How to Snag Free Online PR -- It's Easier than You Think!

Free Online PRFree Online PR

Gaining free online PR isn’t as daunting as it sounds. In your continuing efforts to improve your business’ online reputation, you should add PR outlets and activities to your monthly marketing calendar activities. Adding a monthly themed press release to online outlets and monitoring reporters’ queries for relevent PR opportunities will enhance your online reputation and help to push any negative reviews and comments off page 1 of Google.

There are a number of free online PR opportunities.

Submit press releases online to help push down negative reviews and stories. Here’s a list of 5  free online PR sites:

Tips for Free Online PR

When creating a press release for online distribution:

  • Use SEO enriched headlines and text
  • Include at least one Call To Action in each press release
  • Add hyperlinks in the release that lead to your website whenever possible

How to Find Reporters Looking for your Expertise

HARO

 

Reporters are always looking for industry experts to help complete a story.  The challenge is finding which reporters are looking for your input.  It’s relatively easy with a free account with HARO (Help A Reporter Out). Just register with HARO to receive free emailed leads and inquiries from media reps looking for insights and tips from experienced informants like you to include in their articles. These are reporters and bloggers – from both traditional and online outlets. When you see an inquiry that would provide an opportunity for PR, simply reply to the email provided by HARO.

Tips for Corresponding with Reporters

  • Respond to queries immediately – early responders often get the interviews
  • Use reporter-centric text i.e. respond to the HARO request with specifics that relate directly to their query
  • Don’t include attachments – include all of your info in the body of the email
    • If you need to send supplemental materials, offer to send links via Dropbox or similar service to the reporter in your pitch
  • Make it as easy as possible on the reporter
    • Offer to have company spokespersons available on the reporters’ timeline – reporters are often on a tight deadline
    • Offer” XX top ways to XXX” handouts or free whitepapers that the reporter can offer to readers or that they can run as sidebars
  • Respond with an intriguing, engaging take on the subject – research the reporters’ media outlet if possible and match your query response to the media outlet’s audience

There you have it — two relatively easy ways to snag free online PR.

How to Stop Wasting Time on Social Media

Stop Wasting Time on Social Media

Time and money — two things your business needs more of.  To help, there are 4 steps you can take today to stop wasting time on social media. Think about who your business has charged with posting, tweeting, pinning and chatting on social media.  Odds are it’s an intern — a millennial you “hired” for a low or non-existent wage.  If your company is representative of most, than, in reality, is social media just interns posting, tweeting and chatting with other interns?  No wonder you’re not seeing any real business results from social media.

4 steps to stop wasting time on social media

  1. Determine what you want to accomplish
    Start with a strategy. Define why your business is on social media instead of jumping into a tactic (posting and hoping for the best).  Have an end game in mind before you unleash on social media. Decide why you are posting, tweeting, or pinning each link or image. Random social media interactions won’t translate into success without a clear direction.
  2. Set specific goals
    Now that you know why you are on social media, set clear goals. What exactly do you want to accomplish? Is your Facebook presence designed to bring more customers to your website? Do you tweets drive event registrations or increase downloads?
  3. Engage your audience
    We’re all busy — constantly bombarded with so many messages that we can’t possibly react to them all.  You need to stand out with engaging content. Each social media interaction should include a call to action.  What do you want the reader/viewer to do because they saw your post? Should they click through to your website? Post a comment? Retweet? You need to specifically ask your audience to take an action — each time.
  4. Find the best social media site(s) for you
    All social media sites are not alike. Before you boost another post on Facebook or promote another tweet on Twitter, take a few moments, step back, and really look at who is using social media. To help you decide where to prioritize your digital marketing efforts, we share a detailed infographic by Salesforce.com.

Marketing Tip #28 | It's Time to Go Mobile

Mobile Drives Online and Offline Actions

It’s Time to Go Mobile

Everywhere you look, people are scrolling, swiping, texting, tapping, and talking on mobile devices.

More than 56% of us now own smartphones, and we are becoming increasingly reliant on our devices. We use them to search for nearby restaurants, text our family and friends, and to search for pricing and other details before we make a purchase decision.

