Author Archive

Do You Twitter?

August 31, 2008

I’ve been on the micro-blogging site Twitter for a few months. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Twitter allows you to stay in touch by sending short messages that can be no longer than 140 characters. I joined after learning that a growing number of journalists were using the site to post story updates and field story pitches. Since I’m in the marketing communications arena, I felt that Twitter was another way for me to stay in the game.

So far, I love it. I log in several times a day and send messages, called Tweets, about a range of topics. What’s also great is that I can follow and communicate with thought leaders in a variety of industries; get a quick check of news headlines; and talk with family and friends. You also can restrict your page and just follow a select group of people. No matter your choice, what’s impressive is that these short bursts of messages are an avenue to build community.

In light of the developing hurricane in the Gulf Coast, a number of people and media outlets are using Twitter to provide storm updates. CNN reporter Rick Sanchez even asked residents in the Gulf Coast to send him updates on Twitter during a newscast and read their Tweets live on the air.

Twitter as a public service tool is just one illustration of the uses for this platform that extend beyond the type of product or service being offered. To give you an example, if I were a representative from a church or school, I would use Twitter as a communications vehicle. Can you imagine the benefits of parents following their child’s teacher (and each other) on Twitter, connecting their resources and discussing ways to provide a better learning experience for students? How about a pastor being able to communicate with congregants and congregants with each other throughout the week?

Companies also are using Twitter to promote products and services and to extend their customer service reach by responding to comments (found by a Twitter search tool called a Tweet Scan) referencing their organizations – good or bad. You can see examples of how businesses are using Twitter on the pages of http://twitter.com/msgreen; http://twitter.com/comcastcares; http://twitter.com/wholefoods; http://twitter.com/delloutlet.

There are a lot of social networking platforms on the market and every vehicle isn’t made for every person or business. Instead of Twitter, you might be more drawn to MySpace, Facebook, blogging, or use multiple platforms at once. Do whatever works best for your needs, and of course, presents the best opportunity to build community.

If you do decide to join Twitter, or you’re already on, feel free to follow me via @KristinaBrandy. I’ll connect with you as well. That’s what it’s all about.

————————
About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and, writing services.

Related Topics:

  1. Entering The Social Media Groundswell
  2. The Secret To Ron Paul’s Video Success

What Should I do Next?
Add to: | blinklist | del.cio.us | digg | yahoo! | furl | rawsugar | shadows | netvouz

Advertisements

A Look Inside La Noticia

August 17, 2008

One of the major news items last week was new census data which reported that minorities will become the majority population in the United States by 2050. What’s more, these numbers also projected that the Hispanic population will nearly triple, exploding from 46.7 million in 2008 to 132.8 million by 2050.

As small to mid-sized business owners, the change in population demographics, especially among Hispanics, drives home the importance of using your marketing efforts to connect with diverse groups of people.

To assist in your efforts to expand your marketing strategies, what follows is an interview with Hilda Gurdian, Publisher and CEO of La Noticia , the Spanish Language Newspaper. The paper is distributed throughout the Charlotte region, where the Hispanic population is among the fastest-growing in the nation.

Hilda provides a lot of great tips ranging from the importance of advertising in Hispanic publications, to speaking “the language” of the Hispanic community in marketing, and establishing relationships with Hispanic media contacts.

KTM: How long have you been with La Noticia? What is your day-to-day role with the paper?
Hilda Gurdian : I have been with La Noticia since its inception in 1996. My title is publisher and CEO. As such, I oversee the entire operation including advertising sales, editorial content, public relations and community development.

KTM: How often is La Noticia published?
Hilda Gurdian : Every week

KTM: What is the newspaper’s weekly readership?
Hilda Gurdian : More than 90,000

KTM: Where can people find copies?
Hilda Gurdian : We have more than 1,000 distribution points throughout our distribution area which includes Charlotte-Mecklenburg and 11 counties around it. Our racks can be found in: businesses serving the Latino community, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, public libraries, hospitals, churches, etc.

