I received an email from a source I don’t know telling me a link was broken on my website and recommended we link to a new site. What is this all about?
We highly recommend you do your homework first and don’t automatically change the link to the site the email is recommending. This is a very clever SEO approach that is on the rise, according to SEO expert and co-founder of diabetesdaily.com David Edelman.
There are tools available on the web that SEO experts can use to find broken links, like a link checker or broken link tool. The SEO expert identifies a reputable website he or she wants linking to their site (or a client’s site), finds a broken link and recommends their site (or client’s website) to help increase their organic search engine rankings.
Edelman provided a good example to highlight how this approach is working. “A reputable site like Harvard changes its site structure and breaks some old incoming links. A clever SEO expert searches for all high-quality sites linking to that page and emails them: Hey, your page has a broken link. Here’s the updated URL. They provide a link to their client’s site (or their own), which is hardly as credible as Harvard. This is a great way to get links from reputable sites.”
This is just one clever approach SEO experts are using to increase website rankings. Simply being aware of these approaches will help ensure you don’t fall for the trap.
Apple has a very strategic product development/launch schedule. Take the iPhone for example. Every year around June a new and more exciting version is launched. This is not by accident of course. Apple wants its customers to continue to come back each year to purchase the upgraded version.
Not only that, but Apple does not intend to support its older generation iPhones. I have the iPhone 3 and every time there is an upgrade in software it seems my phone is running slower and slower. However, I don’t think I would get to the point that I toss my iPhone because it is running too slowly. I would be more likely to toss the perfectly fine (but maybe a tad slow) iPhone 3 for the latest and greatest version. For this reason, I’m probably considered Apple’s ideal customer.
My husband wants to upgrade our iPhones, but I have been considering the best time to do so. It doesn’t make sense to purchase the iPhone 4 now, but rather wait until the 5th generation is available this summer. If there is something super cool that is part of the iPhone 5, I don’t want to be stuck with the iPhone 4 .
Apparently I’m not alone in my thinking. There was a story on NPR this week about tablet computers being the next “big” thing. The expert they interviewed for the story just sold his Apple iPad last week.
The reason the tech expert sold his iPad is because this is the maximum resale time. The iPad is still in demand and the next generation will not be available for another few months. What a great way to still get the latest and greatest Apple products, not get stuck with the older generation and still have some of your original dollars to invest in the next generation.
Life may be a journey, but we’re talking about business now, where the shortest distance between two points is universally recognized as a straight line. We’re talking shortcuts.
So as we wrap up 2010 and head into the new decade, I’d like to offer 10 surefire marketing shortcuts… for those who disagree with Chaucer’s observation in the Canterbury Tales: “In wikked haste is not profit.”
10. Skip the research. Surely your C-level executives have their fingers on the pulse of the marketplace; research would only muddy the waters.
9. Marketing plans are a huge waste of resources. You know what you want to do, so just get to it.
8. To paraphrase a quote from the novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “Budgets? We ain’t got no budgets. We don’t need no budgets! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ budgets!”
7. Traditional media is dead, long live social media. Open a Facebook page and a Twitter account and everything else will take care of itself.
6. Don’t over think your marketing staff. This isn’t rocket science; hell, it isn’t even accounting. It’s all about hiring attractive people who like working with people.
5. Never ever hire a branding consultant. Remember that the Nike logo was created by a graphic design student at Portland State University… for only $2/hour.
4. Publicity is a great and easy way to get FREE media coverage, and you don’t need an agency to make media lists and draft copy and conduct media follow-up. Just write up your own news release and send it out over the free wire services… and watch the media clips come flooding in.
3. Thanks to fast and easy website builder programs, virtually anyone can create a great site in a matter of hours – even an e-commerce site. So skip the web developers, designers, programmers and SEO experts… it’s just a lot of excess baggage.
2. Yeah, even in this electronic age, you still need literature, but you don’t need to pay for overpriced services. Write it, design it and print it yourself. Branding is for suckers.
1. To be completely honest, marketing is the greatest boondoggle of the past century… well, next to banking (but that’s a whole other list). Consider eliminating marketing altogether.
I sent my news release out on the wire and I have only seen a handful of media results. Why is that?
There could be many reasons why you are not achieving the results you expected.
First, it is important to understand the different “wire” services out there. There are the traditional wire services like Business Wire and PR Newswire that distribute your news release to newsrooms across the country. There are online wire services like PR Web that focus on distributing your news release to online news sites, blogs and websites. Finally, there are free distribution sites where you can post your release; however, you get what you pay for with these and in most cases your release is not distributed at all. Rather it just sits on that particular website.
Therefore, you need to select the type of wire distribution you want based on the goals you are trying to achieve. If you are simply writing the news release for organic SEO purposes, then an online wire service like PR Web will be suitable and the free distribution sites can provide a little value as well. If you are looking for media coverage, then you want to be using a traditional service like Business Wire or PR Newswire.
Secondly, the quality of your news release is important. If the release is an advertisement or poorly written, it is not likely to get covered by the media. You may find it on a few blogs or “sblogs”, but that is about it.
