Everyone knows by adding images and videos to websites and blogs it

can help visitors stay longer. That’s partly true. More importantly, do you just insert them or did you optimize them? Making an image “smaller” in size to load faster isn’t optimizing them. Why? Because search engines are much smarter how they view sites with images, and it can affect your rankings. You might be thinking “hey, I optimize my images by naming them”.  You need to do more than naming images.

Over the years I have named my images because search engines need content to identify and rank a site. Therefore, images need to be identified. If you ignore doing this, then SEO’s will rush through your pages and move on to sites that are more optimized. But wait, things are changing. Yes, it’s still important to name all your images. Now I’ll explain how to correctly optimize your images according to the new methods search engines are using.

The following information is what I found in the Yoast Report https://yoast.com/image-seo/#caption

by Michiel Heijmans. He is a partner and COO at Yoast.

After reading my post, check out his full report for a deeper explanation of how he explains the best ways to optimize your images.

Using images.

Michiel says, using the right image is as important as naming them. Try to avoid using stock photos. If you need to, then make sure it relates to your content. And naming an image correctly is also critical. He continues by saying “an image with related text ranks better for the keyword it is optimized for.” That means you should position your image close to the text that is relevant.

Identifying images.

The report breaks down very clearly the various steps you need to take to optimize images, charts, illustrations, etc. For example, choose the right file name. Don’t use a file name from a camera photo (such as DSC4536); rather name it using the main subject of the article/blog. An example would be if your article or blog were about a specific event (like a golf tournament, or a sports event, or a person) put the subject of the photo at the beginning of the file name.

Format.

Using JPEG, PNG or WebP is important. JPEG’s will give you a smaller file size when inserting photos or illustrations, while WebP can produce high-quality smaller file sizes. Using a reduced file size alone without optimizing it can reduce SEO’s reviewing your page(s). If you are real savvy and have specific audiences such as RVers, then know what types of browsers they use to know the preferred format. Check out this resource to find out what format is supported by browsers: CanIuse.com

Captions.

Why should you use captions? Because according to Michiel, people use them when scanning an article. Have you noticed yourself scanning headings, images and captions when you view a web page? This adds a positive experience for visitors.

FACT: according to KissMetrics, “Captions under images are read on average 300% more than the body copy itself, so not using them, or not using them correctly, means missing out on an opportunity to engage a huge number of potential readers.”

Another significant point to know; mobile devices now represent over 52% how people are viewing websites, doing searches, purchasing products, etc. So make sure your images are responsive as well as your website.

OpenGraph and Twitter Cards

This may not be a big deal, but since you are optimizing images, consider doing this. When you add the following HTML image tag to the <head> section, it will make sure your images are included in your share on Facebook as well as Pinterest.

The code is:

<meta property=”og:image” content=”http://example.com/link-to-image.jpg” />

I hope these tips about optimizing images will help you maintain good, high rankings to stay ahead of the competition. If you need more help with your website or social media, give us a call. We can help update your site. We’re only a phone call away!

Businesses are starting to reopen, and many small to medium size businesses are concerned they cannot survive if their clientele has to be at a minimum to enter their facilities. Not all businesses can work remotely, and those who can, should also consider how to reinvent themselves to respond to the new way consumers will be purchasing their products and services.

We are witnessing how several major companies have reinvented their business. From automotive manufacturers to the apparel industry they are converting their factories to produce essential wearable’s providing products that protect first responders and consumers. Retailers and service businesses need to understand they too can reinvent themselves and realize there are different avenues available to survive in this new changing economy.

Think Outside The Box

Examples of businesses adapting are gyms and physical trainers. Several have created online programs for people to stay in shape. Exercise programs, some free, are being offered online. This helps current members know they are benefiting from their membership. Several doctors and wellness centers are doing telemedicine for non-emergency patients. Many traditional brick ‘n mortar stores are now getting aggressive by selling products online. Curbside service is only a small step for retailers to hopefully remain open. You need to think outside the typical box and be creative. Remember, every business today is experiencing similar problems, so team up with other companies to expand your opportunities.

Reinventing Does Work

A critical industry hit very hard are restaurants. My suggestion for this industry is to have online celebrations for anniversaries, birthdays, and office parties. Restaurants can deliver specially prepared meals and have an online video party for those celebrating that special time. An alternative idea could be for smaller restaurants to contact businesses in their area, like real estate agencies and sell prepared “congratulation meals” for the new homeowners when they move in. Bakeries and pastry shops should collaborate with restaurants to offer desserts with the meals. This can be especially effective when someone is having a celebration making it a very memorable occasion.

Expand Your Opportunities

Retailers who sell auto parts, home furnishing, appliances, clothing, jewelry, window coverings and even boutique shops could do tie-in programs with organizations or related businesses in their community. Offering discounts should not be your primary

marketing strategy. These are short-lived programs. Instead, work with other non-competitive businesses, which is a stronger and more powerful way to gain attention and establish customer loyalty. It becomes a win-win-win for everyone.

