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.

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.

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

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 Tip #23| 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Elevator Pitch

You’re at a networking event or party. Someone asks you a simple question: “So, what do you do?”  Here’s where you’d typically start in with your elevator pitch. You know, the one you’ve been perfecting over the past few months that goes into the details about your business and how wonderful it is and why you’re so successful…

STOP!

Don’t be THAT guy (or girl). You know. The one who blabs on and on about their company using words like “synergy” and “top-notch” and “optimize.”  Instead, be someone memorable. Here are 10 easy tips to creating an elevator pitch that works as an effective marketing tool WITHOUT sounding like a sales pitch.

Do:

  1. Be conversational. Do make sure your answer is a genuine two-way conversation, not a company spiel.
  2. Keep it short. Do practice. 60 seconds is a long time to talk uninterrupted, and chances are you’ll lose the attention of your audience. Can you describe what you do in 20 seconds? How about 10 seconds?
  3. Use everyday language. Do make your comments seem as natural as possible — and have several elevator pitches ready for each event so you aren’t repeating the exact same response.
  4. Share. Do consider relating a (short) story about a recent client that would best describe what you do and the value you/your products provided.
  5. Provide value. Do be that guy that everyone is taking about. Provide a statistic or tip that your listener will want to share when they get back to the office.

Don’t:

  1. Launch into a commercial. Don’t sound like an infomercial. This isn’t a sales pitch, it’s a conversation.
  2. Be clever.  Don’t start with an irritating, clever statement i.e. “I turn money into memories.” No one really talks that way — or wants to be lead along in a phony exchange of “really, what do you mean by that?”
  3. Generalize. Don’t be vague. “I work with banks”  isn’t very revealing. Share something interesting about what you do.
  4. Make it a monologue. Don’t be an attention hog. Even if you are sharing a story, encourage your listener to interject. “Have you ever…?” or “Do you have any ideas?” are great engaging questions.
  5. Try to close the sale. Don’t be in “sales” mode. Leave the audience wanting more. Let the prospect come to you if they are interested.

After your response, it’s your turn to ask them what they do. If you are in a business or networking setting, be sure to also ask for their business card — and only provide yours if asked.

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Marketing Tip #22 | WIIFM – The Key to Marketing Success

WIIFM: The key to marketing success

Before you begin any marketing efforts, you must answer one question:  “Who is this marketing message aimed at?”

Promoting an event, product, or service takes on a different slant depending on the intended audience.

For example, if you are promoting an after-school dance class to parents, you might emphasize the experience and background of your dance instructors and the techniques taught. If you were targeting the marketing message directly to the potential students, you would emphasize the fun environment and the opportunities for recitals with fancy dance outfits.

Both are good marketing messages. But, they are very different messages because the intended audiences are interested in different things.

Emphasizing features and benefits that aren’t important to your target audience will result in a “why should I care?” or negative response. Emphasizing features and benefits that are important to your target audience will create a more engaging message that will result in more positive results.

When creating a marketing message, focus on WIIFM — What’s In It For Me?

Put yourself in your target audiences’ shoes. What’s important to them? Now use that insight to write a marketing message that will resound with your intended audience.

WIIFM —  the key to marketing success

 Want help? We’ve helped numerous organizations determine their markets’ WIIFM. We can help you, too.

Shoot us an email or give us a call at 850-320-6792.

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Marketing Tip #21 | 3 Keys to Inbound Marketing

Get customers to come to you

Easy as 1-2-3

Three steps to inbound marketing

1.   Get found — online

  • Use your website
  • Have a strategy for sharing on social media and email marketing

2.   Convert

  • Capture leads from website
  • Convert visitors to buyers
    — Be easy to contact

3.   Analyze

  • Measure website traffic
    — Use Google Analytics
  • Track website leads — bit.ly
  • Track customers
    — Follow up
Easy as 1-2-3! Questions? Want help?  Shoot us an email or give us a call at 850-320-6792.

Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

Marketing Tip #20 | LinkedIn: A 4-Step Strategy

LinkedIn: A 4-Step Strategy

Last month, professionals were joining LinkedIn at a rate of two new members per second. To be effective on LinkedIn, you need to stand out from the crowd.  But how?
Here are four simple strategies:
  1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile to maximize your presence by using keywords throughout your profile.
  2. After you make major profile changes, check your privacy settings to ensure that your name, photo, headline, and status appear in the streaming Updates and scheduled LinkedIn emailed updates.
  3. Get active! Keep your name in front of connections with every update, status change, group participation, and other activity with your profile.
  4. Stay active! Schedule 5 minutes of “LinkedIn” time 2-3 times a week for maximum traction.

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Marketing Tip #19 | 25 MORE Easy Marketing Tools

25 MORE Easy Marketing Tools

Looking for more ways to easily market your company? We’ve compiled a list of 25 MORE easy marketing tools below.

If you missed our first list of 25 Easy Marketing Tools, click here to see what you missed.

Remember, marketing doesn’t have to be hard or expensive, but it does take some thought and time – and a strategy.

  1. Special promotions centered around unique holidays
  2. Postcard mailers
  3. Celebrate customer occasions
    i.e. birthdays
  4. Free ads in shopper newspapers
  5. Auto or vehicle magnets
  6. Customer appreciation events
  7. Stationery
  8. Ads before movies
  9. Volunteering
  10. Satisfaction/Follow up phone calls
  11. Spend time with clients
  12. Send thank yous
  13. Booths at community events
  14. Bumper stickers
  15. Customer loyalty program
    i.e. punch card
  16. Ads on placemats
  17. Door hangers
  18. Toll free number
  19. Personalizing correspondence
  20. Distribute related marketing specialty items i.e. pens or calendars
  21. Offer samples or “try before you buy”
  22. Add live chat to your website
  23. Newspaper inserts
  24. Donations to community auctions
  25. Building signage

Reciprocate can help you sort through the options. Contact us today for a free consultation.

This is the second in a Easy Marketing Tools. Read the first set of 25 Easy Marketing Tools here.

Marketing Tip #18 | 4 Ways to use Smartphone Marketing

4 Ways to use Smartphone Marketing

Smartphones can be used to reach customers in four primary ways:
  1. Applications
    • Custom Apps
    • Voting and polls
    • Location-based deals
    • Mobile donations
    • Text to win
    • Couponing
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • LinkedIn
    • YouTube
  2. Mobile Web
    • Is your website mobile friendly?
  3. Advertising
    • Banner ads
    • Text Messaging
    • QR codes
  4. Phone calls – old-school technology or personal touch?

Want help sorting this out?

Reciprocate Phone Number
     Scan this QR Code to call Reciprocate    
for a free smartphone consultation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

( Unless of course, you’re reading this on your smartphone … then you’ll either need to borrow a friend’s phone call so you can scan the code or simply click here to send us an email)

This is the second in a series of tips on marketing to smartphone users. Read smartphone usage statistics here.

Marketing Tip #17 | How Smart is Smartphone Marketing?

Some Smartphone Stats

According to marketing research powerhouse Nielsen, as of February 2012, almost half (49.7%) of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones. This is up from only 36% just one year ago.

Android or iPhone?

Android and iPhone are running neck-in-neck with 48% of today’s smartphones running on Android operating system

How are we using our smartphones?

Chart and statistics by Nielsen

This is the first in a series of tips on marketing to smartphone users. Coming next: 4 ways you can use smartphone marketing.

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