publicity campaign publicity campaign Archives - CarsonPR

How do you make the 62nd California RV Show successful?

Being the 62nd annual show makes it a real challenge to get existing customers excited about something they have known about for this many years. And finding new customers isn’t easy.

First you need to understand the audience, what it is that will create their interest to attend the RV Show and what can you do to make it more of an event than just a typical RV show. After knowing these critical facts youLogo--CA Show then build around these findings to create a successful California RV Show. It is important for the media and publicity teams to work together by exchanging information to develop a campaign that will have the greatest impact. The PR Client in this particular case is the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association). Unlike other RV shows, this is produced by the manufacturers association, not the dealers. The RV dealers are represented by displaying the manufacturers new RVs for 2015. Interested customers can talk directly to the manufacturers representatives to learn about the RVs, while the purchasing must go through the dealers.

This year’s show had several challenges. Among them was the size: over 1200 new RVs with 21 dealers that counted for 800,000 sq ft of space. To create some excitement we wanted the customers to know more about

Gayle Anderson and George Carson

Gayle Anderson and George Carson

what to expect at the show to create the “desire” to attend. To do this we worked with Gayle Anderson at KTLA, channel 5. Her solid following of viewers and her personality to make things interesting gave the show the needed publicity exposure prior to the opening. We presented to Gayle what is different. Things like Genesis Supreme RV building a 19 foot Toy Hauler at the show, a slalom challenge by Airstream, retro RVs like Winnebago’s Brave, and how roomy a Mercedes Class B Van is with a murphy bed. The local publicity helped many RV companies create the interest among potential RV buyers as well as those who might not have considered RVing but now see how much fun it can be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Tom Gaither and Josh

A few days later we had KCAL 9/CBS chief meteorologist Josh Rubenstein report the weather live from the California RV Show. Josh was great. He interviewed Tom Gaither, director of the show and many different manufacturers from Fleetwood, Leisure Travel Vans, to 5th wheel manufacturers. Josh even went inside a custom class A motor home built by Show Hauler.

AC Green and George Carson

AC Green and George Carson

To give the show added enjoyment we had former baseball greats like Steve Garvey, Ron Cey, Chuck Finley and Randy Jones do a meet and greet sessions on different days. AC Green, former Lakers player, also known as Iron Man was there on Sunday to sign autographs with fans. And to rock the show, Bret Michaels the lead rock star in the band Poison gave the crowd a fun time signing his name on most anything his fans handed him.

This is one way to create a publicity campaign and make it successful.

There are a lot of conversations (noise) in social media. If you just try to follow only a few like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, you will get drowned in all the conversations. So if this is overwhelming to you, then lets look at how to make people listen.

bigstock-Businesswoman-With-Big-Ears-10623491First of all, building a social media network is very important for pr clients. Before starting any social dialogue, these are some of the questions you need to ask when doing your conversations. Does it stimulate your customers to do the action you desire? Is it building brand loyalty? Are you creating any dialogue for people to interact with your conversation?

Major brands are using “conversations” to further build their pr visibility and brand. Companies like Coke, Pepsi, Microsoft, Apple among many others are aggressively “talking” to their consumers. But are their customers really listening? Some of these brands use Facebook and Twitter to get people to participate in contests, or engage them into a discussion. These pr marketing strategies are good, if understood. Sometimes the results are very small when you look at the overall numbers these social media have in comparison to those people responding. Does this mean they should not continue their publicity campaign? Of course not. You need to have a plan, just like a marketing plan, or media plan, you need to develop a publicity strategy of where, when and the topics you want to start. Just because the immediate followers or those responding might be small, you are developing a massive exposure about you and your brand. And the same is true when you ran a print or TV campaign. The exposure is always greater than those directly involved in your message. This is part of building a brand.

I read a recent article by Barry Levine that sums it up  “ Social media conversations are a whisper not a shout.”

