5 Ways Covid-19 is Changing Media Relations

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Let’s face it: Due to Covid-19, things have changed dramatically over the last few months. While remote work and social distancing are on the rise, many business professionals are wondering how the “new normal” is going to influence media relations.

Successfully navigating the rapidly-changing media landscape is no easy feat. What’s more, in the pandemic era, PR professionals are not only facing the challenge of telling their clients’ stories in a compelling way, but also conveying their messages at a time when most media outlets are furloughing, laying off or shutting down for good.

In the midst of all this, the media landscape continues to evolve. So here are some of the biggest trends and changes every marketing-savvy business professional should be aware of, in order to adjust their approach and move forward.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Media Marketing | Socialbakers |  Socialbakers

1.Long articles may be “dead”. At least for now…

As you know, these days the news is changing at breakneck speed; journalists are no longer investing a great deal of time on long articles. If they don’t publish the story fast enough, more likely than not the news will be totally different the following day. With hot topics, PR professionals should connect with clients at the beginning of the week to understand how flexible their days are and the best way to reach them.

2. Newsletters are on the rise

Covid-19 may be impacting ad sales, however, subscription newsletters are a whole different story. Interestingly, many reporters are leaving newsrooms for newsletters creating their own “mini-media empires”. In fact, there is a growing number of writers gravitating to Substack and other newsletter platforms – a trend that has rapidly accelerated as the coronavirus recession continues to wreak havoc on the news industry. So, in the grand scheme of things, does this affect the media? Yes, it does! Newsletters allow for either reaching a more targeted audience or amplification. Either way, it’s a win-win formula for media relations professionals.

3.Nationwide coverage has become a reality for many businesses

Prior to the pandemic, chances of regular national TV appearances were slim to none (unless you are headquartered in a major media market). Producers and hosts wanted guests in-studio, as much as possible. That was the fact of life not long ago. Now, most interviews are remote allowing for companies from all over the U.S. to have an equal chance at being on shows.

4.Provide your own photos or videos

It’s important to keep in mind that high quality images or b-rolls are crucial for reporters and producers. It used to be easy for them to acquire their own photos, but now many media outlets are reluctant to put their employees at risk. Therefore, journalists are more likely to accept images directly from their interview sources, as long as they are high quality and strike tone during Covid-19. Of course some outlets might still send out a photographer, but you need to be a partner on keeping everyone involved safe.

5. Follow-up phone calls matter. Still…

Some media relations folks maintain that phone pitching to reporters is dead. Really?? While some journalists prefer an email, many others appreciate a follow up call. That being said, most journalists are working from home right now and will continue to work remotely for the indefinite future. It means there is no office line. Of course some of them may have that line forwarded, but that can’t be counted on. In any event, you increase your chances of success by using a phone as a potent tool to connect, follow up and build solid relationships with reporters.

By the way, how have YOU seen the media landscape shifting since the beginning of COVID-19? Feel free to share your thoughts with me.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

Your New Crisis Playbook in the Era of Covid-19

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Let’s face it: Given the circumstances, the old crisis communications playbook is dead. Simple as that…

As Covid-19 continues to ravage the world, many well-established and proven practices are no longer sufficient to manage communications. Without a doubt, transparency, empathy and honesty are still highly important and lie at the core of every crisis communications campaign. That being said, coronavirus has changed dramatically the way we do things. Therefore, it is essential that we embrace new benchmarks, standards and guidelines and adjust to the “new normal” ( excuse the cliche).

These are just some of the considerations to keep in mind during the global pandemic:

Addressing Mental Health

Every business leader should realize that the mental health of employees and clients should come first. It goes without saying that so many people are terrified at the prospect of losing their jobs, contracting the disease or enduring financial problems as a result of the coronavirus spread. Of course there are so many other stressors severely impacting the public’s mental health during challenging times.

It means that being a savvy business professional is no longer enough. Not anymore…You have to become an effective communicator and place mental well-being at the center of your communication efforts. Otherwise, as you may already know, your message may fall on deaf ears or make matters worse for people who are already scared.

Public Relations, for example, may have to engage psychologists and other trained mental health professionals to develop strategies that fully focus on anxiety and stress among various target audiences. It’s important to ensure that as a business leader, you take all the necessary steps to make a difference and provide comfort and direction during this unfathomable crisis. In fact, this should become one of your priorities.

