4 reasons why PR pitching is an art form

By Scott Signore   This Post can Originally Be Found Here

Editorial pitches are opportunities for expression.

Artists have paint, clay, marble, video, mosaics, and many other media with which to express themselves. PR pros have email, direct messages on Twitter, InMail on LinkedIn, and plenty of other communications channels. Editorial pitching provides us PR professionals with a creative channel for securing a story.

It’s an art form, too, and here are four reasons why:

First, a PR pitch offers the practitioner unlimited creativity. You know the charge at hand and can accomplish your goal—connecting with a key writer or editor and seeing that they give attention to your story idea—in any manner that is appropriate.

The words you use count so much. You might be succinct or detailed, punchy or rich with metaphor or vignettes. Each pitch is a clean canvas and every outreach an attempt to inspire a specific reaction. It’s exciting, as every communication is another opportunity for success.

Second, like an artist working on a commissioned piece, it’s crucial that you consider the audience before getting started.

That’s typically both the audience (reporters) and the audience’s audience (editors and readers). The better you capture the imagination of the reporter with your initial outreach, the better the chances he or she will be inspired to “sell” the idea to editors and, ultimately, disseminate the story to legions of your client’s preferred readers.

Third, just as when you see a painting and are moved by what it attempts to convey, you know right away if your PR pitch struck a chord when you hear back (immediately and positively) from your editorial target. It’s a thing of beauty when your creativity captured the interest of your intended subject and inspired action.

Fourth, the preceding point is particularly true if your pitch was highly personalized for and delivered to a priority writer or editor, whose coverage often results in a landslide of other writers covering the same topic. It’s valuable to create the pitch that keeps on giving, paying dividends long after the client’s last check has cleared.

Can you think of other ways that editorial pitching constitutes an art form? Please off your thoughts in the comments section.

Scott Signore is the principal and CEO of Matter Communications. A version of this story first appeared on the agency’s PR Whiteboard blog

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11 Things the Media Does That Piss Off PR

By Patrick Coffee  This post can originally be found here

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But you said you liked the pitch!!!

Last week we ran a guest listicle about the top things public relations flacks do that piss off our media contacts. We’ve seen a lot of these lists, and the whole thing sometimes feels like a bit of a one-sided conversation, so in a follow-up post we asked our readers to suggest some points from the other side of the screen. Here, without further ado, are eleven things the media does that really irritate PR.

1. Greeting pitches with total silence:

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We know you have more important things to do, but unless we’re pitching you something as ridiculous as the “woman-proof car” you could at least write a simple “No, not interested.

We know that PR can be annoying sometimes and that a few a fair number of bad apples threaten to spoil this bunch, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to ignore all of us. You can be snide if you want (we expect it) and you don’t even need to include a fancy salutation or a “thanks so much for sharing!”

2. Answering the phone like a jerk:

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At a party this week, we spoke to a prominent tech journalist who said he’s perfectly happy to answer the phone but that the junior flacks tasked with calling him are often so nervous that he has to give them some “take a deep breath and read the script slowly” guidance. This is OK, but some writers take it much further by behaving like reps are tax collectors or divorce lawyers. Do you really want to confirm your own negative stereotypes?

3. Refusing to use the phone at all:

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Not taking cold calls is one thing; we know how bad those can be. But insisting that we contact you via email and sit on our hands waiting for you to email us back? Come on, people. If you don’t follow up after promising to do so, then it’s perfectly reasonable for us to call.

4. Evading us completely:

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Dude. If you don’t like the pitch just say it. We know you’ve been crazy busy, but there’s a reason we want to make sure you plan to quote our client in your upcoming trend piece: by the time you publish it’s too little, too late.

5. Forgetting the client’s name during an interview:

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PRWeek says this happens nearly half of the time, because what the hell? Could anything be more dismissive than making clear that you don’t know or care who you’re talking to after the interview begins? Were you planning to brush up on names, addresses and “what the hell you do for a living” info during the call?

6. Deviating from the topic at hand:

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Why do you think we insisted that you not ask about our client’s pending divorce, rehab visit or failed business venture?! Do you know the meaning of the word “conditional?”

