Tag Archives: PR

Social Media Outrage Over Penalty Rates Rant

Social Media Outrage Over Penalty Rates Rant

Want to go viral on social media? The Bombay Bicycle Club restaurant in Adelaide shows you how it’s done. But please don’t try this in your own business.

The restaurant created a faux menu showing what prices its menu items would be if they were multiplied 2.75 times. Why, you ask? Because of the penalty rates which the restaurant pays its staff on public holidays.

Adelaide pub Bombay Bicycle Club apologizes for calling people ‘idiots’ on Facebook after staff penalties rant reports:

“We will have to pay our staff 2.75 times the base rate for public holidays. This is how the prices on our bar menu would look using that formula”, the sign read.

All well and good. You can imagine the restaurant’s patrons glancing at the sign as they walked past it. Unfortunately, the restaurant posted an image of the sign on its Facebook page. As you would, right? (Snark.)

The image went viral. Lots of people had opinions, and they posted them on Facebook and Twitter. They also punished the restaurant with one-star reviews.

Then this post appeared on the restaurant’s Facebook page:

The BBC ownership would like to apologize for our sign and Facebook post. We regret the wording. There was no intention to offend anyone.

Overly clever PR? No

When I first heard this story, I thought that a restaurant patron had snapped a photo of the faux menu and uploaded it to Facebook. Not so. Apparently the restaurant posted the image. I couldn’t find it, they must have deleted it.

Then I wondered whether this was a clever PR trick. Upload a photo, get lots of comments and links. That though died when the Facebook timeline reveals that the restaurant tried to justify its attitude on penalty rates… on Facebook.

Social media can be savage; I read some of the Facebook and Twitter responses. Harsh punishment. Not the image the restaurant wants to show.

, and on Twitter: @angee

Publicity Power: 5 Press Release Tricks to Help Your Small Business

5 Press Release Tricks to Help Your Small Business

Love press releases? I do too. To my mind, they’re an essential part of any content marketing strategy.

I’ve often told the story of how I got into copywriting – via press releases. At the time (1980s!) I was running a business which was spending HUGE amounts on display advertising in Sunday newspapers. Since press releases cost us nothing except a few postage stamps, I sent out ten press releases to various media outlets.

Hey presto – we got fantastic coverage: radio, TV, magazines…

Yes, those days were different. However, the underlying marketing is the same now as it was then.

To get publicity, you need:

  • A hook – a good story – for media attention;
  • A belief in yourself, and the worth of your business;
  • A little creativity.

All these years later, the media isn’t what it once was. However, publicity is just as powerful now as it was then. And it’s basically free. All you need is a story that’s attention-getting.

You may be wondering about a press release’s value in these days of Hummingbird.

The death of SEO press releases?

Yes, and not before time. Google’s Matt Cutts rained on the SEO parade:

With this new mandate, what Google has done is kill off the SEO press release. Google is now requiring that URLs and anchor text within press releases be converted to no follow links.

Here’s the thing. If you get media attention, you WILL get SEO value, because you’ll gain lots of links. However, you shouldn’t use press releases just to get links.

Let’s look at five simple press release tricks.

1. Make your press release newsworthy.

What’s “news”?

Anything you say it is.

Truly. Your press release might have a hook related to: timeliness, public interest, conflict, tragedy, humor, sex, money, human interest, the future, or animals.

Any one of those themes will do. Combine two of them, and you’ll hit the publicity jackpot.

Take a look at a newspaper, and you’ll see those themes every day. They’re news.

I tend to use the terms “press release” and “news release” interchangeably. All press releases must contain news.

2. Tell your story: attract media attention.

You’ve got a newsworthy theme. Your next step is to find the story within that theme. TV Tropes could be a happy hunting ground for your story; check out the Rags to Riches trope, for example.

Whatever your theme, there’s a story buried within it. Think about it.

Tell yourself the story. Start with “once upon a time, there was…”

Stories in news release are publicity gold. Find yours.

3. Have a strategy: help your audience to discover you.

You can post your press releases online of course, however, consider making press releases part of your overall content strategy.

