I noticed a recent spat of posts about tradeshows. Some discuss the value of participating in the show while others discuss the “emergence” of virtual tradeshows. At one point in my career, I had focused on conferences and speaking engagements – originally with Niehaus Ryan Wong’s Speakers Bureau and eventually starting the Conference Strategies for Blanc & Otus.
From a PR perspective, I view conferences as an opportunity to establish thought leadership and to increase a company’s awareness. However, it’s also important to understand how this fits within the marketing mix for organizations. Attending a show is not a small endeavor for a company. It’s costly, requires staff and must provide concrete results in the form of sales gold – the almighty sales lead. These folks have done a great job as discussing the value of tradeshows:
Disclosure – my company has developed online conferences and events and provide live and on-demand streaming webcasts into virtual tradeshows for organizations.
When you’re a start-up, PR can be a difference for the company. The challenge is how to get targeted, quality media coverage on a limited budget and competing objectives. One of my favorite sayings lately is “by hook or crook.” What I mean is what can I do in the short-term to satisfy immediate results while keeping the eye on long-term value.
Here are some ways that start-ups can get some quick and dirty media coverage:
1) Editorial Calendars: Magazines will publish an editorial calendar to highlight areas of coverage for the coming weeks or months. Though the purpose is to garner advertising dollars, this will give you an opportunity to determine if there are appropriate stories. Contact the editorial assistant to determine process for contacting reporters and if the story has been assigned. 2) Executive Profiles: Consider pitching profiles of your CEO or founder to local newspapers, business journals or bloggers who focus on entrepreneurship. This provides a good opportunity to highlight your thought leadership within in your industry as well as vision for the company.
3) New Hire Placements: Local newspapers and journals include information about new executives at local companies. Each publication will have different criteria for submitting this information and may take several weeks for it to appear. I recommend submitting a photo as this will likely will get published with the brief.
4) Hold a Crazy Stunt: There is a balance between a stunt for marketing purposes and one that ties back into your overall objectives. I recently read about this stunt in the local newspaper. Briefly, this company was giving out tomatoes with money on it. Why? The name of the company is CashTomato.com. Frankly, I think this was poorly thought out and didn’t help promote the company’s end product… video-sharing site… yeah. Though it garnered coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, I don’t know what else it accomplished. Dead pool anyone? =)
What are you PR tips for start-ups?
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing that more agencies are working on projects on a retainer basis vs hourly. My understanding is that the retainer enables an agency to focus on the work versus the administration.
This is intriguing, because I previously wrote that charging by the hour contributed to part of the bad image that PR folks have. It raises several questions for me:
- Are smaller/boutique agencies the only ones doing this?
- Does this result in better quality work?
- Does this mean there is less “nickel and diming” since it’s a set retainer?
Heck, being in-house, I like this. I know what my budget is on a month-to-month basis. No ugly surprises. No explanations to my boss and finance department. What is there not to love.
I posed this question to my twitter folks, “do you think a retainer basis is better than hourly? If so, why?” Here;s the conversation:
I would love to hear from PR agencies and other folks – in-house or agency. Which is better – montly retainer or monthly projections billed against hours?
Measuring Social Media – Hubspot’s blog provides some good tips for measuring your social media marketing efforts. I’m surprised that the number of links to your blogs and Technorati Authority weren’t included as ways to measure your social media.
BRITE Conversations – Valerie Maltoni provides some food for thought in advance of an interactive CMO Summit being held at the Center for Global Brand Leadership. She discusses some of the challenges that organizations face when trying to innovate and build brands. I wonder how resource constraints and changing priorities fits in the picture? =)
Don’t Do this When Promoting Your Event -Mac McIntosh writes the Sales Lead Insights blog. He provides his 13 Don’ts When Promoting Events. Great insight if your tasked with managing a roundtable or dinner event for your client.
Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks – Brendan points to an example of how journalists and PR folks responded to the Bird Flu. Instead of being a short lived story, it extended over 10 days. I haven’t heard the podcast yet, but it seems worthwhile based on Brendan’s summary.
Is this PR Person You? – David Meerman Scott poses what the future PR job description would look like. It’s most likely, “You haven’t graduated high school yet but you’ve already started 2 start ups, sold another and angel investing in another. You’re invited to beta test EVERY new software offering and your recommendation can make or break the company…”=P
Seeing You Face-to-Face – Sheila Scarborough of the every dot connects blog about the value of meeting people in person at conferences. I know blackberry’s have been banned from company meetings. I wonder if conferences will ban computers and PDAs to keep people focused on the content and people versus Twittering the event?
With Analysts, It’s All In the Briefing – Jeremiah Owyang provides great insight into how to successfully brief analysts. Great advice on how to get the most out of briefings. Remember, analysts can provide a wealth of information in addition to learning about your company.
This week’s summary is shorter than usual. Let me know if you have any recommendations for make this a more useful list of information. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles Feed:
It’s Good to Be Delicious – I so love MarketingPilgrim because I always get nuggets of wisdom that help with PR and marketing. Yahoo is starting to include delicious information into the search results. Whether or not this will augment search rankings, it’s good to know how many other people find the information useful. From a PR perspective, all press releases, marketing materials, etc. should be bookmarked on delicious. You never know who is looking for what where.