7. Expecting us to deliver resources at the last minute:

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Yes, you have a deadline. Yes, you’d really love for us to give you a quote in the next 15 minutes. No, that is not a realistic request. There’s a reason we pitched the source three days ago!

. Not letting us know when a story goes live:

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How can we promote the story you posted when we don’t know that you posted it? It’s not like we Google stalk you every hour; you’re not the only writer we know.

It is always comforting to hear the calming sounds of a pissed-off client who gets home in time to see the last five seconds of a three-minute interview filmed earlier in the day. The DVR wasn’t set, the reminder wasn’t in the iPhone and, most importantly, the PR rep didn’t call. Appreciate that help, guys.

9. Agreeing to an interview/product review and never writing about it:

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Hey, where did you go?

It is fun when we can secure a spot, jump through hoops of fire to send you the product or schedule the interview, follow-up to confirm that—against all odds—you actually liked it…and then wait five months for you to kindly let us know that it got “bumped” while we try to tell our clients why the story never appeared. If you just want free stuff, you can make that clear up front.

10. Procrastinating on writing an “exclusive” story and then getting mad when we pitch it somewhere else:

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Yes, the agreement was “exclusive” when we discussed it, but you know these things are time-sensitive. As far as next week or month, we have a job that relies on securing that placement rather than watching you drag your feet. If you have other obligations we totally understand, but you could have shared that news with us.

And waiting until the “exclusive” shows up somewhere else to get upset? Just look at how sorry Peggy Olsen feels for you.

11. Generalizing about how much “those people” suck:

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Yes, some of us are eager beavers who can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to take our ridiculous story. And some of us are condescending old-school haters ready to tell anyone who’ll listen that you wouldn’t even be able to do your jobs without us. Most of us, however, are neither of those things—and complaining about how much you hate PR isn’t going to make things better. We have feelings too, you know? (Well, the ones that are good at this job. The rest of us are cold-hearted bastards.)

Now we have to make a confession as members of “the media”: this blog is guilty of a couple of these cardinal sins, primarily #1 and #3. We also sometimes pull #2 and #8 and, after a few drinks, a tiny little bit of #11. We apologize and we promise we’ll do better.

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Sound good? OK.

Now come on, readers: we know you have some points to add to this GIF-athon. Don’t be shy.

DISCLAIMER: This post was written as a light parody of the relationship between hacks and flacks and the stereotypes each side holds about the other. We thought the tags and GIFs would give that away.

What to Consider as you Plan for Next Year

By:   This post can originally be found here

Early December is generally the time you start presenting PR plans for the next year. Pulling together a yearlong PR plan is a boatload of work. Last year, I pulled together some tips for planning for the New Year, but also found the below tidbits to be extremely helpful this year.

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  • Results of 2013. What worked/what didn’t work. Replicate and revamp tactics that worked.
  • Next year’s trends. What’s going to be trendy next year? In food, fashion, beauty, art. Categories beyond just your clients.
  • National holidays. Make note of those that your client should get involved in. Including national food and beverage holidays.
  • Movie premieres. Look up movie premieres in 2014 and see if there’s anything your client can tie into.
  • New social platforms. Thinking beyond just Twitter and Facebook – what are those other social platforms that are on the rise? More and more brands are joining Snapchat for example.
  • Media you haven’t tapped. What media is your target audience reading/ watching. Where haven’t you been featured? Brainstorm ideas on how to be a part of these outlets.
  • Brainstorm everywhere. The subway, in the shower, at the gym. Sometimes you come up with your greatest ideas out of the office.

What other factors do you consider when developing ideas for the new year?

8 tips for getting your press releases read and shared

By:Russell Working  This post can originally be found here

 

The press release is dead—or so we keep hearing.

But somebody forgot to tell Sarah Skerik, vice president of content marketing for PR Newswire.

“No one reads press releases?” she says. “I’m sorry, I have data otherwise. People read them by the millions.”

The thing is, press releases can be written well or handled badly. In a session titled “Proving the Value of PR Across the Organization,” she explains that press releases are content that can be widely shared—if you make it interesting and shareable.

“People are tweeting the daylights out of press releases,” she says.

Her comments come as many in public relations express doubt about the value of the press release. In a recent piece for the HubSpot blog, a former Newsweek reporter states that he deleted nearly every press release he received.