That means you need to know who are your customers, know what they like on social media, what they enjoy Social meida-penguinsdoing and how often do they engage in the social media that you want to connect with them. Seems like a lot of research, and it is. But once you have learned this about your customer, then you can begin the “conversation.” With that said, it is important to have a true conversation, not a sales pitch, nor how great your company or brand is. Just like you would discuss a topic with a friend, keep your conversations friendly, and point out the good and bad about something. Get people to interact. That’s why so many brands use contests. Unfortunately, that is now getting overused and should be done on a limited basis, not become your main reason to have the conversations.

In summary, are conversations being heard? They can be if you are active in conversation with your customers and start topics that they would like to discuss. Remember, postings are good in social media, but that isn’t building a brand unless you get people involved in conversations. Then the word will spread beyond the social platforms, that’s how to create the buzz in the industry.

If you are ready to continue the conversation, give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400.

As a business entrepreneur, it is very difficult to know if you are making good or bad decisions. Or if you chose the right type of business. So how did you get started, and how do you avoid any of these mistakes?angry-boss1

Starting a business in your mid 40’s or 50’s can be fulfilling, but has its risks if you don’t have any guidelines, especially if this is your first venture. To help you avoid being one of the 80% of businesses that fail in their first three years, review these mistakes that many businesses have made over the years.

1-    Start with a passion and keep it going. When you started the business you might have thought you had clarity and direction. Try to not get caught up in the “BUT” excuses. For example, if you are not a super salesperson or know how to generate sales leads, don say “I don’t know how to do this”, rather seek help and do some research to find how to improve your sales approach. Don’t make excuses for not knowing how things get done.

2-    Are you undercapitalized? Don’t rely on banks or other financial institutions lending you money because you have a great product/service. Banks are not in the business of loaning money to new businesses, it’s just a fact in life. So make sure you have enough capital to keep your business afloat for several months to a year before jumping in.

Before starting, estimate the overhead to run the business, consult with friends or colleagues who have their own business and ask questions on how they managed their first year and what expenses they did not expect. There are a few organizations available to help such as SCORE who can provide guidance and direction.

3-    Build it and they will come. If you want to start a business based on the fact you have a unique product and people are just waiting to buy, think again. People have developed buying habits and the only way to break into that habit is to let people know you exist and have a great product. Offer compelling reasons why they should switch to your product.

bigstock-Businessman-Circling-Success-41064631Do your homework. Identify who your customers are, and then develop a plan how to sell to them. The two simple reasons people buy are to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Not just aches, but the pain of not liking something, such as their kitchen, their clothes, or poor skin or hair.

4-    Know when to quit. This is about an exit strategy. Even though you are just starting out, knowing how you plan to leave the business will help you develop a plan to grow the business. Sounds weird, but this will help give you some clarity to building up the business.

Keeping track of your investment and what you plan to get out of it puts things in focus. Did you know that 90% of businesses that go up for sale never get sold? So have an exit strategy.

5-    Support from those you know, especially family. Starting a business is a commitment, and that will put a lot of stress on a family. In the beginning most of your time will be dedicated to building the business, and that should be clearly understood when you take this giant leap. After you get a foothold and the business becomes profitable then you need to take time off. If you are married and have children, you need to take a break from work. Vacations, even short, two day camping trips will re-energize you and keep the family supportive.

To sum all this up:                                                                                                                                 Keep the Passion, Have Clarity and Continue To Learn From Others

Give George Carson a call when you need to build more traffic to your business. A solid publicity campaign and marketing strategy can keep your passion alive! Call: 949-477-9400 today.

First we must ask ourselves is social networking for everyone, and is it right for my business? That may depend on your knowledge of this expanding media. Not knowing the benefits of the different networks or how they can help you could be critical when making a decision. Just because many businesses are using some of the popular networks such as Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, you need to determine if these are the right pr marketing strategies for your business.

It can IMPROVE your business

So how do you know if your business is ready for social media publicity program? How do you get started? And most important, which social networks will work for your business?

