5 Quick Tips to Grow Your Followers on Social Media

493533923

Growing your presence on social media can be tricky, especially if you are just starting out. Here are some tips on how you can make minimal changes to your social media platform, and quickly receive an increased number of followers. Continue reading “5 Quick Tips to Grow Your Followers on Social Media”

5 Web Skills Every Public Relations Professional Should Have

typing2

More than ever before, we live in an age of lightning-fast exchanges of news and a seemingly endless stream of information at our fingertips. While traditional public relations techniques are still important, being able to adapt to recent Web and social media trends is essential for success in this industry. The ability to create content, build relationships and convey information is as important as ever, but there are a variety of new, digital methods to doing this. This article will provide you with an overview of five important skills that every public relations professional should have, including creating content for online sources, proactive monitoring, visual communications, adaptation and consistency.

  1. Online Content Creation — It has always been important for public relations professionals to create strong and compelling content but, especially in this age, it is equally important to optimize this content for the Web. Even if your online press releases or social media updates contain quality content and writing, your efforts will go unrecognized if no one can find it online. Using methods to optimize your content for search engines will help your content get found. Make sure to always include keywords throughout your copy and include hyperlinks and relevant tags whenever possible. For more information on content creation and search engine optimization, read our articles, “Why Quality Content Reigns Supreme” and “What You Need to Know About SEO.”
  2. Proactive Monitoring — It’s important to set aside some time for a Web and social media monitoring strategy to keep informed of what’s being said online. For anyone in the field of communications, it’s helpful to monitor conversations, mentions of brands and businesses and current trends and to get involved in online discussion groups. If you haven’t already, set up Google Alerts for phrases that either interest you or are related to your business or clients. For example, create alerts for business names, products and areas that you want to receive updates from. Always keep yourself informed with what’s being said about your business or client on the Web and stay up-to-date with industry updates and tips on how to grow professionally. For more information, please refer to our articles, “Social Media Publishing 101” and “How to Monitor Your Facebook and Twitter Success.”
  3. Visual Communications — Strong visuals have always been powerful in regards to public relations efforts. Many people are able to connect stories and information more easily on a visual level rather than through text alone. Infographics, charts and traditional photographs have become immensely popular online thanks to the rise in photo sharing websites such as PinterestFlickr and Instagram, which can be downloaded on iPhone or Android devices. It’s important to include a multimedia element, such as a photo, video or graph, in press releases, social media updates and blog posts whenever possible. You may even consider creating a Flickr or Pinterest account to store and categorize your photos. For more information on the importance of visual communications, refer to our article, “How Photo Sharing Sites Can Help Your Business.” Public relations professionals should be able to harness multimedia to engage audiences and encourage them to share this content.
  4. Adaptation — Especially in the ever-changing realm of social media, there are constantly new updates and tools to be explored. With Twitter redesigning its interface and Facebook’s new Timeline for business pages, professionals should be prepared for these changes and implement new strategies and techniques accordingly. Being able to adapt and take advantage of new tools can keep you one step ahead of the competition.
  5. Consistency — With the majority of online and social media outlets, it’s imperative to find the right balance with your efforts. If you don’t update your pages enough, your efforts will go unnoticed. Yet on the other hand, if you overdo it with postings that are too frequent, you could push your audience away and this could work against you. It’s essential to commit to a consistent updating schedule. Updates don’t have to be exact, but at least have a loose idea of how often you should update each platform. For example, blogs should be updated twice a week while Twitter should be updated daily, if possible.

For more information about public relations skills, 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.

5 Blogging Mistakes and How to Fix Them

typing2

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.

How to Choose the Right Keywords

5 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Business’ Keyword Strategy

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), keywords are extremely important. Keywords are the words or short phrases that Internet users type into a search engine when looking for a website, business, service or product. In regards to SEO, search engines use keywords when analyzing and prioritizing websites. By including strong keywords in the content of your website, the meta tags, ALT tags, your domain name and each individual page name, your search engine rankings will dramatically improve. Apart from SEO purposes, keywords should also be used in blog entries and your Web advertising campaigns. This article will explain how to choose keywords that will boost your business’ online visibility and bring you higher conversion rates.

