Productivity Tip: Put Away The Cell Phone

•November 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s almost the end of 2010 and with all of the great portable devices out there, this is one that’s a must-have for our collective team.

BBPR tech consumer electronics PR social media san diego

Most of us @ BBPR started our careers when cellphones (forget about BlackBerrys) were a novelty, even for PR people.  We used to fax press releases to journalists and Fed-Ex slides of products to be run in magazines.  Email?  Who thought that would ever take off 😉  So like many of you who’ve been in the work force more than 10 years, you remember a time before cell phones ruled our lives.

We love the freedom and conveniences that come with mobile devices.  We’ve can put out fires from the lifts at Mammoth and had them act as back-up modems for laptops when a hotel’s WiFi goes down.  Cell phones are great.  But realize that just because you can use it in certain situations, doesn’t mean you should.

Like in the car.  Not that we don’t make calls from my car… we do… all the time.  But we try not to make work-related calls of an important nature and when we do, we make sure someone on the other side can take notes and recap them.  Why?  For the same reason we bring this sort of notebook to trade shows in my our pockets (well, the guys do, this is one instance where ladies have it easy with their purses!) and we put the cell away during meetings.  Details are in the notes and if you don’t jot them down, things may get forgotten.

Too often we’re finding we as a collective are meeting with clients or partners, but many in the room are not giving things the full attention they deserve.  Ideas get lost, details get missed and things simply don’t get followed up on.  We’re to blame as much as our friends and colleagues.

Here’s an idea.  With the holidays coming, think about adding this to the list of inexpensive things you may want thrown into your stocking (or whatever you have gifts thrown into for the holidays).  If the Mead version isn’t cool enough, have them step it up with Field Notes, those guys have great designs.

Advertisements

Twitter 101 – The Basics All Brands (And People) Should Consider

•November 23, 2010 • 2 Comments

Twitter basics MalakyeDespite that 70 percent of tweets (twittereds?) are being ignored, Twitter is still a great way to marketing your brand to specific audiences and engage new followers.

The team @ BBPR manages between 4-6 client profiles on Twitter at any given month.  Because of Twitter outreach, we’ve actually had media seek us out in the green and fashion spaces, in addition to finding a great group of consumer champions.

We’re not social media experts, but here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way:

* Keep it Tight: Not just because you only get 140 characters, but also because you want your fans to RT (re-Tweet for you newbies) what you Tweet.  And if your Tweet is too long, it’ll be difficult for them to do so in 140 characters.

* Abbreviate: In the spirit of keeping it tight, it’s ok, if you write the numeral 4 instead of “for” or even make up your own shorthand. Use “some1” or even “sum1” instead of “someone”.  Write the way a high school kid sends text messages… it’s ok.

* Time Your Tweets: We mentioned this before. Tweet when your audience is on Twitter.  We’re not going to tell you when that is… it varies by audience.

* Engage: Ask questions.  Don’t just post that you uploaded 90 pictures to Facebook.

* Respond and Thanks: This falls under engagement, but people (especially on Twitter) love it when brands respond to them.  Thank people for RT’ing your content or simply giving your brand/company some kudos.

* Hash Tags: You don’t need to # everything you Tweet, but do so when the descriptor doesn’t fit into the Tweet on it’s own.  If you’re Tweeting about a political campaign, the word “politics” may not fit nicely into the sentence, so add “#politics” to the end.  If you’re talking about Monday’s NFL game, use “#mondaynightfootball” at the end of your Tweet. Or just #football.  Trending with hash tags is a post for another day.

* Fill Out Your Profile: Twitter gives people and brands a little profile section to fill out.  Do it.  And be real.  Real “marketing ninjas” don’t need to write that they’re ninjas, so avoid that.  Try to put what you Tweet about, if you can.  For individuals, location is very important too.

* Don’t Over Tweet: Similar to your use of Facebook, either as a brand or individual, don’t simply log onto Twitter and blast 20 Tweets out, then go away.  You’re going to annoy more than promote and even though someone is following you, there’s a good chance they’re doing so via a list or dashboard program that lets them break out different categories of who they’re really following.  Don’t over-Tweet… you simply don’t have that much going on (a good exception being an event, where people may be tuned in specifically for your Tweets).

