Top 10 Things Reporters Hate
- Pitches (story ideas) not appropriate for
the targeted publication.
- Calling on deadline.
- Failure to respond to a reporters
query in a timely manner.
- Unsolicited email attachments.
- Jargon and buzzwords.
- Refusing to accept "no."
- Calling the reporter to ask, "Did
you get my release?"
- Not knowing answers to basic questions
when reporters call.
- Not having sources available to speak with
reporters the day you disseminate a news release.
Asking to see the reporters article
prior to publication.
Top 10 Reasons Your Press
Release Landed in the Trash Can
You sent it to the wrong publication,
or the wrong reporter at the right publication.
The newsworthy part of the release is
buried at the end.
There is no newsworthy part.
The release is full of hype, not facts.
If emailed, information in the memo field
is too long, too vague, or reads like an ad.
It was sent as an attachment rather than
with the email message.
You didnt include any contact information.
You deliberately left out important information
(i.e. how much does that new software cost?) in a bid to make
reporters call you.
The release is full of grammatical errors
It was handwritten, typed in all capital
letters, or displayed in some hard-to-read format.
Top 10 Tips for Annual Reports
Dont wait until the last minute
a good annual report is a collaborative effort that takes
many months to plan and implement.
Determine theme, direction and tone of
the report before you get started. Your budget will dictate
the parameters but you can be creative and professional within
Develop a compelling cover that will encourage
readers to open it one that complements your corporate
Assuming you are not a start-up, review
your last three or four annual reports to get a good idea of
where your company has been and how it has progressed. Do you
want to continue building on the same image or introduce something
new this year?
Review your competitors annual reports
before creating your own.
Dont just report on the financial
condition of the company; analyze and interpret those results
for your audiences. Put information into context.
Make sure your financial highlights are
immediately accessible. Analysts and brokers turn to this section
first. Incorporate graphs and charts to give readers a swift
Use descriptive headings and subheads
in the narrative section to communicate key points for readers
who only skim the report.
Candidly review the companys highlights
and lowlights for the preceding year. Provide
a good, clear description of your firm, summarize key events,
new products or services, and major achievements, and lay out
plans for the future.
As always, avoid industry or company jargon.
Top 10 Tips for Turning
an Unknown CEO Into a Headline Grabber
1. Cultivate personality. Think of the
CEOs who grab the most media attention; they have charisma. They
educate reporters without delivering a hard sales pitch.
2. Have something newsworthy to say. CEOs who are good interviewees
tout their company's strong financials, technology differentiation
or another notable (and quotable) facet and make reporters
3. Be opinionated and bold. The media loves to quote CEOs who
are willing to make predictions about their industry, assume positions
on controversial issues, take risks and exude confidence.
4. Speak up. Top CEOs cultivate a reputation of authority, in
part, by being a voice of their industry and speaking at trade
conferences and other business forums.
5. Craft a position of thought leadership. CEOs become thought
leaders in their field by sharing their knowledge with the media.
Reporters gain access to all-important experts to quote, and CEOs
achieve credible exposure.
6. Interpret news events. Headline-worthy CEOs think macro and
speak micro. They issue press releases, write letters to editors
or otherwise contact trade and business media to lend insight
into business and economic developments. For example, how will
the lowered interest rates affect your industry or specialization?
7. Be available. A reporter can't postpone deadlines, which means
CEOs who want media attention must work around editorial schedules
and be willing to respond after hours or even on vacation.
8. Display good business etiquette. Oft-quoted CEOs treat reporters
with courtesy. They are on time for interviews, return phone calls
and e-mails quickly and thank reporters for their time.
9. Build relationships and credibility. Media-savvy CEOs establish
rapport with the top business and trade reporters just as they
do with their most-important customers. They meet and talk with
them frequently to determine what they need and then deliver
10. Think before speaking. Although it is essential to build relationships
with reporters, top CEOs know they must scrutinize every word
said. A damaging quote is worse than no quote at all.
Top 10 tips for surviving sensitive
Whenever you face an interview
whether on a sensitive topic or not decide your key messages
Make sure your message is simple. Practice
until you can say it without sounding rehearsed.
Repeat your key message several times
during the course of the interview if the interview is of substantial
Prepare two or three sub-messages you
want to get across. Dont wait for the reporter to ask
the appropriate question find ways to weave your messages
into your answers.
If you work in an organization in which
several people talk to the media, make sure everyone is consistent.
Dont respond to a tough, angry or
hostile question with a "no comment." Use the opportunity to
refer back to your key message, by saying, "I don't know the
answer to that question, but I CAN tell you that..."
If you dont know the answer to a
question, be honest and say so. Untruths will come back to haunt
Anticipate the worst question the reporter
could ask, then craft a response to it -- and make sure you
Ask a colleague to play the role of the
reporter in a mock interview and ask you a variety of tough
Tape-record the interview, so you can
hear how you sound. Work on the rough spots for next time.
Top 10 Ways To Damage Your
Buzz word-itis If your claim
to fame is "being first to move with robust, turn-key, best-of-breed,
next-generation, leading edge, scalable, seamless, end-to-end
solutions," youre doomed. Rather than differentiate your
venture, it makes your business sound like every other high-tech
company vying for coverage in a crowded marketplace. To succeed,
explain in plain English what you do, how it benefits
customers, and why it is different from whats already
Failure to establish a target market
You can't be all things to all people. Decide whom
you want to reach, and craft a plan to reach customers in a
distinct market segment.
Failure to develop a consistent corporate
identity If everyone has his or her own ideas about
what the company stands for, this inhibits your ability to build
your brand among clients, contacts and members of the media.