To answer these questions, you need to look at your industry, know your competition and what social networks relate to your market. Not an easy task, nor should it be. Too often companies will jump in because they don’t want to be left behind. The same is true about companies who get into social media, but after a few weeks, push it aside because it requires more work to maintain than they anticipated. It doesn’t matter if you are a local business or a national company, a social networks program can improve your business. This is a good form of communication that has powerful results, just like a publicity campaign.

Below are a few guidelines to help you decide on a social network program.

1- Does your business offer a service or sell product(s) that appeals to a limited market?If yes, determine the size of your potential market. Or, if your business provides the service/product to a broader spectrum, start with the top 2 or 3 markets that are the most profitable.

2- Do you have a sales team? Whether it is one salesperson (outside of yourself) or a dozen sales teams, choose a region to target. This can consist of an area such as the 7 western states in America, or a smaller region such as one specific state. You can grow the area after you have implemented the social network program.

3- Do you have the support staff that can dedicate the proper time to develop and maintain a social network program? If not, you can hire an outside firm.

 4- Does your business rely on walk-in customers, or online sales, or both?

5- Is your business B2B, or a B2C?

6- Are your business goals and objectives to increase sales, or increase profitability?

7- Do you have an advertising or publicity budget? Is it realistic with your sales projections?

8- Are you a start-up, or an established business (been around for at least 3+ years)?

Most businesses can benefit from a well-planned social network program. If you are prepared to take on the task of implementing a social network program, it is now time to see what is available. Here is a short list of other social networks to consider (these are in addition to those mentioned earlier):

Bebo—an AOL network that consumers can share photos, communicate and express themselves. A longer version of Twitter and similar to Facebook.

Focus—this is a B2B network mainly geared for the high tech industry. Companies can get experts to answer or solve their business questions.

MeetTheBoss—a great international network for business and financial industries. Consists of Fortune 500 CEO’s who discuss Leadership, Sales, Innovation, Technology, Marketing, Strategy, Human Capital and Governance.

Ning—You can create your own custom network, and community website.

TalkBizNow—This is a comprehensive interactive business network that allows users the ability to network, advertise their business, etc.

Tumblr—Similar to Twitter that started in 2007.

EONS.com—For the Baby Boomers (40+) Internet users.

Athlinks—For the sports enthusiasts who enjoy swimming and running.

Ryze—Looking to find other new entrepreneurs? This is the place.

Other networks and productive tools to consider are: Ogoing, Pinterest, Dropbox, Twitxr, StumbleUpon. If you use social networks properly, you can reduce your marketing costs while increasing your profits. For example, did you know that Twitter has a search tool to find companies or related businesses that you can follow? Ok, now it’s time to plan a social network program that will meet your company’s goals and objectives.

If you need help, contact George Carson for a FREE Consultation at 949-477-9400.

Your publicity campaign should include local publicity media. This could be an Orange County publicity campaign, or a local media publication, such as the LA or OC Business Journals. Some local publicity is targeted to a specific audience, suchlocal and regional publicity as Children’s Resource Directory, which goes to all the Orange County outlets. It’s designed to help parents in this region find good sources for their children, whether it be about child upbringing, health issues, or the arts (music, dance, etc).

PR clients need to stay in touch with their local community programs. It is one method to gain local publicity. Although the rewards may not be immediate, you will see an increase in loyal customers.  Another method is to distribute press releases in your local publications. This is just one form of building a solid local publicity campaign. The Internet now offers a wide variety of web sites to further build upon this local branding campaign. Many of the local community publications have on-line web sites. In addition; you can find many regional and local sites that target your specific market.

So the next time you begin to plan your publicity campaign, be sure to have local publicity as part of the overall program. We have found this to be very rewarding for many of our clients. Especially now when pr clients are looking for ways to increase sales, but maintain a tight budget. If your publicity campaign needs some local direction, give George Carson a call. His Carson Marketing, Inc company has the expertise to get your company noticed which in turn will create more customers.