Press releases are content. Post your releases into a Media, or Newsroom section of your website. Over time, those releases tell the story of your business.

Many of your site visitors have never heard of you, so several years’ worth of releases on your website increase their trust in your business.

4. Turn on the glamor: add images and video.

Glitz up your press release. Add images from your media kit, as well as images you’ve created for your current content campaign. You can also add a video, and a downloads like a white paper, or a report.

These items increase the likelihood that people finding the release will click through to your website.

5. Yes, use links in your releases (for traffic, rather than SEO)

Finally, of course you can use links in your press releases. You want traffic. If you’ve been hammering several keyword heavily in your online activities, avoid using them. Use other words as anchor text.

Your aim is to get traffic from your press releases, and if you include a newsworthy theme and story, you will.

So there you have it – five press release tricks to help your small business. Now, go and get some publicity – you deserve it!

Need some help? I create press releases for clients. My aim is to find a theme, and tell your story.


, and on Twitter: @angee

“Don’t Pay Me, Like Me”: Payment Via Social Shares

Payment Via Social Shares

How much is free publicity worth to you? Most businesses would kill for a good media story. However, “the media” is no longer what it used to be, and it’s no longer the only game in town. Social media influencers, with thousands of people in their networks, can give you a public relations boost – and with little effort for you.

SmartCompany reports that the 1888 Hotel in Sydney gives anyone with over 10,000 Instagram followers a free night’s stay. Worthwhile for the hotel, because Instagram influencers will post images of their stay. (They’d be churlish if they didn’t.)

If you’re trying to build your social media networks with Likes (Facebook), +1s (Google+) and Mentions (Twitter), you can get in on the “don’t pay me, like me” trend too.

Decide what you’ll offer in exchange for your social media share, and you’re good to go.

Pay With a Tweet (free)

Pay With a Tweet is one of the most popular social-share payment options. It’s simple to use. Just choose whether you’d like to be paid with a tweet or a Facebook post, upload your goodie or coupon download URL, and get your code.

Cloud:flood (free)

Cloud:flood is similar to Pay With A Tweet. However, in this case, your aim is traffic to a landing page, in addition to the social shares.

Pay With a Like (commercial WordPress plugin, $19)

From the site:

Simply allow visitors to exchange a Like, +1 or Tweet for post content, videos, a free download, a coupon code or pretty much anything you want.

Then, by clicking Like, they’ll promote your site to their friends, followers and colleagues… who may also want to pay with a like.

Contact influencers directly (yes, bribe them)

Programs like Pay With a Tweet, Cloud:flood and Pay With a Like are great for small businesses, because they’re set-and-forget. There’s another option you can consider: contacting influencers directly, and giving them something for which they’ll pay with social shares, or similar.

This is a little more time-intensive than the automatic options, but depending on your business, can be well worth the effort.

Marc Ecko gives you 10 Rules for Getting “Influencer” Attention in an excellent post on Tim Ferriss’s blog. He says:

What if Kim Kardashian tweets about you?

What if Hugh Jackman wears your custom shirts on the red carpet?

What if a top blogger includes you in a top–10 list?

What if you got a mention on The Office or another primetime show?

Returning to our question, how much is free publicity worth to you? Think about it, and start getting paid in tweets and Likes, with social shares.

, and on Twitter: @angee


You’re a Star: Shine Brightly With a Customized Publicity Campaign This Week

PR Publicity

What could you do if you had an unlimited advertising budget? Maybe you’re salivating, thinking of all the advertising you could buy.

Sadly, even with an unlimited advertising budget, your results may not be as amazing as you hope.

Here’s why. When you buy advertising, you’re limited to the advertising venues you choose. In 2013, audiences are fragmented. If you choose to advertise on radio and TV, you won’t reach all the people in your target audience. Your audience may miss your ads completely. That’s money down the drain. The same applies to any advertising venue – you’ll reach just a small part of your potential audience.

Every business needs to advertise. However, for true effectiveness, you need something else: publicity. Publicity amplifies the effect of your advertising, and it’s long-lasting. I’ve often told the story of I first got into copywriting… how a press release I wrote changed the fortunes of my employer.

