Advertise with The Gazette this Spring

With Mother’s Day around the corner and spring in full bloom, Long Island businesses may benefit from advertising with The Gazette’s May issue. The Gazette features community events, children’s happenings and local news surrounding individual towns on Long Island. This free publication is dedicated to providing residents with a community-oriented and localized view of the news.

This advertising opportunity is appropriate for companies that are active in the springtime and looking to reach their target audience. For example, landscaping companies, lawn services, home improvement organizations, flower companies and gardening services may benefit from placing an advertisement in this issue. Businesses who buy three months worth of advertisements can also get the fourth month free of charge.

Please keep in mind that the deadline for this issue is May 8. If your business is interested in placing an ad, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group as soon as possible at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

5 Blogging Mistakes and How to Fix Them

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Anyone can create a blog but at the end of the day, the question is whether or not your blog is getting results and generating leads for your business. If the answer is no, you may be committing one of the following blogging sins. This article will provide an overview of five common mistakes businesses make when blogging, including not understanding their target audience, not providing any contact information, inconsistent updating, bad writing and not including multimedia.

For those who are new to blogging, read our article, “Should My Business Have a Blog?.”

  1. Not Understanding Your Target Audience — One of the most common blogging mistakes is when a business doesn’t understand the needs of their audience. The key to successful blogging is focusing every post on what your prospective customers or clients would find most valuable or interesting. Readers are looking for information that can directly benefit them. Businesses should place an emphasis on creating interesting, helpful and engaging content rather than pure self-promotion.For more information and tips on creating content, read our article, “Why Quality Content Reigns Supreme.”
  1. No Contact Information — Without clearly displayed contact information, your business can miss out on a number of leads and potential customers. Ensure your contact information is clearly displayed and include your business name, address, phone number and an email address. Also, don’t forget to complete the “About Page” of your blog with a well-written, concise description of your organization. This way, readers can easily find out more information about your business and contact you, should they have any questions.
  1. Inconsistency — Perhaps the biggest mistake that bloggers can make is inconsistency. If a reader stumbles upon your blog and sees that it hasn’t been updated in a month or two, they won’t be likely to give it any credibility. This is a sure way to lose potential leads. By establishing a publication schedule, whether it be twice a week or weekly, it’s far more likely that your blog will be successful. Updating your blog with strong, well-written posts on a consistent basis will drive high-quality traffic to your site.
  1. Bad Writing — If your blog is riddled with typos and bad grammar, it will reflect poorly on your business. Poorly written articles will turn off readers and discourage them from reading future entries or contacting your organization. Writing concisely, using spell-check and taking the time to proofread your writing can go a long way. Also, it’s essential to fully research any facts that you may not be sure about to prevent inaccurate or misleading information from being published.For tips on achieving flawless writing and grammar, read our articles, “Proofreading — The First in a Series of Three Articles,” “Write Like You Mean It: 5 Ways to Use Better Grammar” and “Words Mean Things: 5 Tips to Avoid Spelling Errors.”
  1. No Images or Videos — Whenever possible, include some kind of multimedia with your blog entries. Even if your content is strong, it’s important to include some kind of visual or audio element to supplement the text. Readers are very responsive to articles that include photos, videos, graphs, charts, podcasts and so on. Also, having an image or video helps draw people in and make the post more eye-catching.

For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Advertising Spotlight: New Products from All Island Media

All Island Media publishes the Pennysaver/Town Crier in many regions across Long Island. They have recently launched a number of new inserts that can be added to the weekly free paper to communicate your company’s message more effectively. All inserts can be distributed by zip code and are charged by every 1,000 households (cpm). Below are three of the inserts most worthy of your attention:

  • The Frequent Flyer program offers the largest insert at 10”x11½”. Printed on 50# glossy paper stock, the flyer is perfect for the advertiser that has a lot to say — or a lot of photos to show. It extends far outside of the parameters of the 6¾”x10” booklet and costs as little as $49 cpm.
  • The VIP Card is a 5”x11” postcard that is placed into the book on top of the flyer. This postcard allows the advertiser to print on both sides, without requiring space for mailing information. The lightweight cardstock also makes this product a good vehicle for coupons. When purchased by zone, the card costs only $35 cpm.
  • The Mega Card, a 7”x9” flyer, is printed on a heavier stock and glossy on one side. The advertiser gets printing on both sides of this product as well and the glossy finish displays photos crisply, with bright color. This eye-catching card is available for as little as $54 cpm.
The Law Offices of Atchison & Associates, PC - Book Cover

Gershow Recycling - Long Island Business News Article

Also of note is the redesign of the Long Island Trends lifestyle publication. What used to be an ugly, ad-driven paper has morphed into an attention-grabbing resource for consumers, complete with relevant editorial. Advertisers can now purchase the cover and a full-page ad on page 3 (the first right-hand page of the book) for $1,359.