  1. Know Your Target Audience — Before determining which keywords to use, you must know exactly what your target audience is most interested in. Your keywords should consist of words or phrases that potential customers are most likely to use when searching for your business, service or website. Ask yourself: what would my potential customers most likely enter into a search engine? Once you are familiar with your audience’s needs and mindset, you can begin compiling a list of potential keywords.
  2. Brainstorm — Come up with a list of potential words and phrases that your target audience might use to find your business online. The goal is to show up as high as possible in search engine results when people search using these keywords. Generate a list of words or short phrases that relate to what your website is trying to promote, sell or offer to your target audience. Try to stay away from very popular keywords because the more competition there is for a keyword, the harder it is to rank high for it. You can narrow your keyword phrases by adding a location or town. Also, rather than repeating the same keyword over and over again in your Web copy, it’s best to use the keyword’s synonyms. This way, your content will be more interesting for readers and Google won’t mark you as a keyword abuser.
  3. Use Keyword Tools — There are plenty of tools on the Web that will help you determine the monthly activity or popularity of potential keywords. For example, try using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. This useful tool can help you get keyword ideas for your overall list and, more specifically, for your Web advertising campaigns. Through this keyword tool, you can find keywords based on your website’s content and also identify negative keywords. Here are several other keyword tools available on the Web:
  4. Keep an Eye on Your Competition — By taking a look at your competitors’ meta tags, you can see which keywords they are using and get an idea of which words and phrases are most common in your industry. By using programs such as Web CEO, you can measure how well you, and your competitors, come up in search engines and, essentially, how easily potential customers are able to find your website. You can also try entering one of your desired keywords into a popular search engine to see which websites show up the highest for this word. While you are aiming for keywords that your target audience is most likely to use, you also want keywords that don’t have as much competition. If you can find a balance of strong keywords and less competition, you will have a better conversion rate.
  5. Adapt When Necessary — Over time, keep track of words and search phrases to determine which keywords you should keep and which you should remove. If you find that some of these words are no longer relevant, opt for different ones and monitor what works and what doesn’t.

For more information on keywords, please read our article, “On-Page Optimization and Keywords.” You can also 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.

10 Ways to Generate Leads Online

business

The Internet offers countless opportunities for building your professional network and generating leads for your business. Especially for those on a tight budget, it’s important to focus on making the most of lead generation tools and techniques that are readily available on the Web. This article will provide you with ten simple ways you can generate leads online for your business.

