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.

Measuring Social Media’s Impact on the Bottom Line

Do you struggle to determine the impact of Social Media?

You’re not alone! Many business professionals feel that they need a social media presence, but really are not sure how to figure out what to budget toward it, or measure results from it.

Recently, I got an email with an interesting infographic, How to Measure Social Media ROI: A 4-Step Plan for Marketers, from MDG Advertising. I though the readers of Branding and Marketing would find it interesting and useful for measuring social media return on investment using a four‑step process:

  1. Define measurable goals
  2. Assign a value to each action
  3. Calculate the cost of your efforts
  4. Determine the ROI

Check out the infographic below for more detail:

by MDG Advertising

Taking Stock of Your Marketing Calendar

We are almost halfway through 2018. Are you on track with your marketing calendar?marketing calendar activity measuement

Marketing activities should have been set up to support your sales goals.

What worked during the first half? What didn’t?

If you haven’t done your measurement lately, you may want to measure the results from your 2018 marketing activity now. Knowing what works for your business is great information for your marketing strategy.

Tracking information about your marketing activities helps you understand how customers find you. Are you keeping your marketing programs up-to-date? What is a waste of time and what is delivering results?

Hopefully you already know which key performance indicators are important to the growth of your business.

Does your marketing plan include reminders and measurements for:

  • Website visits? Updates to your plug-ins, themes and SSL certificates?
  • Google organic results? Keywords SEOed on your website? Is your company coming up in results?
  • Social media likes, followers, and members?
  • Which social media do your customers participate in?
  • What was your most successful blog post or social media campaign? Do you know why?
  • Number of press releases issued, picked up and shared?
  • How many people used your contact us page?
  • New product inquiries? Where did they come from? Did they turn into sales?
  • What about clicks on your landing pages, squeeze pages, affiliate links?
  • How many new email addresses did you add to your mailing list? What industries and categories?
  • How many speaking engagements completed?
  • Newsletters written, emailed, opened, clicked?
  • Trade shows walked, attended, exhibited, breakout sessions attended, presented?
  • Webinars developed?
  • Podcasts published, downloaded, length of time listened to, number of reviews and stars, distribution channels?
  • YouTube videos published? How many people subscribe to your channel?
  • Book sales?

Perhaps you never formally created a marketing calendar in your success plan. Now is the time to get started. Create a marketing calendar for the second half of the year now. so that sales in your business runs like a machine.

By having your marketing plan in place, you’ll know what is a good opportunity for marketing… and what is a real money waster.

Not sure how to get started?

Your company could probably benefit from a marketing consultant to get your plan in place. You’ll find having a plan that is strategically designed to support your overall sales and marketing goals will provide much better results than just trying to execute some marketing efforts.



Will You Be Keeping Your Google Analytic Records After Friday?

Google Analytics:

In case you were not already aware, Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool offered by Google to help you analyze your website traffic. Accordingly, the implications of Google Analytics are huge. This is because, for most companies, your website is a hub for any of your digital traffic. Correspondingly, if you are running any marketing activities such as search ads or social media ads, your users are most likely going to visit your website somewhere along their user journey.

Would you like to learn more about how to make the most of Google Analytics? If so, completing a Google analytics individual qualification exam can prove to be advantageous. Ultimately, analytics is the foundation of SEO, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and more. Therefore broadening your understanding of analytics through completing a Google certification can be incredibly beneficial.

Since you are interested in marketing (I am assuming you are, since you are reading this article), you probably are aware of the EU GDPR privacy rules that go into effect on May 25, 2018. If you are not aware then you can check out more about this gdpr double opt in here if you wanted.

If you use Google Analytics, you’ll want to read this article published by Orbit Media:

What data is affected by the data retention controls in Google Analytics?

If you do not update your data control settings before May 25th to “Do not automatically expire”, you will lose all non-aggregate data prior to March of 2016.


Consumer Data:

Any US consumer marketers who keep data on their clients/customers also need to heed the privacy rules or face a potential fine. I’m sure that there are plenty of brand managers scrambling right now to learn and analyze the information they have on their clients. For more information on how the GDPR privacy rules in Europe applies to US companies, read this article posted by CNBC.


If you run your website using WordPress, you may be wondering about if your website will be GDPR compliant. Here’s info that I found on this topic from WPBeginner.com that provides info on a post called the Ultimate Guide to WordPress and GDPR

The good part is that if you’re using WordPress plugins like WPForms, Gravity Forms, Ninja Forms, Contact Form 7, etc, then you don’t need a Data Processing Agreement because these plugins DO NOT store your form entries on their site. Your form entries are stored in your WordPress database.

Simply adding a required consent checkbox with clear explanation should be good enough for you to make your WordPress forms GDPR compliant.