He quotes one industry pro who says: “The simple press release should have died years ago. In my mind, they’re dead already.”

Skerik, however, says press releases keep pulling in readers. Ten years ago, she would have told you that most of the people who will read your press release do so within 72 hours.

Today, press releases accrue only half their reads over the first four days. The rest of the readers continue to find the press release over the next four months and beyond.

Here are some tips from Skerik:

1. Write the way you talk.

Search engines prefer natural language, not jargon or marketing-speak. So do readers. Write naturally and use good grammar, Skerik says.

2. Cut back on links.

Skerik analyzed the worst-performing 500 out of a set of 20,000 press releases to figure out why these were the bottom feeders.

“I did find that the duds almost to an item had a preponderance of links within the release,” she says. “Every other word it seems has links, and it’s really annoying to the reader. And search engines saw it as spam.”

3. Avoid the use of Unnecessary Capitalization.

Copy littered with capital letters “in weird places … are a turnoff for a lot of readers and really will make your press release underperform,” Skerik says.

4. Recognize that content recirculates.

Ever puzzle why a friend on Facebook posted that same damned cat video you saw a year ago? That’s because content now is available to people on their own time frame, enabling them to recirculate it, Skerik says.

What’s old hat to you is new and interesting to the person who Googled it five minutes ago. Treat your press releases as part of your permanent content archive.

5. Always include something tweetable in your pitches.

Fans, bloggers, and even journalists can be willing to your press releases—but not if you make them work at it. Always include something they can tweet or share. Make it easy for them.

“They just hate it when you send a text-only pitch and attach a press release, and that’s it,” Skerik says.

6. How about issuing a press release in tweets?

In September, @AmazonKindle issued a press release in a series of 14 tweets. This allowed followers to retweet the parts that most interested them, such as the music or extended battery life, Skerik says.

She adds that a tweet about music might not have elicited a reaction from her, but because she provides tech support for an out-of-town parent, the tweet about a new “mayday button” for such support caught her eye.

 

The Mayday button revolutionizes tech support. Free and 24x7x365. Preview the TV spots: http://t.co/trvKced6oh #firehdx

— Kindle Team (@AmazonKindle) September 25, 2013

Caveats: @AmazonKindle lost an opportunity by not including additional images or media with every tweet, Skerik says. We at Ragan Central also noticed that at least one irritated Kindle follower responded to the stream of tweets with the words, “BLOCK FOR SPAM.”

7. Feed your influencers.

These hungry critters require regular doses of information to survive. They thrive on attention, and multimedia content is their favorite snack food. Exclusives make them purr.

“Give them the star treatment-give them the media treatment-and you will win an enthusiast for life,” Skerik says.

8. Interaction matters.

The Google algorithm has moved beyond merely scanning pages for words, Skerik says. Google now places a high value on people interacting with your content, and this can include old press releases.

Do people like the content? Do they link to it? Are they interacting with it? Do they continue to share it over time? That’s how you gain visibility in searches.

Russell Working is a staff writer at Ragan Communications.

Three Things PR Pros Should Do To Get The Most Out of Social Media

By: Kristina Markos and Maria Baez

Video Companion of this Article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhAvcgt7yOo

It’s no secret that public relations and social media are synonymous in today’s viral landscape.   Consequently, clients are expecting that a lively social media presence will play a role in public relations initiatives alongside media relations, digital strategy, and event marketing.  Because of this, it is our job to make sure that our clients’ brands are known, respected, and connected to beneficial and influential conversations taking place on the web and on social media.

However, social media is a tool that we can use internally as well as for the benefit of clients— social media actually helps us to be creative, communicative and effective PR mavens. When properly executing social media campaigns for both consumer and professional services clientele, we post relevant content, interact with influencers and connect with others using hash-tags. When properly executing social media campaigns for ourselves and for our company brand, our goals remain the same.