If Cash is King, Information is Gold

Keep in mind that immediate access to timely and accurate information is crucial during these challenging times. Sadly, it’s hard to find. Many businesses are drowning in data but lack the most essential tools or platforms to obtain information or act on it.

Of course there is another problem in our politically-charged and divisive media environment. All the mixed messages, disinformation on social media and lack of clear direction from our government have proven to be detrimental at a time of crisis.

Never before have organizations needed a reliable source of truth to make real-time decisions about how to respond to a crisis of this magnitude. This includes having access to infectious disease doctors, business-continuity experts and economists to help track, evaluate and predict the evolution of Covid-19 and its impact.

Leaders Must Lead

The time to demonstrate your leadership is now.  I know, I know….Another cliche 🙂 But it’s very pertinent to the topic at hand. Now, more than ever, we need strong business leaders to manage through the crisis, the economic downturn, and the path to recovery. By the way, there is one very important point to keep in mind: Leadership is no longer reserved for the C-suite. It must also come from managers, rank-and-file employees, and, communicators. All these people have an impact on how your company interacts with employees and customers who may be stressed, discouraged or anxious or perhaps looking for something/someone to comfort them. You need to take the time to understand how people are feeling, what they are going through and what they are thinking.

While there are no established experts in communicating during Covid-19, we are learning daily. But one thing is for sure, the role of crisis communications and the playbook we follow HAS to be rewritten. There is no way around it.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

6 Key Strategies to Nail Negotiations

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Let’s face it: the process of negotiating a deal is a pillar of all things business. As you already know, any sale can involve some kind of negotiation. The term includes everything from haggling at a flea market to hashing out a reasonable price for a new car to closing multi-million dollar deals, among other things.

Caucasian mid-adult businessman and woman staring at each other with hostile expressions.

No matter how much business experience you have, you should constantly work on your negotiation skills and learn how to become a shrewd and savvy negotiator. Your image, your finances and your business depend on it.

Now I am inviting you to review a few fundamental strategies you can utilize to make sure you negotiate as effectively as possible and work out a great deal.

1. Examine the negotiation from as many perspectives as possible. Take as much time as you need to understand how your prospect’s company is operating; learn about your prospect’s industry, main challenges, needs or setbacks. Based on your research, see if you can predict the strategies they might employ or the preferences they might display. Make sure you do your homework and prepare on a lot of different fronts. Do you know who your prospects are? What is their personal negotiating story? Do you think you could reach out to other salespeople who have negotiated with them previously? It goes without saying that preparation is key to success. So when you take a seat at the negotiating table, you are well-equipped to deal with all kinds of questions, concerns, objections or potential disagreements.

2. When talks stall, come up with alternative solutions (if possible). If you and your counterpart are struggling to reach a mutually beneficial arrangement, why don’t you try to reach a compromise and find each party’s most attractive and beneficial options…In fact, you should always have a few savvy” tricks” to fall back on in case disagreements arise. Some communication gurus call it BATNA which stands for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.

I suggest you always approach your negotiations with a solid understanding of your own BATNA and some estimate of your prospect’s. You should know exactly when to jump ship and walk away, where the other party is coming from and a price range that’s reasonable for everyone involved. This way, you will have a better concept of your negotiating power and how to wield it.

3. Keep in mind that it’s mostly about interests, not positions. When it comes to negotiations, it’s not a zero-sum game and it’s not about two parties pitted against each other in a highly confrontational process. Here is the main objective of a negotiation: You and your counterpart should be striving to arrive at a point that everyone is satisfied with. Simple as that. What you need to do is understand the underlying interests your prospects have that go beyond preferred prices and positions. Once again, try to embrace their needs, wants and motivations. Can you clearly identify why their preferred price is what it is?And is it possible at all to negotiate based on their actual interests as opposed to just splitting the difference or making rash concessions? These are the factors to consider, which should make it easier to make an arrangement that works for every side.

