Blogging Best Practices

Bloggers from the public relations and marketing groupBy now, most bloggers are familiar with the phrase “content is king,” and while there really is no substitute for good content, many bloggers are simply not getting the audience their content merits.  A lack of knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques is the main reason for low readership on well-written and frequently updated blogs. But even those who are not tech-savvy can optimize their blogs by improving the quality, images, tags and links (assuming you are using a user friendly website such as WordPress, Drupal or CMS). Continue reading “Blogging Best Practices”

Twitter Unveils Brand-New Design and Special Features for Businesses

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On December 8, 2011, Twitter unleashed a brand-new design and several new features. Twitter is continuing to roll out these major updates for both Twitter.com and its mobile-friendly website. These huge changes are meant to make the social media giant more organized, user-friendly and able to provide more opportunities for businesses and brands to interact with their audiences. If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, please read our article, “Secrets to Twitter Marketing.”

This article will provide you with an overview of the recent changes made to Twitter’s homepage, embedded tweets, the emergence of enhanced profile pages and how you can get the newest version of Twitter.

New Homepage — When you first log in to the new Twitter on your desktop or mobile phone, you’ll notice that the homepage has been completely revamped. Twitter condensed everything to fit neatly into four organized columns. These four tabs are called “Home,” “Connect,” “Discover” and “Me.”

  • Home — On their homepage, users are now able to see more detailed information about reply tweets (@replies) and retweets for a certain tweet by clicking on the “Open” option. The “Open” feature makes it easier to keep track of conversations and interactions revolving around a tweet. This was never possible on the previous version of Twitter. Also, unlike the old Twitter newsfeed, users can now view media elements, such as photos and videos, inside the tweet, rather than only on the side.

  • Connect — The “Connect” tab includes information such as who has followed you, which users mentioned you and who has replied to, “favorited” or “retweeted” one of your tweets.

  • Discover — The “Discover” tab is where users can search for different forms of content on Twitter. This new tool customizes information for each user since it can identify stories and trends that the individual would be most interested in, based on their connections, location and language.

  • Me — The “Me” column is your new and enhanced Twitter profile. The new design includes a much larger space for your personal photo, short biography and location. Information such as who you are following and who your followers are will now appear on the left-hand side of the screen, with your conversations on the right.

Embedded Tweets — The Embedded Tweet feature allows users to render a tweet on any third-party website. Readers are then able to retweet, reply to, favorite and follow the user right from the website, without leaving the page to go into Twitter. To get the embed code for a tweet, simply click on the tweet you wish to embed and click “Embed this Tweet.” This can be a great way for businesses to share tweets on their website, such as positive reviews or testimonials.

Enhanced Profiles Pages — The hope for enhanced profile pages is that businesses will be able to create a stronger and more interactive presence on Twitter. These pages will include a larger header image for displaying your business’ logo, tagline and any other visuals that you may want to include on your page. You can also promote one of your tweets at the top of your page’s timeline, if you want readers to see this message first. Businesses should take advantage of this promoted tweet and include only their strongest, most engaging and relevant content. Enhanced profile pages are free of charge, but they are not available to everyone just yet. So far, Twitter has launched these pages exclusively with 21 advertising partners and select brands. According to an official statement from Twitter, they will slowly roll out enhanced profile pages to a wider audience of brands in the coming months.

How Can I Get the New Twitter? — If you’re still using the old version of Twitter, there is a way to switch over. Simply delete your current Twitter app from your smartphone and download the latest version. After you download the new app, you’ll be given access to the redesigned Twitter on your computer as well. If you use Tweetdeck, this program was also updated to be consistent with the new version of Twitter. You can click here to use or download the latest version of Tweetdeck.

To keep up-to-date on Twitter’s rapidly evolving changes, visit fly.twitter.com. 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.

Get your Business on the Map by Advertising with “MapToons”

Long Island businesses may be interested advertising with Long Island’s most colorful, creative and informative cartoon maps. MapToons is offering ad placements in unique maps of Long Island areas that can direct residents, newcomers and visitors to your business. These foldable maps provide an overview of certain towns and include a directory listing of participating businesses. For example, the Patchogue map will be mailed directly to all Patchogue residences and businesses. This issue will be released in the spring and 22,000 maps will be distributed.

By advertising with MapToons, your business will be placed on the map as well as in the directory, which includes your name, location, address, phone number, website, logo, etc. We recommend this advertising opportunity for restaurants and retailers.

If you are interested in placing an ad, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Advertise with the 2012 Long Island Travel Guide

Local hospitality services, retail stores, attractions or restaurants should look into advertising with the Long Island Convention & Visitors Bureau and Sports Commission’s (LICVB) 2012 Long Island Travel Guide. This annual publication, which will be released in February 2012, is a glossy, four-color publication that serves as the official guide to Long Island’s travel destinations and attractions. This publication attracts those visiting Long Island for vacations, getaway weekends, sporting events, destination weddings and more. Event planners and business executives also use this guide to plan leisure activities around their business events or conventions. The Long Island Travel Guide is divided into five sections: North Shore, South Shore, North Fork and South Fork, plus an island-wide overview of things to see and do on Long Island.

There will be 125,000 copies of this special issue distributed throughout the year to subscribers, trade shows, travel information centers, AAA offices, ferry terminals and more. Advertisements will run in the print and Web editions. This advertising opportunity is ideal for lodging facilities, attractions, retailers, restaurants, caterers and other organizations that are looking to target travelers and businesses.

If you are interested in placing an ad, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.

