Reasons To Continue Advertising During The Pandemic

Few industries are seeing positive sales increases during the pandemic, yet they wonder why should they advertise. If you manufacture sanitizing solutions, paper towels, and gloves or provide the services of selling essential products, then you probably are not interested in building your brand. Few businesses such as Amazon, Walmart (who has re-developed their online business), grocery and food delivery services are also enjoying this hey-day of sales, and so are RV dealerships and RV campgrounds. This will all change in 2021.  Businesses like restaurants, car dealerships, beauty salons, retail stores, and small businesses, should maintain their branding or it can be disastrous for them next year.

Branding and name recognition are going to be key for business survival.

What are you doing to prepare for the next several months and next year?

Have you written or updated your business plan to meet today’s marketing needs? If not, let’s discuss some reasons and solutions for you to consider.

Various states are updating their pandemic requirements to adjust our lifestyle activities. Fortunately for the RV industry, it is having a surge of sales and RV rentals that it hasn’t seen in over a decade. But soon their consumer-buying spree will peak. Your business may not be experiencing this activity, that’s why you need to be proactive.

Having a positive brand is critical to continue a business and to grow. It’s important to let your potential (and existing) customers know you are there for them.

You need to be developing a marketing strategy plan for the next several months so that you don’t miss future sales.

Knowing how to reach your customers and keep your name in front of them can be achieved by implementing different marketing strategies. We are talking about other marketing strategies that extend beyond social media platforms.

First, consider traditional advertising in various local publications (print and online). Many potential customers are working from home and they have more time to read about local news, events, etc. This can be an inexpensive campaign to keep your brand alive. Be creative with your ads. Don’t oversell. Take this a step further and look at different industries where your products and services can reach new potential customers.

Another suggestion is community events. Almost every city will have a program for locals to enjoy. Even if it’s an online event, consider being a sponsor. In lieu of money, you could provide your services or products for the event, or have a display.

Charities. This is an overlooked opportunity. When your business is involved with a charity, you are recognized as a business of caring and helping others. This will have a strong impact and create a memorable, positive name. The charity can be local, regional or national. It doesn’t always require a lot of money to participate. Be open-minded.

Publicity is often thought of as writing and submitting press releases to the media. Releases are only one form of communicating with reporters. It helps them learn more about your business. Publicity is more than that. Begin by establishing a relationship with local media/reporters. Invite them to your business when you are celebrating an anniversary, expanding your services, or honoring an employee, etc. Definitely notify them when you are partnering with a charity, etc. Create a Press Kit that can be sent to reporters, and post it on your website. Update the kit regularly.

Articles. Write an article about your business. Most businesses have a unique story about how they started or interesting facts about the founders. Submit that to reporters for their consideration. Sometimes this will spark an interest for reporters to follow up to do a story about you.

Remember, keep an open mind and look for opportunities. We are living in a new era of how we communicate; doing business as usual is old school.

If you need help or want to learn how to be proactive with your marketing, reach out to a professional for support. It could be the best investment to keep your business ahead of the competition. For a FREE 1-hour consultation and analysis of your marketing plan, call George Carson.

Does your pr client need a “tagline”?

I’m sure all of you know what a “tagline” is, right? Well, if you are not sure, then visit Wikipedia for their true definition.

A good tagline is one that is used with a company name, or logo. PR Clients are constantly searching for the right tagline that meets their philosophy, or helps set them apart from the competition. Companiestaglines for publicity clients that succeed in finding the right tagline are usually copied. For example the Nike tagline, or slogan as it is sometimes referred to, is “Just Do It”. What about the milk tagline, know what that one is? Right, “Got Milk“. But is seems that pr clients get tired of these and feel a need to change it every few years. That is something all advertising agencies and publicity professionals need to consider. If your pr client feels it is time to change, be sure you do your homework. Do they really need to do this? Are their customers thinking of them as an old company, or stale in their products/service because of the tagline? If so then maybe it is time to change.

An article in marketing pros discussed this in brief. The article mentioned Tate Linden, author of Stokefire blog, said many companies are not quite sure what a tagline is supposed to do. If that is the case, then maybe they don’t need or shouldn’t have one.