Develop three or four strong messaging points and use them consistently
for all collateral materials and all public contacts/appearances.
Unrealistic budgeting Match
expectations to budgets. Regional coverage costs less than national
or global coverage, for example. Be prepared to pay for what
you get. Results are based on the time and creativity devoted
to your campaign on a consistent, continuous basis.
Failure to face reality Dont
insist on Fortune 500 coverage just because youve opened
your doors and your product is ready to sell. Assess your operation
in terms of the world around you. Is your new venture the harbinger
of a new trend or development, or just another start-up?
The atom crusher Companies
today have to be flexible, but you cant expect to change
course every time you hit an obstacle. Aim for an integrated,
strategic program that ramps up to support your business, marketing
and capital plans.
Writing it right Dont
let the lawyers or engineers be the final arbiters of the writing
produced. Read the finished piece to a colleague or friend.
If their eyes glaze over, its time to rewrite. And beware
of those buzz words mentioned above. Engineers can make the
wording accurate and attorneys can keep you out of trouble.
But neither may know how to communicate to your audience(s),
so your PR team better stay in the loop until the end.
Failure to produce the beef
A hot new idea isnt enough anymore. The media
and your investors will want proof. Youll need data to
demonstrate that you are sticking with your plan and making
progress against your competition and in the market.
The boredom factor Members
of the media receive dozens of releases every day. Strive to
add personality and energy so yours will stand out from the
pack. Aim for great sound bites and quotes dont
settle for self-serving statements no one would ever say out
Ignoring the new world Still
using the marketing models you used 20 years ago? Its
time to update. Employ interactive models that help you connect
with your customers on an ongoing basis, while mining data to
get to know them better.
Top 10 Tips for Media Corrections
Determine if the "error"
is truly an error. Journalists often are asked for corrections
based simply on the tone or slant of a story not on obvious
factual mistakes. Only ask for corrections for factual mistakes.
Choose your battles wisely. If
a mistake doesnt cause any damage to a brand or cause
you to lose customers, consider letting it slide. Asking a reporter
for too many corrections undermines your companys credibility
in the newsroom.
Check to see if the publication has
a regular department for corrections. Such a department
may spell out procedures for alerting the publication to errors.
Begin the process with the person who
made the mistake. Going straight to the publisher will completely
destroy any credibility you have in the newsroom. Let the reporter
himself or herself bring the mistake to the editor.
Dont call or e-mail until you
can prove your point. Gather proof that the error was indeed
Remain calm and courteous. The
age old adage of getting more flies with honey than vinegar
rings true when requesting a correction.
Go over the reporters head only
for the most serious corrections. If you dont get
satisfaction from the reporter, and you believe the correction
is worth fighting for, go to the editor, but make sure you tell
the reporter what youre up to. When possible, ask the
reporter to take the dispute to the editor.
If the dispute involves more than a
misspelled name, consider writing a letter to the editor to
state your case. This action is appropriate when you didnt
get to have your say in the original story, leaving your viewpoint
out of the finished piece.
Do your part to help the reporter avoid
mistakes in the first place. Always provide the media with
backgrounders or fact sheets to help ensure accuracy.
Ask the reporter for an opportunity
to fact check the piece before it goes to print. Most reporters
will deny this request, but with large or complicated stories,
it may be worth the effort to ask.
Top 10 Tips for Writing
Get one or two issues of the magazine
and read the bylined articles to give you a feel for the magazines
requirements and writing style.
Contact the editor of the publication
to ask about your deadline and your word count.
Find out whether the publication wants
photos or graphics to accompany the story. If so, ask whether
prints, slides or emailed photos are preferred. If emailed,
ask what dpi or resolution is needed.
Some publications will want a photo of
the author. If you dont have one, consider getting a professional
A bylined article is not an advertisement;
its an opportunity to demonstrate your companys
expertise. In many cases, your company wont even be mentioned
in the story you and your company will be identified
in a short paragraph at the end.
Your document should include a headline,
your byline, and a "tag line" at the end that identifies
you and gives a brief summary of your company. Double-space
the copy for easy editing, and include contact information in
case the editor has questions.
Double-check all spelling and all facts.
If you quote someone, make certain he or she approves the quote
before you submit the article.
Your company may want to invest in an
Associated Press Style Guide. Journalists use certain writing
conventions (such as writing out all numbers below "10").
An editor will appreciate clean copy that adheres to journalistic
Find out the anticipated publication date,
but realize it could change. Although many publications automatically
send a copy to contributors, check back with the editor around
the anticipated date.
Carefully look at the edited article before
it goes to press. Dont worry about "cosmetic"
changes in wording unless they introduce inaccuracies, but do
look for dropped words or partial sentences, typos and misidentifications.
Be certain, too, that your companys information is correctly
Top 10 Tips to Decrease PR Costs
- When sending a press release on a fee-based
wire service, dont assume you always need the more costly
national circuits. Local circuits can reduce costs and still
provide exposure to both local media and national financial
- Create an electronic media kit to minimize
print and mailing costs. Reporters increasingly prefer to view
- Dont spend money on trinkets to
tempt reporters; offer substantive news instead.
- Limit the number of trade shows where
you exhibit just walking the floor can be effective in
- Skip the trade show press conference
unless you have big news to report; instead, schedule and meet
with reporters one-on-one.
- Introduce one or more key company executives
to reporters as expert sources inclusion in news articles
can boost company credibility and be less expensive than advertising.
- When you need to reach business-to-business
audiences, focus on coverage in trade publications. It takes
much less time to produce trade media hits and therefore the
labor cost to you is reduced.