You need publicity as well as advertising

Few businesses strive for publicity. Public relations tends to be a mystery. Businesses may not even be aware that most news stories in print and digital media originate from a press release.

Here’s a secret: journalists mine their press releases looking for the faintest glimmer of gold amongst the trash. Finding a story is GOLD to them. Providing that gold isn’t easy. However, it’s possible. What could your company achieve if a journalist or three wrote about you? If you appeared in Google News?

You need just two things to create a powerful publicity campaign: time and imagination.

Firstly you create the content for your campaign, and then you launch it.

What do you need to include in a publicity campaign?

A few days ago one of my writing students contacted me about a new ebook she’s launching. She asked me what she would need to include in her first publicity campaign.

Good question. The short answer is, anything you like. It’s your campaign, so whatever you think goes. Ask yourself some questions. How much time do you have available? What results do you want?

Let’s say that you want to create a customized publicity campaign this week to promote something. That “something” could be your business, a new product you’re launching, or a service you provide. As in the case of my student, it could be an ebook. Maybe it’s something for your community – your child’s school needs new sporting equipment, and you’re running a donations drive.

Your first step in any publicity campaign is always to set clearly defined goal.

The next step is to decide what your message will be, and commit to staying on message. “Staying on message” throughout your campaign is perhaps the hardest thing to do, as any politician will tell you. It’s a challenge, but you won’t get the results you want unless you manage to do that.

Let’s get started…

Step 1: set a clearly defined goal

Write down your goal for this publicity campaign. Please don’t omit doing this. You must write down your goal, because you won’t remember what it is tomorrow. Trust me on this one.

Step 2: what’s your campaign’s message? Write it down

Write down the message in a sentence, preferably on a sticky note (stick it onto your phone), as well as in your diary. Make sure the message is in front of you DAILY.

Step 3: create a media kit

According to Wikipedia, common components of a media kit include:

Backgrounder with historical information on the company or individual.
Fact sheet listing specific features, statistics, or benefits.

Biographies of key executives, individuals, artists, etc.

Past press coverage

Photos or other images (high resolution) of key executives, logos, products, etc.

A press release detailing the current news the media kit is sent in reference to

Media contact information (usually of a public relations department or spokesperson)

Collateral advertising material, such as: postcard, flier, newspaper ad, etc.

You can put anything you like in your media kit.

At a minimum, include a company backgrounder, some photographs, and anything else you think would be helpful to a journalist or blogger who wants to write about whatever it is that you’re promoting.

Many companies add their company’s media kit to the “media” section of their website. You can do this too.

However, for the sake of this publicity campaign, create a customized media kit which focuses solely on your goals for this campaign, rather than on your company as a whole.

Let’s get started with your customized publicity campaign

Set a date on which you’ll begin your campaign. Please don’t put it too far in the future. Give yourself a week for preparation. If you give yourself too much time, it won’t get done.

Next, decide what you’ll include in your campaign.

You could include: a series of press releases, Facebook and Google+ pages, a webinar, guest posts on blogs, a blog tour, content marketing with articles… anything you like.

Ask yourself: What am I comfortable creating? Or hiring someone to create for me?

LIMIT yourself. Don’t aim to include too much. A press release, a blog post, a YouTube video, and a couple of articles, might be all that you can comfortably create in a week.

Every company has different resources. Use them. If you have a mailing list, make good use of that list. These are people who want to hear from you, who have done business with you, and who know you. They can help you to get the word out. So include mailings to your list in your list of activities for your publicity campaign.

Create your creative material

Create your material. If you’re a copywriter, you can do it yourself. Alternatively you can hire someone.

The time element: avoid becoming overwhelmed

We’ll have more to say on the various elements of a publicity campaign later – I’ll create some additional how-to material for you on this blog.

For now, consider the time you have available.

If you’re doing everything yourself, creating all the creative material might take you a week or more. Aim to have everything ready before you launch the publicity campaign. Once you launch, you’ll be so busy talking to people and running your business, that you won’t have time to create additional material.

However, don’t set the launch date so far in the future that you procrastinate. As stated, I recommend that you take a maximum of ONE week to create to your campaign material, and then a week to execute. Any longer than that, and your campaign will stall.