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines and there’s a lot more that goes into making Twitter part of a strong marketing program.  However, they’re basics we see a lot of brands we follow on Twitter missing, so we wanted “2 do u a fvr”.

Facebook Marketing – Basic Do’s & Don’ts for Brands

•November 12, 2010 • 2 Comments

We’re not really friends  on Facebook.  Even though technically we Fans of your brand, we may as well not be.

When you’re working with social media, it’s incredibly important that you don’t judge success based purely on how many people you’re potentially reaching.  You need to take into account a few other metrics and one of the easiest ones to measure is how many people are hiding your Fan page.

Similar to how you can “hide” your neighbor from third grade who you haven’t spoken with in 30 years (and besides a few posts back and forth, you still don’t), brands that engage (and I use that term loosely) on Facebook in ways their Fans (or Likes… or whatever they’ll be called in 2011) don’t deem appropriate, risk being hidden from their Fans’ feeds.  And once a brand is hidden, your posts simply aren’t seen by that particular Fan (by the way – you can’t tell who is hiding your brand at the present time, you can only see the number of people hiding your brand).

How easy is it to hide a brand on Facebook?  It only takes two mouse clicks on your feed.

We would never consider hiding Dirty Birds… this is just an example.

If you’re in PB, like wings, beer or good times, you should head on over!

So how can you ensure people aren’t going to hide your brand?  Start with how you interact with Fans through Facebook.  Here are some basic do’s and don’ts when working out the strategy for your brand’s Facebook Fan Page.  They’re basic, but I see a lot of brands missing the mark:

Do’s

  • Build out a schedule for your Facebook and other social media interactions.  You know what ads are running in December, right?  Put the same planning into your social media programs.
  • Post about events you have going on.  Realize that you can target posts by geographies, so consider making that UK event UK specific, unless what you have going on will have global appeal.
  • Post about new and upcoming products.  But work hand in hand with your PR department (if they’re not already in charge of social media for your company).  You don’t want to cannibalize potential editorial coverage.
  • Respond to positive comments and posts.  Depending on how many people are Fans and the size of your team managing the page, you probably can’t respond to everyone who posts.  But respond to a few, the feedback will go a long way.

Don’t’s

  • Treat Facebook like a one-way street.  When people become Fans of your brand, they’re opting in.  Engage them from time to time.
  • Post more than twice a day, unless you really have something great going on.  Similar to how you hide your friends who post every hour or so about mundane things, frequent posting by brands can lead to hiding more than helping them engage.
  • Freak out if you have a few negative comments.  It happens.  But be ready to monitor and address for potentially large-scale issues.
  • Post anything and everything.  Just because you have 40 pictures from an event or a product comes in 90 colors does not mean you should post them all.  Edit.
  • Post “when you have time”.  Post when your Fans are online.  Figure out what demographics are your biggest Fans and skew accordingly.  If your company makes football cleats, you probably shouldn’t post after school during football practice, because your main users will be offline and practicing themselves.  Facebook gives you numerous free insights into demographic information, so figure out who your Fans are and work posts in accordingly.

These are just basic guidelines.  Similar to other forms of marketing, you don’t always have the luxury that comes with unlimited bandwidth to do everything to its fullest potential.  Do what you can, but try to do it right.

How to Really Get Media Coverage (Hint: It’s not through your press release)

•November 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ever wonder why you sent out a press release and nothing happened?  The reasons probably lie within what you’re sending out, who you’re sending it too and when it’s being sent.

For many journalists, press releases are a quarter-step above SPAM.  And some probably consider them a few steps below.  Here are some things to consider before you start writing your next release.

Let’s start with what you’re sending.

We’ll assume here that you’re sending a press release to garner editorial coverage somewhere and not for SEO related purposes (if it is for SEO, use a newswire instead of spamming our busy journalist friends).  So the release is intended for a journalist at a media outlet, such as Men’s Journal, Outside, Antenna, High Snobiety, Culture Shoq… somewhere where people write about things going on.  If you’re not sending it to someone who is a journalist… that’s another story and we’d ask why you’re sending it out at all.  Would you mass email JPG’s of your brand’s latest ads your friends and colleagues?  Would you hand out the same ad while waiting on line at the post office?