Just like those successful taglines, Just Do It, and Got Milk. Everyone was placing their logo, or name with these tags. Another person, Spike Jones says “never pick a tagline that just anyone can use” He goes on to say if you can easily place the tagline with another company logo, then it isn’t a good tagline.

I agree in most cases, but if you are able to conquer the market with a generic tagline like Just Do It, everyone knows you stole that from Nike.

Taglines are not just for pr clients and their companies. Look at TV shows, like The X-Files. Their tagline was “The truth is out there”. The shorter the tagline, the easier it is to remember.

So does your pr client need a tagline? Or do they already have one but are not using it wisely, or are they not including it in all their pr marketing strategies? If that is the case, maybe you need to promote the tagline with their name. As publicity professionals, and marketing agencies, it is up to you to guide yourr pr clients in making the right decision. If not, then someone else might take away that business from you. Need help, give me, George Carson a call. I’ll make sure you keep that pr client with taglines that work for them.

Does Your Publicity Campaign Include Tagging?

It’s not graffiti anymore, it’s pr

When you first hear or read the word TAGGING, you probably think of taggers who do graffiti on the walls. Well, think publicity and then think Internet, now you’re getting closer to tagging in today’s terms.
tagging and video publicity marketing
It is the linking of web sites. This old term is what describes how we use links to each other sites making search engines locate us faster.

It seems that this "linking" has been around in the earlier days of the Internet. Spammers were probably using this technique of marketing and when we were all hit hard with spam, search engines became more intelligent by counter acting their tactics.

You or your web designer, programmers often use tagging with your site. You have heard the words meta tags, keywords, right? Well, that is a form of tagging.

When a company wants to optimize your web site, this is one of the tagging areas that are often refined.

If you are in publicity and think this stuff is too deep in conversation and you don’t have an IT person, then use this handy tool for creating links. It is Yahoo’s This is a tool bar that you can download from Yahoo’s site.

Tagging can help your publicity in many ways. For example, tagging can be done with pictures that are in your press release (which should be in your pressroom’s web site), or online video. Many sites have this available such as Yahoo 360, or Technorati’s blog that addresses tagging.

Publicity campaigns are no longer a list of releases or articles; it is your web site and making it SEO friendly with tagging, as well as other unique optimizing tricks. But that’s another subject.

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Social Tagging and Publicity

Publicity is everywhere series

The term "tagging" is now part of the Internet culture. No longer is it reserved for the graffiti on walls or buildings that we see everyday.

This type of tagging is more accepted. Just like the graffiti taggers are sending a message, the Internet tagging craze is how we title messages. It can become an excellent publicity and marketing tool when used correctly.

So how does this become publicity related? Publicity is everywhere.

Public Relations professionals should be more than aware that everything around us is connected to pr and pr clients. It is all communication. No matter the source or the media outlet used, when we communicate, we are expressing some type of publicity. Reporters are always looking for a story. Publicists are always looking for an angle. So why do so many pr professionals and pr clients close their eyes to new technology? Maybe because we have grown too lax by using the same marketing and publicity tools that we tend to not want to "learn" how to change these habits.

You cannot turn away and think that social networks like MySpace, Friendster, or YouTube are just fads. These social networks are changing the way we communicate. It is a new era that will mold the next movement with the Internet. PR Firms need to stay on-board to see how this form of communication affects the world of publicity.

It is important that we don’t ignore this fast moving network. It can be a publicity source for your pr clients or for your products.

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Are Your Publicity Clients Prospering?

PR Clients need to deliver more

I have written several blogs and articles about involving the publicity departments with the marketing departments. Well is finally catching on. But only in few situations, usually when a company cannot meet its sales goals.

publicity incentivesPublic relations firms need to step-up to their pr clients and request meetings with the marketing staff as well as the sales departments. Discussions about how each is handling their departments to increase sales will open conversations to work collectively. Competition is not going to get less, but more intense, no matter your industry.

