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Presenting Your Expertise to the Media

public relations pr expertPublic relations and publicity aren’t the same thing, but they are definitely intertwined. The public must first know you exist before it can have an opinion about you. One of the best ways that professionals can be introduced to a large audience is as an expert in their industry. And for credibility’s sake, it’s best if that introduction comes from an unbiased source … a news media outlet, for example.

If you’ve hired a good PR agency—or a marketing firm that also provides well-coordinated PR services in addition to other promotional strategies—they should discuss setting you up with their media contacts as a resource for news stories covering your industry. But absent professional marketing assistance, there are a three things you can do on your own to position yourself as an expert in your field.

Be visibly active in your community. This boils down to the dreaded ‘networking.’ Join your local Chamber of Commerce or other business organizations and take an active role. Offer thoughtful, well-expressed opinions in friendly discussions when it comes to topics related to your business. Even more importantly, if your industry has a professional organization with a chapter in your area, be sure to join and work to take a leadership role. Then, if a journalist begins asking around for an expert to quote, your name may come up. And certainly, anytime you meet members of the media, give them your card and let them know you are happy to help answer questions relating to your field.

Utilize social media to establish a public presence. Blog, tweet, or have a Facebook page that speaks to issues in your industry (without an overt sales pitch). In addition to being a resource for your customers, delivering information in this way will help set you up as a public expert. First, if a reporter googles an expert to contact, your name may show up in the search results. Secondly, doing these things on a regular basis will force you to pay attention to the latest developments in your industry, so you can speak knowledgeably if an opportunity presents itself. And finally, expressing yourself through social media provides practice organizing your thoughts and speaking on the record.

Share story ideas with the media. Don’t confuse this with a press release for your business. Instead, if you see something happening in your line of work that strikes you as unusual and may be a cause of interest (or alarm) for the general public, contact the news editor of your local paper or TV station and let them know what you’re observing. (For example: You’re a CPA and you see a lot of your clients having trouble with tax information related to Obamacare.) Be concise, to the point and clearly explain why the phenomenon might be worthy of news coverage. Even if you don’t get a bite on that particularly story, there’s a chance your name could be remembered for some other article in the future.

The most important thing in becoming a resource for professional expertise is to be available. When a reporter calls you will need to answer, or if you are just too busy to break away at that moment you must return his call within a few hours at the most. Chances are that journalists will be facing a tight deadline, and they aren’t going to wait around long before moving on to someone else. And if you aren’t there for them when they need you, they’ll be less likely to come back again.

Also, if you are quoted in a story, don’t nitpick over trivial matters regarding your exact words. Yes, if you’re misquoted in a way that makes your published statement substantively incorrect, bring it to the reporter’s attention. However, if her transgression is that you said “fast” and she wrote “quickly,” let it go. And anytime you’re reasonably pleased with a story in which your expert comments appear, send the reporter a note congratulating her on her fine work and letting her know how much you enjoyed participating in their work. This way, reporters will remember you as someone they enjoyed working with.

Keep in mind that you won’t become a media-recognized expert overnight. As you may have noticed, there is a lot of groundwork to lay, and frankly, a good bit of hard work. But the good news is that once you’ve reached “expert” status, opportunities to increase your professional profile will increase exponentially with every public appearance.

Online Marketing: 5 Things That Most Smart People Don’t Know

Online marketing is one of those things that’s easy to start, but difficult to do correctly. That’s because the internet makes it easy for people with little or no experience to present themselves as experts and give lots of bad advice. It’s bad enough when this bad advice doesn’t produce results, but in many cases, it can even harm your business for the long term. Just like with medical and legal decisions, it’s not what you know about marketing that gets you in trouble—it’s what you don’t know. The tips below will help you avoid making some of the common marketing mistakes that a lot of smart people make simply because they followed bad advice from someone who presented themselves as an expert.

Meta tags have no direct impact on ranking

Despite what most people believe, meta tags like the keyword and description tags have zero direct impact on ranking in the search results. In fact, so many people held this misconception, that Google made a formal announcement way back in 2009, yet the myth remains. I want to note that I said no direct impact; that’s because the contents of the meta description tag display in the search results and that can have an impact on click through rates, which can have an effect on ranking. I stopped using the meta keyword tag over a decade ago, and you should too. While I do still pay attention to the meta description tag, the only reason is to improve click through rates. You can stop obsessing about meta tags and put your energy into more productive SEO techniques.

