Category Archives: Business

10 Ways To Publicize Your Small Business

10 Ways To Publicize Your Small Business

 Whether you run Dow Chemical or the Dairy Queen there is no substitute for positive publicity. Most successful small business owners realized early that marketing was a very important if not the most important part of staying in business. But where to start? Here are a few pointers for getting covered. 10 Ways To Publicize Your Small Business

There are plenty of ways to get newspaper, radio, and television publicity for the small business owner willing to invest in the activity on a consistent basis.
10 Ways To Publicize Your Small Business. There are plenty of ways to get newspaper, radio, and television publicity for the small business owner willing to invest in the activity on a consistent basis.
  1. Do something newsworthy. Media coverage in traditional outlets (not trade journals or business magazines) will not occur without some kind of event, happening, release or introduction. Remember that news worthy events almost always occur in real time and are finite. News is not open ended.
  2. What are some newsworthy small business happenings? A grand opening is the perfect occasion to get news coverage. While cutting a ribbon with a big pair of scissors might seem silly, it is a good photo opportunity and is newsworthy.
  3. Expansions, new products, new menu items, new services, new or expanded contracts are all newsworthy. 10 Ways To Publicize Your Small Business
  4. Sponsorships of local sporting teams, high school athletics, charity fundraisers are also considered newsworthy. Go to your county’s fair and bid on something and win it. Pose for a photo with the young person who raised the calf, chicken, pig or goat. Send the photo to the local newspaper. Boom, publicity.
  5. Monitor the news and see where what you do might fit with a reporter or news outlet. For example, if you repair computers or other high tech equipment, be ready to give advise on preventing a cyber breach at home or at work the next time hackers from Wikileaks release something or a major business or government entity is hacked. It’s only a matter of time before this happens. Own a drug store? Do a release on over the counter flu remedies. Travel agents can write about the best times to fly at the start of summer vacation or how to negotiate TSA during heavy travel times like Thanksgiving, Christmas, July 4, etc.
  6. Business professionals like accountants can do year-end publicity on how to prepare for tax season. Lawyers can schedule interviews when new laws come into effect. Public bathroom access for transgender people is one example of the law where professional advise would have been useful. The same is true for gun laws, licenses to carry concealed weapons and on and on. 10 Ways To Publicize Your Small Business

More Ways To Keep Publicity Going 10 Ways To Publicize Your Small Business

Publicity is not like a tattoo or statue where you do it once and forget about it. Business promotion via local publicity is a process and like all processes has to be attended. So here are a few more tips!

  1. Find out who covers business in your community and get acquainted. Reporters and editors receive dozens if not hundreds of releases and pitch calls every day. Yours is more likely to get read if the reporter/editor knows who you are.
  2. Write press materials regularly and send them out routinely. I used to have a rule that I would send out a release at least once a month. This was at a very large and already well known company. For those who are not already those things, it will take more work and more releases. For the new business clients I work for I recommend at least one per week if possible.
  3. Don’t forget trade journals. Local business and media will often cover the fact that a local person wrote for a trade journal.
  4. Invent your own media. Hosting your own podcast or curating news from your field of interest and posting it on line are just a couple of options for small business owners that were not available even five years ago.

Harold Nicoll, APR is the owner of Media Public Relations and can be found at www.media-public-relations.com.

 

Video For In Store Marketing Intelligence

In store video can provide a lot of intelligence.
In store video can provide a lot of intelligence.

Today’s retailers operate in global economy that affords little room for error.  Retailers must combat harsh challenges that include consolidation within the industry, price competition, and increasingly low profit margins.  As such, it is mission-critical for forward-thinking retail organizations to adopt technologies that help capture and analyze store activity patterns to increase conversion rates, improve operational efficiency and maximize customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Traditionally, retailers gained insight on customer shopping behaviors through loyalty cards and overall trends in POS transactions even tracking inventory. Although this information did provide insight about limited shopper demographics (cards) and buying habits, it did not provide much insight into the customer’s in-store behavior.

Understanding where customers spend most of their time in the store, what time of day they shop, how long they wait in lines and where they dwell (aisles within the store, promotion displays, service counters, etc.) can increase a retailer’s success.  Leveraging a video business intelligence solution helps retailers dramatically reduce their reliance on softer types of data, replacing it with real-world information. Using this data appropriately will help increase sales, improve the customer experience, and add to the benefits of shopping with you; people find what they want there.

