Boy, that’s a great question. Too often we find ourselves too busy or cannot find anyone at the company to take on this important responsibility. The answer is at least once per quarter–that refers to the website, not blogs. Even if you think your blog is enough, it isn’t.

You might think updating your company website is a waste of time and a lot of work, and maybe overkill to do this every quarter. But keep in mind, it is the “content” of your website with the proper back-links that help keep your rankings at the top of all search engines. You don’t need to change or update every page each time. I’m sure if you review your site every quarter, you will see that somethings can be improved and updated. It’s important to keep the site fresh. For example, you might be offering your products or services in a local or regional area, like Orange County. Updating this information will attract those businesses wanting to know who in their area offers the products/services that you do. Clients/customers will visit more often when you maintain the site with new content. That’s one reason why companies have blog pages within their website. But that alone isn’t enough to give the SEO’s a reason to rank your site higher.

Sometimes it’s just changing some photos to keep the pages fresh. One other thing, make sure that you title your photos. This helps the SEO’s “see” your content and that can help your rankings as well.

Publicity Orange CountyJust recently we realized it was time for us to update our own site. So we reviewed what our agency has been doing these past few years and decided to change the entire site–the look, navigation and update the services we offer. Even though we have been known as the publicity agency in Orange County, we wanted to remind those outside the area we have done national programs as well. So if you haven’t taken the time to look at your site, maybe it’s time to re-think the look and feel, or just update the photos of the staff.

Need help in designing or developing a new website? Give us a call for a no non-sense FREE evaluation of what it will take to “Get You Noticed”. Call George Carson today at 949-477-9400, or visit our new website for additional information: http://www.carsonmarketinginc.com

instagram

Instagram

Social media has become complex and not easy to attract customers. In just a few short years we have over a dozen ways to communicate online. And just like any media, you need to know the audience and why they are using that form of communication. Your PR Marketing Strategy should outline the different social media and how they function.

Instagram is one of the more popular social media. So businesses are trying to lure customers through Instagram, but many are finding it is not working. Why? Because what works for one media isn’t the same for all. You run a different campaign for Facebook than you would for LinkedIn, or Twitter. You need to understand why consumers use a particular social media, and then after you figure that out can you create a successful campaign.

Ok, so let’s discuss why your campaign in Instagram is a flop and how to correct the problem.

I came across an article by Blaise Lacey, senior content strategist at Bitly, who explains his 7 reasons why your ads aren’t working in Instagram. To read his complete article click here. This is a short summary of what he explained.

1- The ad looks too professional. He makes a great point saying that Instagram is like YouTube, it consists of user-generated content. Businesses, and ad agencies try to create clean, white looking ads that turn off Instagram users.
2. Your ad doesn’t tell a story. Most ads have a flashy logo, a brand name, or catchy tagline and a picture. These give the impression of a “banner ad.”
3. Loud call-outs & banners. People go to these social media apps for entertainment, to connect with friends and learn. Keep in mind, mobile screens are smaller than a monitor, so your ad could look like a big banner, or pop-up ad.
4. You feature shadowy and/or generic people. If you are trying to create compelling images, don’t use “stock photos” or something that could look like a stock photo.
5. Your product is just sitting there. Show your product in use, put it in context of what your product relates to.
6. Too much text. This is one I strongly agree with Blaise. He says “Text is a natural enemy of the mobile user.”
7- You’re not trying video. You are limited to 60-seconds, make it entertaining and show your product in use.

As you can see, Instagram is not like the other social media, and neither should you treat all the other social media the same. Learn why your customers use them and then create the campaign for each. That’s how to be successful.

If your PR Marketing Strategy campaign needs help, give George Carson a call for a FREE non-nonsense review of your campaign. 949-477-9400.

 

Many of the social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are still useful media. And business networks like LinkedIn are very powerful, if you know how to use the tools effectively. Are you experiencing “APP Overload?” Confused what is the best platform to use in your pr marketing strategies campaign? You’re not alone.