Time to Go Mobile

To help persuade you that now if the time for your organization to go mobile, Reciprocate LLC has created and published an infographic that explains and illustrates today’s increasingly mobile-focused society. We’ve incorporated the data on the right along with other stats that are sure to inspire you that it’s time to go mobile. You can view and share our It’s Time to Go Mobile infographic here.

The implication to business is this: NOW is the time to go mobile and incorporate mobile into your marketing strategy.

Mobile App or Mobile Website?

Some organizations will benefit from creating a mobile app, which will allow you to selectively geo-target your audience and provide specific information to those who download your app. A mobile website will benefit every organization that has visitors who are viewing your website from their mobile devices. Your industry, your products, your services, and your specific marketing goals will determine if a mobile app or a mobile-friendly website is best for you.

Confused? Contact Reciprocate LLC today for a free 15-minute, no obligation, mobile marketing analysis. We’ll share our mobile insights and help you decide the best way for your organization to take advantage of today’s always-on mobile world.

Whether you choose to create a mobile-optimized website or develop a mobile app specifically for your organization, NOW is the time to take advantage of the mobile opportunity to engage the new, constantly-connected consumer. Reciprocate LLC can help guide you through the process.

Email Marketing | My Dad Writes the Best Email Subject Lines

My Dad Writes the Best Email Subject Lines

My 82-year-old father writes some of the best email subject lines. His subject lines are so intriguing; I’d open and read his messages, even if I wasn’t related!

I’ve asked my dad for permission, and he says you can borrow some of his subject lines, so I’ve included 82 of them — one for every year — at the end in this post. (Thanks, Dad!)

What you need to know about email open rates and subject lines

In the U.S., 18.9% is the average email open rate.What does that mean to you? For every 100 email addresses on your distribution list, on average, you can expect less than 20 people to read your message. An email list of 1000 addresses will result in about 189 people reading an email.

How do you know if your emails are being opened and read?

Email service providers such as Constant Contact and MailChimp help track open rates and click-throughs. Reciprocate LLC is a Constant Contact Solution Provider and has helped many clients analyze and improve the effectiveness of their email marketing efforts.

Increase email open rates with intriguing email subject lines

Emails compete for attention in an inbox. One of the best ways to get your emails opened is by using an engaging subject line.

Email Open Rates, U.S.

Learn from my dad’s email subject lines

Email subject lines should invite, intrigue and challenge the reader. Here are a sample of my Dad’s subject lines that you can adapt to your unique needs.

Command/Invite

  1. Be sure to watch the video
  2. Put it on your calendar
  3. Join in!
  4. You are all invited
  5. Check it out
  6. Worth watching. Be sure to click on full screen
  7. Get with it you young-uns!!
  8. Get in line tonight!

Intrigue

  1. Too late, but who listens?
  2. Something else to worry about
  3. Enjoy on the next hot day
  4. I hate to say it but you all qualify
  5. NO!! It’s not mine!!
  6. Just so you know…
  7. Pick your poison
  8. You might not be old enough?!!
  9. In case you missed it!!
  10. My treat!
  11. Digging through my photo archives
  12. My kind of luck
  13. In case you thought you’d tried all the coffee flavors
  14. Only for the Stout Hearted
  15. Look at what is coming, even for you young ones
  16. I always liked Sarah!
  17. For your viewing pleasure
  18. I have seen the after effects but couldn’t even imagine this

Challenge

  1. See if you can find our house in the map at the bottom of the article
  2. Check out the address at the bottom of the page
  3. Be sure to move your mouse around to see it all
  4. I’ll bet you never knew that!

Personalize

Personalize and localize your subject lines for added impact. Add personality and show the human side or your organization.

  1. I found this to be amazing
  2. Takes a while to download, but I think it’s worth it
  3. I don’t believe it. Let me know if you try it.
  4. I didn’t know that!
  5. I’ve been there. Here’s the fix.
  6. I’m sorry
  7. My Favorite Pet
  8. I’m thinking of picking up a new hobby.  Want to join me?
  9. Oh my aching back!!!
  10. My little brain is having a problem absorbing all these allegations
  11. I thought you might like to see this
  12. In case you are wondering what to get me for Christmas. But be sure to order…
  13. Told you so
  14. Some of you know all about this. You need to explain it to me

Localize

  1. Yah! She lives in Minnesota.
  2. Come on down for a visit – alligator pix on highway

Let Reader Decide Importance

Pique your readers’ curiosity by letting them decide if the information you are sharing is worth their time . Offer your assistance with a known or perceived problem. Consider asking a question for even more impact.