Seasoned PR professionals who are constantly connected should know the three ways to most advantageously use social media:

  1. Breaking News Can Cramp Your Style, but Don’t Let It:  The news is unpredictable, so it can be challenging to plan a full social media strategy when the news is changing every day.  But where there is an element of surprise, there is an opportunity.  For example, when major media outlets and publications were covering the government shutdown, Ebben Zall Group took to our company blog  to discuss the situation. We found a way to incorporate our business objectives into what was going on nationally so that we stayed in the conversation.  Bottom line: the art of maintaining relevancy is easy if content stays timely.
  2. Monitoring Headlines Means Monitoring Handles:  Every morning, we monitor headlines from national and local news sources to stay current with trending topics and expert insights.   To go the extra mile, we find reporters on Twitter and follow their respective feeds. When we communicate directly with these reporters, RT their status updates or stories, it demonstrates goodwill and usually opens the door for further communication. We have found that kind of communication can lead to relationships with journalists who are vital to a PR campaign’s success. We also make an effort to keep a close eye on hash-tags that industry gurus are using to ensure that the most popular tags are included in our original tweets.
  3. Active Social Listening is Smart Listening:  Social listening is defined as simply monitoring popular social media outlets to see what is trending, gaining popularity, and sparking conversations on the internet. We actively listen to social conversations so that we can be smarter PR professionals.  When we know what is popular, we are able to craft our content in a way that it is positioned as a conversation starter. Being an active listener also means tracking social media updates from our clients’ competitors. When we monitor competitors, we are better equipped to help our clients stand out from the crowd by starting new conversations and sparking lively interaction.

Social media is a tool that provides a transparent environment for us to monitor what brands are communicating; what reporters are talking about; and which trends are emerging. PR professionals are known for quick thinking and capitalizing on timely opportunities. This is the essence of social media: it is about engagement through audience-centric content and conversations, and it underscores the need for us to stay nimble and fluid.

Without social media, campaigns would not have the digital amplification that they do in today’s communication landscape.  However, rampant conversations on social media can be perceived as loud and noisy; and good PR pros like us know that we have to filter the noise — so that you don’t have to.

Kristina Markos:  

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Account Supervisor at Ebben Zall Group, is making her mark in all facets of public relations, creative services and content creation. She has worked for digital design agencies in Chicago and Miami, which has given her a sharpened edge in digital strategy implementation.

Prior to joining EZG she launched and led Kayvee Publicity in Chicago (a public relations firm focused on fulfilling creative needs for financial services clients). She was also a writing and communications instructor at Indiana University Northwest.

Earning an award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting, Kristina graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree in 2006. She also earned a Master of Liberal Science from the University of Toledo in 2010.

Maria Baez:

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Maria Baez is a PR Account Executive at Ebben Zall Group where she works with clients to develop and execute engaging campaigns that incorporate elements from traditional and social, and new media tactics. A graduate of Marist College (Go Red Foxes!), Maria earned a degree in Communications (2010) with a concentration in Public Relations. She was a four-year member of the Division I Marist Women’s Soccer Team and credits her ability to thrive in fast paced environments, deliver quality content with pressing deadlines, and effectively multitask, to her lifelong commitment to athletics. A Long Island native, Maria now resides outside of Boston. In her spare time, Maria is committed to utilizing her skills and experience in PR to help up-and-coming young professionals – who are interested in the industry – through various mentor and leadership programs.

HIRING A PUBLICIST? READ THIS FIRST…

by  This post can be originally found here

So, you’re the next incredible brand on deck and you’re ready to hire a publicist? Read this first:

Know exactly what a publicist does.

A publicist/PR pro is a public relations practitioner. And, public relations is the art of influencing public perception using strategic communication. “PR” is commonly used to describe the practice in general, not the practitioner. If your potential publicist refers to herself/himself as a “PR”, run.  It’s the equivalent of Metta World Peace saying he is a basketball. He didn’t say that, by the way.

Side note: Publicists don’t like to be called publishers either, unless in the rare instance he or she actually publishes books too.

A breakdown of a publicist’s tasks include:

Creating exposure: Your publicist should craft or oversee your Electronic Press Kit (EPK). Draft press releases to announce news worthy happenings. Pitch you to media and schedule interviews. Scan the media for new mentions of your brand, negative or positive.  Oversee your image and have a good relationship with a fashion stylist. Manage, plan or review your social media activity. Coordinate photo shoots and video shoots. Assist you on the red carpet, but not actually pose for photos with you. Assist with speeches. Plan events and press junkets. Make sure your branding is cohesive.