Skip manipulative linking schemes

While we’re on the topic of SEO, the most important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm is quantity and quality of links from other websites pointing to yours. Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there were no rules. Reciprocal link exchanges, comment spam, link wheels…everything was fair game. But as quickly as new techniques have popped up, Google has deemed them to be against their webmaster guidelines. The most recent example was a penalty they handed out to bloggers who linked to websites in exchange for free products.

Today, manipulative link building techniques won’t even work in Narnia, let alone in the real world.

narnia

Google’s algorithm has become so advanced that they can quickly identify attempts to artificially manipulate ranking, but they don’t just ignore those attempts—they now penalize both the website linked to and the site linked from by dropping them from the search results. Called the Penguin Update, this means even people searching for your company name in Google won’t be able to find your website! And don’t get the idea that you’ll try to get away with it until you get caught, and then fix it. Many websites that got hit with Google’s Penguin update are still waiting to recover several years later. Is that a risk you’re willing to take? Instead of “cheating” by using artificial links, focus on producing amazing content that other people feel compelled to link to.

Start building an email list now

You might have thought “there’s no point in starting an email list yet because my website doesn’t get enough traffic yet.” That line of thinking is backwards. What do you have to gain by waiting? Think about it like this—mail services like Aweber will cost less than you probably spend on coffee each month, and you can get everything set up in less than an hour. Sending out a quick email to drive subscribers back to your newest blog post might take 5 minutes, if that. So even if you just have a handful of subscribers, it can have a significant impact on your website traffic. More importantly, your email list enables you to contact your subscribers with special offers when you need to generate a quick influx of revenue. Your email list is one of the most powerful resources in your online marketing toolbox, and the sooner you start building it, the sooner you can start multiplying your results.

You don’t need to be on every social network

It’s tempting to try to build a following on all of the major social networks, but unless you have a marketing team and a hefty budget, you can’t do it effectively. Each social network has its own nuances to learn, and it takes time to find your flow and acquire followers. Spreading your time too thin by trying to build a following on every network will only hamper your long-term growth. You’ll achieve better results, and you’ll achieve them more quickly by focusing on one social network at a time. Build up a loyal and engaged following on one network, and only after you’re producing consistent results, can you replicate the process on another network while maintaining activity on previously established networks.

Never rely on your gut

A lot of business owners think they’ll just “know” how their online marketing is performing. The fact is that you simply can’t rely on your gut. Sure, it’s easy to identify exactly how many customers come in as the result of a coupon without using special tools, but online marketing is a lot more complex. Even with the proper tools, it can be difficult to track precisely. There are so many variables involved all at once; SEO, PPC, social media, content marketing, banner ads, email marketing and more, and it can sometimes take weeks or even months to see results. If you’re relying on your gut, how do you know where a sudden surge in sales came from? Was it the result of a new Google algorithm? A seasonal change? A viral post, or particularly effective email subject line? Multiple activities from multiple channels could be a factor at the same time, which is why it’s so important to use the proper tools to track your online marketing efforts. That way, you can change or eliminate the underperforming activities while increasing the activities that are performing well. You have so many free tools available to track the performance of your online marketing efforts, including Google analytics, Google Search Console, and Bing Webmaster Tools, so it would be foolish not to use them.

 

About Jeremy Knauff

Jeremy Knauff is the founder of Spartan Media, a proud father, husband, and US Marine Corps veteran. He has spent over 15 years helping businesses of all sizes to make their mark online, and today, he’s busy building his own media empire. 

We’re proud to call him a Pinstripe partner!

Join us for a legal marketing presentation and social

Tampa Bay legal marketing
The Legal Marketing Association Tampa Bay City Group Presents: Get in the Game: The Gamification of Business Development with Jill Huse & Heather McCullough of Society 54 followed by Happy Hour Sponsored by Pinstripe Marketing

We’ve all heard that many of the skills needed to develop business are counter to how attorneys are wired. But we do know that attorneys are competitive by nature so that begs the question, can the skills and habits needed to develop business be taught and instilled through playing a game? Businesses of all sizes have been using gamification, defined as “game design elements in non-game contexts,” for many years with great results. Gamification of business development is simply another internal tool that can be used to help build engagement in the process and confidence in an individuals’ ability to build a base of clients.

