Category Archive: Public Relations Strategy

How to get more media coverage for your company

Sometimes you make news and don’t even know it. Other times, you have a big story to tell, but you fail to capitalize on it.

Companies that generate positive publicity are often the first to respond to opportunities and take advantage of them. They move with a sense of urgency and find a way to cut through the approval process to put their message ahead of others competing for recognition.Past deadlines

Journalists, no matter what media they serve (TV, online, print), work against deadlines — and that means those who recognize deadlines and respond to them as quickly as possible are often those chosen to be quoted or recognized, particularly in fast-breaking news situations.

Here’s the formula: Editorial need + Content = Publicity

Editors have an insatiable need for content. The journalists who serve the editors (and ultimately, their audience) are required to create that content — and deliver it in time to meet demanding editorial deadlines.

Publicity-hungry companies, however, often drag their heels in making decisions about getting ahead of the news or responding to it. They often bring too many people into the decision-making process which slows up the approval process and causes them to issue news after it has already broken or moved out of the news cycle.

Jack be nimble. Jack be quick

Take a close look within your organization and identify who can (and should) make decisions on issuing news information.

The list should be short (the fewer the better) and limited to those who can make on-the-spot decisions while still ensuring whatever you issue is accurate and meets the criteria of what editors or journalists are seeking.

Strive for decisions that allow your publicist or PR team to get the news out the door and to the media. Drafts of press releases, quotes, plans and programs that sit in inboxes don’t have a chance until the information is actually distributed. And if that information is issued after a deadline, fuhgeddaboudit, as our friends in Manhattan would say.

The companies who make the news first are often those who reacted quickly or anticipated a journalistic need.

Be a soothsayer. Identify — or announce — a trend.

Sometimes news exists where you least expect it — like in research about your industry or observations from your staff.

If you can recognize a trend, you can own the trend. But you have to tell people about that trend before they can recognize it.

If you see, for example, that contract managers are overwhelmed by data, resulting in missing contract expiration dates or the information in the fine print, say it. And back it up with data that makes your observation valid.

Even if the information is old hat to you, it may be brand new to a journalist, particularly if that journalist is new to your beat.

Editors love to “discover” trends and reporters love fleshing out what might be totally new information for their readers and viewers.

Does all this guarantee news coverage?

Nope.

When you compete for news, you are up against more than your competitors.

You are battling for share of mind and space against everything else in the world. Presidential tweets. Kim Jong Un’s latest missile test. Taylor Swift’s hairstyle. Tropical depressions in the Caribbean. Solar eclipses. The latest diet trend.

Your news has to battle its way through a maze that is constantly shifting, with stories moving up and down in relevance.

News shape-shifting is the primary reason no one can guarantee publicity.

You must be willing to release information on time, with the same sense of urgency editors and journalists live by. You must provide information that makes sense for each media’s audience. You must put your news into a competitive posture…and the simple act of getting it out there is the first step. You news cannot make news while residing an inbox.

We work to serve our clients…and the media in which they want to appear.

Our team has experienced how news teams function…from both sides of the desk. We know how challenging news-gathering can be. And we know how challenging getting news out to editors and reporters can be.

If you want to get more news coverage, particularly coverage that defines you as a recognized leader in your chosen field, call on us.

We work quickly, effectively, and with the kind of savvy that comes from working in a newsroom.

Find out more. Call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com.

Say it again…and again…and again…

When you step back and examine what you say to potential customers, how consistent is your message?

Does your message say the same thing every time?

Or does it introduce a new thought to an audience that requires some time to absorb?

The wisdom of The Rule of Seven7

One of the tenants to which we adhere at Wellons Communication is The Rule of Seven.

The Rule of Seven says you need seven points of contact with your audience to convey your message.

Why does it take seven times to get your message across?

Because in today’s communications-centric world, people are overloaded with information. Emails, tweets, cable TV, apps, newspapers, and magazines…the list of the different media that impact consumers is long. The list of information they project on a daily basis is even longer.

Because there are so many messages impacting us daily, saying the same thing over and over again is critical to get one’s point across.