Just get it done. :-)

There you have it. You’re good to go. Set a goal for your campaign, decide on a message, and start creating your material today.

Low-Cost Marketing: 5 Creative Ways to Get Business With a Tiny Budget


Marketing is essential for any business, but what if you don’t have a marketing budget? Never fear, you can do great things with tiny budget.

Let’s look at five creative ways.

1. Leverage Google with Google+ Local

Everyone searches with Google. If you haven’t yet joined Google+, do that now. The people who are searching for you and your products are in your local area, so your Google+ Local entry will get you business. Cost: zero, just the time it takes to create your entry.

Creating a Google+ Local page is easy. Google explains:

Local Google+ pages are unique from other categories of pages because they have features that allow customers to easily connect with that business’s physical location. For example, local pages include a map of the business’s location and feature its address, phone number, and hours of operation. Local pages also share the functionality of other Google+ pages – you can create and manage circles, start and join hangouts, and share content like posts and photos.

2. Network creatively

No, I’m not suggesting that you go to your local Chamber of Commerce meetings, although that couldn’t hurt.

Think about reciprocal marketing: you promote others, and they promote you.

Let’s say you own a pet shop. You can’t afford the rent in the high traffic streets in your town, so your business is on a side street. Reciprocal marketing would help you to get known.

Call on other local businesses, and introduce yourself. Watch for reciprocal opportunities. For example, you could promote your local veterinarians, and they could keep a stack of your business cards and flyers for their customers.

3. Get them talking – encourage word-of-mouth referrals

Think about ways you could encourage business referrals. If you’re in a service business, and have a client roster, give your clients a little something extra whenever they refer someone to you.

4. Go retro with paper: use personal letters and postcards

Think in terms of personal letters, rather than mass mailings. Everyone loves to receive letters. Yes, letters take time to write. However they do make an impact.

Recently one of my clients, a management consultant, landed a $25,000 contract which stemmed from a letter he wrote. The letter took him 30 minutes to write; time well spent.

5. Get publicity: PR always works

Many years ago when I was still a romance writer, I was working at a company which spent enormous sums on display ads in Sunday newspapers.

One day I wrote a press release and send it out to local media. That single press release had huge effect. Not only did the business get mentions in newspapers and magazines, a national magazine wrote a complete spread with photographs. Our boss did radio interviews as well as TV appearances.

That single press release had a bigger effect than pricey advertising ever did. It got the business known, and the business traded off that storm of publicity for years.

What’s newsworthy about your business? Publicity is much more valuable than advertising. If you can get press coverage, you’re golden.

These five low-cost marketing methods work for any business, and they work even if you have a tiny budget. Try them.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc

Online Press Releases: Simple and Effective Marketing

Online Press Releases
For one month, I wrote a press release a day for a client. He was starting a new business. His advertising budget was minimal.

He decided to invest his complete advertising budget into online press releases. He wasn’t trying to attract media attention (just as well, because he didn’t get it), he was aiming to build an online presence fast.

Here’s the thing: he got a trickle of traffic, sure. But for over a year later, he made SALES to customers who told him they’d first heard of his company online.

Publicity isn’t what it used to be. Instead of getting a story in the media, it’s all about getting found.

Getting found starts when you choose your keywords for your releases carefully. This article, 4 Simple Ways to Get More Mileage Out of Your Press Release, offers good advice:

“Once you have your list of keywords, use them in the headline and subhead of your release, as well as throughout the body of the announcement -– just make sure that the release still sounds natural and makes sense. Avoid over-repetition by using secondary and tertiary keywords, too.

When including hyperlinks in your release, Mark Scott, Global Public Relations Manager for NCR, also recommends you link to what your product does or your keywords, not your product name.”

To repeat, you’re writing for your target audience, not “the press”.

Here’s why you should consider an online press release campaign:

* It’s cheaper than advertising;

* It’s gives you results as long as your releases stay online;

* You can build an online presence quickly;

* You can educate your customers so that they’re intrigued — they become warm leads. Your press releases can include media like PDFs, images, and video;

* Social media can spread your press releases, giving you a wider distribution.