Thirdly, while wire services are valuable, your efforts should not stop there. You should still distribute the news release to your media list. This is because the person monitoring the wire for news isn’t likely the reporter you are trying to reach. Also, as with any successful publicity and media relations campaign, it is necessary to pick up the phone and call the media.
A wire distribution service should not be the end all be all to your publicity strategy. A campaign requires much more time and attention to be successful.
Need support getting media coverage? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
I feel strongly that manufacturers and consumer should be doing their part to protect the environment. It shouldn’t even be a consideration for a manufacturer to say “we need a green product.” Rather all products should be as green as possible, basically ending the green marketing movement.
However, it will take time for us to successfully get there. And after reading the Wall Street Journal article “The Hidden Cost of Going Green”, I’m beginning to think we are only at the starting line.
The Wall Street Journal article provided a few examples of how going green has backfired. For example, one woman purchased a hybrid car to save money on gas and reduce her carbon footprint. Something went wrong with the battery and her car was in the shop for three months. Her final bill was $1,300; so much for saving money.
I saw another article about water saving washing machines and how stains are not being removed, which requires consumers to wash their clothes multiple times. This completely defeats the purpose of a water saving washing machine. However, the washing machine manufacturer said this shouldn’t be an issue and blamed the consumer for improper use.
Consider highly concentrated laundry detergents, which are designed to reduce the amount of plastic going into our landfills. But how often do we use more detergent than necessary because we feel that small capful isn’t going to clean our clothes? I’m certainly guilty of this. The result is we end up buying more detergent than necessary, still putting more plastic into our landfills.
Certainly we need to start somewhere and in the case of the laundry detergent, it is going to take consumers changing their behavior. It is also going to require manufacturers to educate the marketplace about the correct way to achieve the desired “green” results.
On the one hand, we are told that social media is the great equalizer, allowing citizens of the planet to reach out to one another and form new relationships and even networks and communities where truth, justice and the American way can prevail.
On the other hand, we are also told that “marketers” are grappling daily with ways to make money from social media.
And all these “social” citizens we read about? We are also told lots of them are wasting company time posting notes on Facebook and Twitter. Lots of them are watching YouTube and porn. Many of them are illegally downloading movies and music and video games.
Meanwhile, advertisers are popping up everywhere – breaking up the social media conversation as it were.
And it occurs to me that the social world on the Internet is a lot like the real world, except that it is easier to sneak around and hide your true identity online than it is offline. Everyone has funny names and uses image icons that are nowhere near reality. So what is going on here?
According to Merriam-Webster, “social” is marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with friends or associates. But that doesn’t explain the high percentage of consumers (56% according to a Harris study) who said they had “avoided a particular vendor after reading negative comments about it via social networks.” That doesn’t sound very pleasant for the vendor.
Anyway, how do you know if the comments are true when they are attributed to NastyGuy792?
I guess what I am saying or wondering is this: Is the Internet and social media a great accomplishment or a great experiment? And if it’s the latter, when will we know for sure if it was a success or a failure?
I spent almost an hour with a major market newspaper reporter on the phone. I gave her what I felt was great information and even provided additional sources to contact. When the article was actually published, the headline was very controversial and our company got virtually no coverage. What was included about our company I felt was showing us in a bad light. What can I do?
By Jennifer Manocchio
First, before answering the question, it is important to note most reporters do not write their own headlines. A different editor is tasked with writing headlines for the story. Sometimes this can create a disconnect, which is likely what you experienced. Therefore, do not come down too hard on the reporter for the controversial headline.
Secondly, just because a reporter speaks with you for a substantial amount of time does not mean you are guaranteed ink. Reporters, including online and print, are looking for short and succinct quotes that help tell their story. So the more you offer in terms of usable material, the more likely you will be included in the story. Also, the reporter could have included quotes from you, but they were removed by his or her editor.
The good news is there are a few actions you can take that could result in additional, positive coverage for your company.
1. Write a letter to the editor. Writing a letter to the editor allows you to clearly state your point about the article in your own words. If the topic or story is controversial enough, you have a pretty good opportunity of getting your letter to the editor published.
However, do not attack the reporter or the publication directly. This will not help your brand image and usually will not be printed. Rather explain constructively why you disagree with the story using solid points.
2. Contact the reporter and explain why you disagree with the story. Again, provide beneficial and concrete feedback. If you have enough good information to share with the reporter, he or she just might write a follow-up story.
The bottom line is feel free to share your feedback with the publication and reporter, but do it in a professional way that does not burn bridges.
Need support with publicity and media relations? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
Every November in Northeast Ohio people go nuts for Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Ask any Clevelander and they will tell you I’m not exaggerating.
In fact, I headed to Cleveland in early November for a short visit right when Great Lakes began selling its Christmas Ale at the retail level. On the plane to Cleveland, I sat next to a guy from Massachusetts who I proceeded to tell about the Great Lakes Christmas Ale and people around us started chiming in telling him it was a must do while in Cleveland.