KTM: What kind of stories does La Noticia cover?
Hilda Gurdian : Stories that are important to the Latino community and stories that affect the entire community.

KTM: How can businesses – especially those that have products/services for broad demographics – increase their coverage in Hispanic media?
Hilda Gurdian : By establishing a relationship with the Latino media. Running ads in La Noticia, for example, is a good way to obtain that goal. Also, by sending press releases announcing special events where they feel the Latino consumer would benefit from attending. La Noticia is the most effective and efficient way to reach the growing Spanish speaking population in the Charlotte area.

KTM: What are some unique qualities about the Hispanic community that businesses should consider when preparing marketing campaigns – whether PR, advertising, the Web, etc.?
Hilda Gurdian : Communicating to Latinos in Spanish is important. It is also important to create an ad that will speak the language and the culture of Latinos vs. translating an existing English ad that works well in the mainstream media.

KTM: Is it important for press materials to be translated to Spanish when pitching La Noticia or will the paper’s staff handle the translation? Also, does the paper accept multimedia elements (photos, videos) with story pitches?
Hilda Gurdian : It is okay to send a press release in English if you don’t have it in Spanish. If we chose the story we will get in touch with the contact person, get more information, and once we have the complete story, we will translate it into Spanish for running it in the paper. We accept photos.

KTM: What is the best time to contact La Noticia reporters with story ideas?
Hilda Gurdian : Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days.

KTM: Finally, is there anything that people should avoid doing when pitching La Noticia or Hispanic media in general?
Hilda Gurdian : Do not wait until the last minute to send a press release as we and any other paper needs time to look into it and decide. Also, you will have a better opportunity to have your story published if you send the press release by email and then follow up with an email or phone call.

These are great insights. Hopefully, this information will put you on a path to broadening your marketing efforts not only to the Hispanic community, but other diverse groups as well. Happy marketing!

————————
About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and, writing services.

Related Topics:

  1. Turn A Bad Economy Into Good Marketing
  2. A Look Inside Charlotte.com
  3. The Ever-Evolving Press Release

What Should I do Next?
Add to: | blinklist | del.cio.us | digg | yahoo! | furl | rawsugar | shadows | netvouz

Don’t Forget Sponsorships In Your Marketing Mix

August 10, 2008

I was checking out the website for the 2008 Olympic Games (the Opening Ceremony on Friday night was spectacular, by the way) and saw a list of the companies supporting the games as sponsors or partners. Some of these companies include Coca-Cola, Visa, McDonald’s, Kodak, UPS and many, many more. This is a smart move that will showcase these brands in front of an international audience over the next several weeks and beyond.

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from adding sponsorships to the marketing mix. I’ve always been a big fan of sponsorships because they generate brand awareness among large groups of people and build and strengthen ties with the community (or other important publics). The key to ensuring that your sponsorship is a win/win for you and the event or cause you are supporting is to select sponsor invitations that align with the brand, reputation and core principles of your business.

Here are several things to consider when contemplating your next sponsorship opportunity:

  1. What is the history of the event or cause: Of course, not all sponsorship opportunities come with the reputation of the Olympics. Before signing on as sponsor, it would be beneficial to learn the history of the event/cause seeking sponsorship support. A few things to research are the success of the event/cause, previous sponsors and even past press coverage.
  2. What will you receive as sponsor: Before you commit as a sponsor, know in definite terms what you will receive in return. Some of your benefits as sponsor might be your company logo being placed on promotional materials; mentions in press releases, Web communications, print and/or broadcast ads and videos; onsite event signage; complimentary event passes; and speaking appointments.
  3. Are in-kind donations acceptable: Monetary support isn’t the only way to serve as a sponsor. You also can lend a hand by donating assistance like gift certificates, staff, or your expertise in a particular area.