  1. You might find this interesting
  2. You MIGHT like this info?
  3. Here is a way to waste some time
  4. Might be for one of you party planners
  5. You might not like this
  6. Just another newspaper clipping
  7. If you are interested in drugs
  8. Don’t know if this applies and/or should be used by anyone of you
  9. At the risk of sending you too much junk mail I decided there may be an off chance you might find something useful here

Offer Help

  1. Save this address. You may find it to be useful.
  2. Save you doing your own test
  3. In case you are wondering what to get your hubby
  4. This may be something to print out and put away for the day you might need it
  5. Probably not for you, but pass it on. It could really help someone
  6. If you haven’t finished your Christmas wrapping, this may help
  7. Only Free Books

Ask A Question

  1. Do you remember any of this?
  2. Are you sending calendars to your customers?
  3. Ever wonder what the newspapers in your old home town are saying?
  4. Are you familiar with this?
  5. Know anyone that would do this?
  6. Did you know this?
  7. Competition??
  8. What will they think of next?
  9. Can you use this?
  10. Did you ever wonder?
  11. Isn’t timing everything? I’ll try for your share too
  12. Lights anyone?
  13. Could your clients use this?
  14. Feeling crafty?
  15. Who knew?

Humor/Play on Words

Show your sense of humor with a play on words or unexpected subject

  1. I found the grill of my dreams
  2. For all you social-(s)ites
  3. Here’s my version of an April Fool’s joke

Thank You

  1. Belated thank you
  2. I owe you a million thank yous

Thanks to my dad for sharing his great email subject lines with our readers and for inspiring this post. If you want more inspiration, check out MarketingProf’s recent study showing The Most (and Least) Effective Keywords in Email Subject Lines.

Marketing Tip # 27 | How to Get More Facebook Likes

Get More Facebook Likes

10 Easy Ways to Get More Facebook Likes

Use these techniques to get more Facebook Likes on your organization’s business page.

THE GOAL: To increase awareness of your organization’s presence on Facebook

THE PROCESS: Explain WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) WHY people should like your page.

As you implement these techniques,  don’t forget to focus on the WIIFM benefit to your new fans.

  1. Encourage Likes in Your Email Signature Block
  2. Use photos of people. Post them to your page – and tag them! As your business page, you can only tag other businesses. From your personal account, visit your business page and tag the individuals you are personally connected to.  A word of caution: this blurs the lines between personal and professional connections on Facebook.
  3. Using a third party app like ShortStack, create a “LikeGate” to coupons, discounts, or something your fans will like. 
  4. Use Facebook ads, including promoted page likes.
    Here’s a video explanation: 
    https://www.facebook.com/business/promoted-like 
  5. Use #Hashtags in your posts. Choose those that are current and relevant to provide extra expos
    ure.
  6. Visit other pages in your niche. As your page, visit their “posts by others” section and provide helpful advice to those with questions and comments. 
  7. Use QR codes or other methods in the “real world” to drive fans to your page. 
  8. Encourage everyone to “Tell your friends.” You do the same.
  9. Ask for” likes” on your business cards, in your brochures, on menus, on posters.
  10. Partner with others, such as complementary organizations, to get referrals and recommendations from their audiences.

Get More Facebook Likes

There you have it. Ten easy ways to get more Facebook Likes. We’ve got a few dozen more that we’ll be sharing soon.  In the meantime, like us on Facebook where we share internet marketing and technology updates, stats and trends for entrepreneurs, small business owners, non-profits and associations.

Google Tools #3 | Summer Trends and Hot Keywords

Want to win one of these Google Summer Toys? Like our Facebook Page and share one of our posts this month.

Want to win one of these Google Summer Toys?
Click on the photo to visit our Facebook Page. Then like our page and share one of our posts in July.