Store Performance Management

Leveraging a business intelligence platform can help retailers make informed decisions with accurate people counts. In combination with POS data, in-store department managers, store managers, regional managers, and corporate management can use reliable metrics to benchmark store performance and identify trends early enough to capitalize on them. Retail organizations can also use shopper conversion rates to help compensate and incentivize their sales staff, hence cultivating a customer-centric culture.

Optimize Workforce

Without sufficient staff, retailers face dissatisfied customers and lost sales. At the same time, overstaffing increases operational costs. By capturing the full range of shopper traffic monitoring and customer behavior patterns, retailers can make better operational decisions for sales, marketing, staffing and scheduling. These robust applications can include analytics that analyze traffic flows and shopper movement, measure and predict queue lengths and wait times, monitor zone activity, and provide real-time reporting to ultimately help optimize workforce.

Improve Marketing and Merchandising Effectiveness

Retailers can use video business intelligence to measure the success rate of marketing and advertising promotions. You can use these insights to improve store layout, product placement and promotional displays with actual customer behavior; put the merchandise where the customers are and improve the bottom-line.

Designing Optimal Store Layouts

With a comprehensive data set around shopper traffic, directional analysis, in-store movement patterns, hot spots and dwell times, retailers are able to improve store layout and overall design. If a certain department is rarely visited, the retailers can modify the store layout in order to help drive shoppers to the area where they would not have otherwise visited. Retailers can also alter in-store orientation systems in order to make it easier for shoppers to find the department or the products they are looking for.

For piloting new promotions, store designs or additional product categories, retailers are utilizing video business intelligence data. By reviewing people count, in-store traffic patterns and dwell times around specific areas and products, retailers can take this knowledge and modify their promotion, design or product placement accordingly.

 

Media and Public Relations Introduces New Press Release Writing Service

Media and Public Relations (mediandpublicrelations.com) is introducing a new press release writing service for North America. The service will help those who know they could benefit from a news release but do not have the skills or the time to produce one. images-1

The press release is the best way to communicate news about any type of enterprise to editors, reporters and bloggers who cover an industry, practice, non-profit or charity. Unlike ads, direct mail or blogs, the press release is formatted and written in a no-nonsense way that helps journalists inform their audience about news that will be meaningful to their readers and listeners.

Business writing in general and journalistically styled releases in particular are difficult to produce and then get published. Not everything is newsworthy. Reporters hate it when businesses send them what amounts to commercials in the guise of a news release.

If any information is not right for a release to the news media, the public relations veterans at Media and Public Relations will edit information into a newsworthy format. For those  starting with only a blank sheet of paper and nothing written, no problem. The people at Media and Public Relations can do an  interview over the phone to draft, review and edit a news release in the format and with the content needed. “I’ve got a soft spot for start ups and entrepreneurs,” said owner Harold Nicoll. “I especially like those who have some very cool product or technology or skill that will make lives better, cheaper, faster, and at the same time reward them for their know-how. So many of these folks know a lot about their respective field but nothing about how to market and sell their wares. I can help.”

Release Basics To Get Me Started

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Or Contact Me Directly

My e-mail is haroldnicoll@gmail.com and my phone number is 979 292 8026. Or, fill out the form and I will go to work for you. Payment is via Pay Pal. But first things first, fill out the form or call or e-mail me and I will get back to you within a single work day or sooner.

About Media And Public Relations
Harold Nicoll, APR is the owner of Media and Public Relations. He a veteran public relations, marketing communications, content marketing and public affairs expert. He started his career at Hill & Knowlton Public Relations followed by 23 years at The Dow Chemical Company. He is “Accredited to Practice Public Relations” by The Public Relations Society of America. He has a Master of Strategic Public Relations Degree from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from The University of Houston.

9 Surprise PR Tactics That Will Make You Irresistible to Reporters

9 Surprise PR Tactics.

This article “9 Surprise PR Tactics That Will Make You Irresistible to Reporters” was published by PRNews and written by Steve Goldstein on April 16, 2015.  Enjoy!

Attend any panel discussion featuring PR pros and journalists, and within five minutes of its commencement you’ll hear one of the journalists say, “I delete email pitches in batches of 20 with hardly a glance at the subject lines.”