  1. Send Out Monthly E-newsletters — Email marketing is hugely effective when it comes to converting leads into customers over time. To maximize your email marketing efforts, it’s essential to keep in touch with your audience using an e-newsletter. Your e-newsletter should contain valuable, timely and relevant content that is intended to keep your audience interested in your organization and what services or products you offer. For more information on writing and distributing e-newsletters, please see our article, “Why Your Business Needs an E-newsletter.”
  1. Offer Free Content in Exchange for Contact Information — By offering valuable content such as guidebooks, e-books and other free downloads on your website and in your advertising, people will be more likely to give up their contact information. Even if it’s just a name and email address, this information is essential to generating leads and future customers or clients. Over time, engaging these leads with credible, valuable content can lead to long-term buying relationships.
  1. Host Webinars — Webinars are online seminars offered by a company to replace an in-person business conference, lecture or presentation. When people want to attend your webinar, they’ll have to enter their name, email address and other contact information, if necessary. This is excellent for businesses because, for every webinar participant, you’ll gain a new lead and a potential customer. The stronger your presentation is, and the better you promote your upcoming webinar, the more leads you will generate.
  1. Advertise Using Pay-Per-Clicks — Pay-per-click advertising is an excellent way to generate qualified leads. Pay-per-click advertising outlets, such as Google AdWords, allow businesses to market to people who are already actively searching for their products or services. Users who click on your ad will be delivered to a custom landing page where they can enter their contact information in exchange for the content or service that was advertised. For more information on pay-per-click advertising, please see our articles, “Interest-Based Advertising,” “A Beginner’s Guide to Google AdWords,” and “An In-Depth Look into Google AdWords.”
  1. Create Effective Landing Pages — A landing page is a single Web page that appears in response to a reader clicking on an advertisement. Landing pages are often linked from social media ads, email ad campaigns or pay-per-click ad campaigns. Landing pages should include brief descriptions of the downloadable content and services your business offers, as well as an image of the content and a short form for contact information. A well-designed landing page is essential for generating qualified leads for your business. Marketers can even measure the effectiveness of a landing page by analyzing the activity generated by the linked URL, such as click-through and conversion rates. For more information on creating effective landing pages, please see our article, “Five Steps to Generating New Business through Web Advertising, Landing Pages and Emails.”
  1. Submit Your Website to Web Directories — Web directories provide valuable backlinks that will improve your business’ visibility and search engine optimization. By listing your business in accurate categories, people who are already looking for information regarding your industry or service will be directed to your website, making them more qualified and targeted leads. For more information on free Web directories and other submission sites that offer backlinks, please see our article, “Why You Should Take Advantage of Free Submission Websites.”
  1. Distribute Press Releases Online — Every time you distribute your press release online, that site will provide backlinks to your main website. This will further direct interested readers directly to your business. Keep in mind that, for SEO purposes, it is vital to distribute press releases that are optimized for your target keywords. For more information on press releases, please see our article, “5 Tips for Writing Effective Press Releases.”
  1. Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile — When used properly, LinkedIn can be a great tool for business networking, developing professional relationships and generating strong leads. For B2B companies, LinkedIn is the ultimate social networking site. The first step is to make sure that your profile is as close to 100% complete as possible. Next, it’s important to boost your visibility and credibility on LinkedIn by contributing to group discussions on the “Discussions” and “Answers” boards. For more information on LinkedIn, please see our article, “Making the Right Connections with LinkedIn.”
  1. Share Documents, Slideshows and Presentations — By sharing your presentations or slideshows on the Web, you can not only boost the credibility and popularity of your business online, but you will secure valuable backlinks to your website. Websites such as Scribd and SlideShare not only rank high with major search engines, but they provide backlinks to lead readers directly to your main website.
  1. Maintain an Active Blog — According to a study done by KBK Communications, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those who do not. Blogging is essential to any successful marketing and communications strategy, especially in regards to lead generation. Include a clear section for readers to subscribe to your blog via email or an RSS feed. For more information on blogging, please see our article, “Should My Business Have a Blog?

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.

5 Tips for Writing Effective Press Releases

86490674

A press release is a form of written communication that is meant to bridge the gap between an organization and the media. They are meant to announce newsworthy stories, special events, upcoming promotions or contests and any other interesting and timely content. Using the information from press releases, members of the media can then choose whether to publicize the story. When written and distributed properly, press releases will attract the attention of members of the media and encourage positive publicity for your organization.

Press releases are a vital component of any organization’s public relations and communications efforts. This article will provide you with five essential tips for writing effective press releases.

  1. Start with a Captivating Title — The title and first paragraph of your press release are two of the most important elements. Since most newsrooms receive dozens of press releases a day, including a strong title and opening paragraph can help yours stand out. When crafting a title and subject line, decide on something that is newsworthy, informative and straight to the point. Your title should hook the reader as quickly as possible and give them a reason to invest their time into reading the rest of the content. Also, make sure that your opening paragraph includes the essential five W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why.
  2. Don’t Oversell — The goal of a press release is to educate your audience about a newsworthy event, person or organization, not to overtly advertise and promote the product or service. This can damage your credibility. Be honest when presenting the information to your audience and let them decide what to make of it. The content or news that you’ve highlighted in your press release should be able to sell itself.
  3. Be Concise — Never ramble on just for the sake of having your press release appear longer. Ideally, press releases should be one page in length. Since the goal of a press release is to spark the interest of reporters, you don’t want to bore them with a text-heavy piece. Include only what is necessary to the story and do so in a concise, well-written manner. Visually, your press release should also be easy to read. Choose a simple, clear font and an appropriate size and line spacing.
  4. Include Contact Information — What’s the use of a press release if it fails to provide a clear way to get in touch? Always include an accurate business name, phone number, fax number, mailing address, email address and any other information for the public relations contact person or agency.
  5. Proofread All Content before Publication — Take the time to proofread and fact-check all content that your business publishes, most importantly press releases. Before you send your press release out, check for grammatical or spelling errors and make sure that all numbers, facts and names are correct. For more information on the importance of proofreading and flawless writing, please read our series of 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.”

