How many twitter accounts do you manage?

Image of multiple twitter iconesI used to have two twitter accounts. One for my business dedicated to PR tweets and a personal account where I tweeted daily quips and shared content derived from followers with similar interests.  I learned very quickly that the two  were not mutually exclusive.

I deleted my personal account with thousands of followers and invited  them to follow me @storylinePR.  I wanted my customers and online friends to get to know me on both a professional and personal level. Why? Because building personal relationships for business is a good thing.

My advice? Stop.
If you find yourself a switching between personal and business accounts to tweet, Stop. Stop trying to appeal to different audiences. Stop trying to play Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – I mean really, who has the time?

Ditch your stuffy business persona on Twitter and let your personality shine through with one account. You’ll end up cultivating an engaged  audience you can really connect with and that’s what social media is all about.

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

More on creating brand stories

Image of saying... You need to tell your story and stand out in the marketSome of the largest and savviest organizations are using “brand stories” and content marketing as a core foundation of their marketing efforts and are discovering that storytelling is very powerful in the world PR.  I share the concept of creating content to tell brand stories in a guest blog post on Lola Design’s branding site.

Rather than tug on the sleeves of the media and beg for mentions, why not tell your brand story with valuable content journalists, your customers and prospects will want to share?

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

WordPress training giveaway!

UPDATE – March 17th, 2014
Congratulations to our winner @DaveAuten – Dave tweeted his way to a free seat  to Camp Tech’s  ‘WordPress for Beginners’ Ottawa Edition

Thank you to all those who entered and to those who helped spread the message about Camp Tech coming to  Ottawa on March 20th at the HUB. Ticket information for  the ‘WordPress for Beginners’ workshop can be found here: ‘WordPress for Beginners’ Ottawa Edition!

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We love WordPress. This blog and our website was created in it. We started back in 2007, (wow, time flies when you’re having fun), but it wasn’t much fun at the very beginning for us. We didn’t get the benefit of hands-on training and developed our blog, website and following by trial and error.  Believe us when we say… It’s the hard way.

That’s why we were thrilled to learn Toronto’s Camp Tech is coming to Ottawa this month with their very first Ottawa Edition of ‘WordPress for Beginners’ workshop. They’ll teach you how to build a WordPress website from scratch and storylinePR is giving away a free seat!

Why?

Because we believe in giving back to the Ottawa community that has given us so much over the years and as an Ottawa small business ourselves, we understand the challenges of finding the time. Just because we struggled to learn how to use WordPress, doesn’t mean you have to.

Image of Camp Tech logo

Our lucky winner will get a chance to learn what took us months to master in just one day with lunch (valued at $149).

Tweet your way to a free seat!

To enter, simply copy and paste the following tweet and tweet it!

Hey @storylinePR – I’d love a free seat @camptechco ‘WordPress for Beginners’ #Ottawa Edition http://tinyurl.com/a3vcwf8

Your name will be automatically entered into a draw for your chance to win your Camp Tech seat at The HUB Ottawa on March 20th, 2014, compliments of storylinePR!

You can enter as many times as you’d like by tweeting between now and March 15th.  We’ll announce the winner right here on our blog on March 17th. Good luck!

PS – If you can’t use the free seat, pay it forward by telling a friend who could. Check out the Camp Tech site and the details of the inaugural Ottawa workshop.

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Gaining more visitors is like cramming for a final exam

Image of A+ gradeUsing good old fashion studying skills from your college/university days and twitter, you can gain more readership for your online content. Remember when you were in school and you had to absorb the key points made in textbooks in order to pass the final exam?  Applying the same technique will get you an A+ in gaining more visitors to your site. Here’s how:

1. Go to your online content that you want to increase visitors, be it a great blog post you’ve written or content on a page in your website you’ve worked so hard to create. Now read through it and find the salient points.  Find the important text that drives your message home just like you used to do re-reading your textbook when cramming for that final exam. On an average website page or blog post, you should be able to find a minimum of 4-5 short bursts of text or key messages that talk about your topic, what we like to call “tweet-bites”.

2. Now that you have found these key messages, we recommend creating them in a word doc. or in an Outlook draft. Try to shorten them down for Twitter consumption. You will want to keep it less than 114 characters so you have room for your link and creation of additional content by users who re-tweet it.  To make sure it’s short enough, go to the “review” tab in your word doc. or in Outlook and highlight the tweet-bite and the click “word count” button.  This will tell you  how many “characters with spaces” you have, indicating if your text exceeds the recommended  max of 114 character so that you can adjust accordingly.

Here are our tweet-bites from this blog post, for example:

  • Use tweet-bites to gain more traction with your online content
  • Gaining more visitors to your site is like cramming for your college exam
  • How to increase traffic to your site with studying skills you learned in school and Twitter
  • Don’t be on autopilot. Engage your Twitter followers with fresh content. Here’s how
  • Attract more blog readers who are interested in what you have to say

Less is more here, but be sure to make the tweet-bites compelling enough to be clickable.