4. Let your prospect do the talking. What it means is that once you presented the initial terms of the deal, and your prospect is ready to negotiate, let them initiate the conversation. Can you figure out where they are coming from before you offer your perspective? You may be eager to preemptively accommodate their needs and conditions, but you have to hold back. Which is not always easy to do 🙂

If you speak first, here is what might happen…You may immediately offer concessions and inadvertently undermine the potential to arrive at a more beneficial agreement.

5. Make sure you negotiate with decision-makers. This one is a no-brainer. But somehow so many business professionals end up spilling their beans to those who are not endowed with a decision making authority. Be mindful of who you are negotiating with. If you are conducting negotiations with multiple lower-level representatives, more likely than not, you will end up losing some of your negotiating power and making bigger concessions. It means that you will be at a disadvantage when trying to strike a deal with a decision-maker. Definitely not the best case scenario…

6. Avoid showing your cards ahead of time. Interestingly, so many people make concessions before they need to – the concessions they weren’t even asked for. Make sure you do NOT lead with something along the lines of: “Our price is $X, however, there is a good chance we can go lower for you.” Do you think you can be THAT transparent and expect to get the best deal you possibly could. In addition, avoid accidentally shedding light on information that goes beyond the immediate negotiation. For example, at some point you can mention how you offered a similar company a free test or evaluation. Your prospect will naturally be inclined to ask for that as part of their negotiation efforts as well.

Final thoughts:

We all know that negotiations provide a lot of room for things to go wrong. To ensure your negotiations go smoothly, you need three factors: poise, patience, and preparation. Remember: If you maintain your composure, the negotiation process is more likely to proceed without hasty judgments or unnecessary concessions; if you do your homework and come prepared, you will be in a great position to nail it. Good luck with your endeavors!

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Savvy Ways to Adapt Your PR Strategy for the Covid-19 Outbreak

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the globe, we might be potentially (but NOT necessarily) facing a grim economic outlook. With unemployment rising, travel at a standstill and stock markets in freefall, sadly there has been plenty of discouraging news for reporters to cover.

All the gloom and doom aside, life goes on. There is no shortage of businesses out there who found a way to function, survive and even thrive despite the pandemic. As business owners are struggling to pivot in the face of coronavirus outbreak, there are a few smart ways to upgrade your communications and get the message across to your audience. The right way!

Opinion: A PR playbook for avoiding opportunism in the COVID-19 ...

1. Be judicious in how you tell your story

These are challenging and uncertain times, therefore, it is imperative that you figure out how to adapt and tell your story – and evaluate whether this is the right time to be telling it all.

Interestingly, there is no shortage of cringeworthy pitches forwarded to reporters from some PR professionals. Please be sure that before you hit “send” on any marketing emails or media pitches that reference Covid-19, think about whether you come across as someone who is trying to profit from this unprecedented tragedy. In other words, it is better to err on the side of caution. If you are not sure whether you are capitalizing on someone’s misfortune, you probably are.

2. Familiarize yourself with the news cycle

As our daily lives are uprooted and upended, media coverage has changed from writing about the outbreak itself to what this means for every aspect of life. The news cycle tends to adhere to a pattern of covering the breaking news on day one, with following days exploring the issue and its consequences. When it comes to Covid-19, there have been a lot of follow-up stories about the consequences of Facebook blocking links with crucial coronavirus information, the rise of online shopping and online delivery and a wide variety of mental health issues arising among people who quarantine at home.

Simply put, if your news doesn’t fit in the first wave of coverage, you might be able to provide your solution or insights with a follow-up piece.

3. Keep in mind that  resources are scarce

As you can imagine, news outlets worldwide have been swamped with stories focusing on coronavirus. This has meant that in some cases, reporter beats have shifted. For example, sports journalists are now being moved to general news desks to cover Covid-19 now that no major sporting events are taking place. Your job is to figure out whether your story has an intriguing angle to it. Industry publications are still prioritizing the pandemic angle, but are still very much covering their beats more than general news sites and dailies.

It’s also important to remember that media relations is not synonymous with Public Relations. Media coverage is just one tactic from a wide array of initiatives that a seasoned PR firm can offer. With many brands becoming publishers in their own right, businesses can start to amass a solid and engaged following by developing compelling content across owned and social channels.

4. Focus on the basics

If you are cutting down on announcing or organizing any major initiative or event, there is no need to become entirely dormant.