For more information about effective press releases, 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.

Why Your Business Needs an E-newsletter

e-newsletters2

A strong e-newsletter is an essential component of any successful business’ marketing strategy. No matter what type of organization or industry you belong to, e-newsletters are a crucial form of communication between your business and past and prospective customers. With the immense popularity and convenience of smart phones, iPads and other electronic devices, email marketing plays a critical role in maintaining contact with customers and clients. Maintaining a consistent e-newsletter program will prove to be a very important marketing asset for your company.

This article will explain the importance of e-newsletters in regards to lead generation, keeping in touch with your audience, content distribution, the importance of providing incentives and capturing contact information.

  1. Generate Leads — Most importantly, e-newsletters can generate leads for your business. Even if your business provides a service or product that people only need at a certain time, by sending them an e-newsletter, you’ll be able to keep your name on their minds. This way, they’ll remember to reach out to you when they do require your services. It’s important to include your contact information in every e-newsletter to ensure that viewers can easily reach you.
  2. Stay in Touch with Your Audience — E-newsletters are the best way to keep in touch with past customers or clients and keep them informed. At least once a month, you should nurture your audience with an e-newsletter. Depending on your industry, you can include articles, press releases, holiday greetings, upcoming events, tips, photos and more.
  3. Distribute Content — The quality of your content is the most important element of any e-newsletter or marketing material. Remember: an e-newsletter that doesn’t contain any valuable or informative content is merely an advertisement. Make sure to develop content that meets your audience’s needs and provides them with information that is of value to them. It’s equally important to include hyperlinks that lead to more specific information, your main website and how readers can take action. For example, a non-profit organization can include a link to “Donate now!” while a law firm may include a link to “Click here for a free consultation!”
  4. Provide Incentives — In order to build your e-newsletter subscriber list, it’s important to give people a reason to sign up. It’s vital to entice your audience to give up their contact information in exchange for some kind of incentive, whether it’s a free download, consultation, special offer or coupons. Those who subscribe to your e-newsletter should be able to receive special tips, news or promotions that others do not. When your readers see something of value, they’ll want to share it with others.
  5. Capture Contact Information — On your main website and blog, make sure that there is a clear box to “Subscribe to our e-newsletter here,” requesting the person’s email address and any other contact information that you require. When people subscribe, you’ll be able to build your network of potential clients. It’s important to keep this contact information in an accurate, organized and up-to-date database.

How Do I Begin? — To send out e-newsletters, invest in an email marketing service such asStreamSend or Constant Contact. These programs provide HTML and text options and will allow you to send professional e-newsletters, alerts and messages to your audience. Using one of these third-party vendors will also increase the likelihood that your email will reach your intended recipients. Another benefit of using a professional email marketing service is that you will be able to identify and track recipients who open your email and click through.

Keep in mind that consistency is key! Ideally, you should be in contact with your audience via an e-newsletter at least once a month. Each e-newsletter should contain unique, current and informative content that is clearly branded with the name of your organization, the date of publication and a strong title. Most readers will choose whether or not to open an email based on the title alone.

It’s also important to honor people’s wishes on whether or not to keep receiving your emails. You must provide a clear opportunity for recipients to unsubscribe since failure to do so is subject to fines.

For any further questions, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. To take a look at our past e-newsletters, and to subscribe, please click here.

Should My Business Have a Blog?

blog-keys

Maintaining an active blog can establish your organization as a leader in your industry, change your website from an online brochure to an interactive hub of information and give your customers a way to engage with you. Because blogs are less formal than a company website, and more interactive, they provide a forum for businesses to provide useful information, rather than just company promotion, and build their reputation and credibility among customers.

This article will provide you with the benefits of blogging, advice on how to begin blogging and five essential blogging tips for your business.