Then comes the inevitable follow-up question from the audience: “So what would it take for you to open my email?”

And the answer: “Know my beat, read my articles, give me real news I can use.”

Silently, the PR pros in attendance grumble in unison: “But if you’re deleting everything without looking, then what difference would that make?”

Tania Luna, co-author with LeeAnn Renninger of the new book Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected, would encourage those silent grumblers to think beyond the

Follow these directions to be a more sought for interviewee.
Follow these directions to be a more sought for interviewee.

journalist/PR pro dynamic and harness the elemental power of surprise to cut through the noise and make a connection.

“One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working in PR is building relationships with reporters,” says Luna, who will be the keynote presenter on day two of PR News’ Digital PR Conference, which will be held June 1-3 in Miami. “Luckily, things get a lot easier when you have the science of surprise on your side. When you pleasantly surprise people they think of you more often and are more interested in what you have to say.”

Here are nine tips for bonding with reporters from co-authors Luna and Renninger:

1. Jump over the expectation bar: Our brains are delighted when someone exceeds our expectations, disappointed when someone falls below the bar and unmoved when someone meets our expectations. Take the time to learn what each of your contacts expects (what topics do they prefer? what style? what format?) and find ways to exceed expectations at every point of contact (e.g., offer all necessary links before they have to ask; use bullet points so your pitch is easy to digest).

2. Under-promise, over-deliver: Here is a shortcut to exceeding expectations from author Tom Peters. Set expectations just an inch lower than you plan to deliver, then over-deliver every once in a while (e.g., promise you’ll respond in 48 hours, then reply in just two). Pleasant surprises release dopamine in the brain, a neurochemical associated with excitement and interest.

3. Do a scriptease: So many of our interactions feel scripted and formal. Leave your script aside and connect with reporters the way you would with friends (respectful but playful and authentic). Authenticity builds trust but also triggers people’s interest.

4. Give just because: Be helpful or encouraging for no particular reason (even when you aren’t trying to place a story). Research shows that we think about random acts of kindness longer than we contemplate explained kind behavior (and random kindness makes us happier).

5. Bury a cookie: Find ways to tuck small delights into your interactions. Can you sneak a joke into your conversation? A genuine compliment? A funny GIF into your email? In a study, researchers found that even a handwritten Post-it Note can be personal and unexpected enough to double response rates to a survey.

6. Build knowledge gaps: Spark curiosity by pitching your stories in a way that shows readers you know something they don’t. Our fascination with mystery is the reason listicles work so well. (Just compare these two titles and see which one your brain likes more: “These 8 Subject Line Tweaks Will Get Everyone to Open Your Emails” vs. “How to Get People to Open Your Emails.”)

7. Tell stories: Most of us are familiar with the power of story, but it helps to know why stories work as well as they do to remind us that we have to weave stories into our pitches. Because stories have mystery at their core (we want to know what will happen next), they trigger the P3 brain wave—this cognitive shift grabs our cognitive resources and forces us to pay attention.

8. Design experiences: Devise opportunities for your contacts to have an emotional, multi-sensory experience with your company or story (hint: the more senses you engage, the more memorable the experience will be).

9. Harness fortune cookie psychology: A handwritten thank-you note will trigger a burst of dopamine in the recipient, but the same card with the same message sent several times will soon fall flat. Take a tip from the fortune cookie and switch up how, when and why you reach out to say thank-you or offer a tip. In short: Exceed expectations, be genuine, be mysterious and delight often.

Tania Luna will be the keynote presenter on June 2 at PR News’ Digital PR Conference in Miami.

Follow Tania Luna: @Surprisology

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI

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Why You Should Advertise On Face Book

Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.
Locally targeted ads on Facebook are an excellent value for new and/or local business.

There are more and more small businesses with Face Book pages and others still who join or start interest groups with the idea that these will help them promote their trade. I do not think Face Book is a good venue for corporate business or for those involved in business to business sales. On the other hand if you own a small or just starting put brick and mortar store, or professional practice then Face Book is ideal. Setting up a page on Face Book is free and easy and that is good. But getting it and you in front of potential customers will require some advertising. While not “free” it is very reasonable and a good value, in my experience.