How to Engage Journalists Using Social Media

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A recent survey conducted last month by Text 100 Global Public Relations discovered that a significant number of journalists use social media and blogs on a regular basis when researching a business, brand or organization for an article. A total of 72 full-time journalists working in print, online and broadcast media were surveyed and the results found that, on average, journalists look at 2.6 social media channels for every story they research. Given these statistics, and the rapid rate at which social networking is growing, public relations professionals can use social media channels to engage with journalists and reach out to them in an outlet where they’re known to be active.

This article will explain the best methods public relations professionals can use to engage journalists through social media.

Maintain Social Media Profiles — Since reporters may look at several social media channels when conducting research, it’s important that your organization has a positive presence on all of them. By creating professional, thorough and favorable profiles for your business online, journalists will be able to discover the information that you want to be highlighted. For example, use social media channels to display media coverage, upcoming events, company news and anything else that you would like the public to be aware of.

For information on how to get your business active on social media, please see our article, “Getting Started with Social Media.”

Focus on Twitter — An important finding in this study was that Twitter is the best social media channel for public relations pitches and media relations. The survey found that journalists are far more likely to welcome contact on Twitter rather than LinkedInGoogle+or even Facebook. Public relations professionals can use Twitter to connect with reporters by seeking out their profiles and “following” them. Twitter is a great way to stay in touch with journalists and pitch stories, business news and upcoming events. Of the journalists surveyed in this study, 53% found that a company’s Twitter profile was instrumental in their research when writing an article.

For an overview of how businesses can use Twitter, please see our articles, “Secrets to Twitter Marketing” and “Twitter Unveils Brand-New Design and Special Features for Businesses.”

Create a Blog — Blogs are also an increasingly important venue to attract media attention. According to this survey, 63% of journalists found a company’s blog to be extremely useful in their research. By creating and maintaining an active blog, your business can establish itself as an industry leader and nourish an interactive hub of information about your organization. Businesses should provide useful information and quality content that relates to your organization and industry as a whole. For more information on how important blogging is for brands and businesses, read our article, “Should My Business Have a Blog?

It is also important to keep in mind that while social media is becoming increasingly important, journalists still value press releases and phone conversations. While the media is increasingly turning to social media and online outlets for information, they still rely heavily on these more traditional methods of contact when covering a story. These social media techniques should be used to supplement press releases, media advisories and other traditional communications outlets.

For more information about engaging with journalists using social media, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.

Start the Summer With Outdoor Advertising

As the weather improves and the school year comes to an end, people move outside. If you want them to see your message, you need your ad campaign to move outside with them. Outdoor advertising presents a message to the viewer that they cannot opt out of. They cannot turn off a billboard, or turn the page on a bus ad.

Outdoor advertising comes in many forms, but the key is always location. Your ads need to be in a place rich with foot traffic. If you are a brick-and-mortar retailer, the ads should be within walking distance from your shop. If you provide a unique service, the ad can be in driving distance, but still within the community. For wider exposure, ads can be placed on public transportation or “mobile billboards”; you can even have your billboard towed by scooter!

Your business may do well to consider some of the following options:

• Bus and bus shelter ads
• Train station platform billboards
• Train trestle ads
• Street and sidewalk decals
• Lawn signs and exterior vinyl banners
• Summer event sponsorships

PRMG can help coordinate a comprehensive outdoor advertising plan to fit in with your company’s marketing strategy.

For more information or details regarding rates and pricing, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or email johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Social Media Publishing 101

Social Media Publishing

An Overview of HootSuite, Tweetdeck and Social Oomph

Social publishing programs are essential for managing a business’ social media presence, especially for those who maintain multiple accounts. The primary function of these programs is to allow users to organize and schedule posts in advance on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. By using these programs to schedule posts and space out your content, businesses can ensure that they have a consistent presence on social media. This article will provide an overview of the three major social media publishing platforms: HootSuite,TweetDeck and Social Oomph.