Benefits of Blogging — Successful blogs can demonstrate your expertise and leadership in your industry, attract the attention of your audience and secure leads for your business. Creating and maintaining a blog for your business will dramatically improve your content creation, boost your reputation and improve your search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Content Creation — It has never been more important for businesses to generate quality content on a regular basis. The quality of your content is what influences your audience’s decision on whether or not to invest their time into reading your website or blog, and ultimately whether to trust your company and give it their business. Blogs are the perfect venues to distribute and store your content. Your blog should house informative, thought-provoking content that is related to your industry or the problem that your business solves for your audience. Very often, a blog will become your content hub of information. To learn more about the importance of content creation, please read our article, “Why Quality Content Reigns Supreme.”

  • Build Your Reputation — While your business’ website should focus on the products or services your business offers, your blog should demonstrate your organization’s knowledge and expertise in this area. By providing your audience with valuable content and helpful articles, your business will gain credibility and trust among existing and potential customers.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Benefits — Blogging can dramatically improve your search engine rankings. Search engines place heavy emphasis on new, current and quality content, so blogs are given high authority.

How to Begin Blogging — Before you jump into the blogosphere, it’s important to spend some time researching and browsing through other blogs in your industry. Once you’re comfortable with how blogs work, you should first establish a clear objective and target audience. Ask yourself the following questions: Is my target audience likely to engage in blogs? What content would my audience find most valuable? What type of information, and multimedia, is my audience looking for? To be able to answer these questions, it’s important to be able to put yourself into the mindset of your current or potential customers.

When you’re ready to begin, we recommend incorporating your blog into your main website, instead of giving it its own URL. Especially to those who are new to Web marketing, this is the easiest way to begin. Another factor to consider, when choosing whether or not to incorporate your blog, is that many people don’t have the time to develop content for and market more than one website. Incorporating your blog into your business’ main site will provide it with fresh content, as well as search engine optimization benefits.

The most successful blogs are updated weekly, at least, with fresh and interesting content related to their industry. You may choose to blog about news in your business area, company updates, helpful and “how-to” articles and other content that may be valuable to your audience. Remember to include relevant tags with each entry so that your posts can be easily categorized and found on the Web.

5 Essential Blogging Tips — To make sure your business’ blog is as successful as it can be, follow these five essential tips:

  • Incorporate Multimedia — It’s essential to add some form of multimedia to each blog entry to make your content interesting and visually appealing. By adding a photo, graphic or video to your post, you’ll appeal to a greater audience, since everyone takes in information differently. Some people are visual learners and will be far more receptive to your blog if it incorporates more than just text.

  • Add Sharing Icons — Including social media and social bookmarking icons on your blog is a great way to enable sharing. With sharing icons present next to each blog post, readers can easily share the entry with their friends or on their own social media profiles. It’s important to include the following sharing icons: Facebook’s “Like” button, Twitter, the Google+ “+1” button, StumbleUponDiggDelicious and the option to email the blog entry to a friend. Please follow each hyperlink for more information and to learn how to enable each of these sharing features on your blog. When done properly, this will definitely boost your blog’s traffic.

  • Include Hyperlinks — Wherever possible, it’s important to include hyperlinks that lead to more specific information. For example, find keywords in your blog posts and link them to another article you may have written on the topic or a section of your company’s website that offers more information on this topic or services you may offer.

  • Encourage Feedback — You want your blog to be as interactive as possible. It’s important to include a call to action in your blog posts and it could be something as simple as, “What are your thoughts? Share your opinion in the comment section below!” You should also include your contact information at the end of a blog post, should they have any questions or require more information. Remember to regularly scan your comments to remove any spam and reply to any questions, comments or concerns in a timely and helpful manner.

  • Promote on Social Media — With the powerful sharing capabilities of social media sites, your business’ social media profiles are perfect venues for promoting your blog. Whenever you update your blog, make sure to notify your Facebook fans, Twitterfollowers and Google+ circles. After you write your blog entry, use these sharing icons to “tweet,” share on your Facebook fan page, add to your social bookmarking profiles and more. In your social media updates, include a “teaser,” such as a portion of your blog entry, with the title, and encourage people to follow the link to read the rest of your post.

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.

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.