Despite all the challenges, make sure your messages still stack up. If not, take as much time as you need to revise, enhance and revamp your marketing materials and brand positioning. Have you always had to scramble for content to post on your blog or social media channels? Now might be a great time to create the content that can be posted on a regular basis.

5. Think long-term

Always keep in mind that companies, including businesses like yours, are here for the long-haul. Therefore, it comes as no surprise, that building a brand’s visibility, thought leadership, market competitiveness and reputation requires dedication and perseverance.

Some VC firms maintain that startup valuations may come down, fundraising could drop and burn rates will be carefully scrutinized. While many businesses have been impacted, history has shown that some of the most prominent and successful brands have started during tough times. Think Airbnb, Dropbox, Square and many others. In fact, I have no doubt in my mind that we will some amazing innovations emerge this year, from automation to cyber security, to digital health, etc.

Long story short, now might be as good of a time as any to build and enhance your brand’s story. So don’t waste your time and get down to work. Good luck with your endeavors!

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Communicate with Clients During COVID-19

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Dear savvy business owner,

As you already know, every company should have a crisis communication plan in place for their clients. At a time of uncertainty, it can help you stay afloat and assure your clients and prospects of your ability to function.

Whether you are dealing with a global pandemic like COVID-19 or some local emergency, it is essential that you invest an adequate amount of time and effort into your marketing. From customer service, to your website, to social channels, you efforts should go well beyond minor tweaks and adjustments.

It goes without saying that we cannot always control the unexpected societal crisis at hand or a pandemic outbreak, like the one we are dealing with right now. That said, we DO have the power to control our response to it.

Here are a few crucial tips to help you develop a solid plan that effectively communicates the impact of a situation and next steps to your audience.

Handling Crisis Communication in the Digital Age | Salesfusion

1.Show that you care.

Let’s face it: People seek connection during times of uncertainly. Why don’t you consider a message to clients to show you are fully aware of the issue, you understand what they are going through and offer helpful resources. Social media, email, or your online community are particularly accessible mediums for a brief and immediate message.

2. Be proactive in your communications.

Your clients count on you even more than usual during a crisis. I suggest you proactively announce changes or impacts to your business. Do NOT make clients spend too much time hunting for the information they need. Instead, bring it to them! By the way, proactive communication will free up staff to focus on tasks other than answering the same questions over and over again.

3. Offer a shoulder to lean on.

This may sound a bit too dramatic for some folks…however, it is important to show your humanity with genuine and sensitive messages. For example, Walgreens and CVS are waiving prescription medicine delivery fees during novel coronavirus pandemic. I recently received an email from a local deli offering free delivery for customers over the age of 70 within a five-mile radius of the business.

4. Invest time into auditing and enhancing your content.

Now might be a great time to review and revise your entire messaging stream including social media, promotional and transactional emails, push notifications and other materials. It is your job to clearly identify communications that need to pause or shift as a result of the ordeal we are all going through right now. Otherwise, let me assure you that you might be at risk of damaging your brand if a message comes off as insensitive, incorrect or seeking to capitalize on tragedy.

5. Provide inspiration

In times of need, try to do all you can to help, encourage and inspire. There is so much you could do to build good will: share a donor portal, communicate your philanthropic position, donate products, services, money or time, among other things. You can be a catalyst by allowing corporate citizenship to shine and make an impact.

Final thoughts

Keep in mind that these communications are a company-wide effort. Therefore, it is incumbent on you to bring together experts together – from PR and website design, to IT and logistics, to coordinate teams and streamline efforts. After that make sure you create a solid plan that documents responsibilities throughout your company and establish your crisis strategy. By the way, the US Department of Homeland Security shares key resources for preparedness, response and recovery, and you can benefit significantly from these resources while extending them into your communications. Now, more than ever, you have to be agile and support your clients, customers and prospects at a time of need.

Most importantly, stay safe and well. Together we will get through this, sooner rather than later!

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

 

 

5 Persuasion Tactics to Close Your Next Deal

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

There will be times when you will have very engaged prospects eager to do business with you and ready to sign on the dotted line. But more often than not, you will be dealing with prospects who will take the time to weigh their options, consider the alternatives and have a chat with your competitors. Therefore, most of the time you will be facing the challenging task of persuading your prospects that your product or service is their best bet.