Vine App

Vine App

It hasn’t been 2 years since marketers and advertisers were finally understanding how to use them in social media marketing, and now we need to learn all over again how to reach targeted customers. Let me explain. These social media platforms I mentioned are continually expanding their capabilities to be more productive. One in particular is Twitter. Two years ago they created a new app called Vine. The purpose of Vine was to give marketers, like Coco Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, Target and publicity firms a way to post short videos (6 seconds in length). It was great for the first 18 months. Then competition from other platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube created their versions of short video formats marketers could use. But not all is lost. Still today, Vine has about 4% of all videos posted. This can be an effective platform for PR Clients when combined with others.

Allison Stern, founder at Tubular Labs commented about the decline-using Vine saying, “I assume that brands are having this platform fatigue”. I think that best describes what is currently happening with this app overload.

If you want to post something that is happening now, then you need to look at Periscope. That’s another Twitter app, which has become popular because it is a live video streaming app. They have a few cool features. When you tap the video (screen) it sends little “hearts” across the screen. It is their way of acknowledging, “likes” to compete with Facebook. Originally Periscope was developed in 2014 by another company and named it Bounty. Then in February 2015 Twitter saw the value and purchased the app, renamed it Periscope. To understand how fast this app became a hit, in less than 6 months of its release, Periscope had 10 million accounts.

So before you abandon any of your social media apps, just keep posting videos on all platforms, and write short Tweets, blogs and keep your brand in front of customers through all the different social media platforms, today and whatever develops tomorrow. Need help getting your social media campaign going, if so, call George Carson at 949-477-9400.

Miss CA 2015

Miss CA 2015

Steve Garvey

Steve Garvey–LA Dodgers

Eric Dickerson

Eric Dickerson, NFL Hall of Famer

As pr professionals we are given the task of promoting a pr clients event, but then sometimes asked how can we get more people to attend the event from previous years. This year we worked on a local RV Show that is sponsored by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. As in the past few years working with this consumer event, we looked at having some sports legends meet and greet visitors. Knowing that many RVers enjoy different sports, and a lot of them will park their RV at the stadiums the night before, we decided to bring some of the greats in Baseball and Football. Our local publicity plan for the 63rd RVIA California RV Show included having the opening weekend (Oct.9) of the 10-day be kicked off with Miss California USA doing the opening. Then on Saturday and Sunday we had Steve Garvey (LA Dodgers), Jim Abbott (Angels) with sports host Roger Lodge, and an NFL Hall Famer, Eric Dickerson draw a large crowd for the first three days. Also, we had lots of media cover the event a couple of days prior to the opening. This week we had other media attend that included a Chinese TV station. The coming weekend we are having another local TV station plus two radio stations (including Vic the Brick) doing live broadcast. And to make the final weekend of the show be successful, we have Rick Harrison (TV reality star on Pawn Stars) do a meet and greet. We did keep the focus on the introduction of the 2016 model RVs from over 45 manufacturers so visitors who attended the show would know what new features they can expect to see at the show. The sports legends gave people another reason to see their favorite athlete while shopping for their new RV.

There are many ways to give some “punch” to an event, and if you understand the audience that will be attending, it is best to tie-in something that will attract them to the show. Publicity is more than sending out press releases, or having a press conference, we look at publicity as a means to communicate a message to a client’s customer. Keeping this in mind should open your creative juices to find that “hook” to give your next event the punch it needs.

If your company is planning an event, give George Carson a call. There’s a good chance you will be pleased to see what he can do to make it more exciting and eventful for your customers. Call him at 949-477-9400

When the economy took a nose-dive a few years ago, it affected your business as well. Some of you may have witnessed the closings of divisions, departments, and cutbacks on your services/products. If you were some of the few to survive this period, today you should be seeing an improvement. Now is the time to do an evaluation of your business. Maybe the earlier cutbacks have actually improved your overall operation. But how do you know if that actually made a positive difference? There are several methods, and formulas available to “do the math.” One in particular is a “short form” available at MSN Money. The site has a simplified calculation you can do. This shouldn’t be your final approach to see how the company stands, but it will give you a chance to begin an evaluation process for your business.

business valuation

business valuation

So the question is: How do you increase the value of your company? Besides increasing sales, which is not an easy task, you should consider doing things that are in your control. One suggestion is to create an awareness campaign about your company. People and other businesses like to work with companies that “appear” to be successful. Keeping your company name in front of your potential and current customers will improve your brand and it could generate more sales.

