loss leader.” You may lose out on that initial visit, but the hope is that they will return many times to purchase your wares at full or sale price. By getting your company on Groupon, you are exposing your brand to hundreds of thousands of potential new customers.

In the last year, a lot of other newspapers and websites have begun running their own group coupon programs. To hold its position as the industry leader, Goupon’s offers have begun tending toward what they’re calling “full experience packages.” This means that, while a year ago, you may have seen a cheap deal on community theatre tickets, this time around, they’ll likely offer a package that includes snacks, beverages, and a one-on-one with the actors, at a significantly higher (though still incredibly reduced) rate.

Due to Groupon’s exclusivity and noted reputation, more advertisers want to offer a deal, than there are days available to do so. This results in a lot of offers, and indeed even entire companies, being rejected by Groupon’s sales force. A December 2010 article in the Wall Street Journal quotes CEO Andrew Mason saying, “[Groupon has] to pass on seven out of eight merchants that contact [them].” Our agency would be happy to speak with Groupon on your behalf to negotiate an attractive deal.

If you’re company is interested in using Groupon, please contact us at (631) 207-1057.

Media Relations Primer

5 Techniques to Jump-Start Your Organization’s Public Relations Efforts

Positive, free and consistent publicity is essential to any organization’s public relations and marketing success. Being written about by popular, respected news outlets can be worth far more than a paid advertisement. There are several media relations techniques that can attract valuable press coverage and boost your organization’s credibility and public image.

Utilizing these techniques is integral to the success of any public relations and marketing campaign. This article will show you how to gain earned media by utilizing these top five basic media relations techniques: press releases, media availabilities, media advisories, photo captions and calendar releases.

1. Press Release — Press releases are used to communicate general news items and sent to the media using television, radio, print and Internet outlets. Press releases must look professional and have news value. Media outlets will pay no attention to a press release that is really an advertisement disguised as a news story. Instead of mere self-promotion, a press release should seek to provide insight to an issue that the public or a more specific target group is interested in. It should be a new thought or a new angle on an already publicized story. Press releases can also be used to publicize grand openings, charitable participation, fundraisers and events. It is crucial to emphasize the news value of your press release in the headline and then follow through in the body. Creating an eye-catching headline will grab your reader’s attention and entice them to continue reading through your release. At the conclusion of your press release, include a few boilerplate sentences about your company and all necessary contact information.

2. Media Availability — Media availabilities are used to announce the availability of your organization and its staff to publicly comment on an item in the news. To make stronger connections, it is important for members of your organization to network with the local media, journalists and public relations and communications professionals in your area. With a strong local presence and consistent commenting, the media will begin to recognize you as a reliable source and expert in your industry. As news breaks, it is important to have your availability ready to go. Often, the news can be anticipated, especially when it involves government reports.

3. Media Advisory — Media advisories are used to announce upcoming events and provide invitations to the media to encourage them to attend and cover these events. It is crucial to keep in mind that media advisories are written for members of the media, not for your organization’s clients or customers. When writing media advisories, include the following headings: Who, What, Where, When, Why and Photo Ops. It is crucial to include a headline that attracts media interest and expand upon the title in the “What” section of your advisory. A common use of an advisory is to announce a press conference. Press conferences are presentations of information and a question-and-answer period with the media, set up by your organization.

4. Photo Captions — Photos can help to tell your story and convey your organization’s message in a way that words cannot. Multimedia is a valuable tool in connecting with your audience since many people can better relate to visual elements rather than straight text. At all of your organization’s events, conventional and digital photos should be taken and sent via standard mail and email to print and Internet publications. High-quality photographs with a well-written, informative caption will enhance your story and strengthen your message. You should take photos at a location that resonates with the news item. For example, if you are announcing a grand opening for your business, take a photo of the ribbon cutting.

5. Calendar Releases — It is important to submit your upcoming events to as many event calendars as possible to get the word out to the public. Event calendars ensure that your audience is aware of important upcoming, newsworthy events. Unlike in a press release, you should only include basic information in your event listing. When submitting your event, target the event calendars of newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations.

To increase your effectiveness, post your releases online, including to free press release outlets. You may also want to follow up with personalized emails and phone calls to make sure that your press release has been received and to let the reporter or assignment editor know why it is important.

Cable and FiOS

According to the article, “Pay-TV Subscriber Losses Felt at Cablevision, Dish,” which appeared in the August 10th edition of the Wall Street Journal, declining numbers of video subscribers undercut the improved bottom lines at Cablevision Systems Corp. and Dish Network Corp. These cable operators have been losing video subscribers because of new competition from telecom companies expanding into video, customers opting to cut the cord and watch video on the Web, and lower home sales, which reduce new-customer cable installations.

