WBJ Central New England Sales Summit

31 07 2008

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend the first ever Central New England Sales Summit put on by the Worcester Business Journal.  After the morning keynote by Scott Michael Zimmerman, the afternoon featured several breakout sessions.

One of the sessions which generated the most buzz was hosted by Mark Roberge and Peter Caputa of HubSpot as well as David Hurlbrink of Landslide.  The discussion focused on how to develop an inbound marketing strategy and how to utilize a CRM/SFA system to properly manage your sales funnel.

The slideshows from all of the presentations are available courtesy of the speakers and the WBJ.

Other blogs about yesterday’s event:

Peter Caputa: LiveBlogging about Blogging at the Worcester Business Journal Sales Summit
Rick Roberge: WBJ Sales Summit Feedback
Laura Briere: Our Own Personal Superstar
Betty Do: Sales Leadership Advice: Stop Selling!

The one-day event turned out to be a great event which was packed with a lot of information and provided for an excellent networking opportunity.  This event is definitely not one you want to miss next year!

Thanks to all those I had the chance to speak with yesterday and I look forward to talking with you in the future!

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Crafting an Inbound Marketing Strategy

28 07 2008

The HubSpot team just posted a video of a presentation that they recently gave.  The topic of discussion was about developing an inbound marketing strategy that incorporates SEO, blogging and social media to drive results.  They did an excellent job describing the synergy that is formed when you utilize all 3 in your marketing strategy.  Best of all is that their suggestions are completely free and just takes an investment of your time.  Granted, you could get into PPC campaigns, purchasing of themes for your blog, etc but at the basic level, which will produce great results, this strategy is free and ready to be implemented.

The video is about 40 minutes long.  If you don’t have time to view the video right now, at least take a look through the slides which are available for download at SlideShare.

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Using Internet PR Like You Use Twitter

26 07 2008

As I was reading some status updates (otherwise known as “tweets”) on Twitter today I started thinking about how most of us use social media.  In general, we use social media to:

  • Interact with our friends, families, and colleagues
  • Network with others who have similar personal and professional interests
  • Promote ourselves
  • Promote our blogs
  • Promote our companies
  • Promote/discuss important causes, upcoming events or share relevant news
  • Help improve search engine results for ourselves, our blogs, products, or companies.

We should be using internet PR campaigns for all of the reasons above (except maybe interacting with our friends, families and colleagues 🙂 ).  By distributing search-engine-optimized press releases we can promote our personal brand, blogs, products, company, important causes, or upcoming events.  These press releases will help improve search engine results for you depending on the topic and keywords used when distributing the PR.

Just as we post a tweet or status update every time we publish a new blog, we should be distributing new internet press releases any time we have any positive news about the above topics.  While a tweet or status update will only reach your network (though some users networks are very large), it is still limited in scope compared to how many people you can reach with a well-written press release distributed online.

When distributing through a newswire or professional internet PR agency, your press release will be usually distributed to over 100,000 opt-in journalists, newsrooms, radio and tv stations, blogs, and other media outlets.  These sites and people, if interested in the topic, will then redistribute the press release….alas, viral marketing.  As the press release is re-posted on other sites, you will see your search engine rankings improve, hits to your blog or site increase, as well as an uptick in prospective customers, inquiries, and/or readers.

Photo used from Greg Verdino's blog

Of course, there is one major downside when comparing internet PR to promoting via social media sites: submitting PRs cost money while social media sites are free to promote your message.  However, I think that we should be using both internet vehicles to promote our messages.  To maximize this concept and improve your search rankings, follow these steps:

  1. Have a press release written and distributed on the internet.
  2. Promote that link on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, MySpace, and any other social media sites you use.
  3. Post the press release in the media/press section of your site.
  4. Either post the PR on your blog or write a similar post and publish at the same time of distribution.

Using some or all of these suggestions will help you to promote your message.

What are some ways that you have found to be successful in promoting any of the above concepts?  How did you promote it? What mistakes did you make along the way?

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Weekly Roundup: Posts from the PR World [7/25/08]

25 07 2008

Starting today this will be a weekly roundup of everything I found interesting from the slice of the blogosphere reserved for the world of PR, marketing and social media.  Besides popular PR, marketing and social media posts, I will also post what book(s) I’m currently reading as well as any other non-PR related interesting posts, tweets or articles.  Most of these will be new posts but some may be some older but still relevant.

This is a way for me to expose you to other blogs that may be of interest.  I hope that everyone enjoys and please leave any interesting posts and articles that you may come across in the comments section.

Currently Reading

Title: Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers
Robert Scoble and Shel Israel
Published: January 2006
ISBN: 047174719X
Summary: “Robert Scoble, author of the nation’s best read business blog, and veteran consultant Shel Israel believe blogging is already changing the face of business.  They show you how employee bloggers altered the public’s perception of Microsoft.  How an outspoken NBA team owner uses his blog to connect with fans.  How small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike can benefit from blogging, and how failing to use it properly can be disastrous.” -Inside Cover

Yeah, yeah, I know I’m late in reading this but I finally picked it up and am enjoying it so far.

Interesting PR/Marketing/Social Media Posts

Other Interesting Posts and Random Musings

That’s it for the first weekly roundup.  As the weeks go on and I get the formatting down, I’ll continue expanding this with more and more content.

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How Productive Are You When You’re Online?