- When you do get a media hit, email the
Web link to strategic business contacts and prospects as part
of your marketing program. Hard copy reprints are also valuable
to pass along.
- Contribute bylined "expert"
articles to trade and online publications.
- Seek out speaking engagements; they
offer great opportunities for targeted exposure and building
Top 10 Marketing Mistakes
Placing the emphasis on your company,
not your customer
Selling features, not customer benefits
Not finding out your customers needs
Not differentiating your product from
Failure to include a call to action
Relying on a one-shot ad campaign, instead
of continuous, coordinated exposure in a variety of media
Not testing headlines, price points, packages,
pitches to determine whats selling and what isnt
Failure to communicate key messages
Eliminating marketing efforts when times
Dropping a marketing strategy that is
Top 10 Tips for Effective Direct Mail
Have complete understanding of your target
audience BEFORE you begin your campaign.
Create your direct mail campaign with
your target audience in mind write your copy and design
your piece specifically for this audience.
Acquire a mailing list only after careful
research. Make certain that this list represents ONLY your target
audience. A smaller, more tightly focused list can reduce costs
and increase your campaign success.
Realize that your headline (s) is critical.
Write and re-write the headline until it is truly an attention-grabber.
Always include a prominent "call
to action" so your potential buyers will know how to purchase
your product or service.
From a strictly nuts-and-bolts angle,
make sure you know all of the post offices regulations.
Many great direct mail pieces have gone astray at the PO and
had to be redone at great expense.
Use a "merge/purge" program
if you are utilizing more than one list. This will remove multiple
mailings to the same person, saving you money and reducing annoyance
to the potential customer.
Once your direct mail piece is written,
designed and printed, dont send out all at once. Try several
smaller test mailings, perhaps with each one testing a different
element, such as different wordings, or headlines.
Carefully analyze where your responses
are coming from, i.e. which test mailings, which lists, etc.
Patterns will emerge if you are looking for them and these can
help make future mailings more productive and less costly.
BE CREATIVE. You will be competing for
the customers attention along with numerous other direct
mail pieces. If your piece is boring and dull, youll probably
end up in the circular file. If your headline or design grabs
attention quickly, chances are your message will be read.
10 Tips for Items in a Media Kit
2. industry backgrounder
3. corporate fact sheet
4. frequently asked questions (FAQs)
5. executive bios
6. recent press releases
7. company brochure
8. product data sheets
9. annual report
Top 10 Tips for Trade Show Success
1. Unless you have a large in-house creative/production department,
outsource the design and production of your trade show exhibit.
2. Communicate with show management early to uncover all possible
PR, advertising and promotion opportunities pre-, during and post-show.
3. Plan far enough ahead to take advantage of all promotional opportunities
and provide a strong, positive image of your company at the show.
4. Determine in the planning stages whom EXACTLY you wish to attract
to your booth and devise strategies to get them there.
5. Learn how simple or sophisticated the other attendees booths
will be and then plan yours accordingly. When appropriate, make other
exhibitors aware of your product. In some shows, both attendees and
exhibitors should be targeted for double efficiency.
6. Dont forget that trade shows can be excellent media opportunities,
particularly for trade press.
7. Take advantage of show dailies and set up trade press appointments
in advance when possible.When you know your trade show schedule, make
good use of all marketing vehicles to let your target audiences know
this schedule, i.e. Web site, ads, press releases, sales collateral,
8. Target the look and message of your booth to the show you are attending.
9. Dont assume that one booth-one look is appropriate for all
shows, although sometimes it is.
10. FOLLOW UP. A great show with lots of
quality leads will be disastrous unless there is careful and quick
follow up on all leads.
Top 10 Rules for Successful Strategic Selling
- Know thyself Be able to
define your company and its products or services succinctly.
- Know thy customers Define
specific targets to go after and study their buying decisions
and patterns. When you market to these targets, tailor your
communications to their needs.
- Know thy competitors Find
out what you are selling against and learn how your competitors
rank against your products, services, customer support, etc.
- Plan ahead Analyze your
market, what is happening and why it is happening. Create a
plan to stay ahead of market changes.
- Build relationships Forge
long-term relationships with customers by listening to them.
Determine their needs, understand what they value and how they
measure customer satisfaction.
- Foresee the future Study
your customers businesses and anticipate what they will
need before they do. Be innovative and creative in suggesting
solutions. Add value to the relationship at every opportunity.
- Marshal resources Ask for
assistance from your colleagues outside of sales to help you
communicate with customers and provide the solutions that they
need. Create a financial plan of how to adequately develop business
and nourish customer accounts.
- Close the sale Pursue a
sale aggressively but know when to hold back. Offer solutions
that yield long-term advantages for you and your customers.
- Follow the sale Deliver
what you have promised after the sale stay on strategy,
time and money.
- Be honest Remember that
your personal integrity is at stake.
Top10Tips on Selecting a Domain Name for
Your domain name, or URL, is extremely
important to the success of your site. Your online marketing
efforts will be either helped or hindered by the name you select
and register. Now is the time BEFORE you register your
name to consider the guidelines. Here are some tips to
keep in mind as you go through this process:
- Avoid words that can be spelled in
a variety of ways. When your potential visitor misspells your
name, and cant find you, potential business may be lost.
If this cant be avoided, register the common misspellings
so they link to the actual URL.
- Even if you select a domain name different
than your company name, go ahead and register your company
name, too. This name can be linked to your URL which will
help people find you if they do not know your actual URL.
- Keep your name as short as possible.
The more characters, the more chances for mistakes and therefore,
- Try for a memorable name if possible.
