5 holiday marketing tips

Happy Holidays!The holiday season is quickly approaching and you are probably wondering how you can sprinkle some holiday flavor into your usual marketing strategy. We’ve created a list of five great tips to help your business leverage the holidays in your marketing strategy:

1.       Create an electronic and/or a printed holiday postcard

Let your customers and clients know that you care by sending them a holiday card. You can send a holiday-themed e-mail blast or a more traditional printed postcard. If you are running any holiday specials, be sure to include them!

2.       Holiday-themed newsletter/e-newsletter

Make your December newsletter merry! The holidays are a time of giving, so focus on topics such as charity, holiday events and recapping the past year. Is your organization associated with a cause? Does your company host a holiday party or event? Summarize this year’s successes or introduce your clients to your future plans. Continue reading “5 holiday marketing tips”

5 Tips for Writing Effective Press Releases

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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.

Should My Business Have a Blog?

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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.