We are seeing that end users (customers) are expecting more from manufacturers. For example, when you make a major purchase like an automobile, you expect more than the rebates. You may negotiate for free oil changes, or extra large tires, etc. When you buy furniture, or appliances, you expect the company to provide free shipping, or some other added incentive. One of our snack food clients will be offering an “instant rebate coupon” that is on the package. It is this type of quick gratification that customers are looking for.

At PowerPR, the company’s blog also had a comment about this. The blog titled "Publicity to a PublicCelebrate incentive that wants More". PowerPR’s clientele is mainly in the manufacturing industry, so they see this as a need for publicity people to get more creative with clients to help sell products. They refer to the extras as being “surprised”.

As professional publicity people we need to address issues like this in order to have clients gain more visible and favorable publicity. 

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Is Tracking Ad Networks Good For Publicity?

Know who is seeing you

We are constantly hearing how ad agencies use different tracking methods and use different resources to track the results of an ad campaign. This should also be part of a publicity campaign. All pr clients and publicity firms know that it is important to know how a campaign is doing, and tracking results is one method.

If you are using any ad networks for a marketing or publicity campaign, then you should have the third party be using a tagging or coding process in place.

Using tags properly can help you better understand the results form prospects, potential and existing customers.

One tech author, Pam Stein writes this about tagging: "The network will then generate a tag that the advertiser will implement on the proper landing page(s) of their site. Typically, this is the confirmation page, so that they are able to see transactions produced from the campaign. But it could also be a thank-you page after a consumer registers for a sweepstakes or requests a brochure.

Whatever the goal of the campaign, the page that needs to be tagged is the one that appears once the user has done what you wanted them to do."

She further explains and gives an example of what a typical pixel code will look like when implemented into a page. Working closely with the marketing people and advertising staff in a company will strengthen a publicity campaign. Knowing what each department is doing can further your exposure so as to not duplicate efforts. Remember to allow for changes in a pr campaign. Being flexible is what tracking is about.

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Getting More Out Of Your Camapign

Mass media and Online Media

When you take advantage of the tools you have for publicity and marketing you can extend the life of a pr campaign a lot longer. This in turn will get you more publicity for pr clients and increase your product or service awareness.

How do you integrate the two?

One example is to make use of the print or TV campaign and integrate that into your web site. For example, Hardee’s, a known hamburger chain that is owned and operated by Carl’s Jr., made use of a clever TV campaign.

They, Hardee’s, is known for very large, monster burgers. This particular ad focused on their new Philly Cheese Steak ThickBurger. The web site home page was the platform of their new commercial. The commercial could be uploaded to an iPod, added to a page or sent to a friend. Hardee’s invited customers to comment on the TV spot.

This gets their customers involved with the product and gets the word out at the same time. Hardee’s had an email sign up form to become part of their loyalty marketing program, which has benefits.

This is one company that understands integration of publicity, web marketing and reaching mass media. They are one of the few to make this work for them. Other companies shy away from their publicity departments and marketing departments. Keeping them separate. This can only slow your process to gain favorable publicity.

Learn how to make use of these media. It can only help promote your company further.

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Marketing and Publicity

Intergrate these to be successful

Marketing and publicity need to interact and not be treated as separate departments. Often times, marketing directors and pr directors want to do their own thing in a company to show how successful their creative programs are working.

But this can work against you if you do not pool your talents and work as a team. Many times campaigns overlap, as do the different projects within a company.

By using all the resources from your departments, like Marketing and Publicity, you stand a better chance in gaining a winning campaign for your company, or pr client.

For example in marketing 101, you are told to follow-up to customers at least every 90 days. Publicity people also know that communication is important. For this reason, publicity professionals make sure they contact editors and reporters frequently. The old saying, out-of-sight is out-of-mind is definitely true in business.

Another important point- do not cut back on your publicity budget when it is trade show season, or when sales are increasing. Same is true about marketing. You need to do marketing all the time, not only when sales are low.

Getting a story or an article in any publication is rewarding. More so is when you capitalize on this with the marketing people in your company. Using the resources available can gain more mileage for your campaigns than isolating the two departments from each other.

In summary a public relations campaign is just as important as the marketing you do for the company. Have interaction with the two, hold regular meetings to discuss what projects are in the works, and quite possibly you might discover a new path to success.