A tip: remember that your online press releases aren’t advertising, and shouldn’t be written as advertising. Look on them as being factually-based, and educational, rather than persuasive.

Pitching? Make It Easy to Take Action

When you’re pitching someone, make it easy for them to help you.

For example, the blog The One Thing Killing Your Blogger Outreach suggests:

“PR has been in the content business for a very long time and now it’s even more important, because content fuels everything we do online. Along with the stats and bullet points for the research within the email pitch, an infographic or a link to a summary of the research plus suggested social shares would have provided something to take action on.”

I’ve got lots of blogs, so I receive pitches every day. Most pitches are junk; they’re blatant spam.

A few however, are great. The pitches are relevant to my audience. Sadly, the flacks sending out the pitches never seem to think about how they could make things easier for those they’re pitching.

We’re all pressed for time, so if you ask me to do something for you that takes longer than a minute or two, I’ll delete the message.

Example: if you ask me to interview an author about a new book, I’ll pass. I’d love to do it, but the interview and then writing up an article will take several hours. That’s a big chunk out of my day, even if I love the author and the book.

On the other hand, if you send me a link to a Web page with an author interview, or a PDF of the author talking about his book, if I like the author and book, I’ll post it on Twitter.

When you make it easy for people to help you, it makes them want to help you.

I’m grateful when someone asks me to do something which will benefit my audience, and only takes a minute. Everyone is.

So, go ahead. Pitch me. If it’s relevant, and you make it easy, I’m happy to help.

The Brand Called You: Develop a Personal Branding Statement and Tagline

You're a Star
You’re a Star

Got a brand? Whether you know it or not, you do. Unfortunately, it may not be the brand you want. Your personal and professional contacts think of you as “the guy who…”

Think about how others see you for a moment.

Is this image flattering, or not so much?

There’s a reason professionals employ image consultants. :-)

Tom Peters wrote The Brand Called You way back in 1997. Peters wrote:

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It’s that simple – and that hard. And that inescapable.

Knowing How to Present Yourself Is Hard

You’re in charge of your own image. You teach others how to look at you. Most of us get an image by default.

Professionals craft their image. Politicians know how important it is to stay “on message”, and movie stars employ PR people to carefully build their image.

You can craft your own image too, so that you present yourself memorably to your audiences. Remember: you teach others how to look at you. To do that, you need to see yourself clearly first.

When I develop a brand statement, my first step is to get to know the client. I want to know his history, we can choose his defining moments, and use them to frame his story.

From that, we develop his personal branding statement, and tagline.

I like to create several versions of a branding statement, short and long, so that the client can use them in his marketing materials, and of course with his resume and other materials if he’s job hunting.

Think of the tagline as a slogan. It encapsulates who you think you are. You need to be comfortable with your tagline.

For example, my tagline for my copywriting brand is “putting it into words.” For my work with writers, it’s “when writing isn’t just a career, it’s a life.”

My taglines are ME, your tagline (or taglines, if you have several audiences), needs to be YOU.

Take your time when you’re crafting your own branding statement and tagline. There’s no rush.

You’ll know when it’s right: it will feel good – it will be you.

Tip: when you’re crafting your personal branding statement, avoid the kind of “say nothing, mean nothing” jargon-filled gobbledegook you find in company mission statements. Be REAL. This is your brand, no one else’s. You’re an original. Allow your branding statement to reflect that. When it comes from who you really are, developing an image is much easier.

Once you’ve created your personal branding statement, you’ll have taken the first steps in building and managing your image, so that you can build the career and life you want.

What to do now

  • Write your life in 200 words. Hit the high points. This is your mini-autobiography;
  • Tell the stories of your defining moments (choose two or three);
  • Craft a tagline;
  • Create a personal branding statement.

, and on Twitter: @angee

PR Magic With Online Press Releases

Press releases are an effective marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes. They’re an efficient search engine optimization (SEO) tool, increasing traffic and sales.

If you haven’t discovered this strategy, you’ll be surprised at how powerful it is, especially when combined with social media marketing.