An awareness campaign can be as simple as a series of press releases. To really get the awareness going, I recommend including a community program. Look for events that are in your area and see how you could be involved. It doesn’t always cost money to become a sponsor, or to participate in a local, or regional event. Maybe your company has a product(s) or services that the event could use in exchange for paying to become a sponsor. Use this opportunity to let the media (press) know about your activity. If you have an in-house publicity person, (or an outside pr firm) be sure they know of the company’s involvement. If the event warrants, hold a press conference and be visible at the event. Don’t just add your logo as part of the signage. Take an active role and get your employees to participate at the event. If your business is in a position to make a donation to a charity, this too is newsworthy. These are a few suggestions to get more visibility.
It is important to not do a one-shot announcement, or press release. Having an on-going campaign is important. This will establish your company as being solid. Reporters will take you more seriously when they see consistent activity.

Before jumping into an awareness campaign, develop a plan. This will be your guide. It can and will probably change as you become more active. That’s fine. Be sure to consult with your publicity staff or pr firm as things develop so that you continue on the path outlined in your overall plan.

Are you a person or company that does a lot of postings? Are you aware that there are best times and worst times to post content? If not, read on. Why, because your pr marketing strategy can be a success or failure if you don’t know when your followers are interested in their social media. So make sure your followers/readers are seeing your posts, otherwise you are wasting your time.

I came across this great article and graphics from Richard Brownell, so thanks to Richard for making this simple to understand. Ok, lets start with the more staple social media. That would be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These are the more popular and better know social media for businesses. Below is a chart that illustrates what days of the week and times of the day that you should be posting, and when not to.

Social media do's and don'ts

When to post on social media

On Facebook, which is one of the most frequented social media sites, you should be active between 1pm- 4pm and the best day/time of the week is Wednesdays at 3 pm. Avoid weekends before 8 am and after 8 pm. I would stay away for weekends if you are a business, unless you have a retail store that is open on weekends. Twitter has a great readership Mondays-Thursdays from 1 pm – 3 pm. Almost the same time as Facebook followers. The peak time is Monday-Thursday from 9 am til 3 pm. Twitter readers move on to other things after 8 pm everyday and on Friday, so avoid any tweets after 3 pm. Probably they’re off to a party or fun weekend stuff. Now let’s look at LinkedIn. Seems Tuesdays-Thursdays are popular and the best times for the day are noon and again at 5 pm-6 pm. Most business people are not active Monday and Friday from 10pm-6am. Hey you gotta sleep sometime!

Other social media like Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ have a different schedule that people use. For example Pinterest has heavy viewing on Saturday mornings (well, that does make sense) and the worst time is during work hours. Now Google+ is different with their community of followers. Everyday between 9 am-10 am (short window isn’t it) is the best time and Wednesdays at 9 am is peak times. But then again, similar to Twitter, Google+ is for short messages. You want to know quickly what’s happening and move on.

So there you have it. A quick insight on when to post and not post on your social media accounts. If you are developing a pr marketing strategy for the next season, keep these times and days handy so your social media campaign will have a greater impact. If you want more insights, give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400. He’s probably writing a post right now, but I’m sure he’ll take your call.

Handling your company publicity

Know what to do before it happens

Although you might believe this will never happen to you, I’m sure Donald Sterling and Brian Williams had that same thought until it happened to them.

There are a few basic things you can do now to prepare for a crisis situation with your company, or you personally. Having a  PR Marketing Strategy isn’t enough to prepare you for a negative situation. These four steps are designed to get you to think and are a good basis to create your crisis plan.

1-IDENTIFY THREATS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN
Think of any possible threats you or your company may face. It is impossible to predict if someone says a racial slur, or make up a news story, it is still important to have a proactive strategy when it comes to a crisis management situation.

Once you have identified these threats, develop a response matrix for each and every potential threat you listed. The worksheet should have strategies to help minimize damage and identify any key personnel who will develop and deliver the response to the media. It is ok to have a publicity person, but you or someone you assign should be the primary contact, not a pr person.

2-HAVE PREPARED BLANKET STATEMENTS
This is the time to get an attorney involved. If your company has an attorney, discuss with your legal counsel the statements written to get their approval. Make it easy on yourself; develop each potential situation with a statement that has easy-to-fill-in placeholders. When a crisis happens, this will allow you to be responsive quickly to the media. Plus, it will tell the media you are willing to address the situation vs hiding from it.