If the name is spoken in conversation, will the listener recall
it later? A memorable name can tremendously assist an ad campaign.
- The best domain names are ones that
mirror the business actual name or give an impression
of what the business does.
- Try to avoid numerals in your name.
People often cant recall if they should be numerical
or spelled out in letters.
- Dont use trademarked names that
do not belong to your company in your URL.
- Designate one central person as the
keeper of the domain name(s) registration material and account
numbers, passwords and renewal dates.
- Carefully consider your top level domain
(TLD) -- the suffix at the end of your name following the
period. Com (.com) is the most common and the best if your
name is available. Otherwise, try to select another suffix
that is well-known, such as .net.
- Register variations of your name. For
example, if you have a .com address, add .net and .org for
the same URL. This will protect you in the future.
Top 10 Tips for Telemarketing Success
- Select Quality Lists. Have a good
understanding of your ideal customer so you can uncover a list
with the right characteristics. Look at your current customers
to gain this understanding.
- Track Results Carefully. Some
lists work better than others; some scripts do better, and,
of course, some callers are superstars. Track all results to
make sure you know which lists, scripts and callers are doing
the job you need.
- Develop an Effective Script. This
is especially important when the caller is green. Your own situation
will dictate whether you need a script with just key points
or something more elaborate with a variety of answers to anticipated
- Be Prepared. Make certain you
are ready to make the call keep in mind that when you
sound focused and relaxed, your chances of conveying your message
- Be Courteous Always. Most telemarketers
know to be courteous while matching their pitch. But some fall
victim to getting rattled when confronted by rude people. Your
ultimate success depends on you "keeping your cool" at all times.
- Set Goals. You have a much greater
chance of success if you have clearly defined your goals prior
to starting the campaign. Set targets for each individual and
each activity under taken. Keep an eye on these throughout.
- Training is Key. Dont expect
to turn a great employee into a great telemarketer without training.
Persons who specialize in telemarketing also need training,
but when you need to convert existing employees into callers,
make certain they understand the campaign objectives. Use role-playing
to maximize their skills.
- Motivate Your Workers. Motivation
can take many forms everything from a verbal compliment
to a monthly or annual trophy. Holding actual contests can provide
great incentive for excellence; contestants can be individuals
or teams, depending on your work situation.
- Use Coaching to Improve Performance.
First, each employee should be monitored and evaluated regularly.
Next, compliment strengths and point out weaknesses (with suggestions
for improvement). Make each employee feel better, not worse,
after coaching this helps counterbalance frequent rejection.
- Create a System for Follow-up. One
of the worst mistakes you can make is doing a good job on the
telemarketing, but falling down on the follow-up. Set up a complete
follow-up system BEFORE you start. Know exactly what you will
do in each instance, i.e. send company materials, follow-up
call later (know exactly when), follow-up letter, etc.
Top 10 Tips for Web Content
Integrate. Approach your Web site
with the goal of integrating design and writing to communicate
your messages. The most effective content gives site visitors
text, databases and graphics that are integrated to accurately
communicate your messages.
Plan. Consider what you want your
Web site to accomplish long term before taking action. Many
organizations approach Web site content with the simple goal
of "getting up information." But without knowing your
organizations long-term plan for the site (education,
e-commerce, marketing), your content will fall short of succeeding
in its objective.
Approve. Get senior managers to
buy into site objectives and content before going live. This
will ensure that planning precedes action.
Maximize. Look at your existing
marketing and sales materials and repurpose content when appropriate.
You could post presentations as downloadable PDFs or recast
brochure content to be more Web-friendly.
Interact. Give site visitors an
easy way to interact with you. You can accomplish this by including
an e-mail hyperlink or an automated response form.
Engage. Look throughout your organization
for suitable content. For example, your sales organization could
have customer testimonials to include online. The executive
team could contribute messages to customers and partners.
Respond. Reply to inquiries from
site visitors within 24 hours the same day, if possible.
This shows that your organization is committed to its online
presence and values interaction with its stakeholders.
Standardize. Strive for content
consistency and accuracy. You should develop a style for content
that complies with online standards. Site visitors will comprehend
more of your content if it is crisp and clear. Keep paragraphs
short and use bullet points to communicate benefits or other
information in lists.
Restrain. Dont make your
site a homage to the latest Web design innovations. Technology,
such as flash, can help your organization communicate effectively
and differentiate itself from competitors. But technology used
without restraint can overwhelm visitors and reduce reading
Own. Designate one person within
your organization as the content keeper. This individual should
be responsible for ensuring that content adheres to these tips
and owns the project from integrating messages to responding
to visitor inquiries.
Top 10 Ways to Use Customer Testimonials
- Sales collateral. The most traditional
use of a case study or testimonial is to include it among your
companys sales collateral given to prospective customers.
It could be a stand-alone piece or incorporated into a brochure.
- New business solicitation. Go one
step further in your sales solicitations by mailing or e-mailing
prospective customers directly with testimonials. This often is
perceived as a "softer" sales approach, as a customer testimonial
is viewed more objectively than a companys own marketing
- Corporate positioning. Many companies,
wishing to be viewed as customer-centric, use customer testimonials
as the basis of their ad campaigns.
- Web site content. Make use of your
corporate Web site by including a section on customer testimonials.
It adds examples of real-world applications that site visitors
- Customer recognition. You can reward
your most important customers by soliciting feedback from them
about your products and services and then use the testimonial
to promote your company and theirs.
- Press or analyst references. The
media and analysts scramble for objective, third-party views of
your company. Although business and financial reporters and financial
and industry analysts wont use a case study provided word
for word, they often will use it as springboard for covering your
company or follow up with the customer for an interview.