As described in the article, Cablevision has lost 23,000 video subscribers during the second quarter, reflecting competition from Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS in the key New York metro area market. According to analyst Todd Mitchell of Brean Murray Carret & Co., “Cablevision is getting killed by FiOS in NYC suburbs.”

It was also reported that satellite company Dish Network has lost 135,000 subscribers during the same period. However, the company did expect to lose subscribers when it decided not to pursue “low-margin” customers that it felt would leave over time. As a result, Dish Network ended up losing more than the 19,000 that it had lost only a year earlier.

Meanwhile, telecom companies such as Verizon and AT&T Inc. are rapidly gaining subscribers. According to FiOS, in areas such as Farmingdale, Great Neck, Mount Kisco and throughout Staten Island, Verizon FiOS’s percentage of cable customers is well over 50%.

In the New York area, most of Cablevision’s losses can be explained by those who have switched to Verizon FiOS. Over the last year, FiOS showed a total growth of 264,384 in the New York metro area market. The North Nassau zone of Long Island holds 40,186 FiOS subscribers while the South Nassau zone boasts a total of 99,065 subscribers. This compares to 106,000 and 214,000 subscribers in North and South Nassau, respectively, for Cablevision. Overall, in Nassau County, FiOS showed a quarter-to-quarter growth of 8,680 subscribers. Other areas of Long Island continue to grow as well, with the Suffolk County zone holding 71,323 Verizon FiOS subscribers and showing a quarter-to-quarter growth of 5,043 subscribers.

Verizon FiOS has presented a serious challenge to the cable operators. Advertisers should take these numbers into consideration when they plan their cable advertising budgets. It is our opinion that FiOS has now reached critical mass and should be considered as part of any general cable buy. We have found that FiOs advertising is now providing an excellent value as FiOs tries to lure more cable advertisers to its service. For more information, please contact PRMG.

Google+’s Advanced Technology Addresses Facebook’s Shortcomings

Google recently launched Google+, a new social media giant that has taken the Internet by storm. Although it is still in its field-testing phase and by invitation only, Google+ has reached 10 million users in just 16 days, from June 28 to July 14. This remarkable feat took Twitter a total of 780 days and Facebook 852 days to accomplish. According to the latest official estimate on July 18, Google+ now has over 18 million users.

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Google+ improves upon the features of existing social media outlets. Like Facebook, you can create a profile, complete with personal information and photo albums, comment on other users’ content and share posts. Like Twitter, anyone can follow you and you may follow any user by adding them to your “circles,” no matter who they may be. For example, you may choose to add Google+’s founder, Larry Page, to your circle and you will not need his approval to do so.

Although there is no functionality for business pages or advertisements at the moment, we would encourage you to seek invitations from those you already know on Google+ and create personal profiles. Google+ also automatically imports your Gmail contacts so it is simple to find people you know. The company plans to add a business feature within the next couple of months. Google+ is rapidly evolving, with more features soon to come.

This article will provide you with an overview of Google+ features such as the +1 button, Circles, Hangouts, Sparks and its unique mobile and privacy capabilities.

+1 Button — This button is very similar to the Facebook “like” button. To click +1 on a blog post, article, photo or any other content is to give it your stamp of approval. You can get the code to put the +1 button on your own website and blog here.

Circles — On Google+, you can group your contacts into circles. For example, you may have a separate circle for friends, co-workers, business contacts, family and so on. You can create as many circles as you like. To add a person into one of these groups, simply drag them into a circle. Your contacts can be added to multiple circles as well. When you post text, photos, videos, links and location to your Google+ stream, you can select which circles to share the information with. For example, you may want to share a photo only with your friends, or you may share an interesting industry-related article with your business contacts. The Circles feature helps to address one of the shortcomings of Facebook which will help fuel the popularity of Google+.

Hangouts — This unique feature allows users to engage in live, face-to-face chats involving multiple people at a time. You can notify friends of who you’re hanging out with and they can choose to drop into your chat.

Sparks — Sparks delivers popular content from across the Internet on any topic you choose, in over 40 languages. Add your interests to Sparks and the tool will provide you with the videos and articles that would be of the most interest to you.

Google+ Mobile — Cell phones have become the ideal outlet for sharing information with our contacts. They are always by our side, always connected to the Internet and simple to use. Even in its beginning stages, Google+ has superior mobile capabilities. Now available on Android Market, the mobile Web and the App Store, Google+ allows users to announce their location, upload multimedia and join in “Huddles.”