3-BE HONEST
Ok, I did say that step # 1 was probably one of the most difficult, but this might be as difficult if you are a person who doesn’t like to take blame, or always points the finger at other people. When confronted by the media, be straightforward and remember these 5 NEVERS:

• Never Lie
• Never Speculate
• Never Lose Your Temper or Swear
• Never Say “No Comment”
• Never Lose Eye Contact

4-KEEP YOUR MEDIA RESPONSES CONCISE
Are you a “talker?” Do you not know when to stop speaking because you want to make sure your point is

Have a crisis plan

Prepare for negative publicity

noticed? It’s time to break those habits and listen closely if so. Think in short 30-second sound bites. Have your three most important messages memorized. Don’t try to explain your entire side of the story. Use carefully worded messages when speaking to the media. It is ok to pause and collect your thoughts before talking.

Being prepared can minimize any negative impact or unfavorable situation and keep you from humiliating yourself or your company. To learn more about preparing for a pr crisis situation in your company, give George Carson a call, before it’s too late!

grow-your-businessUntitled-1

Have a plan

Businesses are always seeking new clients and most companies do so without a plan or use a process to find new clients. Making 100 sales calls per month isn’t productive anymore when you consider the odds to close new business is about 1% at best. New business development programs have been around for decades. Yet we keep searching for a full proof system that doesn’t require effort.

Maybe it’s time to stop searching, and time to begin with a plan or process that will help your business today. For those who want to grow their business, use these 8 tips. You might be surprised how these tips (reminders) can help your business grow this year.

1-   Existing Clients Bring More Business.

After we close a new client, typically we move on to look for the next new client. This is time consuming and not always rewarding.

Existing clients can bring you more business. For example, ask what their goals are and see how you can help them reach those goals. In turn, they just might buy more from you. Also, when you ask them for referrals, you might be surprised to see how eager they are to help you.

2-   Go Beyond What Is Expected.

Providing the goods and services to your existing clients is the easy part. Go one step further. Show interest in their industry and learn more about it. Use your network, or contacts to see if someone might be a good match for your client.

3-   Painkillers Remove Headaches.

pills

Learn how to listen to your customers

It doesn’t matter what type of business or service you provide, the reason why a client does business with you is to remove their pain. So become a “listener.” Whether you are at a cocktail party, an event or other social gathering, let a potential, or existing clients vent their pain. This might sound strange, but gaining their loyalty and being there to listen will show you are interested. Who knows, you might just have a solution to lessen their pain.

4-   Power Partners.

Surround yourself with similar businesses. Ask how they built their customer base and what things they did right and wrong. Ask how they improved their sales and if they have a new business development program. You may not get all the answers you are looking for, but you can learn from their mistakes to avoid those pitfalls.

Another great business source are your vendors. Ask them who they know that could use your products or services. It’s ok to request an introduction, just make sure you are offering your vendor an incentive. It can be a finder fee after you make that new sale, or a gift card to a nice restaurant.

5-   Networking Face-to-Face.

Belonging to groups online, such as LinkedIn is fine. But the best way to find new business is through the traditional face-to-face meetings. Some people call these one-on-one meetings. The point is to meet prospects in person, while keeping your online social network active.

6-   Elevator Speech.

This is the most known term in business, the elevator speech. Unfortunately most sales people, even business owners cannot explain their business in a short 30-second speech. Probably because we want to tell everything about our business fearing we might miss something in a short introduction. One way to better understand the elevator speech is to ask your self what would you put on a billboard, or say in a 30-second TV commercial. I recommend having two maybe three different elevator speeches. They can be written for specific markets, or industries. Then use the one that is most appropriate.

7-   Get Noticed. Stand Out in the Crowd.

standingout

Make yourself and business known

No matter how successful or popular a business or person might be, they are continually marketing themselves through all forms of media: print, broadcast, mailers, and social media. A day almost doesn’t go by without reading about Apple, UPS, Taylor Swift, or Kim Kardashian to name a few.