- Employee communications. Employees
crave good-news stories about the success of their company
especially early wins for startups. Company leaders should send
customer testimonials to all employees and recognize the employees
who were instrumental in gaining the customers favorable
- Speeches. You can weave testimonials
into speeches to show how end users have used you your product
or service successfully.
- Trade shows. There are multiple
uses for testimonials at trade shows. Companies can include testimonials
in their presentations, speeches, marketing collateral and even
booth graphics. Many also include customers in their in-booth
- Bylined articles. Some trade publications
will publish case studies with a byline from either a company
or customer representative.
Top 10 Tips for a Cause-Related Marketing
Be careful about what you promote.
Your company should align itself only with a cause that reflects
the ideals of the company and meets the needs of the charity.
Define the benefits. Only partner
with charitable causes that will derive real benefits, such
as in-kind or monetary donations or employee volunteers.
Think size appropriate. Although
larger companies can conduct grand-scale cause-related marketing
campaigns, such as a national ISP donating a portion of monthly
service fees to a non-profit, even small companies can have
big impacts by conducting a grass-roots campaign for a local
Target based on demographics. Cause-related
marketing should be targeted at groups that share the same values
as your company, ensuring demographic similarity between the
types of donors to that charity and buyers or users of your
product or service.
Dont exploit your good deed.
Although cause-related marketing isnt completely altruistic
you should seek some positive exposure for your involvement
publicity should be conducted with respect to both the
corporate and non-profit entities.
Think long term. You should strive
to create programs that yield long-term value for the non-profit,
not short-term hype for you.
Look beyond the trends. Look beyond
the philantropic trends to identify charities that truly need
your assistance, not merely have current name recognition.
Commit resources. Before agreeing
to a cause, ensure that your organization can handle its request.
Do due diligence. Look at their
operations as you would any strategic partner. Talk with the
executive director, the development director and members of
the board to get an idea of financial situation, resources,
Maximize the PR value. Explore
how you can be included in their marketing vehicles to help
promote your company and build a tie in with their organization.
Top 10 Ways to Use E-mail More Effectively
Top 10 Tips for Using
Select your audience. Think about
who should receive your message. Use the "cc"
carbon copy function for those who should be informed
about your message but dont need to take action. Dont
send every message to every individual working on a project
if it isnt pertinent to them.
Control your replies. If you receive
an e-mail asking you for information that also was sent to others,
dont automatically use the "reply all" feature.
Chances are, only the author needs the information.
Consider your image. Refrain from
sending jokes and other trivial e-mails as broadcast messages
from your company e-mail account. It lessens the impact of legitimate
e-mails you do send.
Dont spam. If you regularly
send e-mails to a distribution list, give recipients the option
to opt out and respect their requests.
Know your purpose. Treat e-mail
as any of form of business communications. Although your writing
tone can be looser than in a formal memo or report, you still
should have a well-defined purpose in mind before sending any
Define the subject. Treat the subject
line as editors treat a headline. It should be provocative and
Clearly ask for what you want. Let
recipients know what is expected of them. Dont bury a
task or information request in the body of the e-mail. Call
it out, using bullets or other devices, so recipients can quickly
scan the e-mail and understand what to do.
Sign it. Make use of the auto-signature
function most e-mail systems offer. Include your name, company
name, brief company description (no more than five words) and
Consider in box limitations. Dont
send e-mail attachments 1kb or larger.
Pick up the phone. Although e-mail
is a time-saving and effective communication vehicle, it cant
replace actually speaking with another individual. Sometimes,
the best way to communicate information that can easily be misconstrued
or when you need to make a personal connection with someone
is to have a good old-fashioned conversation with them.
the rules. Every manufacturer or supplier that offers co-op
advertising establishes its own programs, so learn all the rules
before conducting any advertising and follow them exactly
so you get paid.
2. Verify your work. When submitting a claim for co-op
advertising, make sure to include a copy of a print or online
ad or transcripts of a broadcast ad plus affidavits of dates and
3. Follow the money trail. Always include copies of
invoices from the publication, Web site or station that ran the
4. Count your pennies. Your company earns co-op
dollars based on the amount of purchases made from a manufacturer
or supplier. Keep careful records so you know exactly how much
you purchased and how much you are entitled to for your
5. Outsmart the competition. Look for creative ways to
use your co-op funding that your competitors aren't, such as sales
videos or promotional contests. However, check with your manufacturer
first to get prior approval before launching.
6. Be bold. About your company name, that is. Viewers
of your ad should remember your company's name primarily, not
your supplier's. Your goal is to increase your sales, not simply
7. Think like the manufacturer. Try to fashion your
ads after their campaigns. This will increase the likelihood they
will fund it.
8. Ask for it. If your preferred vendor doesn't offer co-op
advertising, prepare a proposal and pitch the idea. They may fund
the idea even if an established program isn't in place.
9. Switch allegiances. If another vendor does offer co-op
advertising and your preferred vendor doesn't, consider switching
(assuming all other aspects of the business relationship is comparable).
10. Claim it. You'd be surprised how many companies don't
get their slice of the co-op pie because they fail to submit claims.
Don't make the same mistake.
Ways to Boost Marketing Effectiveness
1. Go back
to basics. Perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats) analysis of your current marketing efforts before
incorporating any new strategies or tactics. Look at whether your
efforts are in line with your company's overall business strategy
and reach all of your audiences. Also examine your company's messages
to audiences. An effective marketing program will have a mix of
tactics, such as public relations, advertising, online marketing,
investor relations and trade show involvement.
