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Tie PR Strategy Directly To Tactics For Best Results

One method for attaining higher quality results, is a PR process that embeds strategy within the tactical documentation for the client.

MediaFirst identifies the desired, future positioning for a client. This is a view of how the client firm wishes to be viewed in a year. Since most of our clients are privately held, we work for executives that have shareholdings in their firm and want to increase valuation. To succeed we use a technique applied by excellent, venture-backed companies. This technique establishes: a.) the qualification and capability of the management team, b.) the value proposition, c.) the pursuit of a market size large enough to generate revenues worthy of investor interest and strong growth, and d.) the team’s ability to execute effectively across creating customers, competitive offerings, revenue growth, and respectable margins. Our approach drives valuation, which enables attractive funding or exit, by communicating your successes to investors in their language. This has led to the acquisition of many MediaFirst clients. This positioning also supports merger, acquisition, or Initial Public Offering (IPO).

TARGET AUDIENCES: Reaching a desired audience is the prime goal of a client. Reaching the audience generates awareness and knowledge of a client’s offerings, value proposition, and successes. Target audiences are reached through media outlets: magazines, newspapers, Websites, blogs, social media, news wires, etc. Therefore, a targeted Media Outlets List is one of the first strategic decisions in PR. Embedded in the tactical, working documentation, the Client’s Editorial Calendar (EdCal), it becomes the basis for researching potential news stories – yet to be written over the next year. The tactical Client EdCal evolves into a tickler of opportunities for a client to be covered in an upcoming article. Each opportunity is a chance to “sell” the client’s story, spokesperson, case study, offerings, etc. to a reporter or editor. The result is an interview with the specific reporter or editor assigned to the story. This connects the reporter with the client spokesperson – and possibly the client’s customer, alliance partner, technology provider, or industry analyst. The scope of work is proportional to the number of targeted media outlets. Metrics that MediaFirst uses in assessing performance include: quantity of EdCal opportunities that “fit” for the client, number of interview opportunities acquired with reporters/editors, number of interviews conducted – or missed – by the client spokespersons, and the quantity and type of press coverage obtained by the client.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVES: The Proposed Press Release Schedule is the tactical document that MediaFirst uses to capture strategic initiatives of the client, scheduling the release of news and positioning each initiative in ways that match the desired positioning. This schedule is used to consistently release information on the client, covering the:

Management Team press releases describe how the client has the top talent that enables success. This includes announcing awards, promotions, hiring, and other newsworthy recognition of the executive management team.
Offerings include hardware, software, or services (products and services) that reflect the client’s ability to deliver what customers want – recognizing the emerging needs or opportunities for customers to be better served by the client than elsewhere. MediaFirst writes (press releases, newsletters, Web pages, brochures, etc.) in ways that prove that the client understands the needs of the marketplace and executes to provide better value for the customer.
Market: our writing describes the market served by the client and the importance, size, and client success in meeting that industry’s needs. In addition, MediaFirst writes to position the client as a thought-leader in identifying and meeting emerging needs of customers.
Ability to Execute: The ability to execute is shown through press releases that announce: new clients, alliance partners, new product or service offerings, winning awards, speaking at industry conferences, hiring the right people, and growth in revenues, profitability, or staff. For private firms, growth may be described in percentage increases – avoiding disclosure of exact revenues. Quarterly growth – or quarter over quarter growth over the period of a year – are examples of other, flexible ways to describe growth.

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Client Top Ten Requested Traits

These traits have won us praise over many years:

1. Communicate well with me

2. Be competent and experienced, in technology and business

3. Establish good relationships and be a teammate of my staff

4. Demonstrate leadership

5. Be innovative and creative

6. Understand and address my real needs

7. Know and leverage the available resources for best results

8. Complete work on time and within budget

9. Be responsive

10. Do high quality work

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Awareness Is The First Step In The Process Of Customer Creation (Sales)