So what are you sending?  Is your new packaging one-percent more recycled than last year?  Does your new t-shirt line now come with the option of orange prints?  Probably not newsworthy.  BUT, these are the sorts of snippets that you may want to include in a round-up release – showcasing multiple touch points for your brand in the news – that you can post on your website, send to the trades for your industry, etc.  That could work.

Anyway, let’s say that your story (not press release) is newsworthy.  Is your release readable, or is it filled with jargon, fluff and poor writing?  Is it paradigm shifting for Web 5.0?  Does it have typos like this blog post?

The release – in a formal sense – should have all the facts and stats a journalist may need to begin crafting a story.  But personalize it with a pitch (more on that below) and explain how this is right for their audience.

If you do have some news, now you have to find the right people it’s appropriate for.  Generally speaking, it’s “your list”.

Before you send something out, think about if it’s appropriate for the people you’re sending it to?  The “PR blast” is a tool that needs to go away… it annoys journalists more than it helps.  In fact, get rid of the list.  Target your press releases with a quick elevator-style pitch – or as some people call it – Tweeting (we’re joking here… kind of).  Put a 3-10 line description – keep it brief and relevant.   If your elevator pitch (or Tweet) sells the story, then the journalist will turn to the release for more.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a PR newbie or have friends throughout the world of journalizing, if your story isn’t appropriate, they’re not going to write about it.   Antenna Magazine does not cover women’s denim or skimboarding events.  At least right now. Surfer’s Village does not cover snowboarding news, so hold off on telling Bryan about that great Gore-Tex jacket you’re company is coming out with – but do tell him about how well your team did at the South Shore SUP BBQ & Bro-Down.  Jeff Koyen from Caveat Viator is not going to cover your new headphone collaboration – unless of course they’re extremely appropriate for travel.  Trust us, Bill hung out with Jeff in Austin last month (name drop!).

When it comes down to “the list”, realize that if your story is appropriate, it won’t really matter if you have all the contacts or not.  You can find them.  Walt Mossberg and the folks @ Cnet will cover your new MP3 player if it indeed does redefine the listening experience for lifestyle consumers with unique audio needs.

In all seriousness (and perhaps as a better example), the crew @ BBPR just did a project involving accessories for firearms enthusiasts… an area where the collective team here has very little background.  That didn’t matter to the client.  We know how to write, how to find the right journalists and how to engage them.   And we didn’t mass blast to Jeff and remind him about some beers Bill may or may not have bought him in Austin.  We have lots of journalists who are our friends that don’t write about our clients.   And by not blasting them with releases that are irrelevant is one way we maintain that friendship.

When are you sending your news?

Here’s a secret… journalists are people too.  They have deadlines and things going on at work besides waiting for story ideas to come in.  Sometimes they work weekends, but many try to have what some refer to as “a life” outside of work too.

So when are you sending your pitch and press release?  Here’s a general tip – don’t email it over the weekend or at 4:30 on a Friday unless you want it to get ignored.  Depending on if you’re targeting print publications (daily, weekly or otherwise), online or TV/radio, you really need to adjust accordingly as well. Don’t just blast out the release to everyone you know.

Putting together a PR program doesn’t require an advanced degree in media relations… most people I know in the industry actually didn’t even study PR in college.  But there is some strategy and thought that you need to have if you want to get your stories covered.  Just spend some time and think about it before you hit the send button… and maybe don’t hit that button at all.

Twitter Is Worthless – And Other Social Media Generalizations

•October 14, 2010 • 1 Comment

Social Media is the hottest thing since dial-up AOL.  While Facebook may not be top of the heap forever and our favorite celebs may stop telling us soon about what they ate for lunch via Twitter (unlikely in the near future), social media, in one way or another, is here to stay.

But according to some recent research, not a ton of people are reading your Tweets.

Why is that?  Well, it could be because even though people are subscribed to your Twitter feed, they’re using a third party system to view only the feeds they’re interested in.  Or it could be because they’re boring.