Fighting message fatigue

One of the characteristics aggressive marketers exhibit is that they are often the first to grow weary of message consistency. The general feeling often is “We’ve already told ‘em that,” followed by the launch of a new and different message.

The reality is that potential customers, as well as current customers, may not have seen your original communication — or are so busy dealing with their own business that your message has not had time to sink in.

We believe that consistency is key to effectively conveying whatever it is you want your audience to know about you. And that means sticking with a sound strategy and message without growing weary of saying it over and over again.

What’s the one thing you want your audience to know about you?

One of the benefits of stating — and repeating — your core message is that you take ownership of your communications.

That notion is comparable to the oft used “elevator speech” concept: if you have 30 seconds to tell your story, what would you say?

Drilling down to your core message, and re-stating it at every opportunity, helps you meet the Rule of Seven and reinforce the key principle that makes your business unique and even more importantly, valuable to your potential clients.

Fight the urge to keep changing the message

Marketers are smart people who have a lot of ideas and are eager to try them out to see if they can improve marketing results. That intelligence, however, can be a detriment if messages keep changing constantly.

Customers and potential customers don’t require a hit on the head to understand what you are saying. What they do require is seeing and hearing the same thing on a regular, consistent basis. It’s a philosophy that effective advertisers have used for more than a century and one that is adaptable, albeit in a different fashion, in publicity and public relations.

We encourage staying the course and communicating in a regular, organized, and consistent manner. It’s easier on your audiences to remember what you are saying and when they need you, easier to remember who to call.

If you are in need of well-crafted, effective communications that are results-oriented, call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com.

Like the communications programs we advocate, we will consistently answer the call, always in the same fashion, and then look for new and innovative approaches that will help stretch your marketing dollar and improve results.

Say it with a smile: When humor works in communications

Take a look at almost every headline in today’s news. Terrorist attacks, investigations, tweetstorm responses – bad news (or the threat of bad news) is the subject of almost every headline.

In the midst of negativity, we at Wellons Communications have adopted an approach that positions our clients in a positive light and allows their message to battle its way though the clutter.

If you have already looked at the accompanying cartoon before you started reading, then you have personally experienced a strategic approach that is working wonders for our clients.WCCommunications

Our approach is humor. It’s an approach that gives your audience a time out – a reason to smile or laugh and break away from all the gloomy news that currently dominates the headlines.

Combine humor with visuals

Our use of humor is centered on a totally serious objective: conveying our client’s message in a way that allows that message to be noticed.

We strengthen our use of humor with eye-catching visuals.

We don’t always rely on the usual visuals like photos. Instead, we are frequently use cartoons to provide a unique point of view for our clients.

Each of the cartoons we produce is original and carefully prepared to serve as a platform for our client’s message.

The approach is affordable and in today’s grim-faced news environment, it is effective because humor contrasts to the negativity that seemingly dominates media attention.

Respect the power of cartoons to project a thought or message

Once you’ve looked at a well-crafted cartoon backed up by a clever caption, you can’t un-ring the bell. Your message has been projected in memorable fashion.

In an overloaded world of e-mails, Facebook postings and tweets, cartoons stand out. And that’s precisely why the cartoons we frequently use for our clients succeed.

Cartoons exemplify the creative approach we use for clients

The use of cartoon visuals and captions is not necessarily a new approach. However, in today’s overheated communications environment, it’s an approach that is, by its nature, different.

It’s a creative use of an old technique. And it is a technique that, when properly employed, stands apart from everything else.

If you are looking for affordable, creative, and effective communications programs that deliver results, give me a call at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com.

I’ll respond at once (although not with a cartoon) with some preliminary thoughts that can kick-start or re-invigorate your marketing program. And that’s no laughing matter.

Don’t wait until the new year to change your communications strategy

We are already half way through 2017 — can you believe it? We’re betting those New Year’s resolutions are feeling a long way off.

But what about your goals for your business?

Just like the daily trips to the gym you promised yourself would happen, goals for your business’s health should never be put on the back burner. We know even the best laid plans can get lost in the shuffle, and it can be discouraging not to see the results you want — but if your communications strategy is not working, change it.

