PR in the high school cafeteria

This is the best description of PR we’ve read in a long time and one we can all relate to…

“Think back to high school. For most of us, high school was full of painful moments of awkwardness, rejection and alienation… like the cafeteria during lunch when you were trying to find a place to sit.

Image of high school cafeteria

Photo Credit: http://www.cbc.ca

PR is a lot like navigating that cafeteria minefield… but instead of trying to find a seat at the “cool kids’ lunch table” for ourselves, we’re trying to help a client find a seat where their customers are.

In the business world, it’s the equivalent of representing the mathletes or the theater geeks. In other cases its working with the new kids – companies getting started – but most of the time, we’re helping the shy quiet kid with little or no reputation at all – get some well-deserved recognition and their time in the sun.” – Ed Zitron.

BTW: Ed wrote this book, which is a fabulous read. We highly recommend it for someone starting out in PR.

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.

how technology has changed how we tell brand stories

Who remembers this? It was similar to our first home PC, bulky equipment that required you to dial into a modem number and attach the phone receiver to a coupling device.

Image of old home PC technologyI also remember our first home PC game, it was a text based treasure hunt where you mapped out the adventure in your mind.

My, how times have changed.

My daughter now uses skype to show her friends her latest craft project and connects with her grandparents 8 hours away to help her with her homework. She uses her laptop to find answers to questions and as a science lover, discovers new and exciting creatures that live half way across the globe through Google images.

I remember watching this commercial and thinking this was sci-fi stuff and how I would never see these things happen in my life time.


That was about 20 years ago. If you think back to vintage commercials, you will find companies like this one ahead of their time in creative storytelling. Funny how advertising has gone full circle to storytelling through content marketing.

Are you telling your brand story?

With social media, we now have so many options to tell our brand stories. Video is great for doing so and up until now, it has been price prohibitive for small business to get in the game. I stumbled across this entrepreneur.com article that provides a few options for affordable, online video-production services. There are many others – but the key is in the concept and delivery.  Perhaps it’s time to get out a pen and paper and start drafting an old-fashioned story board to get the creative juices flowing.

What’s your favourite storytelling video of today or yesterday? There’s no shortage of inspiration out there!

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.

 

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.

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.

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)

We recommend building a relationship first before 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.