Keep Your Brand Visible

One of the most productive and cost efficient ways to re-build a business is by keeping your name in front of current and potential customers. Using social media is an excellent way to communicate. Be active on all platforms—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even LinkedIn. Do postings to let customers know what you are doing, such as; how you are making the environment safer for them, special promotions you are offering, tie-in promotions with other businesses, new services offered, community events, and more. Another good idea is to post articles about how your products/services can improve or help customers add more value to their lives. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and ask yourself “what would you want to know about that business?”

Be open-minded. Be creative. Think forward, not backward and you will discover how productive it can be when you reinvent your business.

The Headline. And when to use a Subhead.

Of the 5Ws, the headline is the most important. When creating the headline, make it effective. Use this guide: Be Informative; Keep it Short; and Make it Relevant.

It’s ok to be creative, but not so much that it sounds like an ad, or too creative that it sounds untrue. Don’t mislead or make false claims.

Headline Examples

“Incredible Technology Boosts Mileage For Diesel Engines”. This is too sensational. Is the technology really incredible? What is the amount of the Boost? And is the technology new?

Stay away from headlines such as, “Limited Time Only! Amazing Deals On Step Ladders From The RV Ladder Store! Only $299!”

Although extreme, this does happen. Businesses get excited about their sales, or discounted products thinking it’s newsworthy.

Headlines should be 60-80 characters. Use a subhead to further explain the news. Subheads have added information to support the headline and not intended to be a stand-alone title. Here is an example.

Headline: “New York Couple Wins a Yamaha Quad at the Charity RV Show Last Month”

Subhead: “This is the first time Bill and Kathy Jones entered a contest and won”

Headline tips:

  • Make the headline impossible to ignore. Keep away from false claims and over sensational words.
  • Create interest so the journalist will want to continue reading the release.
  • Check for spelling errors. This is critical. Don’t just rely on spell check, proof read your headline for accuracy and clarity. Have someone else also proofread.

Body of the release

The opening paragraph should be concise. Use the 5Ws in this section. Keep the first few sentences short and to the point. The next paragraphs should fully explain the purpose of your release. Keep it informative. If you use quotes, they should be from someone prominent or important to the company.

End the release with “For more information, visit https://www.yourwebsite.com, or call Tim Daly at (555) 555-1111.

The boilerplate is a short paragraph that explains the identity of the company and what it does.

When to submit your release

As a general rule, Monday is a very busy media day and Friday reporters are usually finishing up stories. Wednesday and Thursday are typically good days to send your release. Tuesdays are also good. No matter what day you choose, always send releases before 9 am Eastern Time.

SEO Press releases

Yes, even press releases should be optimized. When not sending your release directly to a journalist, but to online news, using keywords and phrases will increase your rankings. Choose specific wording your customers type when they search for your type of product or service. The Internet can help you reach your target customer. In this case, your release becomes a mini webpage. Don’t “stuff” too many key phrases into the release. Stick to the guidelines we discussed, just optimize it. Include a photo(s) or video when possible. This will increase visibility and rankings.

You see them every time you open a social media app. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a slew of others are all hoping to get the attention of the user. For several months advertisers have been testing various ad formats measuring their effectiveness. These range from standard (static) ads, animated gifs to videos. Without reading further, which format would you guess has the most impact and effectiveness? Before you read further, take a guess. Ok, let’s explore the results and see if your guess is in line with the survey.

A recent survey conducted by KARGO and MediaScience tested the three formats–standard, animated (gifs) and video to learn how consumers reacted to these different formats by gauging the fixation times and follow-up looks. At first you might not be surprised that videos do have a high “user look”, but in reality, animated ranked higher in all categories surveyed. The categories were: Users Looked At, Seconds Looked, Fixations, and Follow-Up Looks.

My guess is the animated gifs, or short animations are pleasing (most of the time) and do not take long to view. On the other hand, while videos were gaining popularity last year, and they still are a powerful way to tell a story, they become too long taking away our precious time to see other social media posts, etc. Like all survey’s, it will depend on the subject matter. For example if you are into auto racing, or fashion design, food preparation/recipes you might watch an entire video because of your interests. But then again, if you are in a hurry, you might say to yourself “I’ll go back and watch it later”…well that usually doesn’t happen.

But don’t discount the standard or video formats. The reason, all three formats when tested in the survey were close in percentages in the different categories. For example, when users were asked to “recall” the brands they saw, 42% remembered the animated format while 33% remembered the videos and 32% the standard. Even in the “Users Looked At” category this is how they ranked.

• Standard 64%
• Animated 74%
• Video 54%

And to make this more interesting, 18% of those surveyed thought videos were annoying, yet felt (37%) it was entertaining, compared to animated with 9% saying annoying and 14% said it was entertaining. As we get deeper into the study we see videos ranked higher in “creative” 54% vs 27% for animated. So who gets the “Golden Award”? Ask a creative and they say they do, ask a marketer and they want to take the credit. No matter what you do, the bottom line is to use some form of movement in your format. Why? Because it will get the attention of the user and if your creative is good, it just might get them to enjoy what they see and click on that link to learn more about your product or service.

When your company is serious about getting results, give George Carson a call. He knows how to #MakeGreatThingsHappen.

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.

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.