That’s where persuasion comes in. As you already know, persuasion is a method of communication that aims to influence the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors of others. In sales, it’s when you are trying to convince your prospect that your product is the best solution to their problem.

Now I would like to introduce a few persuasion tactics you can implement today to successfully close your next deal and initiate a solid professional relationship.

Image result for persuasion

1.Personalize your approach

When you are trying to convince a prospect, make sure you avoid a generic sales script. In most cases, business owners or sales reps who sound overly-rehearsed, will deter their prospects from moving forward. In fact, their presentations may go in one ear and out the other. Does it mean you should fully wing your sales calls? Not exactly. You just have to carefully adjust your message depending on what the prospective client in interested in.

2.Fully focus on problem solving

Instead of rehashing all the reasons why the prospect should do business with you, why don’t you share all the reasons why your product or service can help solve their problems or address their main challenges. No need to be pushy or aggressive. Try to keep their concerns front and center, show them the value of your input, and position your offer as a long-lasting solution.

3.Provide social proof

While your prospect is reviewing her/his options and is in the process of making a decision, why don’t you let your past clients do the selling for YOU, which can tip the scales in your favor. Most buyers will probably take your “chest-beating messages” with a grain of salt because they know exactly what your intentions are…however, they should trust the testimonials coming from your clients. Therefore, if you are facing some resistance or skepticism, I suggest you share a customer success story and win more trust.

4.Envision potential objectives

Sometimes, when you feel like you are ready to finalize the deal and pat yourself on the back for the job well done, the prospect may unexpectedly throw a few curveballs, ask a few unexpected questions, or raise a few tough objections. Sounds like every sales rep’s worst nightmare doesn’t it? No need to get discouraged just as yet…This may become a valuable learning experience, something you may benefit from in the foreseeable future. So why don’t you prepare for your sales conversations by brainstorming potential objections and preparing a few talking points to address them. After all, objections are part of the game and preparation is always the key to success.

5.Don’t rush the process

You want your prospects to buy from you because they truly want to, not because they feel pressured. Let’s be real: No one likes being told what to do, and you should avoid being too assertive in a sales situation. Instead, figure out how to provide context and information that makes selecting your product or service a no-brainer. Don’t forget to remind them that the purchase is truly THEIR choice.

Of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t implement a sense of urgency – in fact, creating a slight sense of urgency (such as offering a special price for a limited time) can be an effective tactic. Remember one thing: You should always make sure where you are in the sales process aligns with where your prospect is on the buyer’s journey. If they are still in the consideration stage, don’t push too hard. Give it some time.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How PR Value Surpasses Media Relations

by Angela Kambarian, Founder, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Let’s face it: In order to excel in their roles and deliver value, PR pros should evolve into savvy business people and transcend traditional media relations. Being an eloquent communicator and having a long list of media contacts may no longer be enough to make a difference.

While newsrooms and crowded digital channels continue to shrink, it takes so much more than putting out a press release and gaining much needed exposure.

Business acumen

These days communication professionals should familiarize themselves with the businesses they represent, embrace basic business facts and become sector-savvy. For example, if a PR strategist attends a client meeting and does not know what EBITDA is, he/she is not really doing his/her job and falling short of expectations. Besides, in today’s business environment a communication strategist has to be the jack-of-all-trades to prove strategic value to the organization. Otherwise, they are doing stuff just for the sake of doing it or just keeping busy. In other words, a savvy PR pro should pay attention to every earnings call, find the person who is in charge of the data, and ask probing questions.

Compelling storytelling

There is another important pointer to keep in mind. If you are on the hunt for more media coverage (also known as earned media), you should learn how to tell better, more captivating and impactful stories which should allow you to break through in a crowded media environment. That’s why it’s essential that every PR professional understand her/his target audience and get a handle on what resonates with their clients or customers.

By the way, you cannot always fully rely on reporters to tell your story. Let me assure you that sometimes businesses should be their own news source.  In other words, you can’t always rely on the media to be your first line of defense. Some traditional media staples, such as an exclusive with a select publication or journalist, may not be the best course of action for your message.