An effective internal “game” includes:

  • outlining what outcomes the firm hopes to achieve
  • identifying which behaviors will be changed
  • defining how progress will be measured
  • clearly describing success in the program and how it will be rewarded

This hands-on, interactive session incorporates case studies, training and roundtable brainstorming on how to create and implement a successful business development game within a firm. It is not a one-size fits all approach so the practical ideas and tips that are presented will allow attendees the opportunity to create a program that will drive real results within their own firm.

SPEAKERS

Jill Huse Jill Huse, Partner, Society 54

Society 54 Co-Founder Jill Huse is renowned as a trusted professional services advisor. Jill, a certified business coach, is highly regarded for her progressive ingenuity, research-based strategy and, most importantly, her ability to deliver results for clients.

Jill has worked in legal marketing for more than fifteen years, after starting her career in accounting marketing. Clients have said that Jill has an innate ability to identify, encourage and develop their unique and differentiating professional strengths, and to help them to leverage these strengths to meet and exceed bottom line goals.

As the director of marketing and business development at one of the most reputable AmLaw firms in the southeast, Jill structured and led her team in developing, implementing and managing award-winning communication, business development and marketing initiatives. Further, Jill is a tenured member and past president of the Southeastern Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), which, as the second largest LMA chapter, serves more than 450 members across nine states.

Heather McCulloughHeather McCullough, Partner, Society 54

Society 54 Co-Founder Heather McCullough is two parts wit and one part tenacity, with heaping doses of creativity and intellect on the side.

Heather represents the power of hard work, strategy and collaboration. For more than 14 years, she has brought game-changing results to professional services firms across the Southeast. As the director of business and practice development at one of the most well-respected law firms in the Carolinas, Heather oversaw all aspects of firm branding and business development, including communications, client relations, events and business development – – all while keeping a keen eye on budgets and ROI.

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

4pm – 6pm

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney

401 E. Jackson St.

Tampa, FL 33602

Map

REGISTER NOW

Plan to stay after the presentation to join your fellow LMA members along with Jill and Heather for a Happy Hour sponsored by Pinstripe Marketing.

pinstripe-marketing

 

Special thanks to Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney for hosting our May program.

buchananFounded in 1850, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is a full-service law firm with approximately 500 lawyers and government relations professionals who serve the legal and business needs of regional, national and international clients. Our offices are located in 18 cities in Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington, D.C., Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Colorado and California.

Spotlight On: Rachel Martin, Director of Marketing at Shorecrest

We love stories and people, so we thought it would be really interesting to start featuring some of our most favorite people in a monthly Spotlight column. Each month, we will feature clients, Pinstripe Marketing employees, partners, and community members who have touched our lives in some way.

Our first Spotlight is on Rachel Martin, Director of Marketing and Communications at Shorecrest Preparatory School. Rachel is not just a wonderful client, she is a really great person too. Now you can meet her for yourself.

Rachel MartinRachel Martin

Director of Marketing and Communication

Shorecrest Preparatory School

St. Petersburg, FL

www.shorecrest.org

Years in this position: 1.5

Years in this industry: 10

What is the first marketing project you remember?

I was charged with planning a ladies tea for a group of alumni at Savannah Country Day School where I worked in the Development Office. When I asked about the budget for the event my boss told me, “Spend what you need.” $5,000 later I had the finest rented china, tablecloths, and gourmet cookies for a group of about 25 women. It was a charming event, but cost about 10x what we’d budgeted. I learned that, while autonomy is something I value and appreciate, sometimes you must give – and get – specific instructions before charging ahead!

What do you like most about marketing?

The sheer variety! In my role I get to write, design, code, analyze data, study psychology, take risks, lead, follow, work independently, collaborate, etc. And the field is always evolving – there is always something new to learn.

What challenges does your industry face?

In education, there’s the struggle of balancing best practices based on the latest brain research of child development versus what parents experienced as students just a generation ago. Sometimes parents expect school to be the same experience for their children as it was for them, though the world is an entirely different place. Educators also face the pressure of our data-driven society. Things like test scores and one-dimensional student assessments can compete against goals that are difficult to measure like a child’s social-emotional health, resilience, understanding over memorization, etc. For me, working at a place like Shorecrest with such an incredible group of teachers, I think our faculty and administration do an exemplary job of balancing those demands, which in turn gives our marketing team the tools we need to communicate effectively with our current and prospective families.

What marketing resources do you recommend?