Try these tips to turn around lagging results.Ben Franklin

Get a fresh perspective. If you don’t love the results from a campaign, try looking at your strategy with a new set of eyes. Pull some members of your team onto the project, and see if they have suggestions. Call up a mentor and ask her if she has had that experience before. Other people might offer up ideas you haven’t thought of before.

Draw from success. You’ve had success before. Why is this different? Are there aspects of strategies you used before that you could pull in to make this campaign more successful? Carefully look over past data or analyze past experiences and see if you can draw new conclusions.

Take inspiration from your inspirations. Most business leaders have a list of companies they admire. Check in on yours. Look over their content, including blogs, newsletters and social media. What are they doing to communicate that you like? Incorporate some of the same strategies in your own efforts.

Still stuck? Call in the experts. At Wellons Communications, we have years of experience in analyzing business situations, developing a plan, and executing on actionable items to tell your story. Don’t wait until the new year. Give us a call at 407-339-0878 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com to get started on your plan.

Social media delivers results

Social Media campaign blogMore than 80 percent of Americans have a social media presence. If you’re not using social media as part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out.

Social media marketing can be extremely effective, and it doesn’t have to be confusing or expensive.

There are two main ways for you to use social media marketing effectively. First, there’s the organic reach.

Organic social media marketing is content you don’t pay for. If you’re in business, chances are you already do this or have at least thought about it. These posts are generally content-driven and help keep your customers up to date with company news. They can also further your company’s brand.

But because these posts are organic, they can easily get lost in the flood of things available on the internet to the point where your followers might not even see them.

Because of that, if you choose to go the organic route, it’s essential to develop a long-term plan for your posting. It’s also important to keep your audience in mind and create shareable content so you can reach new people.

Paid social media posts, however, can help you meet your goals faster. Through paid ads and boosted posts, you can target specific audiences and have a flexible budget. Money can go a long way on social media, because, according to Moz, the average cost is about $0.25 per 1,000 impressions.

To create a strong social media campaign, it’s important to take a few things into consideration.

  • Target the right audience. Paying for posts that are going to the wrong audience can deplete your budget quickly and deliver few results. Write your posts for the specific audience you want to reach and put some thought into who your ideal target is to create an effective audience.
  • Budget your campaigns. Learn from experience which posts generate more engagement and reach. See which posts have a higher relevancy in Facebook and which ones convert into paying customers. Tracking conversions over social media can be difficult, but, over time, trends may emerge.
  • Choose the right platform. Although 18- to 29-year-olds dominate social media sites, there’s a more even spread of generations on Facebook, according to Pew Research Center. Use the platform to your advantage. For example, if you have a visual product or experience you want to promote, Instagram may be the way to go.

At Wellons Communications, we have experience creating both organic and paid social media campaigns. From the beginning, we’ll customize a plan which can help your company gain new customers and grow the relationship with your current customers. Give us a call today at 407-339-0879 to see how we can help your business grow to its fullest potential.

Let’s be clear: Why clarity is essential in your communications

With a multitude of changes unfolding as 2017 moves forward, we are increasingly seeing what kind of turmoil can transpire if communications are not perfectly clear.Clarity Image

Ask yourself “How clear are the messages I am conveying to my clients, my associates, and my potential clients?”

Are your communications immediately understandable — or is your core message lost in a sea of techno-babble that few can understand?

Are your messages consistent? Are you saying the same thing, in the same way, every time you communicate your message?

Do your communications talk to your audiences…or at them?

Communications go well beyond what you may think

In business, communications start with the usual letters, memos and emails. But it also includes informative brochures, marketing and advertising materials, publicity and public relations information, websites, logos, and anything that represents or defines your product or service.

And that’s just a part of the communications process.

Business communication also includes tone and language and nonverbal behaviors. Timing, and the context that surrounds your message, can influence whether or not your audience will even see your message, let alone understand it. How you convey your message affects clarity.

Combine the complexities of communicating simply with the number of ways messages can launched — from Twitter to texting – and the importance of communicating clearly becomes even more magnified.