Your employees can be your best evangelists

As you already know, your company is as good as the people working for it. In fact, your employees are an invaluable resource. They are your greatest untapped potential, especially if you are in a non-regulated industry. Keep in mind that your team members should be aware of the fact that they should convey information about your company, services or products in a positive way. Employee social media use can be a huge part of their contribution to your organization. That said, they should tread with caution. Some folks have lost their jobs over what they posted online. What’s more, some potential job candidates may be turned down due to some of their posts or comments on social media.

Final thoughts:

Getting earned media and generating publicity for your business can be of great value to all organizations, large and small. That being said, PR pros should be able to do so much more to safeguard reputations and drive a conversation about their brand or their client. That’s a very important pointer to bear in mind.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

 

 

 

7 Things Your Business Should Do in 2020

 

by Angela Kambarian, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Dear savvy business professional,

If you didn’t have a chance to upgrade your business strategy, now is the time to set the wheels in motion and take things to the next level. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure a highly-productive and successful year ahead.

Image result for business in 2020

1. Allot the right budget for training

If you are eager to elevate your business to the next level, you need to invest in your team. Simple as that. High-quality training will help you accomplish that and enable your team members to embrace new technologies, regulatory requirements or changes in products and services, among other things.

Of course every organization operates differently and has different needs. Therefore, it is essential that you accurately evaluate your needs, goals and aspirations and draw the right conclusions. Even if you are currently strapped for cash and have a limited budget, you may consider group training options which can be cost-effective due to volume discounts. Alternatively or in addition to that, you can use your in-house experts to provide quarterly group workshops or mentorship programs.

2. Rebirth of Direct Mail

If you think the aforementioned strategy is dead, think again. Contrary to some “discouraging” reports, Direct Mail is not only alive and well but coming back stronger than ever. In fact, evidence suggests that response rates to direct mail are at its highest level ever.

3. Maximize your LinkedIn presence

Social media platforms like LinkedIn will be given more attention by professional marketers. Research shows that people are increasingly turning to LinkedIn to search for information which allows companies to increase their organic reach. Interestingly, of all social media platforms listed, LinkedIn ranked highest among marketing experts who said they would be allotting most of their time and budget to this program.

4. Optimize your content

Content development will continue to rise in importance and more emphasis will be placed on optimizing content for better results. There are many different ways of accomplishing it, however, there are some content areas that should be high on your list of priorities. I am talking about redirection of marketing distribution, syndication, longer form and technical SEO.

5. Turn your attention to branded podcasts

Studies show that webinars and podcasts are at their highest viewing levels ever and more companies are expected to jump on the podcasting bandwagon. If done correctly and consistently, podcasting could serve as a valuable tool to boost credibility and establish trust with prospects, customers and clients. By the way, many marketers see this strategy as a passive yet effective way to attract more business.

6. Invest more time in human connection

At a time when technology is growing at an unprecedented speed, many folks are feeling increasingly isolated. Savvy business owners will look for new ways to get to know their clients better. Oftentimes, all you need is a few extra minutes to chat with them and cultivate rapport. Why don’t you build a small close-knit network populated by people who help you connect to your higher purpose, rather than spread yourself too thin among a large group of superficial contacts? Even if you have a limited budget, you can plan a live event or a webinar. Keep in mind that people are the lifeblood of your business; so keep it flowing.

7. Showcase your personality with a video

Many researchers maintain that video content will become even more important this year. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise, personality and authenticity. In addition, there are different ways of getting more mileage out of your videos by re-purposing content into shorter clips or recycling it for promotional pieces and the audio used in podcasts.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smart Ways to Upgrade Your PR Strategy for 2020

 

by Angela Kambarian, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Time flies…I can’t believe 2020 is around the corner, with all its challenges, prospects and opportunities…which means it may be a good time to revisit, review and upgrade your PR strategy and kick off the new year with a bang.

It goes without saying that businesses need to embrace all the latest PR trends to remain competitive or rise to new heights next year.

So as we head into 2020, let’s take a look at the top ways in which you can elevate your strategy and gain the recognition you deserve.

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1. Conjure up a riveting story to keep your audience engaged

I know I have written about this very important strategy in some of my previous articles…That said, I can’t stress enough the significance of storytelling that does so much more than simply convey your message. By the way, one study suggests that 92% of consumers preferred ads that were in the form of stories – and this also extends to PR.