Brand protection: He or she should conduct media training for your print/radio/TV interviews. Manage a crisis, if one arises. Think Olivia Pope. Or, Judy Smith. Although most PR pros don’t soley specialize in crisis management, they should have a working knowledge to craft an effective plan in case you ever need it.

What’s your budget? 

Now, that you understand publicists aren’t hired to put your name on a list at a party, pick up your laundry or babysit your kids… know your BUDGET. Before you go to a car dealership, you have an idea of the amount you want to spend. Do your research before meeting with a publicist to avoid wasting your time, and theirs. If you want to hire a big time agency– who may actually assign a first year account executive to your account– expect to pay at least $10,000 per month as as minimum rate. Some big name publicists with boutique size firms and huge clients are also in this range.

Boutique firms and reputable freelance publicists charge around $5,000 per month on average, although more demanding clients may spend up to $10,000 per month. They may also take on a few smaller budget projects here and there if they believe in the particular brand, especially if the brand is a start-up, rookie, new artist, etc. On the flip side, corporate brands are hiring more and more boutique and freelance pros to ensure account attention and around the clock accessibility.

If a publicist is charging under $900 per month, what are the surrounding factors? Smaller geographical market? Seasonal or start up special? Scaled down services? Inexperience? Ask.

Oh, it’s not uncommon for publicists to ask professional athletes and entertainers to provide game/event tickets. It makes sense for them to observe you in your element. However, being in your element should not be a payment substitution.

Does the publicist have a passion for your field? 

Once upon a time a publicist with NFL clients asked me what a first and tenth was. That wasn’t a typo. Someone representing professional football players really asked what a first and tenth was. That’s like a book publicist asking what a book outline is. Or book hotline, to keep it consistent. Anyway, passion breeds research. Financial services & technology publicist, Samantha Savory, studies trends in the financial and tech world with the same intensity level she studies PR trends. Kristen Hopkins, who specializes in non-profit, knows her niche’s trends like the back of her hand.

It’s not unfair to ask for a fashion publicist’s thoughts on Isabel Marant’s spring collection to test their engagement level. Or, ask a sports publicist to pick Ovechkin or Crosby. If I were a musician, I would want my publicist to have a favorable opinion in my genre. Or, understand the complexity of current political issues before running my political campaign. A film publicist shouldn’t be required to have Roeper level movie knowledge, but a Varietysubscription shouldn’t sound far fetched. Regardless of the niche, it doesn’t hurt to check out your potential publicist’s tweets. If it’s truly a passion, they can’t help but talk about the subject.

Goals.

During the first meeting with your potential publicist, 80% of the conversation should be about your brand and its goals. If a publicist gives you a million ideas prior to hearing the brand’s goals, run. If you believe your brand is unique and trendsetting, PR ideas should be tailored. The publicist may have a few initial ideas, but the exciting ideas should be in the proposal you receive after the consultation. Even if the publicist knows all about your brand through research, hearing your goals is the main objective in the first meeting.

Side note: Speaking of the consultation, some publicists charge an hourly fee similar to attorneys, some do not.

Ask to see his or her portfolio. 

Don’t be afraid to ask to see their work. Even a newbie should have a portfolio with entries from internships.

Look at the types of brands included, the level of media exposure, writing skills, and the quality of the presentation. If their brand isn’t represented well, why should you trust them with yours?

How to Write a Rockstar Twitter Bio

By: Amy-Mae Elliott This post can originally be found here

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What does your Twitter bio say about you? Don’t think in terms of cold, hard facts — what does it really reveal about you to others?As we’ve recently discussed on Mashable, your bio is one of the major factors that people take into consideration when deciding whether or not to follow you on Twitter, but it’s even more important than that.

Your bio is searchable within the Twittersphere, meaning you need to think carefully about keywords. It will show up in search engine results for your name, so it has to represent the true you. It’s also how you choose to present yourself to Twitter’s 230 million users, so it’s worth giving it some serious thought.

The Bio as an Art Form

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Whether or not you agree with the The New York Times‘ rather grandiose statement that the Twitter bio is a postmodern art form, it’s certainly a skill to distill the essence of your complex, multifaceted personality (or so we’d all like to think) into 160 characters.