And every year it seems that Great Lakes has shortages of Christmas Ale. Even in early November, I had to wait a few days for retailers to get in another shipment because they had sold out. My cousin couldn’t find it anywhere around Thanksgiving and was threatening to steal my stash at my Mom’s house. The local news was even reporting on the shortage this year.
Closer to the end of December, when the company is getting very short on supply, you will see Great Lakes Brewery’s Facebook page light up with what bars and retailers you can buy Christmas Ale. You can literally hear the chatter on the streets about where to get it at your local watering hole.
How did Great Lakes Christmas Ale get so popular considering Thirsty Dog’s 12 Dogs of Christmas (another Northeast Ohio brewery) is very close in taste, and some even claim it is better? The Great Lakes Christmas Ale phenomenon was not created by a genius marketing or advertising campaign, rather it is the simple law of supply and demand coupled with word-of-mouth marketing.
Whatever the reason Clevelanders don’t care and just want their Christmas Ale. ‘Tis the season for Christmas Ale. Cheers!
This is not what you think it is. It’s not a post about sexual predators. It’s not a post about out-of-control egotists. It’s not a post about traitors. It’s not even a post about society’s need to idolize athletes then throw them under the bus.
How lucky are we to be witnessing the likes of three of the greatest athletes of all time… all at the same time? Think about it.
Brett Favre is arguably the greatest football player to ever live. The combination of skill and fearlessness have allowed him to play more games, make more passes, complete more touchdowns and win more games than one can imagine. Love him or hate him, Brett Favre is, has been and continues to be a thing of beauty.
Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer to ever live. His focus, determination and physical strength have allowed him to hit the ball farther, close in on the green more accurately, putt more consistently and win more regularly than is even remotely reasonable considering the size and scope of the field today. Even now as he drags himself out of the downward spiral he created a year ago, he remains one of the most feared (and successful) competitors in the game.
Lebron is arguably the greatest young basketball player in the game today, and has the potential to be the greatest who ever played. His natural talent, physical strength and willingness to share the spotlight (and the orange ball) have allowed him to rise up to the highest level of greatness on the court – rebounds, assists, field goals, free throws. At 6′-8″ and 250 pounds, he looks more like a ballerina than the towering brute that he is. And despite his recent “decision”, he has proven to the world he is neither a fool nor a quitter.
And here they all are, performing their unique feats of magic, all at the same time. Even the non-sports enthusiast has to agree: “Oh my.”
How do you achieve media coverage when you have no news to share?
By Jennifer Manocchio
Certainly launching a new product or service easily lends itself to contacting the media; however, you do not need to have “news” to get media coverage. Furthermore, you can continue to get media coverage on products and services that are not “new”.
For discussion purpose, let’s say your goal is to increase awareness for a product you launched years ago because it is not meeting sales goals. You cannot send a press release to the media because it is not “new”, unless of course you enhanced the product. What you can do is create a media pitch that includes a reference to your product.
You’ll need to be careful with this approach because if you simply write an advertisement, the media is not going to be interested. Rather, you need to provide valuable information the media sees as useful for its readers.
For example, if your product makes cleaning the kitchen easier, create tips on easy clean up after holiday cooking. But avoid focusing all the tips on your company or products so it doesn’t read like an ad. Also, be sure to attribute those tips to a company spokesperson or expert.
Another approach is to tie your product into timely events or news. For example, is your product perfect for holiday gift guides? Is it useful for people traveling during the holiday season? Does it help consumers achieve health and fitness goals that are common New Year’s resolutions? The more timely and less “evergreen” your pitch is the more likely your product will achieve media coverage sooner rather than later.
The bottom line is don’t stop conducting publicity and media relations just because you have no news. Be creative and consistent. Achieving media coverage helps build brands and increase brand awareness, but this requires more than one big media push a year.
Need help conducting publicity and media relations? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.
The FTC is recommending a universal “Do Not Track” option online that would give consumers the ability to opt-out of third-party online tracking for advertising purposes. As marketers we certainly understand the value of customer and prospect behavior, but when do we draw that line on privacy as consumers?
After I heard the news about the FTC’s “Do Not Track” recommendation, I wanted to find out just how much information these third-party companies are tracking about me. I found a good article on NPR, “Tracking the Companies that Track You Online”.
NPR selected a 26-year-old female, and with the help of the Wall Street Journal and third-party tracking companies determined that third-party tracking companies knew about her favorite movies, age, hometown, that she liked quizzes and entertainment news.
Another article I found on Wall Street Journal stated over time, these third-party companies will start to predict other information about you based on your interests, including your marital status and creditworthiness.
Certainly I realize that Google knows my hometown because I can tell that when I conduct Google searches. Or on Facebook, I’m not surprised when I see boating ads because I listed boating as a hobby in my profile. But for these third-party companies to know my likes and dislikes and start making predictions about me is a bit invasive and I do think some industry regulation is necessary to protect consumers.
To take this a step further, these third-party tracking companies are also tracking our youngsters, who are heavily influenced by advertising.
So what do you think? Where should online tracking stop? Is the industry doing a good job of self-regulating? Or does the government need to step in?