Part of a publicity campaign includes someone to be appointed as the company spokesperson. Most pr clients do not take this seriously. By that I mean, pr clients think the media, or reporters should only call them when they are available. This is the first rule in What NOT to do! Make sure your pr marketing strategy includes this in the plan.company spokesperson

Ok, let’s go through a few tips as what a pr client should do to become a great spokesperson.

1- Make yourself available.  You, the client should be easily reached, and always be prepared to speak with the media. It might be a good idea to have an “elevator speech” ready so when the media calls, you can quickly tell your story.

2- Know that your main objective to get media exposure is to gain more visibility for your company. Don’t try to “sell” reporters. Instead, make your story relate to something of current interest. If you know the publication, or the media that is calling, make your story (or angle) relate to that industry.

3- Elevator speech.  As mentioned earlier, have at least two of these prepared. One will be a short intro about your company. The other is a summary of what you want to tell the media. It could be about a new product/service, expansion, new contract, etc. Just keep it short and interesting. The reporter will ask questions if your story is of interest.

4- Support facts. This is important. Having tangible facts to back up your claims will show reporters you are knowledgeable of how your products improve customer’s daily lives, or how it helps businesses become more efficient.

5- Have your publicity professional outline a few of what are called “difficult questions”. By practicing the answers to these questions, you will feel more comfortable when asked.

6- Reference cards. You never know when a reporter will contact you. So in order to be prepared, have all the information I discussed on reference cards. This will keep you from trying to remember what to say, or how to handle those challenging questions.

These are just a few tips on how to become a great spokesperson with the media. If you need further coaching, give George Carson a call at Carson Marketing, Inc. 949-477-9400.

Sometimes we write like we talk. This is becoming a problem with press releases, articles and how we write emails. Even savvy publicity writers who write for pr clients, or publicity professionals will usually fail once in awhile with grammar in their releases.writing press releases

You may not think it is important, but editors, reporters write and read for a living and they do not tolerate poor grammar, or the use of conjunctions to make long sentences. I read an article in Press-Release-Writing titled “Get a Grip on Grammar“. It has a lot of the tips I give my pr clients. Let me share with you a few of these from the article.

Q: I’ve heard the terms biweekly and semiweekly used interchangeably. Are they really synonyms?
A: A bimonthly appointment occurs once every two months. A semimonthly appointment occurs twice a month. If you’re a gardener, it will be easier to remember the difference between “bi” and “semi” – just think of the term “biennial” and it’ll be a cinch to remember.

Q: When is a comma used before the conjunction “and”?
A: A comma should be used before coordinating conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or) to join closely related sentences. A comma is optional, but recommended, with and before the last item in a series of three or more items. In most of their other roles as joiners (aside from joining independent clauses), coordinating conjunctions can join two sentence elements without the help of a comma…

Q: When are “state” and “federal” capitalized?
A: State and Federal are capitalized when they exist as part of a proper name such as “Federal Reserve Bank”; however, “state law” is not a proper name, so it is not capitalized.

These are just a few common problems that any pr professional, pr client, or novice writer should keep in mind when writing any releases, or articles. If you need further help with your current publicity campaign, give Carson Marketing, Inc a call at 949-477-9400. Ask for George Carson.

Some say yes, while those not sure sit and wait to see what happens over the next couple of years. If your pr marketing strategies are not current to include this trend then you might just be that pr client who fades into the darkness of cyberspace.

It’s amazing how the advertising industry is running scared about social media taking away their market share. social media networkingMaybe because they are the last to recognize or admit social media was not a fad but a new way of communicating. For over a year, I discussed this at length. I mentioned how social media needs to be part of any pr clients marketing strategy, or media plan. But then again, I am one of the few in this marketing and publicity industry that embraces new technology and uses it to my pr client’s advantage. Why do ad agencies, even pr firms keep ignoring opportunities like social media, social networks? Because they do not understand it! And most importantly, cannot figure out how to make money off this technology, because they were too comfortable doing the same old stuff for over 40 years!