While all of these programs are free to join, provide helpful URL shorteners and allow for multiple social networking accounts, each of the three has certain benefits, disadvantages and unique capabilities. Depending on your organization and personal preferences, one of these platforms may be better suited for your needs than the others.

HootSuite

HootSuite, which many consider to be the leading social media dashboard, allows users to manage multiple networks, schedule updates and create custom analytics reports to monitor your success. Using HootSuite’s unique social networking dashboard, users can connect multiple social networks, such as TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and WordPress, in one place.

  • Advantages — HootSuite’s greatest strength is that it provides users with excellent custom analytics reports to share with clients or colleagues. Through these reports, users can track brand sentiment, follower growth and also incorporate Facebook Insights and Google Analytics right in their dashboard. Also, while Google+ is currently unavailable on these publishing tools, HootSuite will be given first access to Google+ business and brand pages. This is so important because, when this update is unveiled, users can update all of their social media pages, including Google+, in one place. Also, like Social Oomph, HootSuite users can schedule messages in bulk to save time by uploading a CSV file. HootSuite also has a mobile app so users can access their dashboard for free on iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys or Android mobile devices.
  • Disadvantages — The most notable disadvantage of HootSuite is that the free version only allows users to manage up to five accounts and there is a limit of 10 columns on your dashboard. This can be a major setback, especially for users who need to maintain multiple accounts on each social networking platform. To avoid this problem, users can upgrade to the premium version for $5 per month.

TweetDeck

TweetDeck also allows users to manage multiple social media accounts, schedule posts and organize social networking feeds. This real-time browser can connect you with contacts and information across TwitterFacebookLinkedInMySpaceFourSquare and more.

  • Advantages — One advantage is that all of the features on TweetDeck are free – there is no premium, paid membership like HootSuite and Social Oomph require for certain features. With a free membership, TweetDeck users can manage and post to an unlimited number of social media accounts, unlike HootSuite, where basic users are limited to only five. Also, many users agree that TweetDeck’s dashboard is the cleanest and most user-friendly of the three, although this depends on personal preference.
  • Disadvantages — On May 25, 2011, TweetDeck was bought by Twitter and since this acquisition, many users have complained about missing features, bugs and certain tools not working properly. Apart from these technical problems, there are two major setbacks with TweetDeck. Unlike HootSuite and Social Oomph, there are no analytics reports or bulk scheduling capabilities available. This is a huge disadvantage, especially for businesses, since they cannot monitor the effectiveness of their social media marketing strategies.

Social Oomph

Social Oomph performs the same functions as the previous two programs but unlike HootSuite or TweetDeck, users have the ability to “Auto-Follow” and “Auto-Direct Message” users. Depending on one’s personal preference, this feature could either be seen as an advantage or disadvantage, as further discussed below.

  • Advantages — The benefit of using Social Oomph is that this service has the most detailed and informative analytics reports, especially for those who are managing several social media accounts. Like HootSuite, you can also schedule posts in bulk but only Social Oomph makes this process simpler by allowing users to upload posts from a Word document. Social Oomph’s “Replies Digest” is another unique and useful feature, especially for businesses. This tool will send you a daily email with any @Mentions of Re-tweets your business has received. This email is extremely helpful for businesses to easily monitor interactions on Twitter and respond accordingly.
  • Disadvantages — Unlike TweetDeck and HootSuite, there is currently no smart phone app available for Social Oomph. As mentioned previously, Social Oomph is the only service that allows users to set up “Auto-Follows,” “Auto-Direct Messages” and “Auto-Responders,” but this tool is only unlocked when users upgrade to premium accounts. There is a biweekly cost of $3.97 for Social Oomph Premium. “Auto-follow” refers to being able to follow someone on Twitter automatically if they have followed you. “Auto-Direct Messages” and “Auto-Responding” refer to sending Twitter users automatic, prewritten responses. While some users may see this as an advantage, since this practice is only available on Social Oomph, it has its flaws and most social media users look down on auto-responses. It’s far more powerful to interact with users on a more personal level rather than just send them computer-generated responses.

For more information about social media publishing, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles, advertising spotlights and more.