Another benefit of sponsorships is that you can leverage your participation long after your commitment has passed. Promote your businesses’ support of important causes by adding information to your website, marketing collateral, videos and press releases. Overall, sponsorships are a great way to let your customers know that you are committed to investing in people who choose to invest in you.

————————
About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and, writing services.

Related Topics:

  1. Tips For Avoiding The PR Spam Zone
  2. Add Video To Your Press Releases
  3. 7 Ways To Make Your Next Event Special

What Should I do Next?
Add to: | blinklist | del.cio.us | digg | yahoo! | furl | rawsugar | shadows | netvouz

A Look Inside Charlotte.com

July 20, 2008

Anyone who’s followed the news recently knows that daily newspapers are experiencing dramatic change. (Need to get up to speed? Check out stories here, here, and here). Most of these changes are driven by the fact that more and more people are using online newspapers (or the Web in general) as sources for news and information.

This shift has sparked debates across the country about how the newspaper industry will respond and the future of daily papers. Only time will tell. What’s evident now is that the explosion in online newspaper readership has transformed newspaper websites into multimedia portals that not only deliver news, but also videos, pictures, and even blogs from popular reporters. Because of this continued growth, I thought it would be beneficial to get an inside look at how online newspapers operate in comparison to their print brethren.

Dave Enna, the Senior Producer of the Charlotte Observer’s Web partner Charlotte.com, was gracious enough to provide insights that will help you navigate this terrain. In the below exchange, he shares tips that range from stories that work better in an online news environment to what you should avoid sending to content editors at Charlotte.com.

KTM: How long have you been at Charlotte.com?
Dave Enna: I have been with Charlotte.com since it launched in March 1996. Our staff in ’96 consisted of 2 editors and we worked at night, alternating days off to cover 7 days a week. Our staff now includes 7 editors (including me), and the newsroom multimedia director, Dee-Dee Strickland. We cover from 6 a.m. to midnight 7 days a week. The newsroom also provides a full-time online reporter, Steve Lyttle, who works Monday to Friday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is also a newsroom photographer who shoots for online and begins work at 6 a.m. I have been at the Observer since 1982. I have been national editor, weekend editor, and the real estate editor in past positions.

KTM: You are listed as a “Senior Producer” on Charlotte.com. Can you tell me what your specific duties entail?
Dave Enna: I guide the daily content on the site. I work from 6 a.m. to about 3:30 p.m. M-F, and also Sunday mornings. The six online producers report to me. I report to the newsroom multimedia director. Her job is more ‘big picture’ — planning for the future and working with the newsroom’s top editors.

KTM: How many visits does Charlotte.com receive on a daily basis?
Dave Enna: Measured in page views, Charlotte.com averages about 30 million a month. On a typical weekday we generate 1 million plus page views. That equates to about 150,000 visits a day, with each visit generating about 7 page views.

KTM: How is news covered on Charlotte.com vs. the Charlotte Observer?
Dave Enna: The online team re-packages the content from the Observer and then presents breaking news and updates through the day. A lot of our most popular content was never in the printed newspaper. We get about 40 breaking news stories a day from the newsroom, plus many others from wires.

KTM: Any tips on how people can better shape story pitches for the print environment so that the ideas also work well online?
Dave Enna: Generally, the online team will re-route story pitches to the newsroom. The exceptions are events that have a lot of potential for photos or video. The newsroom generates about 20 videos a week, and that number is growing. Also, many more photos appear online than appear in print. The Black Tie slideshow – Charlotte’s social scene – is an example. It generates about 100,000 page views a week.

KTM: In your opinion, are there any particular stories that work better online vs. the print environment?
Dave Enna: Breaking news, traffic, sports and weather are the most popular stories online. The stories do not need to be highly detailed. We can update them often. Photos of people at parties are also very popular. Celebrity news is very popular.

KTM: What kind of multimedia elements do you accept for Charlotte.com?
Dave Enna: Videos and photos can be uploaded by readers at www.charlotte.com/upload.