Embrace the space available. Don’t think of the allowance as a limitation; think of it as an opportunity to be concise. When you write your bio, actually compose in the window Twitter allows. This will help with structure.

Are you creative or commercially minded? If you fall into the commercial camp, it may help to think of your Twitter bio as a a copywriting exercise. The product is you and you have 160 characters not just to summarize it, but sell it to an indifferent, anonymous audience.

If you’re more creative, you might enjoy approaching a bio as you would a poem. Every word you use must justify its place on your limited canvas, add meaning, appear in the correct order and work as a whole.

The Bio as a Cliché

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“Coffee expert. Twitterholic. Internet advocate. Music aficionado. Wannabe entrepreneur.” This might read as a totally believable Twitter bio, but it is in fact gobbledegook: made-up, buzzword nonsense from the “Twitter Bio Generator”.

Developed by Josh Schultz, the generator was designed to poke fun at the list-based bio format so beloved of key-word-minded Twitter users.

“I created that site a few years back just for fun, when I noticed a lot of similarities among Twitter bios,” Schultz explains. “Folks using short, punchy phrases to describe themselves, including an inordinate number of ‘social media experts’ and all manner of ‘mavens.’ It was actually a bit of a joke: I included bits that could describe practically anyone on the Twitters, and threw in a few silly things, for flavor.”

Could your bio be easily interchangeable with A. N. Other’s Twitter bio? Could something you’ve written in your bio appear in the Twitter Bio Generator’s database? Then you need to think of ways to make yourself stand out.

Bio Basics

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This should be obvious, but from the amount of typo-ridden bios out there, it bears repeating. Your bio must have perfect spelling and grammar. There are no excuses for mistakes. Run your text through a spellcheck tool or get a buddy to check it for you, but be sure what you’ve written is error-free.

Secondly, be consistent. If you are going for the list-based format, decided whether you’re separating words with commas, periods or vertical bars, and stick to that. Capitalize consistently by choosing to write the entire thing in either sentence case or title case. The same goes for if you’re mentioning usernames or using hashtags (e.g., @JohnSmith or @johnsmith, or #Football or #football) — keep to the same format for every example.

Learn From Others

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Don’t create your bio in a vacuum. Do some research, study the different styles of bios out there and read what other Twitter users have written — especially ones with large followings.

When you’ve followed someone on the strength of his or her Twitter bio alone, consider what it was that prompted you to hit the “Follow” button.

Sarah Milstein, the 21st user of Twitter and co-author of The Twitter Book, has the following straightforward advice: “Look at a bunch of Twitter bios, notice which ones you like best, write a bio that imitates those.”

Find Your Unique Sell

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From a professional perspective, make it clear exactly what it is that you do. This helps differentiate you from others with similar bios. Don’t just state you’re in a sales role, mention the industry in which you work. If you’re a recruiter, what kind of candidates are your speciality? Do you work in marketing? Which industry sector?

“Your Twitter bio should position you as an expert in your field who serves a specific audience,” states Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0.

“The objective is to position your personal brand so you’re using the right keywords and clearly showing what your focus is so people read it and know exactly what you do and whom you serve.”

As well as widening your appeal for potential followers, Schawbel suggests this tactic may help your future job prospects.

“I did a study with American Express and we found that 65% of managers are looking to hire and promote subject matter experts. The problem is that most people position themselves as generalists or ‘Jacks-of-all-trades,’ and that won’t work in this economy,” he says.

Consider SEO

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The words you use in your bio don’t just add up to create a picture of you, they carry some serious SEO juice. Tools such as Followerwonk can search Twitter bios on a keyword basis. Carefully consider what topics you’d like to be discoverable under, as you never know who might be searching for just those subjects.

“Followerwonk helps users find people through bio search, which is incredibly powerful for niche audiences and building brands,” says Erica McGillivray, social community manager for Moz, the company that created Followerwonk.

“On Twitter, it’s all about first impressions, while finding the right audience, whether you’re reaching out professionally or just looking for new friends. By optimizing your bio to give the perfect details — your interests, location, job, company, love of cupcakes — you’re telling the world why they should follow you. Why you’re important,” she says.

It’s not just Twitter search you have to consider, but wider searches from third-party engines. “Write a bio that will motivate others to follow you on specific topics, those you most often tweet. Use keywords and be direct,” says Michael Dobbs, group director of SEO at digital marketing agency 360i.