3. Once all your 114 character (or less) content ready, go to your website page and highlight the blog post or website page you want to attract readership. Open up TinyURL.com or another link shortener service and grab your short URL. Copy this URL to the end of all your tweet-bite messages and you’re ready to schedule them on Twitter. We recommend scheduling on twitter every other day (at different times), engaging, sharing and inspiring your followers in between.

The Result?

In just a little over a month, we have doubled our visitors and more than tripped the views to our blog using this method. Even our views per visitor has increased. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Here is what our visitors to our blog looked like both before and after:

Image of chart with blog stats

Not only are we attracting more eyeballs to our blog content, but we’re gaining more Twitter and Facebook followers who are interested in what we have to say and who are re-tweeting and sharing our tweet-bites!

Why does this method work?

For a couple of reasons. One, Twitter is like an information highway. People get on and off at different times of the day. The second reason is people gravitate towards certain messages. What may not have enticed them to click with your first tweet-bite message may change the second time around by rewording it slightly, allowing your tweet-bite to resonate more closely with them. 

We all want more people to see our content without sounding we are on auto-pilot, pushing the same message over and over again.  Give the tweet-bite method a try with your next few blog posts or pages on your website. We think you might be pleasantly surprised at the result.

How to connect to reporters through social media

Journalists are leveraging social media to distribute news content and engage their communities. They are also looking for news stories.

Media outlets have made it very easy for you to connect with reporters by listing the bios of their journalists as well as links to their social media accounts and email addresses.  Here are a few examples:

CTV News Ottawa
CTV News Ottawa provides a list reporters with links the outlet’s Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts. If you click on an individual reporter, you’ll have access to their bio, Twitter account and email address.

Image of CTV Ottawa(click to enlarge)

The Ottawa Citizen
Many outlets maintain Twitter lists of their current reporters. The Ottawa Citizen is one  of them.  Nine times out of ten, reporters will outline what they cover along with contact details in their profile. This is a great way to quickly find the reporter who covers topics that will be relevant for your business.

Image of Ottawa Citizen(click to enlarge)

The Globe and Mail
Every Globe and Mail reporter, columnist and contributor has a page on the Globe and Mail site that feature bios, contact information, RSS feeds and Twitter feeds.  What we like about this outlets’ page is that after linking to a journalist, it provides a  list of their ‘latest stories’ so that you can get a sense of their writing style and what they cover to better target your pitch.

Image of Globe and Mail(click to enlarge)

Although we don’t recommend pitching to journalists directly through Twitter or Facebook, it’s a great way to find the right media contacts and craft the right story to pitch through traditional channels.

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About the Author
Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Tell your story with photos for better media pick-up

Compelling photography can help tell your story and enhance your key messages. The more interesting your photo that accompanies your news release, the greater your chances of media pick-up.

CNW Group offers some great tips in a video entitled ‘Photos the Media Will Notice’ with some great examples of the following:

  • Be creative. A shot of the shop floor is more interesting than the “grip and grin.”
  • Be bright. Lighting can make the difference between a spectacular photo and a terrible one.
  • Use tight, detailed shots. They add flavour to the story, creating intimacy with the viewer.
  • Capture actions and reactions. Don’t stage your photos!
  • Include a caption. Give your photo context.
  •  Let a professional do it.

Do you have an eye for effective PR photos?

Vote for the winner of CNW’s 2013 Photo of the Year Contest!

After you vote, you’ll see if your number one choice is garnishing the most attention.  How did you do?

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Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.

Are you investing in all your media channels?

When we think of channels, we often think social and online channels. Business owners rarely think in context of media channels, but they should.
Image of hand written notes Channels should be thought as owned, earned and paid media. There’s a difference not only in the way you attract attention to your products and services, but also who you attract as well as the dollar investment you make.

  • Owned media is when you leverage a channel you create and control, speaking directly to your customers and prospects with email and direct mail, on your company blog, website, and social media channels.
  • Earned media is where print / broadcast media and the public share your content. Your customers, prospects and news outlets become the channel.
  • Paid media is when you pay dollars to leverage a third-party channel, such as sponsorships and advertising.

Earned media is obviously the most attractive to businesses. With owned media getting harder and harder to break through the noise, good publicity in trusted media is a powerful tool for building recognition with customers, potential customers, suppliers and investors. As good as old-fashioned ‘word of mouth’, it’s usually considered more credible than paid and owned media and can be achieved cost effectively.

However, it’s equally important to be ‘investing’ in all three media channels or order to optimize traffic and customer growth. Ideally, businesses should be investing 50% of their efforts into earned media and the balance split between owned and paid media channels, depending on your resources and budget.

How much of an investment are you making make in your media channels?

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Deanna White has always been passionate about marketing and public relations. Owner of storylinePR, Deanna is best known for taking it beyond the pitch. For building brands & bottom lines with the right channels to share your story. http://www.storylinepr.ca.