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Listen, Connect, Share – The New PR Strategy

Depending on your storytelling skills and willingness to be creative, it’s likely that you do not need a press release. In the olden days, the press release was used to distribute company news to the media. Companies paid to have a professional press release written and distributed to news media. Thankfully, the days of “begging” media to write about your company are long gone.

In a digital, hyper-connected world, we now all have the power to tell our company’s story ourselves, directly to our target audience. If you have a website, blog or social media page, you can post your news, in your own words, as often as you like.

It’s a wonderful thing to have that power; you’ll never be misquoted again. And, the best part about digital storytelling is that, when done well, the media will take notice.

Here are 4 ways to get your publicity machine revved up right now:

1.

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14 Reasons for Marketers to Be Excited About 2014 (Part 1)

I am thrilled to be included as a contributor to this great blog post on Ezanga.com featuring many reasons for us marketing dorks to be excited about the coming year.  (Thanks Brittany Berger and HARO!)

Photo courtesy of ezanga.com

It’s important to start anything new with optimism, right? The new year should be no exception. There’s a lot to make the marketing glass look half empty, encrypted keywords and algorithm updates, to name a few. But focusing on the negative is never the way to go.

So instead, we’re going to focus on what we’re excited for in the near future of marketing. Personally, I’m excited about a lot of things, like that people are realizing that just hopping on the social media and content marketing bandwagons won’t bring success. I think this year we’ll see a lot of companies abandon the “throw it and hope it sticks” approach in favor of a thought-out and well-planned strategy.

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The Starfish Team’s Predictions for 2014

I asked my team to make two predictions for the coming year – one for our profession and one just for fun.  Here’s what we came up with:

Angela:

Pro: Brands will finally start to take risks and have fun with their marketing – abandoning “how it’s always been done” for “let’s try something new”

Fun: Google will introduce a people search a la Google Earth – so smile folks!

Jane:

Pro: Clients will start to use more and more video content to promote themselves.

Fun: My brother and sister-in-law will have a girl three weeks before their due date!!!

Jacy: 

Pro: The Android phones will start to replace iPhones.

Fun: Beyonce is going to take over the world.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy new year.

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Take 30 Minutes Today for a Website Check

In this digital, hyper-connected world, you must give your professional website the attention it deserves.  Even if you just updated your website last year, you’re probably already in need of an update.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Here are three ways to monitor your website in 30 minutes or less:

Monitor your website daily. Visit the site every day from various browsers (Chrome, Safari, Explorer and Firefox) to make sure all the pages load correctly and the site is live for that matter.

Visit your site from your phone or tablet.  If you visit your website on your phone and you can barely read the text, you are not optimized for mobile and are likely losing visitors instantly.  No visitors means no new customers.

Search for your business.

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Using Social Media to Find Your Audience and Your Voice

Social media platforms are a great tool for building your business, but one of the keys to using them successfully is to listen.

1. Listen to Your Audience

The three most important factors in social networking are audience, audience, audience. Identify what kind of people you’re trying to reach and pay attention to what they’re saying. Build RSS feeds and monitor conversations using listening tools like TweetDeck, Social Mention and Seesmic. 

2. Join Specialized Networks

Whatever your passion, there is a specialized social network for you.  To find your niche network, run a Google search with “your topic” and “social media“.  For example I googled “cooking social media” and the first result that came up was “Top Five Food and Cooking Social Networking Sites“.

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Social Media Tips

One of the many things we do for our clients is share social media tips with them and their staff. Since we do these pretty frequently, we thought it would be great to share them and  on our blog as well! Check out these helpful tips.

1. Twitter celebrated its 7th birthday this year.  Whether you are an early adopter or you’re just getting started, these tips will help you be at your Twitter Best!  “18 Twitter Tips for Newbies” (from Ragan.com)

2. When it comes to responding to a question on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus, don’t over think it.  The best way to respond is to show you care. Whether you know the answer or not, do your best to acknowledge the inquiry sooner than later.

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How a Carpet Manufacturer was Featured on NBC’s The Biggest Loser

This is one of my most favorite stories to tell about why we advise our clients to blog and tell their story through digital content.

I was first introduced to Bentley Prince Street when they came on as a sponsor for the 2007 Jimmy Carter Work Project with my client, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  They were a “green” carpet company donating carpet for the new homes we were building that week.  I admired them, so when they contacted me for their own PR needs a couple years later I jumped at the chance.

For three and half years we helped them tell their stories, and there were many.  As a carpet company they were well known in the industry, but Los Angeles needed to know more about how this local company was not only providing hundreds of jobs and giving back to the community, it was working hard to make the lives of their employees better and healthier!

We consistently promoted the fact that this company provided a 5,000 sq. ft.

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The Social Media Platforms you Should be Using for your Business

Photo credit: Learnthat.com

There are so many social networks out there that can help promote your small business, but how do you decide which are right for you and then how do you manage them all?  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Plus and the countless others that will pop up tomorrow, all have value for certain audiences (i.e. customers) but who has the time to manage all of those?  Managing too many social media accounts is daunting and likely counterproductive.  This is why I suggest to my clients that they choose wisely and use wisely.

The last thing you want to do is sign up for more than you can manage and fail miserably at all of them.  Instead, consider committing to managing one to three of these well.  Sign up for only the social networks you know you can handle well.  Identify which networks your customers use most and choose those.

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Celebrating Ten Years as an Entrepreneur!

It was ten years ago this month that I walked away from what I refer to as my last real job.  I was in charge of strategic marketing for House of Blues and for the nearly four years I was there it was a great job.  After surviving several rounds of layoffs during what seemed like the demise of the music industry, I was proud to be leaving on my terms, bound for life as an independent contractor.  I had no idea where this new path would take me and I was nervous as hell, but I knew I was headed in the right direction.

The first year on my own was filled with challenges and apologies to clients (I quickly discovered the pitfalls of selling services) but I persevered and found my groove.  That year I made significantly less money (less than I’d made in a very long time) yet it was the happiest I’d been in years…maybe ever.

I no longer had to ask permission to arrive late, leave early or take the day off.  I was the boss, in charge of my destiny.

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PSAs + Celebrity Endorsements = Great Video Content

We work with a lot of non-profits and so we understand how helpful a PSA is for your organization and how much more powerful it is with a celebrity attached to it.  Therefore, you should always be ready to film.  We carry our Kodak Play Touch with us all the time in case an opportunity arises.  If nothing else, a smart phone will always work in a pinch!  Earlier this month, we were on site with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles for their National Women Build event in Long Beach and Holly Robinson Peete was the spokesperson. So, as we were interviewing her for a long form video about the event, we seized the opportunity to capture a short video with her talking about why she supports Habitat for Humanity.  A little bit of editing later and voila, a PSA!

And P.S. Holly is awesome – we had some fun on Vine that day – you can watch it here.

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