“Customer Creation” is the lifeblood and purpose of any business, according to management guru, Peter Drucker. One view of the sales cycle is that Awareness is the first step in the multi-step process of Awareness ~> Knowledge ~> Selling ~> Closing. Guide Prospects Through The Sales Cycle This process of creating customers requires identifying prospects and guiding prospects through a well-conceived sales cycle. The process of engaging prospects should lead prospects to awareness of your brand and towards knowledge of your offerings and value proposition. PR Is Selling The Client’s Story To The Media Our process of getting targeted industry press for clients is analogous to a sales process, in that we sell reporters and editors on using your organization’s spokesperson, clients, partners, or technology providers to complete a story. In our efforts, we seek to understand the needs of reporters and editors and meet those needs. Reporter’s needs vary from breaking news, to background on industry trends, to industry expert views on the changing shape of competition. We provide the service of helping the media do it’s job—by delivering spokespersons and interviews that make good stories. Identify Your Audiences to Focus Resources Sales efforts begin by identifying the audiences you wish to reach. In PR, the right media and publicity tools are conduits to your target audiences of investors, financial analysts, industry analysts, and prospective or current employees, business partners, prospects, or customers. PR is a direct complement to sales because it leads prospects through these first two steps of Awareness and Knowldge. Effective Programs Communicate Features, Advantages, & Benefits Clients see our public relations and marketing efforts clearly complementing their efforts to sell products and services. By understanding the relationship that you have with customers, we frame your value proposition in the very words of your prospects. Your offerings are framed in the authentic context of customer needs. PR Wins Third-Party Endorsement of the Media Public relations enhances awareness by endowing your firm with the third-party endorsement of the media. Your venture’s spokespersons reveal or address industry issues and trends—their quote makes them the expert. Our business experience covers business and technology, which allows us to better help the media by supplying newsworthy comment or story ideas that focus on you, your partners, and customers. Speaking Opportunities Reach Target Audiences Effectively Speaking opportunities leverage the valuable time of your most articulate spokespersons across large, targeted audiences. We manage opportunities by identifying desirable opportunities and securing your slot. Marketing Programs & Materials Educate Prospects Marketing programs, such as trade shows, conferences, direct mail, lead generation, Web sites, collaterals, and others, reach out to capture the interest of your target audiences — imparting knowledge about your firm’s offerings and value proposition.

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LinkedIn + Facebook + Twitter Lead The Social Media Charge For Today’s Business (& Business Professional)

Businesses and individuals increasingly see the value in online social media for industry connections or introductions and clearly for employment opportunities. Beyond these are company branding, business reputation management, and professional business networking. It is true that online networking can degenerate into the kind of networking event where you show up and everyone else is there to sell you what they have. But most online social networking can be contained to the important kind, not just a virtual room of vulturous vendors. “Old Style” professional connections are not dead, they’ve just met up with the latest technology tools. These tools, such as LinkedIn (very B2B), Facebook (evolving to more B2B from a college-oriented service at it’s start), and MySpace (very B2C and younger) let your firm have an online page or presence with it’s own fans. These connections are individuals connecting to the business. Some list current and former employees. They are increasingly tied to other feeds, maybe your great press coverage. In any case, a forum where your firm and customer experiences are discussed. Beginning to see the value in monitoring and participating? The better known online social media services enable personal or professional, 1-to-1 connections. These services provide access and information on you and your firm. Here is a minimal plan for a social media presence for you and the company: – Customer-facing employees should be on LinkedIn and Facebook, and participate – The company should have it’s own page on LinkedIn and Facebook – Employees should have a photograph on their LinkedIn page – most do not – Press releases and news should be aggregated on the company Website and probably via online services, such as del.icio.us (also now at Delicious.com), Digg.com, Reddit.com, or StumbleUpon.com – News and events can be posted on Twitter. Direct messages or replies on Twitter should be monitored, so you may respond – engaging with the audience for your firm. There it is, a straightforward way to implement social media at your company. Remember that these tools represent are an innovation – just like any new tool that you might adopt for the business – so think of Social Media tools as part of the company’s continual improvement program. (I’m a fan of W. Edwards Deming, a famous proponent of quality and continual improvement). Call Jim at 770/642-2080, x218 to talk more about social media for business.

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SoCon 2009, Twitter hash #socon09

Attended SoCon '09 at Kennesaw State University on 7 February 2009; also the dinner the night before.  Enjoyed the break-out sessions, on “Social Media For Social Change” hosted by Tessa Horehled ( http://atlantanstogether.org/) on “Online Etiquette: How To Balance Your Personal and Professional Image Online” hosted by Amber Rhea.

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Great Example of Using a Survey to Promote Your Frim


“Is There a ‘Mac’ Mindset? ‘Mac People’ Found to be More Open and Superior Than Population at Large, According to Mindset Media Study,” from
 
This is a great example of using a survey, tied to the core strength of your business and using those survey results to show the leadership and perception of you firm in a space. 

 

 

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 PR Trends: Social Networking Sites, Press Release Templates, Etc.