This doesn’t mean you have to spend millions, or invent the first smart phone to get noticed. You need to be creative. Join a local community program or offer your spare time to a charity. If you are a B2B company, or B2C, you can use social media to build your awareness. Using publicity is another inexpensive form of media that will get you noticed.

8-   Do Your Homework Before Making Any Contact.

Know what the company is selling, if they have more than one location, who their competition is, and where they fit into their market are just a few things to know before making that first sales call. Being knowledgeable about their company can give you the advantage over your competition.

These tips might sound like reminders, and they are, and you’re probably saying, “I have used a few of these in the past”, well, that’s the problem. These should be used all the time. So why aren’t you using them? Now get your team together and make this part of your new business development program.

If you need further help in growing your business to the next level, give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400 or you could wait until your competitors call him first!

As much as we all love and use Google everyday to find information, we are slowly becoming dependent upon them to guide us to what we hope is all the information.

Choices, are they getting limited?

Choices, are they getting limited?

I truly believe Google is actually controlling what information they want us to read about. Yes, you can say that about any search engine, like Yahoo as well. But if you recall when we all began using Google it was because of their ability to provide more listings of places, people, and information we were searching for.

I do like them, and Google has been perfecting their searches, but are you aware of the recent changes to their algorithms? If not, then before you plan your pr marketing strategy be sure read this blog. The past updates have hurt and destroyed many websites who rely on the traffic from the searches.

I recommend that you don’t only rely on Google alone, but use other sources, search engines, to get a good cross reference of information. Just like getting more than one doctor’s opinion, do the same with your searches.

You might recall when Google launched its Panda update four years ago. It had a terrible affect on thousands of websites. You probably noticed that Google is providing more and more content directly on its search pages. Yes, that is good, but it reduces the need for users to click over to the websites, therefore reducing traffic to other sites. To take this a step further, are you aware that Google is showing lyrics in search results? They will show part of the lyrics and then insert a link to their Google Play if you want to see the entire lyrics. Isn’t that more control Google has on us by directing you to where and who you get information from? I think this is pat of their marketing strategy and it is doing more harm than good, in many cases.

Ok, need more proof? A list of the top “Falling Stars for 2014” by SearchMetrics shows in terms of search visibility and various lyrics sites that made the list. For example, LyricsMode and Sing365 both fell 60%. That’s a dramatic decrease. The hardest hit in this category was eLyrics.net which fell 92%. Here is the link to the full list of falling stars: http://bit.ly/1uLdfHt

Many of these and other business sites can only survive with the flow of traffic. We are seeing many of these online lyric sites decreasing staff in order to survive. I am sure this is also true for other online businesses. So what is the solution? Well for now, in my opinion, I suggest when you develop a social media campaign strategy, you do more than hope you get listed on Google, but include a wider array of social media to keep your brand and message in front of potential and current customers. I also recommend an on-going publicity campaign to keep your brand highly visible.

If you are experiencing this problem, or want to prevent Google from dropping your rankings, give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400. Don’t wait until something happens, as the doctor would say, use preventative measures.

So why do we make predictions when we cannot even predict the weather correctly, and we try to do that using very sophisticated equipment?  That being said, as a public relations expert, I will challenge technology using only my brain and tell you what I see happening for 2015.

It's going to be a great year, I think!

It’s going to be a great year, I think!

And in 2015 . . . .

Business and the Economy

Yes, things are looking brighter, but where is the growth coming from next year to continue this bright outlook?  I predict far more “franchise” businesses will be started because it is an easy way to enter the business sector without the old fear beset trial and error methods.

The second area I see growing is on-line businesses. This is the least costly way for entrepreneurs to try their hand at starting a business. I see a 30 to 40% increase in new online businesses.

Overall Economy

People will be spending about the same amount of money next year, but the fact some things are less costly (such as fuel for cars and basic food stuff) people will spend the same amount of money, just in more places.

Software

This industry has been growing steadily for the past four years and will continue. What I see now are new areas of technology on how we will continue to interact using our smart phones and other devices like smart glasses and other wearable items. The “cloud” is opening up new areas on how we store our data and will become a way we can store our conversations so we do not exceed email and texting limits on our devices.

Trust me.  At least 50% of those of my predictions this year will be 50% right. Are there any other pubic relations agencies or other professionals in the public relations industry willing to take this challenge and make their predictions?