Online public relations (PR) is considerably different from traditional PR. The primary difference is that you reach your customers directly. You don’t need to rely on journalists covering your news stories. You’re your own purveyor of news, and you can present your stories in any way which suits you, and whenever you wish.

However, you should still aim to be as objective as you can about what you publicize. Stick with the facts. Write your press releases in the third person, and include relevant quotes, just as you would if you were writing for journalists.

Tips to Help You to Get the Best Results from Your Releases

Here are three tips which will help you to get results.

1. Create a Media Center on Your Site

Although you now have the opportunity to address your customers directly, without going through traditional media, you should nevertheless make it as easy as possible for journalists to cover your news.

Create a media center on your site, to which you publish all your press releases. This gives it journalists a useful history of your operations, lots of information about your business, and may even inspire new stories in traditional media.

Of course, your media center is also good for your customers. Your customers will learn more about you and about your business. This builds trust and credibility.

2. Create a Downloadable Press Kit for Members of the Media

PR has many audiences. You know who the stakeholders are in your business. Your stakeholders will include your customers, your staff, your suppliers, and if you’re a publicly listed company, will include your shareholders too.

Therefore although you should create a downloadable press kit primarily for journalists, it will also be downloaded by others. Make it useful for all your audiences.

3. Build a Mailing List to Capitalize on Your Traffic

Your regular promotions will lead to increased traffic your site. It will also lead to an increase in sales. However, much of that traffic will be wasted unless you have a way of capturing names and email addresses.

Therefore, create a mailing list and encourage your site’s visitors to sign up to it, to receive regular bulletins from you.

Lists are powerful, but few businesses use them effectively. A mailing list can become a huge profit center for you, and it capitalizes on your press releases.

Online press releases can be magic. They offer huge benefits to any business.

Publicity Is Powerful: Make Money for Your Clients — and Yourself

Killer Press Releases

Why should YOU learn how to write press releases?

One word: money. Once you learn how press release campaigns work, you can create simple campaigns for your clients.

You can feel quite comfortable charging anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000 per campaign. This is a drop in the bucket to businesses, which are used to paying at least 10 per cent of their net for advertising.

Writing publicity is a form of copywriting, and YOU can do it — even as a relatively new writer. I’ll show you how.

Search Engine Marketing: Manage Your Online Reputation

Do you know what’s being said about you online? No matter what your business, tracking and managing your online reputation is vital, simply because it often provides an opportunity for you. If what’s being said isn’t accurate, you can put your side of the story.

Managing your online reputation starts with discovering what’s being said.

What Are They Saying and Who’s Saying It?

There are many ways to track what’s being said about you online. Google Alerts are free, and they’re simple to set up. Just create a search, and save it as an alert. You can choose a news search, or a comprehensive search.

If you’ve recently launched a new product, or have been in the news, you can search social media sites like Twitter for your company’s or product’s name too, as well as blog search sites like Technorati.

In addition, there are several sites which will monitor mentions of your name on many sources; some are require payment, and others are free.

Now You Know, You Can Control the Message

Once you know what’s being said, you can respond if you want to.

If the mentions send you kudos, you can communicate with the people giving you the boosts and thank them.

On the other hand, if mentions are negative, it’s time to put your side of the story. Usually you’ll respond to negative mentions on your blog. You can also put out a news release, if the matter is important.

If your reputation is being trashed on a blog or in blog comments, go right to the source, and defend yourself there.

In every area of reputation management, it’s essential that you’re open, and relaxed, and not defensive. Be calm, polite and professional at all times. You’re getting mentions, and you can turn the mentions into great publicity — nothing is worse than being ignored.

You can find many opportunities when you manage your online reputation. Word of mouth is the best publicity, and although you can’t control the conversation, you can put your side of the story. In addition, by using tools like blogs, you can respond to customer’s cheers and boos quickly and effectively.

Want to make it into Google News? Top copywriter Angela Booth offers a SEO news releases which are a great source of links and publicity for your site, product, or service at her Web copywriting site, Hot Web Copy.

Contact Angela today, and use the power of the Web to get your advertising message to your customers with online news releases.

[tags]online reputation management, reputation management, marketing, publicity, PR, business reputation[/tags]