Temperatures are hot. Families are on vacation. Three-day weekends and leaving early on Fridays are common.  So how do you get your marketing message to stand out during these busy days of summer?  Add summer trends and hot keywords into your marketing messages.

The first step is to find the summer trends and hot keywords that people are talking about. Google provides a graphically colorful way with a free, online tool called Google Trends.  Google Trends offers top searches by country and even provides charts by interest area. 

Summer Trends and Hot Keywords

Here’s the Hot Searches Graphic from July 1, 2013.  You can easily see the top Google searches that day.

Google Trends and Hot Keywords July 1 2013

Click here to see today’s Hot Searches Graphic. Be sure to click on the upper left hand corner and drag your cursor to create a multi-paned graphic like the one above.

Once you have an idea of the top searches on Google, you can create a marketing message that takes advantage of this information by creating a catchy email subject line or using a hashtag that relates to the current trends and hot keywords.  Simply pick a topic that lends itself to a positive spin and a connection to your product or service.

Using the latest trends and hot keywords for marketing is also called newsjacking and is an effective way to help your marketing message receive the attention it deserves.

To win free Google spiff, click on the photo at the top of this post to visit our Facebook page. Then like our page and share one of our posts in July. It’s that easy!

Marketing Tip #26 | 8 Easy Ways to Personalize Your Social Media Posts

8 Easy Ways to Personalize Social Media

We’re all human. We respond when we believe someone is reaching out to us personally. Especially in today’s mass email marketing and social media bulk posting, a message that speaks to an individual is rare – and usually appreciated.

Here are 8 easy ways you can personalize your social media posts and tweets:

  1. mention individuals – clients, potential clients, someone you met at a networking event, your lunch meeting
  2. post on a client’s page (or tweet using the client’s Twitter handle) to publicly thank them for their business
  3. post and tag photos from events and daily activities around your organization
  4. recognize volunteers and those in your network who have helped
  5. ask relevant questions – a client recently noted that she gets the most reactions and comments from her weekly “So, who’s ready for the weekend?” posts on Fridays
  6. conduct simple polls – Facebook Business Pages offer this option
  7. IMPORTANT: interact with online communities by commenting, liking, and retweeting others’ posts and tweets
  8. MOST IMPORTANTLY: respond to all posts and tweets from others that mention your organization with an acknowledgement comment as simple as “Thanks”, “Glad you enjoyed the session”, or” How can we help fix the situation?”
There you have it. Eight easy ways to personalize social media. Be sure to comment on the Reciprocate Facebook page and tell us your thoughts. Oh, and in case you’re wondering why we included the cute kitten in this post, it’s because the online world is obsessed with cats.  Just for fun check out this an infographic on Why We Love Cats So Much

Quick Guide to Twitter Terms for Newbies

Some say learning to use Twitter is like learning a foreign language because the “Twitterverse” uses unique terms and symbols. Below is a quick guide to twitter terms to introduce you to some of the words and symbols used.

One of the easiest ways to learn how to use Twitter is to observe how others are using the social network. Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can visit the Twitter search page and learn what others are saying on Twitter about the topic. This is also a great way to read what people are saying, in real-time, about a particular industry, product, or news event.

Print out the guide below to help you interpret what you see. Once you spend some time watching others tweet, you may be ready to jump in and join the fun. We’ll post our 12-step Twitter Strategies and Best Practices Guide soon. In the meantime, post your Twitter questions on the Reciprocate LLC Facebok page. Enjoy!

Quick Guide to Twitter Terms for Newbies

@ – use to call out usernames in Tweets. Use “@Username”

Avatar – profile picture

DM – “Direct Message” – private message. Use “d username” to specify the recipient

Fail Whale – Error seen when Twitter is overcapacity.

Favorite – click on the yellow star next to a message to mark it as one of your favorites

#FF – “Follow Friday” Used to suggest who others should follow on Fridays

Follow – subscribe to someone’s Tweets

Follower – someone who subscribes to your Tweets

Following – number of Twitter users you are following

Handle – Twitter user name. Your handle is http://Twitter.com/username.