2. Define what you want to achieve. Before embarking
on any marketing project where PR, advertising, online
marketing or others decide what you want to achieve with
it. Perhaps you want to increase sales by 10 percent over a 30-day
period or introduce a new CEO to the investment community and
secure four briefings with venture capitalists. Describe it as
precisely as you can.
3. Understand your targets. Learn what will motivate
your target audience to buy your products, visit your Web site
in short, take the action you want them to before
you communicate with them. Your marketing efforts will be more
successful, and your measurement will be more revealing. See if
your sales department or other internal groups have any data on
4. Communicate appropriately. For most business-to-business
or business-to-consumer communications, your writing should target
a reading level of sixth to ninth grade. Many word processing
software programs provide readability statistics for you, including
Microsoft Word. If your audience doesn't fully grasp your message,
it won't respond.
5. Conduct informal testing. In many instances especially
when your marketing investment is small or project is informal
you can track your effectiveness by spot polling your target
audience. Call customers to conduct random interviews. When making
sales calls, ask prospects what they think of your communications.
Look for other informal and inexpensive ways to gather feedback.
6. Pretest before committing. If your marketing
campaign is sizable in terms of expense and reach, test the waters
before launching it. Conduct a focus group of your target audience
to gauge their reaction to it. You'll have some confidence before
committing to buying advertising space, introducing a service
or product, or conducting a significant project.
7. Perform formal testing. Also for large marketing
campaigns, such as direct mail, invest in formal research after
their launch. Employ surveys and establish online tracking mechanisms
to determine response rate and effectiveness. Consider using a
market research expert or statistician to help you quantify your
8. Offer incentives. Encourage people to provide informal
or formal feedback by giving them an incentive for helping you,
such as discounts on a future purchases or free consultation.
9. Audit annually. Conduct target audience research every
year to learn how their needs and relationship to your company
10. Fine tune. Measurement is a process. As you gather
informal and formal feedback, use the information to fine tune
your marketing efforts. Little changes can yield big results,
such as revising the subject line in an e-mail campaign to garner
higher response rates.
Top 10 Tips for Speaking to Industry Groups
your audience. Your speech should reflect the needs of the
group you are addressing. Tailor your talk to make it relevant.
For example, if your expertise is online security, you could give
a group of business leaders advice on creating a privacy program
for their customers. This same talk could be tailored to a technology
group if you recommend hardware, software and services.
2. Engage them. As part of your research, get to know
some of the key players from the industry group who will attend
your talk. Work their names either individuals or companies
into your presentation. You'll boost the audiences' attentiveness.
3. Offer solutions. One of the best ways to earn a
good reputation with industry groups is to propose solutions to
their problems not a sales pitch for your company. If you've
done a thorough job of researching your audience, you understand
their challenges. Let them know that by offering ideas for them
4. Deliver a call to action. Engage your audience
further by moving them to act on your message after the presentation.
Give them resources to continue their learning experience, such
as the titles of books to read or addresses of Web sites to visit.
Offer some free consulting time to answer their questions one-on-one
without a sales presentation for your services.
5. Let them get to know you. If you connect with your audience,
they will listen to you better. Reveal something about yourself
that your industry peers could relate to, such as your own business
problems and how you addressed them.
6. Use humor. Levity is a powerful and effective
tool. Used effectively, humor makes your material more memorable
and you more likable. Plus, it gives your audience time to comprehend
heavy material. You don't need to tell jokes just relate
a funny story or project an entertaining cartoon that relates
to your subject matter.
7. Illustrate with props. People understand material
better when they can make a visual connection to your point. Bring
props that relate to your presentation.
8. Know the logistics. Before your presentation, learn how
the room will be configured, how many people will be in attendance,
if food will be served while you are speaking, lighting effects
in use and more. Pay attention to these details because they can
affect your performance and listeners' comprehension.
9. Practice. You might present the most critical information
but no one will remember it or have a favorable impression
of you if you don't project a polished image. Don't rely
on PowerPoint to make you a dynamic speaker. Practice what you
will say and how you will say it before you present. You should
appear confident during your presentation, not searching for the
10. Allow for Q&A. Build into your allotted speaking
time for a short question-and-answer session. This will further
show your willingness to offer solutions and help audience members
Top 10 Ways to Create
a Press-Friendly Web Site
a media section. Press will appreciate having media resources
online. You should post all news releases, company backgrounders,
white papers, product and service specification sheets, executive
bios, photos, etc.
2. Link to media section. By providing a hyperlink
to the media section on every page, journalists can easily navigate
through the site, glean the information most useful to them and
contact you easily.
3. Publish a complete list of press contacts. Include
the name, direct e-mail, phone, fax and areas of responsibility
for each media contact at your company. And keep the list current.
4. Include a Web-based form. In addition to providing
contact information for all company representatives authorized
to speak with the media, include a Web-based form the press can
use to request more information or an interview. Respond to these
inquiries the same day as received.
5. Publish press releases on your own site quickly. You
should publish news releases on your site simultaneously to distributing
via a wire service or sending to the media. This shows the media
that your site is an up-to-the-minute source of company news and
6. Make it easy to ask questions. Most journalists
will view your press releases as news leads. If you succeed in
grabbing their attention, they will have questions and want to
follow up with you. You'll run the risk losing their interest
if they have to hunt for contact information. Put the name, telephone
number and e-mail address of a media representative for your company
on every news release posted online.
7. Link easy. Journalists whose work appears in online
media often link directly to news releases or corporate Web sites.
If the press release section of your Web site uses dynamically
generated HTML, make sure the URL for each release includes no
session information. This way, the same URL will work for any
user. Also, don't let the URL get unreasonably long.
