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How to rework your pitch for a guest contribution

pitching-frames

It’s a tale as old as time—OK, maybe as old as the last five years: You have a piece of contributed content that you spent days pulling together with your client.

You’ve pitched and pitched, and it seems like no one is interested in your byline on “Why ABC is the Future of XYZ.” Inspired by my colleague, Elizabeth Yekhtikian’s list of “10 Ways to Get Out of a Pitching Rut,” here are the questions to ask yourself when your contributed content is falling flat:

1. Is this too self- serving? We spend so much time living and breathing our client’s messaging that it can be easy to become blind to content that is overly self-promotional. When your pitch isn’t being well-received, it’s time to go back to the content with an editorial eye.

Ask yourself how you can reframe it to be less about the client and more about the problem or issue they’re addressing. Is there a larger trend you can tie the content to? Are there other examples you can use to illustrate the problem that don’t point back to your client?

The most common reason content is rejected is because it’s overly self-promotional, so when your content isn’t working this should be the first angle you take in reworking it.

2. Is this boring? You and your client might get all excited about mobile collaboration, but that doesn’t mean everyone else will. Take some time to figure out how you can make your content more exciting. The “listicle” is Buzzfeed’s bread-and-butter for good reason—it’s a format that works well for reading and sharing on the Web.

Can you shape your content to work as a list or a how-to? At the same time, take time to read through your major target’s headlines and top stories. How can you edit your content to match their style and tone? Finally, ask how you can make the content stand out. Is there a news angle you can add? Is there a contrarian stance you can argue? If your content reads like corporate boilerplate, it’s not going far.

3. What can we add? Charts, pictures, multimedia: The days of straightforward op-eds are long gone. How can you make your content more compelling? Is there a chart or image you can you use to illustrate your point of view? Why not embed a supporting video or get really wild and embed some tweets that illustrate your argument?

An editor will want visual elements when it’s time to publish the post, so get ahead of them by crafting your content around something visually compelling.

4. Is this the right pitch? When content isn’t working, it may be time to rethink how you’re pitching it. Some editors like getting the full draft of the content as part of the initial pitch, which removes some of the back-and-forth, though sometimes this can kill your content before it even has a chance.

Consider approaching your targets with less “Here’s this great piece of content with a unique POV and it’s all wrapped and ready to go,” and more “Hi, would you be interested in a byline from really interesting person A about XYZ? If not, how about 123?”

Some of my most successful content pitches have come from offering the editor a selection of byline angles that they can pick and choose from. This way, instead of trying to force-feed them, you’re establishing a mutually beneficial relationship.

Placing contributed content can make or break your PR program. When there’s no news, it’s often our best bet for keeping the coverage flowing. So, as you craft your content, ask yourself these questions before you put pen to paper. Your content (and client) will thank you for it.

Source:prdaily.com

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Agencies wade into making their own products

agency-branded-products

When you work for an agency, the jargon buzz-phrase “core competency” tends to pop up every so often. As an agency, what are our core competencies? Is this outside of our core competency? How can we more effectively capitalize on this core competency? 

Speaking of core competencies, some agencies out there have tried to stretch theirs to actually having a hand in owning products. 

Digiday has the story of four agencies that have stepped outside the bounds of helping to market and promote products to actually making, distributing and, yes, marketing products themselves. 

• Omelet LA has partnered with chef Betsy Opyt on a line of peanut, almond and sunflower butters under the Healthy Concepts Food Company. Omelet made “a substantial financial investment” in the product, as well as offering marketing support, according to the article. 

• MRY spun off their proprietary software into Crowdtap, which saw $12 million in venture capital. 

• Red Tettemer O’Connell & Partners has a 50 percent stake in TuB Gin, and is providing support in distribution, sales calls and product production. 

The challenges for these agencies in stepping outside of their core competency tend to mount. Agency leaders point to stretched resources, added stress and added financial burden associated with backing a product. 

Source:prdaily.com

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Reddit dos and don’ts

This past March, Reddit received more than 114 million unique visitors.

Let that sink in for a minute. Frankly, that’s a lot of visitors!

Reddit is an ideal place to discover what people in various niches are talking about, as well as come up with content ideas based on what’s trending. Reddit is also a great place to build communities.

But diving into Reddit can be a bit intimidating. To help you navigate this social media site,WhoIsHostingThis created an infographic that describes how Reddit works, and offers tips on how to get the most from it.

Perhaps more important, the graphic explains some dos and don’ts of Reddit etiquette. Take a look at a few of them:

Do:

  • Search for duplicates before you submit new content.
  • Report any spam you see.
  • Cross-post any content you think fits in more than one community.
  • Vote on content on the new submissions page.

Don’t:

  • Post any personal information, whether it’s yours or someone else’s.
  • Ask for votes.
  • Use time-sensitive language in your title submissions.
  • Vote based on who submitted the content.