The seven C’s: an old idea that remains surprisingly up-to-date

At Wellons Communications, we adhere to the seven C’s, a notion originated by respected University of Wisconsin public relations academics Scott Cutlip and Allen Center in 1952. The seven C’s include:

  • Correct: From spelling and grammar to information, is it totally accurate?
  • Clear: Do you present one thought at a time?
  • Concrete: Do you say precisely what you mean?
  • Concise: Do you get to the point quickly?
  • Complete: Do you provide a means so your audience can reach you?
  • Consideration: Can everyone understand your messages?
  • Courteous: What is the tonality of your message?

Reminder: Communications are the bedrock of marketing

At Wellons Communications, we offer only one service: effective communications aimed at helping you sell products and services.

Yes, we dutifully subscribe to all the other esoteric qualities of public relations like brand reputation management, social and corporate responsibility, and organizational leadership.

But overarching those hard-to-measure intangibles is the need to generate sales. That’s where we aim 99 percent of our efforts.

We are either trying to increase sales or remove any barriers from making sales.

And that’s about as clear a message as we can impart.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you communicate – with an eye on positively impacting your marketing program, call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com.

 

 

Get real: In a world of fake news, authentic content is king

If you’ve been reading the news recently, you know that the news itself has been making headlines—specifically so-called “fake” news sites and their effect on the election.fake-news

Google has been called out for algorithms that allow fake sites to rise to the top in results, and Facebook has been called out for its part in allowing fake stories to spread via the social network. Both have responded by tweaking algorithms and updating ad policies to make it more difficult for fake news to gain traction.

What it all really speaks to is that the general public is becoming more attuned to what is authentic content and what is not. And that discerning attitude can mean big things for your business—namely that capturing true content is becoming a highly valued commodity.

At Wellons Communications, we specialize in generating authentic content that tells your story. We work hard to get your news out to trusted, professional journalistic sources, to create genuine social content and to build relationships with trusted influencers. The result is news stories, blogs, and social profiles you can take pride in—because they’re accurate and honest.

So if you’re tired of faking it, give us a call today at 407-339-0879, or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. And do it now. Because as the communications landscape changes and your audience looks at everything with a skeptical eye, real content will become increasingly important. And that’s something you can’t afford to miss out on.

Are you asking yourself “What changes do I need to make for 2017?”

With 2016 rapidly running out of days, it’s that time of year when one starts asking “How well is my business doing?” and “What kinds of changes should I be considering?”nov-18-change

You may want to start by asking yourself these tough questions:

• Am I retaining my customer base?
• Am I attracting new business?
• What customers have I lost? Why?
• Am I meeting my financial goals? Why? Or why not?
What do I need to change for 2017?

Take a close look at that last question—and consider what kinds of changes you might need to make.

If you don’t think you need to change anything, think again. Jack Welch, recognized as one of America’s great businessmen, espoused the notion “You have to change, preferably before you have to.”

You have to change to keep up with the changes.

Nothing in business remains static. New products come. Old products go. New attitudes emerge. Old beliefs drop by the wayside.

Even if you believe everything is going great and you don’t need to change anything, consider this: changes outside of your business will necessitate that you make changes to adjust to an ever-changing business environment.

Need some examples? Ask companies like Kodak, Sears, Blockbuster, Pan-Am, and Borders how they fared when they failed to adjust to changing business environments.

Start change by examining your communications strategy.

Change can begin with something as simple as auditing your communications strategy. Ask, and answer, questions like:

• Is my message still relevant to my target audience?
• Am I using the right tools to reach my target audience?
• How does my target audience perceive my message?
• Am I reaching the correct target audience?
• How has my audience changed?

While you are revising your communications strategy, ask yourself one more important question:

Am I using the correct resources to craft and implement my overall communications approach?

That’s where we can help. We provide an objective and fresh look at how and what you are communicating and how it might need to change.

Our approach: We don’t just look for changes. We look for opportunities.

Our firm lives in a communications-centric world, and we know and understand how to create strategies and execute tactical programs that use the right message to reach the right audience at the right time. We know how to change your communications approach to make a meaningful, positive change in the upcoming year.

Before 2016 runs out, call me at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. Talk with me about taking a look at your communications approach and how we might be able to help you change for the better.

Communicate your Benefits in “Plain Speak”

george-bernard-shawSuccessful communication is not about doing more. It’s about maximizing what you are already doing.