8. Let the press opt in. Within the media section of your
site, include a way for journalists to join a company e-mail list.
This makes it easy for journalists to keep track of your organization
without having to visit yourself regularly which most reporters
wonÕt do anyway.
9. Learn e-mail etiquette. To effectively use and
manage your opt-in list, transmit e-mail releases and other announcements
only when you have hard news to share. You will alienate the media
if you inundate them with fluff.
10. Do your homework. You should ask your media
contacts if they find your Web site valuable. Solicit feedback
and perform evaluations regularly just as you would seek
feedback from customers on whether your products and services
meet their needs.
Top 10 Tips for Selecting a PR Agency
1. Define objectives. Before meeting with any agencies,
determine what you want out of the relationship. What do you hope
to achieve for your company? For example, do you want to increase
sales, enter a new market space or launch a product? Do you need
to have a presence on Wall Street or among the local business
community to raise additional funds? Do you have a poor image
or no image that has to be dealt with.
2. Seek referrals. Ask industry colleagues you trust
for recommendations. Attend professional and trade associations
and ask members which agencies they use. Professional service
providers, such as attorneys, CPAs, investment bankers and others
can provide good tips as well. Share your objectives with these
sources so they can point you in the right direction.
3. Develop a list. Compile a list of about a dozen
agencies to consider based on your referrals. Now, conduct secondary
research about these agencies. Read the business journals in your
area to find information about each agency, such as new clients,
staff hires and awards. Go to each Web site and see how they present
themselves. Look for work that impresses you. Not all PR firms
focus on agency promotion, however, so don't discount a recommendation
simply because there is a lot written about that firm.
4. Set the criteria. Before approaching any agency,
develop criteria to evaluate their knowledge, services, results,
fees and "fit" with your company. You want to make an "apples
to apples" comparison of each agency, so write a list of questions
to glean the answers that are important to you. Some questions
that should appear in your criteria: Do they have experience working
in your industry? If not, how can they demonstrate that they can
bridge the learning curve quickly? How is their work creative
and original enough to separate you from your competitors? Are
the people who will work on your account experienced? Are they
budget conscious and results-oriented?
5. Screen agencies by phone. An agency review can be a
lengthy process, so look for ways to save time. One recommendation:
Conduct the first round of evaluation by telephone. Request that
each agency comment on the criteria you have developed.
6. Interview the finalists. After conducting telephone
interviews, arrange in-person interviews with three of four PR
firms that met your criteria and you felt you could work with
to meet your business objectives. Ask agencies to present their
firm capabilities and preliminary analysis of your industry, business
and PR recommendations. However, don't be wowed by razzle-dazzle
performances. Try to evaluate what they say, rather than just
how they say it. Good new business presentations may have little
to do with the ability to conduct good work.
7. Value chemistry. The agency you select must not
only commit to helping you achieve your objectives and meet your
criteria, it also must be able to integrate into your company
and become part of the team. Ask yourself, "Do I feel comfortable
working with these professionals?" Do you feel that you will have
full access to not only your account manager but the heads of
the agency as well?
8. Ask to speak with current and former clients. Just as you
would interview a job candidate's former employees, talk with
agencies' clients. You will be able to learn if the agency is
easy to work with and delivers on promises.
9. Know the players. Many agencies will send their
top executives and business development managers to meet with
you and get your business. Often, these individuals will have
no to little activity on your account. Before signing a contract,
try to meet the professionals who will work on your account day
to day. The purpose of this step is to ensure that the agencyÕs
most junior members won't staff your account entirely. Look for
a good balance between established professionals and young talent
working on your account.
10. Give the agency time to perform. Although you
will be eager to see your PR dollars generate media coverage and
other forms of publicity, any PR campaign takes some time to realize
results. Opt to sign a six-month contact with your agency. This
time frame is long enough to evaluate your agency's performance
and determine whether the agency you selected is a long-term fit
for your company.
Top 10 Tips for Crisis
a crisis management plan before your company needs one. Decide
ahead of time who will be authorized to speak for the company
in case of a disaster.
2. Build up a bank of good will by cultivating a positive
public image during the good times. The public will be more likely
to give you the benefit of the doubt
3. When a crisis hits, respond immediately and openly. (In
Internet time, "immediately" means within 24 hours. Don't give
special interest groups time to seize the Web initiative.)
4. Admit your responsibility, and apologize. Announce that
you are investigating the situation and will report back as additional
information becomes available.
5. Explain how you're going to rectify the problem. Then
6. Don't forget the Internet: Address the issue on your
company Web site and update the information often. Some companies
create a dummy Internet site that can go live for the public and
the media in an emergency.
7. Be available to reporters, return all media calls promptly,
and answer questions openly and honestly.
8. Make sure your company has one unified, resonating message.
9. Provide new information to the media and the public
as soon as it becomes available.
10. Be responsive to people's needs. That includes victims
and their families, employees and their families, and the surrounding
10 Tips for Creating
1. Keep in
mind your company's industry, its positioning within its industry
and its target audience(s) when you decide the look and feel of
your corporate identity (logo). Corporate, tech and consumer logos
all can be very different.
2. Strive for future flexibility when you design the logo.
Make sure the image will look good both small (business card size)
and large (truck size). You may not need a top-of-building sign
now, but all successful companies eventually find new uses for
3. Not all companies require icons, also referred to as marks,
symbols,or the company's brand. Sometimes, a distinctive type
font for the company name can be sufficient. Be open to all possibilities
during the corporate identity process.