Without a doubt, storytelling allows you to form a deep connection with your audience and move the sales process forward.  After all, who doesn’t get wrapped into a riveting tale? Just make sure you incorporate the human element when crafting your campaign; you may share a customer’s experience or highlight the backstory of your brand’s founder, among other things. Simply put, there are so many different ways of captivating your audience. It’s time you get your creative juices flowing and figure out how to connect with your readers/prospects/existing customers on an emotional level.

2. Let influencers “do their magic”

If you are are a savvy marketer, you should be well aware of influencer marketing and its potential impact on your business. Evidence suggests that influencer marketing remains one of the most powerful trends and shows no signs of slowing down. So if you haven’t “jumped on the influencer marketing bandwagon” just as yet, it may be a great time to embrace this strategy going forward. Influencers can help you reach your audience faster, connect with more prospects and dramatically increase your exposure. Believe it or not, even traditional advertising cannot always accomplish that. As they say, proof is in the pudding and statistics do not lie.

Studies suggest that more than 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations and on average, influencer campaigns earn $6.50 for ever $1 spent, creating a rather impressive ROI. What I suggest you do is create a long-term relationship with a number of key influencers in your industry and let them work their magic and expose your brand to bigger audiences.

3. Craft a personal brand

Gone are the days of CEOs, business owners or some high- profile employees hiding behind the name of their business. Nowadays, people want to know the individuals behind the brand and their story. To make the most of it, it’s important to cultivate a personal brand. Why don’t you start with social media? Make sure you align your entire profile, image and background description with who you are and what you stand for – professionally and personally. Don’t hesitate to engage with your audience, share your expertise, post comments and reveal your insights on a regular basis. You may even consider guest posting on other sites to expand your personal brand and give it more visibility.

4. Embrace AI

Unless you have been living under the rock for the past decade, you are aware that Artificial Intelligence is growing by leaps and bounds and new forms of AI are frequently popping onto the PR scene. Thus, the more we learn about it, the more effective and impactful our PR strategies will be.

Let me give you a good example. Automated emails can help you to get all your ducks in a row and never miss a potential lead. It eliminates human error and automatically sends follow up emails. How about Chatbots? Ever heard of them? Chatbots are another AI technology that is proving its value. Many brands are increasingly using it to engage website visitors or those who make inquiries on social media. It’s much quicker than humans and effectively mimics human speech and behavior.

While we cannot predict with certainty what other AI technologies are “looming” on the horizon, it is crucial that we constantly upgrade our knowledge and learn as much as possible about this valuable tool. One thing is for sure – AI is NOT going away.

5. Build Trust and Become a Voice of Authority

As you know, there is an ongoing battle for trust among brands. There is too much competition out there and audiences in general are quite skeptical of brands. Interestingly, one study suggests that brands lose around $2.5 trillion per year because of lack of trust from audiences. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that trust should always be a priority for PR strategies in 2020. One of the best ways to win and build trust is to share and showcase your expertise. Once you position yourself as a well-established expert, you are no longer the “no-name” professional desperately pushing a brand. You evolve into an industry leader – someone people can listen to or look up to for advice.

6. Use the Power of Analytics to Track Results

The importance of data and analytics can no longer be understated. Why? Simple. It can help you make important decisions and push your strategy in the right direction.

Analytics technology has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years and allows you to learn everything you need to know about your audience. It has the ability to tell you when a website visitor is ready to become a lead or when someone is ready to buy. Armed with these insights, you will be better equipped to determine what campaigns are working well and who makes up your core audience. Now is the time to benefit from this information and get the most of it.

7. Approach Niche Media

Traditionally, brands have eagerly targeted top-tier publications while leaving smaller and less known outlets in the dust. Well…let me assure you that this is not a smart strategy anymore. Besides, the aforementioned trend has shifted decidedly in recent years, with niche publications proving their worth for many businesses.

The rapid rise of online blogs, influencers and self-publishing platforms have given major publications a run for their money. This is an exciting development for PR — putting successful media placements in reach of smaller brands who oftentimes struggle for attention. It is not always necessary to choose the media outlet that has the biggest audience or the best name recognition. Why don’t you focus on the outlets that your audience uses or the pubs that are popular within your industry?