Here’s an example:

Take a look at your website and your brochure.

Ask yourself “Will readers immediately understand what I do?” and “Does my website clearly state the benefits I deliver?”

If the answers to these questions are unclear, it might be time to rethink what you are telling people.

The three C’s

There are three C’s in communication that can strengthen what you say about your business and your services:

  • Be clear: Say exactly what you mean. Write like you speak. Avoid jargon.
  • Be concise: President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to start his Cabinet meetings with “Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” Good advice for wordy politicians and also good advice for business communicators.
  • Be consistent: You may become bored saying the same thing over and over again, but your audience needs to hear the same message as many as seven times before it registers.

Get to the point

Today’s fast-paced, Internet-based communications allow you only a few seconds to get your point across.

The average person hears between 20,000 and 30,000 words during the course of a 24-hour period. Most people only remember about 17 to 25 percent of the things to which they listen.[1] [2]

According to research conducted by productivity software developer

Boomerang, emails between 50 and 125 words had the best response rates at just above 50 percent. Short and direct emails resonated best with prospects and earned a response. The same study also showed emails written at a third-grade reading level had the highest response rate.

Do those findings strike a familiar chord? Simple. Short. Consistent.

We practice what we preach

At Wellons Communications, we follow the same principles we preach.

We keep our communications simple. We keep messages short enough to easily remember. And we place a premium on maintaining a consistent message.

If your communications are becoming too wordy, too complex, or inconsistent, it may be time to step back and get some help in shaping exactly what you want to say about yourself.

Impartial third-party communications assistance is an important component of our services. In the spirit of what marketing is all about, we help you sell things.

When you are ready to start selling more things, give me a call at 407-339-0879 or email me at will@wellonscommunications.com. We are ready to get to work on helping you be yourself…only better.

[1] Listening Statistics: 23 Facts You Need to Hear, Rebecca Lake, Creditdonkey.com
[2] International Listening Association, www.listen.org

Pokémon Go marketing lessons: You gotta catch ‘em all

Pokémon Go is less than a month old, and there’s almost no chance you haven’t heard about it.

The game became an overnight sensation, quickly topping Twitter’s daily users and grabbing at Facebook’s engagement. Some millennials have been calling it their “second childhood.”

Brands and companies haven’t been far behind, using the game as a point to launch themselves into the conversation. And it’s not surprising. The game is loaded with lessons for the PR and marketing worlds. Here are a few we see:

Don’t underestimate the power of pop culture.

We saw it with the dress. We’re seeing it with Pokémon Go now. We just can’t always predict what will capture the attention of the nation. If brands want to make the most of the opportunity, it’s important to act and act fast.

Many business have been doing just that with Pokémon Go, looking to see if they are a spot gamers will want to visit or taking matters into their own hands and setting up lures to get more Pokémon to come to them. There’s even a startup, LureDeals, dedicated to attracting gamers to businesses. Knowledge on pop culture phenomena is power, and in this case, money.

Have a little fun on social media.

Pokémon Go is a game, after all, and it should be fun. Social media is the perfect place to take advantage of that. Many brands have put up clever posts that tie into the game and promote their services or products.

Best Buy Pokemon

Even police departments are using Pokémon Go humor to talk about safety issues.

Pokemon police

See more examples at PR Week.

Don’t try to force it.

But while social media can be a fun place to tap into the craze, media pitches aren’t always the best way to do it. If your company has news related to the trend, sure. But don’t force it. Grasping at straws can have the opposite effect, angering journalists.

Know that new technology won’t be perfect at first.

You’ve probably already heard some of the concerns about Pokémon Go. Gamers have caused accidents driving while hunting for Pokémon. Girlfriends have broken up with boyfriends. People have targeted and robbed players.

There are probably other issues that will arise, as well. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use the game to help your business. All new technologies have some unexpected bugs. Just keep up to date with the news and use your judgement.

Be ready for more.

Pokémon Go is the first taste of what augmented reality can do in the gaming world, but with its meteoric rise, it won’t be the last. Brands and companies should be ready to use the lessons learned from Pokémon Go in the future. If the game proves anything, it’s that marketing and PR strategies are always evolving.