4. Think carefully about the size relationship between
the company name and logo icon. In some cases, a small icon and
larger company name is appropriate. In others, it is essential
for people to remember the icon and therefore it should have a
memorable look and sufficient size. Whatever you select, try to
keep the icon the same size on all pieces of the stationery package.
5. When selecting the type font, avoid fonts that are too
trendy or are difficult to read. A trendy font will grow tiresome
before long and look dated. A difficult-to-read font will cause
even worse problems. Some of the oldest fonts can appear both
contemporary and timeless and look good with most icons.
6. Select your corporate color(s) carefully. Choose colors
you and your customers will still like in future
years. For printed materials, two colors are a good choice. One
color can be boring and appear too inexpensive; three or four-colors
can be expensive to print. Logos used on the Internet require
a different approach. Many companies today often emerging
tech companies use 4-color logos for maximum Web impact.
It is not unusual to have a subdued print version and a splashier
7. Corporate logos should be relatively small to communicate
a professional look. In most cases, the larger the company, the
smaller the logo. Some exceptions: Logos for consumer products
and logos for design-oriented enterprises usually are larger.
8. When you are designing the logo, think about any specialty
printing you might want to include, such as regular or blind embossing,
foil stamping, "bleeds" off the edge of the paper, etc. If you
know at the start you want embossing or foil, the design must
lend itself to that treatment.
9. Once the logo is selected, use it on all communications
from the company. Even new ventures should set up corporate design
standards that dictate how and when the logo is to be used. This
will help a company avoid the mismatched look that often appears
when companies expand rapidly.
10. Obtain the original art boards and electronic/digital
files so you can modify the artwork in the future.
Top 10 Tips for Writing
1. Your white paper should make a case for a single technology or
service. Written properly, it will build credibility for that product
2. Write for the appropriate audience: people with a technical background
in a targeted industry. You'll find the document will also be a
valuable PR tool for use with the press.
3. Write the white paper, not as a sales piece, but as an informational
document that provides broad technical explanations of a technology
or its implementation. Remember that you are trying to attract prospects
with a problem your product or service can solve.
4. Judge the length by what you have to say. A white paper can be
as short as three pages, or as long as 20 pages.
5. For maximum outreach, produce the white paper as a downloadable
PDF file, as well as on paper or posted on a Web site
6. Set the stage for the product you are discussing by sharing trend,
historical or background information up front.
7. Don't just explain design features. Explain design decisions,
too in other words, not only what the feature does, but why
it exists and what makes it valuable.
8. It is often helpful to create multiple white papers that address
different audiences, such as developer, user, or administrator.
9. If your product has an obvious weakness, don't be afraid to acknowledge
it as long as the product's positive features outweigh the
negative. It gives you an opportunity to respond to anticipated
objections, and the admission can boost your credibility.
10. Try using the following format:
Introduce a condition or situation that needs a solution
Present the technology or service that provides a solution
Explain what the new technology or service does and how it
Illustrate the benefits of the product or service
Explain why your company is taking a leading role in development
and implementation of this product or service
Provide a look at the future for this product or service.
Top 10 Tips for Maximizing the Paid Wire Services
1. Keep press releases short whenever possible. There is an extra
charge for excessive length.
2. Use the more costly national distribution circuits only when
your story is newsworthy enough to warrant them - - this will save
significant dollars in the long run.
3. If not a national story, use the smallest appropriate circuit
to save money. Target your local region; if the press release is
a joint effort by two companies, i.e. one in Chicago and another
in San Diego, release the news in both areas.
4. Take advantage of the trade publication lists included, at no
extra cost, with all releases. Both BusinessWire and PR Newswire
offer distribution to industry trade publications, i.e. high-technology,
medical, manufacturing, etc.
5. Release news early in the morning East Coast time. That way,
reporters on both coasts have access to the news when they get into
the office in the morning.
6. Supplement your wire distribution with your own media list -
- not everyone will see your release over the wire. Fax, email or
call your own media contacts. Also, fax, e-mail or call analysts
and key customers you have relationships with.
7. Make sure your news is worthy of wire release. For example, if
you are announcing the hiring of a new marketing manager, this may
not be worth the expense. Companies that issue too many "soft-news"
wire releases are not taken seriously when real news is released.
8. Release news early in the week whenever possible. Many weekly
publications close their issues by end-of-day Wednesday.
9. Always include contact names. Make it easy for reporters, customers
or others to inquire about the news by including company and PR
agency names, phone numbers and e-mails at the beginning or end
of the press release.
10. Make the headline of your press release compelling. The main
headline, and sub-headline, are what reporters see in their queues.
If they find them interesting, they will be likely to open the release
and read more.
Top 10 Tips for Visibility For Private Companies
- Develop a consistent corporate identity
with professional logo, press kit, Web site and collateral materials.
- Develop three or four strong messaging
points about your company. Ensure that executives, marketing and
other key staff know these messaging points, and use them consistently
for all public contacts/appearances.
- Create informative, non-commercial press
releases for news stories about your company. Look for ways to
differentiate from your competitors.
- Create and maintain a current list of media
contacts in the business, consumer and trade press. Cultivate
- Send a news release once a month or as
- Try to speak at industry conferences (without
compensation) to build credibility, but focus on your expertise,
not your product or service.
- Assist in sponsoring a non-profit event,
such as a science fair, seminar or physical activity such as a
walk, run or bicycle ride.
- Update your Web site often and provide
interesting, value-added information to ensure repeat visits that
can be tracked.
- Exhibit or at least attend trade shows
important to your industry. While there, meet as many key people,
including the media, as possible.
- Sponsor a seminar or other educational
event related to your industry. Then invite professionals who
can benefit from the information. Mention your product or service,
yet avoid strong commercialization.