WordPress Updates to 5.0 with Blocks and Gutenburg

For marketing professionals and designers using WordPress as the content management system for their website, December 2018 is a new experience. WordPress 5.0 features new ways to add photos and content to pages and posts.

I believe that they are trying to compete with some of the drag and drop platforms like SquareSpace or Wix, but it probably goes further than that.

For those who are learning about changes to the new editing software, take a look at the free WordPress Tutorials with videos and posts about using WordPress 5.0. 

If you are intimidated, don’t be. It’s actually much more intuitive than the old WordPress and you’ll be able to make it work for you in no time.

Where Should I Distribute My Press Release?

I often get asked, “Where should I distribute my press release?” PR Newswire is the best bet, but it is pricey. Some emedia release services take money but it feels like they never deliver results. (My personal opinion.)

I use a variety of ways to repurpose a press release and here are just a few of them:

  1. Post on the company website (you want people to visit the website!)
  2. Send out to your curated email list of specific business publications or submit a post on their website.
  3. Write a summary and add a link to feature in their email newsletter to prospects & clients
  4. Print it out and send it with a handwritten quick note on the top to 5 prospective clients/customers that will notice and perhaps be interested in taking the next step. You’d be surprised that NOBODY does this anymore. Five stamps cost only $2.50 or so and is the best investment in obtaining a new customer you’ll find.
  5. Post a link to your website page on all your business social media with a good photo sized to match the media. (Don’t bore your friends on Facebook, make sure you send it out from your business page account. Don’t forget your LinkedIn business account and even your LinkedIn business profile if it makes sense.)

Have you developed your curated email list of business publications yet? Why not? Which business magazines cover your industry? Many are looking for content just like yours and have a public relations page, media page or press release page.

Remember to add ThomasNet to your curated list if your business is business-to-business and especially industrial and manufacturing. They have a very powerful PR press release program. I submitted one release years ago and still get traffic from it. Check out their submission page here: https://news.thomasnet.com/submit-pr

One more instruction… okay two:

  1. Make sure your press release is strong and well written.
  2. Don’t use it as a press release when it is really an ad. It makes a difference!

Where do you think about distributing a press release when faced with that question?

Using Color to Position Your Brand

Branding and Marketing professionals know that it’s important to understand color when selecting the right package, logo or to position for your brand.

You’ll want to know the feelings and meanings of colors when you are marketing your product, developing a logo to represent your brand or creating your website. There are so many color choices and they all communicate emotions. It’s important to know those feelings when choosing something that is a representation of your brand.

Looking at the competitors’ choices is one place to begin, but when selecting colors for your brand, whether it is for a website with call to action buttons or golf shirts for your trade show or the accent colors on your product, you must know the connotation and denotation of the colors.

Even when selecting the color pallet for your business office, you’ll want to consider the emotional connection of the color that your potential customers might feel, particularly in the areas where decisions will be made.

Some people scoff at hearing about the principles of decorating and color, but it shouldn’t be ignored if you’re having your customers in the space and/or if you have employees working there that you want to keep happy and motivated.

Often small business owners feel that holding a market research study is way too expensive. Just asking your spouse or other family members if “they like it” isn’t enough. In this case, learning more about colors and their meanings before you start directing and choosing only makes sense.

I recently read a short article about color where I learned a few more meanings of colors that I hadn’t known before.

This article outlines the color meanings and symbolism of colors. It talks about the positives and negatives of each of the main colors. Even though I’ve been reading/writing about color meanings since 1981, I learned a few things from this article and it inspired this post.

When I think about being strategic about decorating, I can’t help but think about Feng Shui, the Chinese system of harmonizing with the environment, which includes not only color but object placement.

3 Ways to Use Your Story to Build Awareness

The other day I talked about tracking the results of your press release. Obviously, before you can track a story of yours, you have to get the story in the media. Does your company have a story? This helps to brand your company with your identity.

How did it start? Who does it help? How are you able to help your best customers solve their problems?

If you don’t have a background story for your business, product or service, its more difficult to get someone interested in writing about it. That’s usually one of the early questions in an interview. “Tell me about yourself and background.” A business story or a product story is no different. Why does it exist?

You don’t have a story about helping anyone? Maybe now is the time to start crafting your story. Problem. Solution. Results. Who else has that problem?

So, assuming you have your story, how can you use your story to build awareness?

1) Hashtags can be like breadcrumbs. Sometimes posting a link on Twitter or other social media with #hashtags helps reporters find something that is trending. It is often wishful thinking that they will actually contact you, but if they are looking for a story and need a source, it helps them to find you. Don’t forget LinkedIn.

2) Become a source -I follow a service called HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and get 3 emails daily filled with topics that different reporters want to write about. I look for topics that my clients are experts on so that I can recommend the client. It is a service for journalists and for sources.

3) Newsjacking sounds bad, but isn’t. PublicityHound.com (run by Joan Stewart) is one of the best publicity “how to” websites and she offers lots of ways, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. She thinks like a reporter and usually recommends something called “newsjacking” where you tie your story into a current event (like an impending hurricanes or 9/11 connection or changes in the fall weather or whatever local angle to a current topic that a reporters is working on to write a story.) This is how your story becomes the example in their story.

She has a great article “Don’t Abandon the Press Release” which is particularly good about going after the press release slant - lead - angle to make it work for a particular media.

Have you had success with getting your story out there? What worked for you the best? What didn’t?

Leave a comment below to let me know.

Tracking the Results of a Press Release

The basic tool in a Public Relations campaign is the press release. Getting the word out and building awareness, right!?!

With all the methods and means of distribution and tracking available to marketing and branding professionals, time and effectiveness can be a challenge if you don’t know the players and how to position them.

Providing all the crucial who, what, when, where, why and how information, the press release helps to get your name spelled right as well as setting the tone and spin for your announcements.

How do you know if the press release was picked up?

There are services that provide the information. Many distribution services sometimes include reporting who has picked up and used the information in the price of their distribution services. Sometimes social media pick ups are more valuable than traditional media uses, but it depends on the goals of your campaign.

While tracking can add to the cost of distribution sometimes it seems like the client get another press release sent out for the price of tracking two! But what good is sending it out there if you don’t know if it worked? And what about follow ups? Want nice reports? Want social media mentions? Want to be able to measure positive feedback versus negative mentions? The array of distribution companies, tracking tools, social media monitoring and web measurement tools can be overwhelming and expensive:

  • Meltwater -$$$$
  • Vocus - $$$$
  • Cision(PRNewswire/PRWeb)- $$$$
  • Hubspot
  • Critical Mention
  • SimilarWeb
  • CoverageBook
  • Brandwatch
  • Mention $
  • Buzzsumo $$$
  • Google Alerts (free)

It’s almost always better to build a relationship with a writer or reporter or blogger than it is to mass distribute your information. No one wants to be spammed with information in their email or social media from some company that just wants to promote their latest product or service.

But on the other hand, the writer/reporter/blogger who is trying to create awesome content for their audience would love some great information and tips that really works for them.

Meanwhile, your mass media content belongs on your own website, blog, and social media platforms so that people know about it and can find it.

Compiling emails from key industry bloggers, reporters, editors and publications for your industry’s magazines, newsletters, conferences etc is a place to start. You’ll be tempted to send an email blast to them all at once. Don’t do it. Instead, work to develop a relationship. Read their content. Any email or phone call you make to them needs to be directly for them. You’ll need to write a pitch email with an angle that matches their specific needs in addition to providing the press release.