KTM: Do story ideas that include video or photos have a stronger possibility of being used on Charlotte.com?
Dave Enna: Possibly. We welcome videos from readers, but it is still the topic that will determine play.

KTM: Being that Charlotte.com is online, do you face the same deadlines as your counterparts at the Charlotte Observer?
Dave Enna: Our deadlines are constant. We face constant pressure to keep the site updated. We do not keep the same lead story and lead photo more than about 3-4 hours.

KTM: Is there an ideal time to submit story ideas or contact content producers?
Dave Enna: The mornings are extremely busy, but this settles down after about 9:30 am.

KTM: One final question. Are there certain things that people should avoid doing when submitting information to Charlotte.com?
Dave Enna
: They should avoid attaching things like word documents or Excel spreadsheets, which we generally will delete without opening because of the virus risk. The only way we will open them is if we have advance word from a trusted source. A .pdf document is safer. If they are attaching photos, they should drop them down in size, and only attach one photo per e-mail. Photos for online don’t need to be larger than 600 pixels, height or width.

Thanks for the interview, Dave. One important takeaway from this “inside look” is that the popularity of online newspaper sites expands how you can share your story with the local community – and even the world. When thinking about your next PR campaign, try telling your story using video or photos. Your ability to do this is a key ingredient to succeeding in this new media landscape.

————————
About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and, writing services.

Related Topics:

  1. Tips For Avoiding The PR Spam Zone
  2. Add Video To Your Press Releases
  3. The Ever-Evolving Press Release

What Should I do Next?
Add to: | blinklist | del.cio.us | digg | yahoo! | furl | rawsugar | shadows | netvouz

What To Ask A Reporter At A Lunch Meeting

June 29, 2008

My public relations professor in college always said that public relations is about “human relations,” which simply is the ability to connect with people. Although this isn’t brain surgery, what can sometimes get lost in the fray as we’re tying to tell our story is that reporters are people we need to connect with, too.

One of the best things that businesses of all sizes can do is develop a relationship with the reporter who covers the area they operate in. One sure-fire way to accomplish this is to invite your beat reporter for a quick lunch meeting. If the thought of this has you shaking in your boots, here are a few questions you can use to break the ice:

  1. Tell me about your beat: There’s nothing a reporter hates more than being spammed with press releases and story pitches that have nothing to do with what they cover. Use your meeting to get a clear picture of the reporter’s beat and story preferences.
  2. How do you like to receive information: Email is the contact preference for most reporters. However, some may prefer fax or even snail mail. During a recent event for the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists, one reporter shared that she’s partial to hand-written letters. Find out the reporter’s preference and deliver the information as requested.
  3. What’s the best time to contact you: All reporters work on deadlines, especially those at daily newspapers or TV stations. The deadlines for long-lead pubs like magazines vary. Find out what the reporters deadline is and don’t call during this day/time unless you have a great resource who can be used in a breaking news story.
  4. How can I help you: Don’t leave the table without learning how you can be a resource. Becoming a reliable resource is the best way to build and sustain your relationship with the media. Find out who he or she needs access to in your organization for interviews or send reports or trend stories that would be of interest just because. This will pay off in the long-run.

Public relations is all about relating to people. Reporters are an integral part of this equation. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and request a lunch meeting.

Bon Appétit!

————————
About Kristina Hill

An expert in marketing communications, Kristina Hill provides integrated marketing consulting services to small and mid-sized businesses through MarComm Creative Group, LLC. The business offers an array of services, including: public relations and media relations; advertising planning and placement; integrated marketing plan development and execution; and, writing services.

Related Topics:

  1. Tips For Avoiding The PR Spam Zone
  2. Search Engine Optimized Press Releases
  3. The Ever-Evolving Press Release
  4. Court the Press: Your Online News Room
  5. Add Video to Your Press Releases

What Should I do Next?
Add to: | blinklist | del.cio.us | digg | yahoo! | furl | rawsugar | shadows | netvouz