It hadn’t occurred to me that most brands and companies large to small are embracing social media or at least thinking about it. It hadn’t occurred to me until I spoke with Rob Merritt, Senior VP and Director of CKPR, one of the largest independent public relations firms in the U.S.
He said during an interview for a Fame article:
“From a PR standpoint I don’t think we execute a PR program right now that doesn’t have an online component and some kind of social media aspect to it.”
I know it’s only anecdotal evidence that social media is taking a strong hold. But I can say that based on several interviews I’ve conducted with PR staff at companies and agencies social media is almost always part of the marketing or PR strategies.
And if you want to reach younger generations with your company’s message, it’s almost imperative.
Both Daniel Durazo and I received comments about PRLog. One commenter said he got two press releases on the first page of Google results by inserting a niche keyword phrase into the title of the press release. Useful TIP!
Upon review of PRLog this is what I found out about the free service:
-Requires a minimal registration/login process
-Allows hyperlinks to be inserted in to the body of the release
-Masks email addresses in the contact section (to prevent spam)
-Typically submits free releases within 24 hours
-Provides multiple categories and tags (keywords)
-Allows for company logo inclusion
-Automatically creates a downloadable PDF
-Provides visitor statistics
-Allows for editing and deleting releases
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It’s definitely a useful site for any PR professional on a budget. First page Google results is nothing to snuff at. And allowing hyperlinks in the body of the press release free of charge is almost unheard of among the free sites.
I am a huge fan of the AMC television series Mad Men — a drama about the ad men and women on Madison Avenue in the 1960s. That’s why a blog post about the shutdown of Mad Men Twitter feeds caught my eye.
Apparently, fans were posing as Mad Men characters, creating Twitter profiles for them, and posting regular Twitter posts. (Check out Don Draper’s, Betty Draper’s, Peggy Olsen’s, and Pete Campbell’s Twitter feeds.) AMC asked Twitter to shut down the feeds, which angered fans.
Here’s an excerpt from the Reuters’ article:
“Although anybody can legally pretend to be any made-up character, Twitter could be in violation of AMC’s trademark if its presentation successfully confuses readers as to whether the feeds are endorsed by the network. Still, sources said that AMC still is looking into the matter and noted that some executives at the network recognize the value of the feeds.”
Later, AMC revoked the request, allowing the feeds to continue. I think this leads to some fundamental conclusions about the ways brands should view social media avenues like Twitter.
1. As long as consumers aren’t being profane and inappropriate or otherwise offensive to others and the brand, what can it hurt?
2. Social media avenues work best when minimally policed.
3. It’s free, no effort viral marketing for the brand.
Thanks to David Lidsky, Senior Editor of Fast Company, for blogging about this. I wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
Here is my second post on how you can help back up your green marketing message by lowering the carbon footprint of your company. Tips were provided by Tim Sanders, Author, Saving the World At Work: What Companies and Individuals Can Do to Go Beyond Making a Profit to Making a Difference.
This post suggests ways to get your business partners to follow your lead and how to cut your shipping emissions.
You can only reduce your carbon emissions to a point. After that, you have to influence others to continue to reduce your impact on the planet. Some companies have calculated the emissions reductions they’ve convinced others to take and realized that it’s more than offset their company’s total carbon footprint, Sanders says. Technically, they’re operating at zero emissions.
-> Suppliers and media providers
If you’re a major advertiser at a publication, or a major account for a supplier, you can leverage your relationship to encourage them to go green.
Tell the magazine you’re thinking of moving your account to a magazine published on recycled paper. Tell the shipping company you’re considering switching to a competitor who uses a truck idling system that cuts down on emissions. You might help push them into green efforts.
-> Choose partners carefully
You can also choose to work with greener companies in the future. This will prevent straining any current relationships and will help support your company’s green claims.
Although, not related to printing, overnight shipping is integral to the PR industry. PR reps often have “overnight syndrome,” Sanders says. If you’ve got the disease, curing it can go a long way toward making your company greener.
“An overnight shipped package has 12 times the environmental impact of a ground-shipped package,” Sander says. “If you can’t reduce your overnight shipping by 80%, you need to take a time management course.”
Talk the walk: If your company is making genuine efforts to have a smaller impact on the environment, publicize it. It will make your customers feel better about choosing your brand, may attract new customers and you can influence others to follow in your footsteps.
Do not be afraid of activists’ charges of green washing. The best way to avoid a controversy is to always be straightforward and truthful in your claims. If you’re making a genuine effort, explain it without overstating it.
Once in a while, when developing Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns, PR folks really should think big, think bold and jump on opportunities to be big and bold with CSR messaging. That’s what I learned when reporting on The Hartford Financial Services Group’s award-winning diversity communications campaign for a Fame article. Read more…
When I spoke to Christopher Barger, manager of GM’s FastLane blog, the other day about best practices in managing corporate blogs for a MarketingSherpa article, something that struck me was just how hard it is for these managers to find employees within their companies who are willing to blog on a regular business.
It’s not something we at MarketingSherpa have to worry about too much because most of us are writers. But I’d imagine it’s something many blog managers struggle with.
PR misses the mark when it comes to pitching bloggers. It’s a complaint I’ve heard over and over again in almost every blog-centric interview for MarketingSherpa’s Fame newsletter.
Complaints range from how much bloggers hate receiving cut-and-paste press releases to how often the press releases are off topic. I think this confirms the conclusion: PR isn’t about pitching press releases any more. It’s about building relationships.
There’s a ‘black hat’ marketing technique that predates search marketing, search engines and the Internet itself. It’s buying press. We’re all familiar with it.
Publishers try to avoid compromising editorial integrity at all costs, I thought. But maybe I’m naive. A recent AdvertisingAge article on buying press says otherwise.