# – Hashtag – used to indicate keywords or topics. Provides a way to search for similar Tweets

HT or h/t – used to acknowledge the person who originally shared the content being tweeted

Lists – curated groups of Twitter users. Used to tie individuals into a group into your Twitter account

Listed – your Twitter account is included in a list created by another Twitter user

Mention – using the “@” followed by a Twitter user’s name as a “shout out”

OH – “Overheard”

Promoted Tweets – Tweets paid to appear higher in search results

Reply – public message. Begin Tweet with “@username” of person you are sending reply to

RT – Retweet – a Tweet forwarded by another user.  To send a Retweet to all your followers, use “RT”

Suspended Accounts – Twitter’s way of reducing spammy and inappropriate Tweets

ThirdParty Application – product created by a company other than Twitter and used to access Tweets and other Twitter data.

Timeline – real-time list of Tweets

Top Tweets – most popular Tweets; determined by Twitter

Trending – real-time list of most popular topics on Twitter, usually designated by a hashtag

Tweet – a message posted via Twitter. Also a verb: Tweet, Tweeting, Tweeted

Tweeter/Twitterer – someone who posts and reads Tweets

Unfollow – stop following someone on Twitter. Their Tweets will no longer show up in your home timeline.

Join Reciprocate LLC on Twitter for timely marketing tips and strategies:

Join Reciprocate at TechExpo Tallahassee 2013

Ground Control to Major Tom:
Free (and Low Cost) Virtual Communication Tools to Enhance Training and Increase Productivity

Do any of the following sound familiar:

  • No money in the budget for face to face training? 
  • Frustrated with trying to find easier ways to collaborate? 
  • Do you find yourself saying, “My training methods need some “POP?” Or perhaps, decreased productivity and miscommunication in this fast-moving digital age has you down? 

Join Reciprocate LLC’s President Karen Emanuelson and co-presenter Andrienne Bryant at their 2:30 p.m. session at TechExpo Tallahassee to learn how some of today’s hottest online communication tools can assist you. These low-cost, no-cost (FREE) options will help you increase productivity, keep you under budget, and give you techniques to enhance the training experience for your audience.

At the conclusion of this interactive discussion, attendees will:

  • Learn the basics of using tools like Google + Hangouts, Skype, and Jing
  • Walk away with at least one new tool they can implement in their organization/business
  • A list of virtual communication tools to explore on their own
  • Discuss how the tools can be used to enhance the training experience
  • Provide solutions to internal and external communication issues and strategies

TechExpo 2013: The Road Ahead is set for Thursday, May 9 at the Florida State University Turnbull Conference Center. The presentation and handouts will be available on our website by the end of May.

Last year 250 regional professionals and students attended TechExpo 2012. Participants at TechExpo 2013 will learn new industry developments and time-saving techniques, discover how to get new IT ventures off the ground, and ways they can run their organizations more productively and profitably. Over the past 5 years TechExpo has grown into a valuable experience for participants. TechExpo 2013 attendees will leave the conference with meaningful  contacts, knowledge transfer from the expert speakers, client leads, new vendor relationships, and synergy with other organizations for business development. 

Marketing Tip #25 | LinkedIn: The Power of Connections

The Power of Connections

We have yet to find an organization that can’t benefit from using LinkedIn. Success stories abound. According to a whitepaper by Hubspot, the majority of companies who are on LinkedIn have acquired at least one customer from LinkedIn.

How you can benefit

Creating a LinkedIn profile that is optimized using keywords is the first step.  Recently, Reciprocate created an optimized LinkedIn profile for a client who was just starting a foreign language based consulting business. In less than two weeks, our client signed her first contract — with someone who had discovered our client’s profile via LinkedIn’s Search feature.

Making connections is the next critical step. With only 16 connections, LinkedIn says you are just two degrees away from more than 1000 professionals.

With 220 connections, your friends-of-friends sphere of influence jumps to nearly 90,000!

While we believe in the power of connections, we don’t encourage anyone to become a L.I.O.N. (LinkedIn Open Networker — someone who tries to accumulate as many LinkedIn connections as possible.) Instead, just as in traditional networking, reach out and connect to those you know, like, and trust.