Local Focus

If you own a business with customers that come to you based in some part on proximity, then here you go. Data supports the use of location-based advertising. Gannett’s G/O Digital released a recent survey and found that 60 percent of users viewed a local business’s Facebook page before visiting the business itself. Looking at the reviews on the page was also part of this process. According to a research study from Google, 32 percent of customers visited a store or made a purchase after viewing a location-based ad. Additionally, 19 percent of those customer visits or purchases were unplanned. As far as I know neither Gannett or Google have any direct financial stake here.

Face Book For Local Business

Face Book now has the capabilities that will allow the local merchant the ability to target his or her ads to people located near by. Face Book also allows advertisers the ability to target potential customers by different demographics. Face Book calls these “local awareness ads”.

These ads allow you, the advertiser, to target people who live in your area or even recently paid a visit. Previously the only way to target people on Face Book was via zip code. Anyone with a little experience in direct mail advertising knows this is not efficient. For example, if you owned an auto repair shop there are plenty of people who live in your zip code who could benefit from your service, but most will not. In that zip code are people who do not drive, do not own cars, lease vehicles, have company cars etc. And yes of course, the new local awareness ad targets people in your area now, whether visiting or living there. But wait, there’s more!

You can target your ads based on age, marital status, education, interests and zip code. Most people who own cars and need them repaired fit into a certain demographic category. And if you do not know exactly who those people are, make your ad choices based on the customers you already have. So if most of the people who come to you shop own vehicles that are less than 4 years old and were imported from Germany, bring children with them, wear gear from a university but are clearly too old to be students you can assign them the following on Face Book:

  • income greater than $100,000.00
  • married
  • age 30 – 45
  • college education
  • zip code

Face Book will take that information and point your ad at others on Face Book who fit that profile. There are other options as well. You can assign your ad to an event, like a concert, parade or other special happening. This function can also be linked to the web site that sells tickets for those said events. More often though, the ad needs to point back to your web site where you offer some kind of value added information, coupon or other special offer. This will drive more traffic to your web site, which is almost always the best place to send a prospect.

Costs

The cost of ads is based on a few things. Broadly, the amount of time you want it to run and the budget you assign to it. Like Google Adwords, you can set the amount of money you are willing/able to spend and keep it to that. For the special event option, charges can also come based on the number of click-throughs, again just like Adwords.

Another plus is the reporting feature. Face Book will tally the reach, clicks and expense for all of the above. On top of everything it is really easy. If you can post a photo on Face Book, you can set up advertising. I do not mind sharing with you that I have advertised for clients and causes on Face Book with results that were very worthwhile. I hope you also have success with this channel to your prospective customers.

 

 

Eight Newsworthy Topics For Your Press Announcements

Eight Newsworthy Topics For Your Press Announcements.

Writing releases and finding topics takes practice, but can be done.
Writing releases and finding topics takes practice, but can be done.

So, what do I write about?

With the media list built for free from on line resources and the steps for constructing a release known to you it is time to get down to writing that first release. But what should you write about? That question gets asked a lot. The things that you see as routine and well known may be both of those things to you and your colleagues. But there is a planet full of people who could benefit from you and your expertise that never heard of you or know the first thing about what you can do. Those are the people to write for. Here is a list of newsworthy topics to consider.