What got me on this topic was an article I read today in FT.com (Financial Times) by Tim Bradshaw. It is titled “Social networks threaten advertising growth“. Powerful heading, and even more eye-opening as how fearful this industry is about technology. Yet, our industry communicates to consumers about new products, services and why you need them. But these same people who profess its greatness, fear it.

I have learned to adapt to new technologies and make it beneficial for my pr clients. For example, web marketing has been part of our company for over 6 years. That puts us light years ahead of many others in my industry. We continue to learn about how to improve client’s visibility, increase sales all through web marketing. Yes, we do mix traditional marketing techniques when needed to further a clients publicity campaign or awareness program.

To wrap this up, we are not fearful of technology such as social media; as a matter of fact we are looking for the next revolution and are ready to use it to our clients advantage! If you want your publicity or marketing to move forward fast, then give George Carson a call at 949-477-9400. It could be the best call you make to put you ahead of your competition.

Before submitting your local or national web site to the search engines, make sure it is properly optimized, has all the meta tag keywords, and titles. The second important part, make sure the site is graphically appealing, not cluttered, or the SEO’s will just pass you by. The last thing, is the site map. Your web site should have a site map, it is how the SEO’s crawl sites. It’s all about knowing how to use web marketing.

Just like a well planned publicity campaign, your well-designed web site needs to be submitted to get the site ranked by the SEO’s, such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Whether you are a local Orange County web marketing strategycompany, or a national company, the submission process is basically the same. Here are a few tips to consider:

1- Submit your site after it is complete. Too many times a pr client, or web designers want to submit the site even if you have a couple of pages that are still in construction, or are not completed. This will hurt your rankings.

2- Hand Submission is best. If you hire a local web marketing company or have your  local publicity agency do the submission, make sure it is not done with software.

3- Beware of promises by web companies. If someone promises you top rankings…buyer beware. Check them out, make sure the company can produce what they claim.

4- Use keywords, phrases that relate to your location. It is good practice to include in tyour title page, or in the body text that tells where your company rsided. Although your company may do business nationally, local web marketing will further the exposure and your chances of being ranked higher with the SEO’s.

Doing the submission to all the search engines and directories is a long process. And you should only submit to about 5 SEO’s per week. Doing a blast will trigger red flags to the “bots” and cause your site to be overlooked. In the long run, using a professional web marketing company will assure your site is properly submitted, and optimized.

When the economy worsens it seems companies, pr clients as well, always cut back on everything, and that includes advertising. If you want to increase your brand awareness without increasing your ad budget–and actually reduce your budget, then read on. This approach works great for local pr clients and national pr clients.

In today’s tough economic times, the companies that will survive are the ones who continue increase brand awarenesstheir marketing and brand awareness. You can do this by spending less money than your current ad budget! How? With a creative publicity campaign. Being a publicity professional since 1980, I recommend starting an aggressive local publicity campaign. This should be a series of publicity releases and submission of articles to the media, etc. Then continue with a social media network campaign and a web marketing/publicity campaign. Those are the main elements. To be successful during these difficult times, you need to be consistent. Other things smart publicity professionals would recommend would be your blog site. Start making your blogs work closely with your web site.

Did you realize that I haven’t said to “spend any media money”? Rather than spending media money (print, TV, radio, banners, keywords), allocate 50% of your advertising budget for publicity. Don’t get caught up in buying keywords, or key phrases either. The money you allocate to the local publicity or regional publicity campaign will generate more awareness than the media budget. That’s smart marketing. Impelmenting this will get your pr clients web site listed in all the major search engines. And in return that will create traffic and increase sales. Knowing how to put this all together could be a challenge. In the long run, even if you hire a professional publicity company, like Carson Marketing, Inc., the costs will be much, much less than the media money you would spend just to get “limited” awareness. A well-designed publicity campaign will garner many months of awareness while building your brand. Then as the economy improves, your company will be the one customers will remember and continue purchasing from.