Location — With Google+, you may choose to add your location to every post. Like FourSquare, this is a good tool for letting your friends know what you’re up to and recommending places for them to visit.

Upload Multimedia — Google+ has made sharing videos and photos from your phone to the Web effortless. Using Google+’s mobile feature, your photos and videos are uploaded automatically from your phone to a private album on Google+ that you can then moderate. After they are uploaded, all you have to do is decide who to share them with.

Huddles — Huddles is a unique group messaging feature that allows multiple people to chat in one place. Think of it as a texting conversation involving as many of your friends as you like.

Privacy — For those who are concerned about their privacy on social media websites, Google+ is a breath of fresh air. Google+ allows you to share any information on your profile selectively. For example, you can choose to show your occupation to business contacts but not your relationship status. If you only want your friends to be able to see your phone number, simply set up this information in your “Friends” circle only. A tip is to create a circle specifically for people who you don’t personally know and set restrictions on what they can and cannot view on your profile.

Advertise with Able Newspaper Fall Issues

Although we’re still in the midst of the sizzling summer, Able Newspaper is gearing up for their upcoming fall issues. Able is a newspaper that features news that pertains to people with disabilities, including a calendar of events, columns written by various experts and a variety of informative articles. The newspaper is mailed to a specific population that includes disabled individuals, their families, involved professionals, volunteers and other interested parties. It is also distributed to key locations that are frequented by this population. Able is offering advertising plans for those looking to promote their programs, products or services and reach this targeted audience.

The deadlines for the fall issues are as follows:
September – August 9
October – September 6
November – October 11
December – November 8

If your company is interested in placing an ad with Able, please contact us at (631) 207-1057.

Why Quality Content Reigns Supreme

Developing and Deploying a Comprehensive Content Plan is the Foundation for a Successful Marketing Strategy

It has never been more important to create and implement a comprehensive strategy to develop and deploy valuable content as a foundation for your marketing efforts. The quality of your content is what influences your audience’s decision on whether or not to invest their time into viewing your website, articles or advertisements. Thought-provoking text, coupled with visually stimulating multimedia, have the power to inform, attract and persuade readers. Content affects every facet of marketing, from lead generation to portraying your organization as an expert. View your content as one of your most valuable resources. Producing valuable content on a regular basis shows your organization’s knowledge, authority and expertise in your industry.

It is essential to cater content to your clients, not your own ego. When people visit you online, they are not looking for commercials. Instead, they are looking for information to help them make a decision or to inform them about a topic which they are unfamiliar with. Show them that you are a thought leader in your field, don’t just tell them. Content should be useful, interesting and valuable to your targeted audience. Excellent content, published on a variety of platforms, is an essential component of any effective marketing strategy.

This article outlines the importance of content, knowing your audience and their needs, how to build a content library, how to schedule content, where to share content and a case study of The Public Relations and Marketing Group’s content strategy.

Why is Content So Important

SEO — A high search engine ranking will drive more traffic to your website. Strong, fresh content is quickly picked up by the major search engines and pushed to the top of the search results. Publishing excellent content as consistently as possible is key to enhancing SEO.

Position as a Leader —To position your organization as a leader in your industry, it is important to produce fresh and unique content in a variety of outlets. For example, write articles about topics in your field and provide your own insight and suggestions. You may also comment on industry news, events or controversies.

Media Relations — If your business is producing quality content on a regular basis, media outlets will also begin to distinguish you as an expert in the field. This results in more positive publicity and media coverage for your organization. For example, if they should ever need advice or an interview on a related topic, your organization will come to mind first.

Know Your Audience and Their Needs

When you are creating content, determine who you are targeting. Some articles may be very general and intended to reach a broad audience while others may target specific groups. For example, you may write a general “Marketing Tips” article that is meant for any organization, or you may be writing suggestions specifically for restaurant owners. Once you have determined what is of interest to your audience, you can better cater your content to meet their needs.

Build a Content Library

Blog — Use your blog as your online content hub. Excellent content related to your industry and organization should be published weekly, at the very least. You may also add photos to your blog posts and embed related videos to incorporate a multimedia element.

Website — Your website should be complete with well-written, interesting and informative content. This is the most important element in influencing people whether or not to stay and return to a site. If your content is strong, readers will be more likely to visit your other Web pages and respond to any calls to action on your site, such as signing up for an e-newsletter or connecting with your organization via social media. Your goal with website content should be for people to become repeat visitors, link to your site and bookmark it.