With news that Google Search has recently made moves to include hashtag searches, Dobbs also suggests: “Consider adding hashtags on keyword topics you’d like to be discovered against.”

Be Unusual

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“The idea behind your bio is that you want to provoke enough interest so that somebody will follow you back,” Mark Schaefer, author of The Tao of Twitter, says. “Be honest and give at least a hint of what you do in the real world. Then, add something unusual or funny to stand out. For example, I identify myself as a consultant, author and social media bouncer. That often starts a conversation!”

On an online platform of over 200 million users, it can be hard to stand out, so don’t be afraid to let your quirks show and don’t hesitate to use humor in your bio. If you have an unusual hobby or a niche passion, include it, especially if it’s something you’re likely to tweet about.

“Your bio should reflect who you are, your values and what you have to offer others,” statesLouise Mowbray speaker, coach and branding consultant.

Most importantly, use your bio to let people know what you’re going to bring to their Twitter streams — how following you is going to enrich their Twitter experience. After all, as Mowbray says, “Twitter is all about giving something of value to others for free.”

Image: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

PR Pros: Choosing Clients’ Causes Carefully

By: Toni L. Rousell                   Original Post can be found here

Your advice is not only valued, as a hired PR professional, wise counsel is required.

So, how do you help your clients choose the causes they support? Being driven by emotions or going with what’s popular, is sure to be a recipe for disaster.

Discouraging clients from seeking alliance with causes they really have no sincere desire to support, or no real understanding of, should be number one priority.  It can be hard to steer them in a more beneficial direction, avoiding self-destruction of their brand, but it’s responsible and necessary.  They’ll thank you later and you’ll sleep better at night.  Throwing support to a cause they don’t truly believe in, will only lead to their support waning, which will consequently reduce the value of their endorsements as they appear “flaky”, or even unstable, in the public-eye.

Local vs. National

It can seem convenient to offer support to the largest, most visible organization when it comes to “giving-back”, but could a local organization, requiring more hands on support, be more beneficial to your client’s long-term philanthropic goals and public image?  Analyzing the organization’s mission, do results support that mission?

Local organizations will allow for your client to see the lives their efforts effect. They will be able to look directly into the eyes of those benefiting from their donations and volunteering, and will also be more likely to give to those in their hometowns who directly affected their success, which makes for excellent public relations.  This encourages a more faithful, less “fair-weather”, connection.

Alternatively, national organizations offer the opportunity for clients to give-back to multiple communities at once.  If your client lives or their primary business is based outside of their hometown, this choice would allow them to give-back to their hometown community, as well as to the new community that has embraced them. There should be no lack of effort on the client’s part to make their presence known, even when the cameras are off or not around.  A national organization will also be more likely to have consistent PR representation, affording a better grasp on public support of the cause and offering more flexible events your client can join.

Making the Commitment 

Sometimes a client desires to support organizations with a focus that may require a little extra effort for educating the public or validating the connection. Is the client truly committed? This is where your client’s genuine beliefs will come into play. The work required will expose the true intent: is it pub or love?

One example of true commitment is that of Actress Ciera Payton. Being raised, until the age of 13, by her grandmother and drug addicted (now incarcerated) father, Ms. Payton wanted to align her brand with organizations that would allow her to connect with youth growing up in an environment similar to herself: children of incarcerated parents.

But how understood is this cause?

Most children of incarcerated parents are misunderstood and, in many cases, ignored.  Many can site statistics, and some can actually admit they’ve become a statistic, but Ms. Payton’s focus is clear: share the fact that she has overcome the statistics.

By welcoming audiences in, sharing some of her most painful moments growing up in a life-threatening environment, Ms. Payton reaches those who can relate, finding those in need. She credits the Arts for saving her life, and not only commits funding, but diligently focuses on giving-back to youth facing the same battles she’s faced by mentoring.  She has chosen a mix of both local and national organizations to support, allowing her to give back to her hometown of New Orleans as well as her new home of Los Angeles.