Advertise with The Gazette

The Gazette offers readers stories about kids, community events, stories about kids and local happenings in Suffolk County, New York. This mailed free newspaper provides great advertising opportunities to businesses in the area. Barbers, salons, day care, pre-school, dance, karate, self-defense and many other businesses have special focus this month for the back-to-school market. Also, with the upcoming Labor Day parties, party suppliers and caterers would also benefit from this issue. The next issue of The Gazette will go out August 9 but you may also follow up with the next issue on September 2. You can also buy three months of advertisements with The Gazette and get the fourth month free.

The deadline for this advertising opportunity is Monday, August 1 for the special back-to-school issue. Please contact us at (631) 207-1057 if your company is interested in placing an ad.

Top 10 PR & Marketing Techniques For Businesses & Non-Profits

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The growth of the Internet has made it both tougher and easier to reach your potential clients. While it has increased competition by leveling the playing field, it has also provided a channel for marketing your services on a low-cost budget and reach many more people than was possible earlier.

As these new marketing techniques proliferate, it is no longer enough for corporations or organizations to rely only on referrals or word-of-mouth publicity to earn new business. At The Public Relations and Marketing Group, we recommend that clients tap into a mix of both traditional and new marketing methods to promote themselves and their business.

This article outlines PRMG’s top 10 PR and marketing techniques that will help both businesses and non-profit organizations build their brand, demonstrate their expertise and attract many more clients or a community of supporters.

1. Media Availabilities

Is there an important issue (relating to your area of business) in the news you can comment on? Do you have an opinion on a prominent public policy issue that may affect your business? Making yourself available to speak to the media is an excellent strategy that will not only help you display your leadership and expertise, but also help you build professional credibility. Once you establish yourself as a reliable, useful source, the media will want to write about you. A great way to attract media attention is to ensure that your press release has a strong news angle and targets the right publications and beat reporters. Pitching a local angle in your press release will help to secure coverage in local media outlets.

2. Monthly Columns

Writing monthly columns for your local merchant chamber or trade association’s newsletter or for a mainstream publication will help increase your visibility and establish your reputation in your area of business and can often serve as the backbone of your marketing strategy.

In particular, advice columns can be highly effective in attracting potential clients and may be well worth the time spent in answering queries and giving out advice for free. If getting your article published in mainstream publications is difficult, you can submit them to popular article directories such as ArticleBase and EzineArticles.

3. Seminars/Lectures/Networking Events

Speaking at seminars and offering lectures or workshops will also help you expand your professional network, increase your visibility and build your personal brand. Attending professional or business networking events will help you connect with prospects. Despite the growth of social networking and virtual communication, building relationships through face-to-face networking is one traditional marketing technique that will never go out of style.

4. Traditional Advertising

Among traditional advertising tools, you could also consider advertising in daily newspapers and specialty publications but in general, print advertising has been providing diminishing returns. Through television advertising, especially cable television, you can target niche markets or demographics with special programming. This offers you the advantage of reaching a larger audience at a lower production cost and is increasingly becoming an attractive option for smaller, local businesses. In the long run, nothing beats television advertising in establishing a brand that people will remember.

5. Online Advertising

With an increase in the amount of time people spend surfing the Web, online advertising offers great opportunities for reaching your target audience. Google AdWords, a pay-per-click advertising program, allows you to target your ad based on keywords people type in the Google search engine. You pay Google a certain cost per click whenever people click on your ad and visit your Web site – and not how often your ad is shown. Pay-per-click ads are easy to create and allow you to reach an audience that is looking for information on the services you provide. 
You can also buy pay-per-click ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, targeting your ad based on demographic criteria such as age, gender, education, profession, geographic area and other select keywords (such as your audience’s interests).

6. Web Marketing

Since your Web site is often one of the first impressions people will get of your business or organization, it’s important to plan carefully for your site’s design and content, keeping in mind your target audience and the message you want to communicate. While most organizations and even small businesses now have Web sites, many ignore the importance of using search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure that their site is easily found when people look for them online. Using on-page and off-page SEO techniques, you can improve the volume or quality of traffic to your Web site from search engines; the higher a site ranks in search results, the more traffic it usually receives from search engines.

7. Social Media Marketing

Before the growth of social media, most businesses needed to either buy expensive advertising or receive media coverage to attract the attention of their customers. Using social media tools like blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can easily network and connect directly with potential clients and deliver information about your services. Social media can also be useful for driving people back to your Web site by posting your latest events, company news or even informative articles on issues that may serve as a useful resource for your target audience. Think of social media as a tool for two-way communication with your potential clients and for displaying your professional expertise.

8. Newsletters

Newsletters – whether printed or sent through email in an HTML format – can be useful for delivering relevant information to your target audience and keeping them updated on your organization’s services or recent events. E-newsletters are especially helpful for generating leads through e-mail programs such as Streamsend and Constant Contact. Using these programs, you can identify and track recipients who click on your e-newsletter. To convert these leads into prospects, you can then follow up with them by sending a brochure and making a follow-up phone call about your services.

9. Booklets

Creating a printed booklet or an e-book with informative articles or whitepapers on relevant issues that may be of interest and of use to your target audience is a great way to start engaging with your prospects and create an image of being a leader in your field. E-books can be easily sent in a PDF through e-mail or social media channels or they can be printed and distributed to your current clients and prospects or the media. You can also make them available for download on your Web site through a contact form that your prospects can fill. This will allow you to follow up with them and keep them informed about your services.

10. Direct Mail and D-Cards

Direct mail can be quite effective for localized businesses, especially if you purchase highly targeted mailing lists. If you are targeting a specific demographic profile in a particular geographic area, consider direct mail.

Another recommended option for direct mail is to use detached address cards or D-cards with your advertisement printed at the back. D-cards can be distributed through weekly publications in your local area at a very low cost of less than five cents each. If you want to saturate a zip code, and are not concerned that all residents will receive your mailer, you can use D-cards.