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Getting Listed With Search Engines

Publicity is everywhere, even on the net

Just about every traditional (brick and mortar) company has a web site. Beyond the fact that you need to have a web site today to be recognized as a real company doing business, clients and customers want the ability to gather information or place orders via the web.

With that said, we need to now see how publicity coupled with marketing can make good things happen.

Web sites are only as good as the marketing that supports it. Just because you have a site doesn’t mean it will be picked up and listed at the top with the major search engines. It requires strategic planning and implementation to make things happen.

To begin, you need to have the site optimized. That’s an overused word, but it still needs to be said. This alone is not enough. The SEO’s are battling again for power and that means more challenging times for web masters and programmers. You now need to include a plan that includes “back end marketing”. This can be a series of things like a blog site, eNewsletters, and above all a strong publicity plan.

Yes, publicity is a major element in getting listed higher. There are two methods used to see a sites value. Page Ranking and Site Listing. Page Ranking shows how you are rated (ranked) on search engines, like Google, Yahoo, MSN and Alta Vista to name a few. It is based on a scale of 10. Sites with anything in the 5+ ranking is excellent. Even with a 3 you are doing fine. Remember, that there are over a billion pages, and several hundred million sites. Even in any vertical market, there are at least several hundred thousand sites.

Listings are where you are positioned on that search engine. Everyone wants to be on the first page of a listing, and not further than the third page. But again, with hundreds of thousands of sites, not everyone can be on top.

Once you get there, you need to be more aggressive with press releases, keywords added and updated, keep daily blogs going just to maintain a solid position (listing) with the engines. No guarantees can exist. The only way to stay near or at the top is to have an on-going plan.

A couple of our clients are getting their time in the spotlight. Partition Specialties now has a solid listing using several keywords such as modernfold, tate access floors and skyfold. They are listed with the various SE’s in either a #5 or #12 position with Google and Yahoo, MSN, etc. That’s out of 1,500,000 other web sites in a specialized industry. We are using several marketing tools with the publicity to maintain this.

Foundations Financial in only 6 weeks got a high PageRanking with Google of #3. We are using the blog site and a lot of publicity releases, TV interviews and links on the site to gain this positive momentum. Keeping this will be an on-going battle that we plan to win. Within a few more weeks, they will enjoy the high listings as many of our other clients do.

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The Costs Of Publicity

In-House or Outsorucing?

Companies are always faced with keeping overhead costs low. The first area that gets cut is the marketing and publicity budget.

So how does any company justify cutting these areas and maintain a constant campaign?

One solution that most pr clients and marketing clients think saves them money is to do all the work in-house. But does this really save money, or does it cost you (the client) more in the long haul? Let’s take a look.

To go in-house, you need to hire a marketing or pr director. Typically this person, if professional, and knows what he/she is doing, will have a salary of about $80,000 per year. An assistant would cost $40,000 a year as a starting salary. These figures can be more depending on their experience.

Now you have someone to do the entire writing, planning, meeting with reporters, publishers, coordinating marketing and pr activities and sometimes designing the sales and marketing materials.

Let’s just say this person, for now, needs to do a few releases. How are you going to distribute them? Do you do send them one at-a-time to the handful of media? Or do you go through a news bureau like Bacon’s. Well, Bacon’s costs about $3,000 per year membership and then you pay per release on top of that. In addition, the select few that are to your favorite media, need postage, envelopes, and what about the follow-up?

On top of the distribution costs, we need to again look at this person you hired. They need medical coverage, you need to pay the FICA costs and provide space for them and a phone line. The phone bill will now increase as well. An article that supports my viewpoint is called "Debunking the myth that B2B marketing is cheaper in-house", by John Elliott.

In addition, the person may not have the close contact relationships with the different media as your pr firm.

Ok, did you save any money? Most likely not. The costs when added together are probably more than a moderate publicity campaign for the year would have cost. And you can be sure that the outsource company will get the job done because they won’t be interuppeted with daily problems associated with an in-house publicity person.

No matter how many times we see this happen, it just seems that clients need to learn from their mistakes. Hopefully this brief lesson will give pr clients and public relations service companies the chance to see what really is best for them.

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