This is a well-considered blog entry (17 July 2006) by Andy Lark on trends affecting PR, such as the influence of social networking on public relations.
1.) Certainly citizen journalism is immediate and ubiquitous, but it doesn’t replace professional journalists. There are micro channels, but for our clients this has not changed the basis of competition. In addition, many on the bleeding edge flock to the many innovative offerings of Web 2.0 companies. However, those of us that test the many new offerings do not constitute a mainstream audience for these services. Many Web 2.0 offerings are interesting, but not ubiquitous, unique – or more importantly critical. There are a very few Web 2.0 offerings provide reach to targeted audiences – and large audiences.
2.) A truly effective user interface that is a gateway to an integrated suite of useful applications (whether from Apple, Microsoft, or whatever firm) is appealing.
3.) Community creation forums, such as the Wiki, are creating ever higher expectations for collaboration software for corporations and consumers. Wikis are useful and informative, but I keep wondering when people will stop posting for free to Web sites that ultimately own all the content (check the Terms and Conditions at MySpace or YouTube). To me, the effect of blogging on content is similar to the decline in care and time taken to write letters – with e-mail and them IMing providing an immediate, yet less polished result. This reminds me of the quote of Blaise Pascal, who said “Si j’ai écrit une si longue lettre, c’est parce que je n’ai pas eu assez de temps pour l’écrire plus courte.” It translates to “If I wrote a long letter, it’s because I didn’t have enough time to write one shorter.”
4.) The idea of building the functionality you want within an application is very appealing. It was remarkable how Apple responded to the market demand for podcasting, to the point that Apple put “pod” (as in iPod) in podcast. Microsoft’s early adoption of RSS is a good example of quickly getting on board a winning trend.
5.) The participatory communicator is an interesting idea, but not well executed = authentically executed. More later in this entry.
I liked his comment on Joga.com, but was a little surprised that as a soccer player, I had never run across it. I think there are many failed attempts to target and reach a community. It is certainly true that this is a real time of flux for the advertising marketplace – with the changes effecting budgets and spending, which changes companies and careers. However, you can gather visitors to one-off entertainment, which I think describes YouTube. It remains true that communities consistently excellent and authentic content is very difficult for corporations to create consistently. Notice that at last comment fits traditional PR activities as easily as it does the latest attempts at community building.
1.) The idea of companies hiring “conversationalists” to ignite conversations rather than just transmit the latest information (press release, story pitch, etc.) is not really new. I believe that all good media relations, public relations, and communications require good conversationalists, persons that can write, speak, and even pitch in the authentic language of both the reporter/editor and the audience. So, every communication requires authenticity to be well-received. This authenticity is what generates a conversation, either with the reporter/editor or – most recently – with the audience at the online community.
2.) No question that media continues to fragment – and I’m not sure it will reassemble. Targeting audiences at the locations (such as online communities) where they aggregate is the latest challenge. In addition to the fractionating audience, there are many new channels and technologies to reach these divergent audiences. Citizen editors are not paid and I wonder if they will stick it out for the long-term or just experiment in today’fascinating and empowering environmentnt of citizen journalism.
3.) The market will judge the authenticity of these ignited conversations as the market develops.
4.) Yes. As a proponent of quality (think W. Edwards Deming), measurement is a critical part of continuous improvement. As new technologies and methods (think Web 2.0 companies) emerge, testing what works is key to spending marketing dollars in the right place.
5.) Several factors influence the format of a Press Release. The new format offered by Shift is certainly valid – and better – for certain markets. Factors, such as the desired audience, which can still be a reporter or editor, who may be less interested in other formats (e.g., video or PDF), additional material (i.e., photo and logo), and additional contacts (Should everyonene have direct access to the spokesperson? Does the CEO want to handle each media inquiry from the outset?). Plus, Digg, del.icio.us, and Technorati ranking may help some PR clients by reaching the right audience, but not all. Technorati mentions that a recent Pew Internet study claims there are 75,000 new blogs a day. I note that even being in the top 3% of sites tracked by Technorati won’t help much because they track 48.9 million sites and 2.7 billion links as of the date of this post.
6.) RSS feeds are great and the more targeted the better. For our clients, they should maintain this on their Web sites.
7.) Media Planning is one way to talk about publicity strategy and tactical execution. Our firm often faces competitors that talk the “integrated marketing” story, while having little PR expertise and no effective integration. Similarly, the largest firms in the Advertising industry continue to acquire firms in tangential markets, such as PR, Web deb, etc. These roll-up efforts maintain revenue growth, but have little effect on the companies in our market.
8.) The lack of technology savvy in the PR is no surprise to us.
9.) Mr. Lark mentions the many hosted applications that are increasingly available and which will certainly change the way everyone works. I see a real need to integrate these into a single system that truly serves the need of the client. Point solutions are fine ways to prove technologies and gain markets. Suites of integrated, logically consistent functionalities are what clients (and agencies) want.
10.) OPML is an XML form commonly used to exchange lists of RSS feeds between RSS aggregators. This allows a RSS news feed to be integrated into another application, such as a PIM (Personal Information Manager).