There’s more in the full graphic. Take a look:

Reddit_Infographic

Source:prdaily.com

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Why PR should be talking to SEO

you-talkin-to-me

If you work in PR and you’ve never struck up a conversation with your search engine optimization team, there has never been a better time to get to know them. 

In the past year, you may have started to see a lot more posts being published on the growing importance of content marketing and reputation management. PR is evolving, with PR and digital teams facing a greater challenge in working together ever more closely. 

PR is moving away from operating in isolation from the digital team to becoming an integrated function that aligns closely with brand, content, social media, and SEO efforts.

The simple truth is that each and every piece of content that you share and communicate is going to play a greater role in affecting how people in your online audience find and engage with your brand.

With over 6 billion searches recorded daily on Google (according to Comscore’s rankings), it is very likely that in-house SEO teams are becoming more aware of the importance of creating strategies focused on content and its placement. 

The relationship between SEO and PR teams should work both ways for maximum success. Here’s why:

The impact of good news on search results

PR has been contributing to search engine optimization for a long time. Creating positive brand mentions on media publications ultimately influences what consumers see when they Google that brand name. 

The more glowing the results, the more likely they are to trust that brand and purchase from it. Negative stories are pushed further down the search results, and all those positive mentions from influential websites are what SEO professionals dream about. It sends just the right signals to Google to get that brand ranking for its name and related search terms. 

In the absence of a viable alternative to reporting on Advertising Value Equivalent rates (what newspaper column inches would cost if you paid for that space), SEO is the answer PR pros have been looking for. Suddenly you are privy to a world where PR results can directly affect positive search results, rankings, website traffic, and ultimately sales. No longer will you just report on how many pieces of coverage you’ve secured, you can now answer your execs when they ask the inevitable, “But what’s this really worth to the business?”

How to measure PR activity

An SEO-led PR approach provides a multitude of factors to help measure PR’s impact. Your individual business objectives remain paramount, but try using these elements to give depth to your reporting. They will help you objective evaluate your approach: 

  • Rankings—brand name, long-tail search terms. How have these moved?

    Site traffic—has there been an increase in unique visitors?

    Inbound links—are there clickable links back to relevant content on your website?

    Average time on site—the longer people spend on a site, the more engaging and relevant to your audience the content is. This is also a significant part of Google’s algorithm.

    Social media referrals—how many people have reached your site through social media? 

    Social media mentions—how many uses of a hashtag or your brand name have there been?

    Audience reach—how many people could have seen your message?

    Inquiries/sales—the bottom line, are you making more money following your campaign?

    Domain authority of coverage—the higher the number, the more authoritative the website.

    Page authority of any resource on site you are linking to—has it increased?

    Brand mentions—how many times is the brand referred to?

You may find from using this in-depth reporting that a PR tactic you’ve been using for years just isn’t having the impact on the business that you’d sought. That’s the beauty of an SEO-led approach: It will quickly teach you what works for your audience and exactly what elements customers are ignoring. 

If a comment piece in the Daily Telegraph brings an increase in traffic or social mentions, then you should be media-training your spokespeople and getting their profiles raised, as that’s clearly what works for your business. 

If you’ve placed your luxury product with a luxury price tag on the shopping pages of a tabloid, sales and website visitor figures may show that coverage made no impact. Even though traditionally you could report that you reached over 2 million people and it was worth $15,000 in AVE. A re-evaluation of where your time is best spent may be necessary. 

Having a target amount of pieces of coverage isn’t sustainable for either PR agencies or clients. Eventually the previous high-water mark can’t be surpassed, and the client is left wondering why they are paying a lot of money for no visible return on their investment. 

Next steps

To make this approach work, it’s vital to open up communication channels between internal teams. It is evident from various industry events and conferences that we have attended in the last 12 months, this issue exists across a diverse range of businesses, with stakeholders that have responsibility for brand, content, PR, social media, and digital not aligning their approach to achieve the maximum impact. 

These teams need to work closer together in sharing their ideas and strategy deployment. Working as a single team is exceedingly more effective. 

Source:prdaily.com

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Merriam-Webster’s new words include ‘unfriend,’ ‘spoiler alert,’ ‘gamification’

facebook-unfriend

If you quite understandably unfriend someone who tries to catfish you via social networking, Merriam-Webster officially has your back.

Those three terms—“unfriend,” “catfish,” and “social networking”—are among the 150 new words and phrases that the publisher has officially added to the new edition of its collegiate dictionary. They’re part of a contingent of social media-related terms that have been added. Others include “gamification,” “crowdfunding,” “hashtag,” “selfie,” and “tweep.”

A few other terms are deeply entrenched in the digital age, though they don’t necessarily relate specifically to social networking. “Spoiler alert” is something people often see online, with regard to posts that include important plot points from movies, TV shows, and books. “E-waste” is discarded electronic products. The “digital divide” is about equality of online access.

Still other terms are more low-tech. A “Yooper” is someone from the upper peninsula of Michigan. A “freegan” is someone scavenges for free food. And “fracking” has become a word that is very commonly used.

Source:prdaily.com

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