Seth Godin is my marketing crush; my favorite of his books is All Marketers are Liars. I also am a huge fan of Hubspot’s blog and training materials. Staying connected with peers and fellow marketers on LinkedIn and Twitter is also a great way to see what other professionals are discussing and sharing.

 If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Partner with a school. It could be through a service project mentoring at-risk students, through sponsoring a department or team that aligns with your company’s mission, providing guest experts for a class discussion, there are so many ways that businesses and schools can form mutually beneficial relationships. The more our communities invest in education, the stronger our area is for recruiting employees with families, the stronger our future workforce, the list goes on. 

What are your hobbies?

I love to run and bike. Almost as much as I love to eat and drink. I’m also really trying to get into gardening, but I seem to kill everything I attempt to cultivate.

Last book you read?

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff.

Thank you, Rachel, for taking the time out of your schedule to answer a few questions to give our readers some insight into the life of a preparatory school marketing director! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

If you’d like to be featured in the Pinstripe Spotlight, just let us know!

Six Steps for Managing Your Business’ Online Reputation

St. Petersburg online reputation management

There was once a time when you could have a bad day, justifiably lose patience with a customer, or unavoidably fail to deliver as promised, and those rare transgressions would be little noted nor long remembered. And anyone making it his life’s work to badmouth your business was readily identifiable and had to back up his accusations, meaning the occasional crank was easily recognized as such by the public.

Those days are gone. Now, thanks to Internet, every alleged flaw in your products, services, or business operations can be logged with anonymity and then recalled by everyone—indefinitely besmirching your organization’s reputation.  What can a conscientious business owner do? Here are six relatively easy steps to help protect your brand from online mudslinging:

  • Find out what people are saying. It may turn out that the Internet barely knows your company exists (that’s a different issue) but it could also be that nearly every reference to your business comes with a negative connotation. You really won’t know unless you do occasional web searches using different engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo … etc.) to find your company’s name. Helpful Tip: As you type your business name into Google Search, see how autocomplete tries to anticipate your next few words. If words like ‘rip-off,’ ‘scam,’ or ‘rude’ show up, then you have a big problem!
  • Automate searches and alerts – The Internet never sleeps, but fortunately you have some tools available to keep watch over the Web even when you do. RSS feeds and Google Alerts can be set up to let you know anytime your company gets an online mention.
  • Look out for impostors – Masquerading as someone else online is ridiculously easy to do. A virtual ‘doppelganger’ can call itself by any name it chooses and, by lifting a few online pictures, can present itself as anyone. You can make sure no one is passing himself off as your business by taking a few unique images from your company’s website or social media, and running them through Imageraider.com to see if they appear anywhere they aren’t supposed to be. Also www.knowem.com has a tool to let you know if your social media name is being used without your knowledge.
  • Be the first, best source of your own information – Keeping your website up-to-date and filled with lots of client-pertinent information helps ensure its prominent place in search results. Construct your site to anticipate common inquiries by including pages for careers/jobs, locations, news, headquarters/contact information and coupons/offers/discounts. Also, a company news section or blog—with new content added frequently—will help keep your site at the top of search-engine listings, well above any potentially negative content.
  •  Don’t let negative publicity or complaints fester – When you see something negative about your company—possibly in an online review or even an interactive forum you set up yourself—respond quickly. However, you must take extreme care to be polite (no matter how unreasonable the charge) and make it clear that first-class operation of your business is top priority. You may not always be able to smooth the ruffled feathers of the complainant, but you can still impress others with your thoughtfulness. And if your business did make a mistake, own up to it.
  • Make online reputation management (ORM) someone’s responsibility – Some things just have to be done—like cleaning restrooms or emptying garbage.  The easiest way to make sure the necessary ‘housekeeping’ gets done is make ORM monitoring apart of the ongoing job duties of someone within your organization.

Nobody’s perfect, and where criticisms are justified, take them to heart and make corrections. As always, the best defense of your reputation is to be as good as you can be in all aspects of business operation. As long as you’re doing that, your risk of being widely maligned is relatively minimal. As for unhappy instances that still might arise, just remember: negative information might not ever go away, but it can be overwhelmed by enough good works to make isolated bad reports very insignificant by comparison.

Related Posts:

The Positive Side of Negative Comments

Ginger Reichl Discusses Online Reputation Management with 8 On Your Side 

Tampa Bay public relations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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