If you would accept a business card from someone, consider adding him/her to your LinkedIn network of connections.  Connect with your co-workers, industry professionals, customers, family, college acquaintances, friends, teammates, children’s friends’ parents, association members, neighbors — the list is seemingly endless.

As you grow your number of connections, you will find that others also reach out to you to connect. You never know who might just know someone who is looking for someone with just your skills and talents. And, because you are so well connected on LinkedIn, they may just reach out to you and strike up a virtual conversation that turns into new business opportunities or a new career path. That’s the power of LinkedIn connections.

Marketing Tip #24 | The Generation Gap Influence: Finding Your Target Market on Social Media

You’ve hear it all the time. “You NEED to have a Facebook business page.”  “You NEED to get on Twitter.” “You NEED to be on Pinterest.” But do you really?

Here are 3 time-saving tips to finding your organization’s target market on social media:

TIME SAVING TIP #1:  Determine your target audience
The demographics of your target audience will help dictate where you should spend your online time and budget.  We’ve discussed the importance of defining your target audience in our Marketing Tip #22. If you don’t want to “waste” your time on social networking sites,  you must know who you are targeting before you decide which site to use for your organization.

TIME SAVING TIP #2: Determine the demographics of your target audience
One of the easiest ways to visualize your demographics is to create a mythological target customer. Then you can select the social media networks that will yield the most contact with your target audience.

TIME SAVING TIP#3: Determine where your target audience is online
Here are some interesting statistics from the website monitoring service, Pingdom, which recently released a study on social media user demographics, based on data from the Google Ad Planner Tool. While the Pingdom study covered 24 social networks, we’ll only highlight a few of the more well-know sites here.

  • 51% of all social network users are between the ages of 25 and 44.
  • Those 55 and older make up almost 10% of the social network users, while those under 25 make up just over 20%.
  • 55% of Twitter users are 35 or older.
  • The average Facebook user is 40.5 years old.
  • 71% of the 24 sites surveyed by Pingdom had more female users than male users. Only Quora, Reddit, Orkut, Github, Stack Overflow, Hacker News and Slashdot had more male users.

Pinterest is the most female-dominated site, with females making up almost 80% of its users.

 

The overall average age of social network users is 36.9 years. deviantART has the lowest average age at 28.6 years; LinkedIn has the oldest at 44.2 years.

Based on the data above, an organization marketing to senior males could make the decision NOT to spend their marketing time and money on a Twitter campaign while an organization marketing to 30-something females SHOULD consider Pinterest as a viable marketing tool.

Your organization, of course, will make its own decisions based on your unique products, services, industry, and desired outcomes. Spending a few minutes researching your target audience and its demographics before deciding which social media platform you NEED to be on will provide better results for your marketing time and resources.

Marketing on the Go | What you can learn from Target’s mobile strategies

What you can learn from Target’s mobile strategies

Let’s look at how retail giant Target has gone mobile. Target not only has an app for smartphones and the iPad, but customers can also sign up for monthly text coupons.

Once a month, customers receive a text message on their phones that contains an link to a web page of coupons that can be used simply by showing the cashier the screen on the phone. Towards the end of each month, Target sends a text reminder that these coupons expire soon. On top of this, if the phone has email access, customers can also receive Target’s weekly emails directly on their mobile device.

That’s a lot of Target, but it can be effective. But maybe your organization isn’t retail-based, like Target. You can still effectively engage your customers or members via the mobile world. Create an app (or find someone to create one for you) that offers tips and tricks or some neat tool related to your organization.

Target offers a mobile version of their website, apps for iPhone and Android smartphones, an iPad app, and text messaging options to reach their audiences.

Or utilize texting. Allow your customers the option to sign up for daily/weekly/monthly texts that relay some sort of information.  Get creative but make sure that whatever your mobile actions are, they are useful or can benefit your customers in some way.

The main point: find a way to go mobile to help expand your organization and/or gain a more loyal customer or member base.

Stuck on how to take your organization mobile? Comment below or send an email to info(at)ReciprocateLLC.com.  We’re ready to help you engage your target audience using mobile tactics.

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