Maya Angelou quote (pic)

PR and Publicity vs “Puff and Fluff”

While announcing the partnership, be honest with the public.  Don’t puff up your client to be more than what they are or try to fluff up their support to be more than what it is.  Instead, once the choice has been made, be sure to connect with those who genuinely share in the cause.  Reach out to those who are long-term supporters, whether celebrity or not. This will not only increase the support base for the cause, but will also strengthen your client’s alliance.  Joining forces and sharing ideas for creative support, increases public awareness and makes the difference between superficial “puff and fluff” and careful PR and publicity.

Remember, it’s the man who has more that gives more and philanthropic efforts are what keeps many in need going and feeling encouraged.  Giving back for the cameras is bound to be exposed and never worth the backlash.

Rachael Sacks: Why PR Pros Are Different Than Publicists

By Shawn Paul Wood This post can be found here

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Forgive the headline. This nitwit does not espouse the definition of why PR pros are different than publicists. Rather, she is the proof in the proverbial pudding splattered all over her dress.

I have often aforethought a contentious opinion on the said difference between PR pros and publicists.

Full disclosure, I — as well as almost 90 percent of the media — loathe publicists. And if you check my LinkedIn profile, I’ve been one to some major domos out there, so I can share this. Why the vitriol in the industry? The aforementioned example. They make PR professionals look bad. I have a theory, so kids, hold your ears. The difference between a PR pro and publicist is like a pimp and his ho. One works for it, strategizes the right area for it, and knows how to bring in ROI for it. The other…well, just shows up. Enough said?

That said, thanks to the New York Post, meet Rachael Sacks.

Here’s how self-avowed wealthy college brat Rachael Sacks responded Saturday after her online essay, “I’m Not Going to Pretend That I’m Poor to be Accepted by You,” earned her Page One notoriety in the best paper in town.
“I don’t even have a publicist yet,” exclaimed Sacks, whose doctor dad back home in Maryland is footing all her bills as she pursues a writing degree at the New School.
“Maybe I’ll get a publicist, I don’t know,” she mused holding up The Post and smiling as she flipped the bird to haters. “People are suggesting that to me.”

So, sans an introduction to celebrity fandom via the night-vision tape (Kim Kardashian, we see you), this pre-pubescent dolt thinks he answer to fame is having someone schlep around to get her on TV and radio.

And that’s what is wrong with PR — the publicist.

Any dolt with Mommy and Daddy money thinks being a publicist means you have arrived. No, a publicist means they haven’t arrived. You think what they do is work? They represent someone famous, and after fetching said starlet’s dry cleaning and sex toys, they call a local radio station and say, “Hey, I have this chick. Wanna talk to her?”

Of course the answer is a clamoring, “YES” and a PR-ish career is born. The minute PR professionals can stop confusing publicists actions to what we do, the better off we will be as an industry. And publicists, if you want to join the real world, call us.

Then again who could blame you? You get drive cars that aren’t yours. Fetch clothes you can’t afford. Shill for people who don’t deserve fame in hope you get a cameo on some dumbass ‘Bravo’ show.

Maybe being a publicist is the way to go after all. Hey, Rachael? Call me.

PR pro: Don’t call us marketers

By Kevin Allen The original post can be found here
Earlier this year, I published a piece that may have suggested that PR is a “fallback” career for journalists. The piece garnered 50+ comments; clearly, some PR folks are easily offended.

List Brian Kilgore among the easily offended. He recently penned a piece for The Huffington Posttitled, “Don’t Insult PR People by Calling Them Marketers.”

The offending part is the Globe and Mail, which called CBC’s new boss a former “marketing and public relations executive.”

Marketing and public relations are different, Kilgore asserts.

The piece is actually more of a 101-level “This is what PR is and this is what marketing is—see, aren’t they different?”

I think Kilgore seriously mischaracterizes the approach of a modern brand. Social media has changed everything. The most successful brands don’t function within an old school model under which PR, marketing, and advertising function in their own silos and it’s up to PR to pitch journalists.
Sure, you can still function in that model, but a coordinated approach—with PR, marketing, and advertising functioning as fingers in a fist, with social media as the thumb—can spark much more influence than any department working on its own.

PR people shouldn’t be offended by being perceived as marketers any more than marketers should be offended by being seen as public relations pros. We should all recognize that the lines are blurred in the new paradigm—it’s only when the efforts are coordinated that the best things happen.