23 07 2008

A few months ago I started reading more and more about RescueTime, a tool that could “watch” me throughout the day, track what programs and sites I spend my time on and help me to be more productive.  I installed the program and immediately fell in love with it.  The application runs in the background and produces a detailed set of analytics which can be dissected in a variety of ways.

Last week Robert Scoble interviewed Tony Wright, CEO of RescueTime.  This was a fun and informative video to watch.  After watching the video make sure you head over to RescueTime’s site and download the application.

For the first week, jot down the sites (ahem, Twitter, FriendFeed, Google Reader, Facebook, etc.) that you visit often along with a guestimate of how long you think you spend per week on each of these sites.  I guarantee you’ll be shocked how quickly 5 minutes here and there adds up!

You can use all the time you’ll gain back from using RescueTime to develop your internet PR strategy to gain you or your company more exposure.

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Using Unconventional PR to Gain Exposure

20 07 2008

In my last post I mentioned that David Meerman Scott, in his book and ebook, suggests that we should write press releases about any topic and not just when we have big corporate news such as a new product launch.  This got me thinking about the various unconventional uses of internet PRs I’ve seen at my company.  Two examples come to mind:

Example #1: We had a client who used our company to write and distribute a PR for them because they were in the final interview phases with a major organization in their field.  The purpose of the press release was to gain them positive exposure on the internet when the firm searched for them.  We wrote the PR highlighting previous accomplishments, articles that had been written about them, and their education…basically a resume.

Result #1: In 15 days the client received 29,000 headline impressions, 400+ fullpage reads/downloads of the PR, and it was picked up by 50+ websites, blogs, journals, etc.  The client ended up receiving the job offer that they had been being recruited for.

This was an unconventiontional use of PR because it was used to enhance their online reputation and it was used to gain exposure to obtain a new position.

Example #2: I have distributed PRs for my restaurant, Caminito Steakhouse, when we have hosted beer and wine dinners

Results #2: We received similar stats as my first example.  But more importantly to me, due in part to our PR efforts, when you search Google for “argentinean steakhouse” we appear as the 2nd search result on the 1st page, 3 times on the first page and 13 times on the first 10 pages.  This is out of over 899,000 results when searching that term!  We are not nearly as big or in as big of a market as many of the steakhouses listed on that search result but, because of our SEO efforts and using PR in a traditionally unconventional method, we have seen an uptick in customers, website hits and reservations via our website.

Now, I know some may think that the way I utilized internet-based PR for the restaurant is conventional because something like a beer dinner is similar to a product launch for a typical company.  However, it’s unconventional because most restaurants, especially in smaller markets, don’t actively include PR in their marketing plans…if they even have a marketing plan at all!

These are just 2 examples out of many which I’m sure exist out there.  So I turn the question over to you…what are some of the traditionally unconventional ways you have either used or read about using press releases to gain exposure?

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Old School vs New School PR in a Web 2.0 World

16 07 2008

It amazes me how many companies still do not harness all that the Web 2.0 world has to offer when distributing press releases and creating industry buzz.  Let’s take a look at the old school vs new school approaches to distributing press releases.

The old way of marketing – Traditionally marketing teams would put together a press release and send it to a handful of newspapers, magazines and radio stations.  The press release might be mentioned/written about and those audiences who subscribe to the newspaper/magazine or who listen to that radio station would be exposed to the content of the PR.  If the company hires a reputable marketing firm, they may guarantee that their PR will receive more exposure due to the reputation and network of that firm.  But, how would they reach all of the other possible interested folks who weren’t part of one of those groups mentioned above? Simply put: they wouldn’t.  This translates to lost opportunities for the company in developing prospective customers and helping the company to push their brand to a mass-audience.

The new way of marketing – Nowadays companies who embrace Web 2.0 have so many other available tools besides the traditional vehicles for reaching prospective customers.  Now companies can have a website, blog, social networking pages such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and also reach audiences into the millions with their PR campaign – if they know how to properly target that PR for the internet.

Besides becoming diversified on the World Wide Web, companies have to debunk the old myth that you only publish press releases when you have BIG news such as a new product release, corporate merger or acquisition, etc.  Companies should publish press releases about anything that they have going on.  The more press releases you get distributed, the more your company (and brand) will stay at the tops of the major search engines when prospective customers search for your company and/or products.

David Meerman Scott, in his book The New Rules of Marketing & PR suggests writing a PR about anything from your CEO speaking at a conference to winning an award or publishing a white paper.  Whatever the subject, the goal is to keep your company in front of prospective and current customers.

Resources on becoming a new school PR expert:

  • I highly recommend purchasing The New Rules of Marketing & PR.
  • While waiting for the book to arrive, download and read the condensed ebook which focuses on web-based press releases with suggestions on how to properly optimize your PRs for the web.
  • Brian Solis’ PR Tips for Startups is an excellent resource for an overview on the history of PR and where we are today in the Web (PR) 2.0 world.  Solis provides thought-provoking and actionable tips for the reader to implement.
  • Another resource from David Meerman Scott is his Gobbledygook Manifesto which will help you to analyze your corporate marketing and PR materials, remove meaningless catch-phrases, and communicate with your prospective and current customers in way which they will understand.

Becoming proficient at maximizing social media, web-based PR and marketing, and understanding all of the available tools to you will not happen overnight.  It will take time to build these networks and is a space that is ever-changing to meet the speed of technology.  But, don’t be afraid of it, embrace it and utilize these resources to help you start understanding the Web (PR) 2.0 world.

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