The hot buzzword in social media is engagement.  Are you interacting with your brand’s fans?  Are you interacting at all… or are you just blasting things out.  “I added 20 photos to the album ‘Events’ on Facebook.”  I’m sure that’s very compelling.

A great thing with digital marketing is that we can anylyze interactions easier than with some other media.  For example, the “Hidden From News Feed” stat on Facebook.

The above is a grab this month from one of our clients.  Only around 3,000 fans, but less than 30 are “hiding” the page.  What’s hiding?  It’s when someone “Likes” your page on Facebook, but has decided your posts are too frequent, annoying or otherwise irrelevant to their personal interests.  The same way you hide your “friends” who are constantly checking in via FourSquare, playing Farmville or otherwise updating you on their life every hour, on the hour.  It’d be great if this brand had 500,000 fans… but for the time being, we’re happy to have 2,970 out of 3,00 who don’t think we’re annoying.

A few brands we work with have their Twitter feed streaming to their site’s homepage.  To me, that’s a great idea.  Even if someone doesn’t follow them on Twitter, the feed is helping to keep things fresh.  Assuming what is being Tweeted is worth reading.

I (Bill) personally use Twitter a great deal for interacting with people relevant to our clients (both through my own account and the acounts we manage for our clients).  We pitched story ideas, helped forward the initiatives of colleagues and otherwise cemented relationships.  But this only for some of our clients and with a certain subset of consumers.  It won’t work every time, for every brand.

So what’s the secret to social media?  There isn’t one.  Should your brand be on Twitter or Facebook?  The short answer is yes, in one way or another.  However, look hard at what you have to offer via these tools, what your consumers want to see and how much time you can devote to things people will want to know about.  Devote time to where your audience is.  Interact and engage in an appropriate manner.  Don’t be “that guy.”

Why Social Media Should Not Replace Real Journalism

•August 12, 2010 • 1 Comment

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the story of “Jenny Dry Erase” a woman who quit her job for various reasons that most people seemed to applaud her for (at least most of our friends on Facebook).  And if you’re like many of our friends, you thought the piece was real… or almost real.

Well, it wasn’t. See here for Tech Crunch’s follow-up.

Jenny was a hoax… like the Taco Bell buying the Liberty Bell.  The company involved fooled a lot of us with “Jenny Dry Erase”.

“Jenny Dry Erase” is a prime example of why we should never allow real journalistic-based media to go away.  Media outlets that check sources, follow-up on leads and vet ideas for newsworthy-ness prior to even considering them for publication are incredibly important.  Sites such as Wikipedia are great for looking things up, but whose to say that 10 minutes before you looked up “public relations”, someone from here didn’t go on there and make a post about BBPR or all of the great work we’ve done (some of which can be seen here).

What’s real anyway?  Many people agree that you should support “official” charities rather than say, give money to a homeless guy on the street.

But how do we know this guys family really wasn’t killed by ninjas?  Ok, they probably weren’t.  But how do you know guys with more believeable signage are really homeless veterans or are going to spend the money you give them on food instead of booze, etc.?  You don’t.  But at the same time, we’ve seen in the news that not all charities are what they appear either… but since they seem more official, some people are more comfortable supporting them.

Now we’re not saying that everything media outlets publish is factual or without slant.  Far from it.  There are things to consider, such as personal agendas (CNN is very different than Fox News and Transworld SURF is different from Surfer, etc.), advertisers and the influence of PR people (ahem).  BUT, before you begin citing what’s on the message boards or Joe Blog.com as fact, keep in mind that you may really know where this information is coming from or if the person behind the writing has a personal reason for creating the content.  What’s their track record for reporting the facts, embellishment and/or glorification of sensationalistic stories?

BTW – this is NOT a slag on bloggers.  We work with online media… bloggers and others… regularly.  And most of them are great.  We just wanted to draw attention to this recent example of how something posted on the Internet was assumed to be true… because it was posted on the Internet and looked “nice.”

If you believe this without question, we have a $20,000 retainer for you...

If you believe this JPG, we have a $20,000 a month retainer contract just waiting for you to sign…

group Y Action Sports Conference 2010 Preliminary Details

•June 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Just a heads up that BBPR is going to be working with group Y on their Action Sports Conference again.  Click the banner below for more info.