Off-line — Even in this digital world, it is important to have an off-line library of content. From brochures to print newsletters, your organization should also have an off-line database of content to share with clients, potential customers and bring to meetings and presentations. A good library of information and strong content is vital to your organization’s marketing success.

Reinvent Your Content — Maintaining a client library on and off-line will make it that much easier for you to reinvent and recreate content. While you will always need to develop new content, reusing your existing material will make it that much easier to consistently produce content. You can also reformat your content to be published in different outlets. For example, you publish an article and then create a PowerPoint and video relating to the same material. Not only do you want to write what’s of interest, but also what will be easiest for you to devote the time to. Building upon already existing articles will be less time-consuming and ensure that your content is current. For example, if you wrote an article on Facebook advertising when the service was first created, the content needs an overview of newer features and tools for it to be accurate.

Schedule Your Content

It is important to determine what content you can create on an ongoing basis so you don’t encounter a shortage. You should be able to produce ongoing content that relates to your organization and builds upon its credibility. Whether you can produce weekly articles, monthly e-newsletters or daily tweets, it is crucial to always engage your audience with a fresh supply of content.

On the other hand, if you have a lot to say, don’t say it all at once. Having your content spread out gives your audience the opportunity to take in one thing at a time instead of being bombarded with multiple posts. Programs like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite allow you to schedule your tweets to keep your profile consistently updated. Likewise, you can schedule blog posts as well. Ideally, your blog should be updated at least twice a week.

Share Your Content

Social Media — Excellent content is easily and quickly spread on social media sites. If people read an article that is of interest to them, they may post the link on their Facebook wall to share with friends or tweet a small blurb about why their followers should check it out. Because of the 140-character limit on Twitter, we advise that you use a free service such as Bit.ly to shorten your URLs. This leaves more space for text and a call to action for your followers.

Article Directories — There are thousands of article directories that will enhance your Web visibility by publishing your content and offering backlinks to your website. These free directories, such as Bpubs, Articlesnatch, Articlecube and GetYourContent, sort articles in relevant categories so interested readers can easily browse through the database and find the information they are searching for. For example, if your law firm published an article, it would be published in the legal section of these directories.

Bookmarking Sites — Social bookmarking sites allow readers to favorite an article or website and share it with others. The top three social bookmarking sites are Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon. A tip is to include these icons and links in your blog so readers can easily share and bookmark posts. On WordPress, there is the option of adding social bookmarking, as well as social media icons, under the title of every post.

PRMG’s Case Study

At The Public Relations and Marketing Group, we regularly publish content on multiple platforms. Our blog and website serve as our content hubs. The focal point of our content strategy is our weekly e-newsletter. In our e-newsletter, we include a featured article, an advertising spotlight, and an overview of “What’s Happening at PRMG.” The “What’s Happening at PRMG” section includes public relations and marketing successes on behalf of our clients. These successes provide our audience with case studies of what we can do for their organization. Advertising spotlights are also easy to produce consistently. These spotlights are sent to us from media outlets, which we summarize and include as our suggestions for our audience. Our advertising spotlights provide valuable information and opportunities to those who may be interested. As successes and advertising spotlights occur, they are posted on Facebook and Twitter. This basically just leaves the featured article, which takes up roughly 4-6 hours of our time. However, we find that this article is helpful in educating our audience and positioning our organization as a thought leader. Any time we publish fresh content, we notify our audience through our social media sites, post it on our blog and see how we can add it to our website or microsites. We also utilize LinkedIn, article directories and social bookmarking sites to share our articles and favorite websites with a broader audience.

Advertise with The Town of Brookhaven’s Concert “Vets Rock: A Salute to Our Veterans”

JVC Radio Broadcasting Group, comprised of the stations PARTY 105.3, 98.5 LaFiesta, 103.9 WRCN and My Country 96.1, along with the Town of Brookhaven, will be hosting Vets Rock: A Salute to Our Veterans, a country music concert, on Sunday September 18th at the Brookhaven Amphitheatre.

Artists scheduled to perform include Thompson Square, Eric Church, Lisa Matassa, the Jane Dear Girls, Frankie Ballard and others. Proceeds from the sales of tickets will be donated to charity. Sponsorship opportunities are available for budgets as small as $1,500 to campaigns as large as $10,000.

Exposure at this event is recommended for advertisers looking to reach veterans and their families, country music fans and patriotic Long Islanders. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please contact us at (631) 207-1057.