Fact Check Everything – Dave Fleet of Fleet PR writes an important post about fact checking everything first. By just omitting some details, the meaning can be completely different.
Jumping on the Green Bandwagon – This article in MarketingProfs highlights the recent trend to jump on the green bandwagon. I think this is a key thing to keep in mind as companies proceed with sustainability and green programs.
Online Reputation Management – Paul Dunay provides good tips for managing your online reputation. Monitor – Respond – Optimize. Check out my previous posts about online reputation management and the tools I used to manage my online reputation.
Effective New Media Mediums for Marketers - eMarketer is summarized some recent reports about what are effective marketing mediums. For my company, I found it interesting that 54% of marketers found webinars effective. Who knew!
I know you’ve missed your summary of weekly articles. It’s been a slow start to the New Year, but I how you enjoy this week’s selection.
Engagement Overrated? – AdAge just released a survey of marketers and media buyers. I’m a little confused by what this survey means frankly. In the end, different mediums are judged by different criteria. Indicative of this contradictory stance: Survey respondents said it’s print — yet ranked print lowest for delivering results. Online was ranked lowest for engagement but highest for results, while TV was ranked in the middle for both results and engagement.
Baiting for Links – Adotas has an interesting article on how to receive quality links for your website. I’m not sure I agree with adding media mentions into a press release, but there is some good advice for those needing quality links.
Saying Sorry the Right Way – Andy Beal compares two situations of how Search Engine Land and Gizmodo apologized for recent incidents. Andy highlights the five steps for handling such a situation. Hmmm… Twitter, are you listening?
Protecting Your Online Brand – Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb wrote a post an email http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/brand_squatting_what_to_do.php
Why Meet Face-to-Face When Virtual Suffices? – I found this article interesting as part of my role is how to support sales with materials to help in the sell. This article highlights a buyer’s request for an online demo being spurned by sales folks. As a PR/marketing person, this raises a question of what can I do to facilitate the sales cycle. PR has a great opportunity to research, test and introduce new tools that can be used by sales folks. The question is, can you teach a sales person new tricks? =)
Twitter Pals Galore – The good folks at MarketingPilgrim have compiled an impressive list of online marketing folks on Twitter. Have fun finding people to follow!
Raising Customer Expectations – Chris Bucholtz of Inside CRM posted a great article of how to exceed customer expectations. No matter how big a company gets, it’s the little things that win over your satisfied and dissatisfied customers. Being proactive and quick to respond goes a long way then sending an impersonal email that arrives weeks later.
Protecting Your Brand Here, There and Everywhere – Richard McManus of ReadWriteWeb about a recent email exchange from a person using the “readwriteweb” brand overseas. Though I am sympathetic with Richard’s dilemma, I believe he received some bad advice. Richard can probably argue for protection in the US but may lose overseas. In the end, brand protection is brand protection. Always trademark. Even if you’re not planning to expand overseas, consider it. You never know.
Improve PR Programs through Measurement – KD Paine has some useful tips on how measurement provides insight for more effective PR programs. KD uses the word “dashboard” in her post. I believe she means a central place – whether a formal dashboard, database or excel document, that will help you identify and evaluate these points.
Standing Out in the Tradeshow Crowd – Rohit of Influential Interactive Marketing shares his tips for standing out in a tradeshow. Though I don’t agree with Rohit’s suggestion on a giveaway, I do believe he has some valid points. For those folks going to DEMO this month, my one word of advice is to walk to the space, pull people to the demo, and network at the events. Don’t wait for folks to come to you otherwise you won’t get the full bang for buck at the show.
Google PR just sent me an email. the CCd instead of BCC – I know have email addys for all major journalists! Woohoohaha
Wow, this journalist email list is GOLD, shame I’m too ethical to do anything with it
I was surprised that Google PR didn’t personalize the emails based on the reporter/blogger and beat. Andy’s response was that this was typical depending on the PR person within Google.
Don’t get me wrong, Google is obviously doing something right. I barely read any negative articles about Google. But this non-personalized approach surprised me. I was always taught to personalize my pitches. Here are my top don’ts for pitching reporters:
- Don’t Misspell Names – Misspelling names turns off the reporter before he or she even reads your pitch.
- Don’t Use Nicknames – unless you’re absolutely sure, I would err on using the reporter’s full name. Make sure you remember point 1.
- Don’t Generalize Pitches – research the reporter to make sure that you target your pitch to his/her beat. Using a general pitch can backfire as it’s obviously a mass emailing.
- Don’t Mass CC Reporters – this one refers to what Google PR did. If you have to mass email reporters, at least use the BCC line. Otherwise, you’re advertising who you’re pitching and possible competitors in the email.
Any thoughts or other recommendations for PR Pitching?
Cece Salomon-Lee is director of marketing for ACTIVE Network, Business Solutions division, and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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