  1. Events are newsworthy. Events are occurrences that are punctuated by a noteworthy happening that is not routine, and there are a lot of them for you to write about. The event you write about for your business does not have to be a cosmic spectacular to garner the attention of editors, reporters and bloggers. Routine happenings can be positioned as news with the right perspective.
  2. Tradeshows are newsworthy. Exhibiting at a tradeshow (which is an event) is news to the members of the media who will travel to and cover the show and to your prospective customers and clients you want to meet with while there. In you press release, tell the media that you will be exhibiting, what the booth number is, hours of the show, and any other business themed data you will emphasize. Is there a new product you are introducing at the show? Sounds newsworthy to me.
  3. New product introductions are newsworthy. I used to wait to do new product roll-outs at tradeshows because (at least at the larger events) there were plenty of reporters there who were looking for something newsworthy to report. But if you are not attending trade events of any type or size, the new product introduction is “money” when it comes to press coverage. Always have a color photo and caption to accompany the new product release. Releases with photos are more likely to get read, and ultimately published. You want that. If you are introducing a service or something that is not geared for photos, you will have to be a little creative. Photos of people are interesting, so if you can deliver a picture with people using, learning about or engaged with your service in some way then do that. Only bad news releases should not have a photo.
  4. New literature is newsworthy. Particularly if your market is business-to-business and technical, the offer of a free brochure, white paper or position document via a press release will be published as part of on line news stories and in traditional trade journals. Most of these have sections devoted to “new literature” and will be happy to report news about your new piece of literature.
  5. Promotions and hiring is newsworthy. I am sure you have seen these articles in newspapers, business and trade journals. If someone in your company was recently hires and/or promoted, consider a short release about them and their new position. Of course a photo of the person is practically mandatory.
  6. Records and achievements are newsworthy. Whether you made and surpassed a safety goal, sales amount, recycling record, most pints of blood donated ever, best month of production/sales/deliveries, energy saved, water recycled etc. are all newsworthy. These all fall under that “routine” that everyone at work knows about, and that is fine. But you are trying to build up a brand and business that all the people who do not work do not know about and do not find routine at all.
  7. Doing something new with an existing product, technology or service is always newsworthy. The prescription medicine known as Vyvanse is prescribed for the treatment people of ADD and/or ADHD. Recently, researchers announced that it was also effective treating people who struggle with binge eating disorders and made an announcement about it. This was quite a discovery. What discoveries like this are there in your business? More than you think. You can open up whole new markets like this and show the world how gifted and creative you and your people.
  8. New branch, office, plant openings. Nothing calls for a press release more than a ribbon and a big pair of scissors. Make the most of these events with a press release. Good news like this does not come along every day. If you miss the chance to pose with those big scissors you suffer lost business. A missed opportunity to put a good foot forward like this is an unforced error. Do not be guilty of missing this opportunity.

I am sure there are plenty more examples of what are considered newsworthy by reporters, bloggers, editors and most importantly the reading, listening viewing public. I can say that I have written releases from all 8 of the examples above and 3rd party media covered them all. All these releases about “minor” news happening swill add up and before long, lots of people and potential customers will know who you are and be calling you.

To get help with a media list just for you and your business, click here http://mediandpublicrelations.com/affordable-customized-media-list-for-you-and-your-business/ and send me the form. Easy!

Managing Public Relations For Frackers

Managing Public Opinion For Frackers.

Frackers face far more obstacles to public acceptance than most industries.
Frackers face far more obstacles to public acceptance than most industries.

Natural gas fracturing, or fracking as it is known, can help make the U.S. energy independent and a net exporter of energy within five years. Unfortunately, public opinion outside of the industry is very negative when it comes to the practice of freeing natural gas from rocks. Popular films, news coverage, and posturing by environmental groups have stacked the deck against the industry for certain. But all is not lost. Here are some steps for overcoming the concerns of the public about fracking:

1. Be local. When or if possible, use spokespersons and company representatives who live in the area where your company will be working. No one will trust an out of towner. Worse, the lack of a local presence will be used against you.

2. Rely on facts and data, but only up to a point. People who are worried about the potential for some danger introduced to them via popular media are emotional, not rational. Thus, you should not be surprised when they behave and react in irrational ways. People are more emotional beings than they are logical.

3. Big business has a sketchy reputation. Business is not trusted and energy and petrochemical companies less. You are a strike or two down before you ever arrive on the scene. Manage your and your colleagues/client expectations. Not everyone is going to be persuaded by you or your messages. Be prepared to spend the time needed to get your message across.

4. Rely on local media, but make communications two way. There was never a better time to leverage inbound marketing techniques (landing pages with information offered freely and regularly) with your stakeholder audience. Press coverage is a way to introduce yourself and company to an audience but take the time and trouble to make information available to anyone who wants it.

5. Be transparent. My experience in business is that it is considered career suicide to publicly admit a mistake. Maybe. But think big picture and tell the truth no matter how distasteful it might be. You might suffer criticism for a time inside the office, but long term you will be scene as a visionary for being the guy/gal willing to be tell the whole truth. It’s part of number 6!

6. Respect the audience. I never allowed co-workers to refer to residents or other stakeholder members as “Joe Six Pack” or other unflattering characterizations and neither should you. These people are or could potentially be your neighbors. Show some respect and remember that if you are not sincere, people will see through you.