8. Leverage Live Streaming

It appears that the above strategy is growing in popularity and shows no sings of losing momentum. Evidence suggests that it can potentially facilitate a more genuine interaction with your audience and usually results in more comments on Facebook than regular video. So how do you utilize live video in your PR strategy? You can use it to amplify your earned media and stream live interviews, discussions, panels and live events. In addition, you could use it make an announcement or feature a product launch. In fact, there are so many different ways of using this tool in your PR. So don’t miss out on this valuable tool and figure out the best way to leverage it.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.

 

 

 

5 Ways to Sidestep Common Storytelling Pitfalls

by Angela Kambarian, Essential Communications

http://www.kambarian.com

Dear savvy business professional,

While storytelling is one of the most important marketing strategies, it is not always easy to implement. Inundating your audience with facts, figures and statistical data may bore them to tears. And if you think dry chronology or hyped language will save the day, think again.

But here is the great news. You can win your readers over with a captivating well-thought-out story and win more trust, more business and more fans. In fact, storytelling is an ideal tool for Public Relations and marketing and serves as a better and more reliable alternative to dry data, charts and statistics.

Winning the battle for attention is no easy feat. Let’s face it: there is a myriad of entertainment options available and crafting a business story to promote a product or service doesn’t always measure up. Besides, most people are swamped, overwhelmed or cynical and highly reluctant to peruse your tale, no matter how intriguing.

To help you overcome creative setbacks, I came up with a few tactics to sidestep common storytelling pitfalls and get noticed in a crowded marketplace.

Image result for storytelling

1. It is NOT always about YOU

Here is what I know for a fact: mediocre “run-of-the-mill” stories are focused on businesses while great stories are about people. Every story needs a hero. This may come as a big surprise, but oftentimes the most interesting hero could be a low-level employee or even a customer. Intuit and Hubspot both do a great job celebrating their core customers (i.e. small businesses) in their storytelling. Also, there is Slack’s Variety Pack podcast championing the workers themselves who happen to be the end users of its product.

2. Don’t confuse emotion with hype.

When a writer is facing the dreaded writer’s block and struggles to come up with a fascinating narrative, he/she may eventually resort to a bunch of empty adjectives or chest-beating messages to spice it up a bit. Sadly, the writer ends up with very little substance and a mediocre story that may undermine trust and deter some prospects. Mark Twaine famously wrote: “When you catch an adjective, kill it”. Therefore, when it comes to adjectives and “action verbs”, don’t get carried away. Keep in mind that less is more and a more precise word will beat a vague one anytime.

3. Thinking about incorporating chronology? Forget about it.

A lot of people have the urge to start at the very beginning and present a chronological narrative. The only problem is, it can be so insanely boring, lengthy and complex. Let me assure you, there is a better way to get your message across. When promoting a business, pretend you are making a 30-second video. Lead off with a pivotal moment. For example, you may tell about the founder of your company trying to solve a common problem, such as how to dress well without breaking the bank (Rent The Runway). You can also describe a “new” idea” providing instant 24/7 availability to software (Saleforce.com). In other words, everything should revolve around those intense moments that become obvious in retrospect. You can start in the middle, then fill in the blanks.

4. Don’t leave out the rough edges

There is a tendency in business storytelling to sugarcoat anything negative or embarrassing. Guess what: some high-growth tech entrepreneurs tend to be more transparent about their setbacks, obstacles or failures. That’s something most large companies try to avoid and choose NOT to dwell on their weaknesses, mistakes or miscalculations. Contrary to what you might think, these are the very developments that make a narrative more real, and thus, more compelling. There is power in admitting you are not perfect – something everyone can relate to.

5. Steer clear of tired old cliches

When it comes to effective storytelling, you should break the cliche habit and focus on high-stakes moments. I am talking about early failures, internal or external conflicts, business threats or challenges. But what if those moments are already well-known or simply don’t exist? Here is what I recommend. Why don’t you alter the point of view or try an analogy? Take software testing. It’s a commodity but there is an art to it.

If you are ready to boost your Public Relations, marketing and social media efforts, please visit http://www.kambarian.com or call 516-724-4372 today! Looking forward to helping you grow.