Building a brand from scratch is never easy, but there are tactics and approaches you can take that will help scale your brand faster.
On the surface, most entrepreneurs naturally gravitate to large media outlets. They rightfully assume that getting coverage in a national publication will get their mission, services and products out there faster.
And while that is true, I’ve found there is often another overlooked group that many entrepreneurs purposely avoid.
I recently wrote an article for Entrepreneur, elaborating on why smaller media shouldn’t be overlooked. You can read that article by clicking here, but if you’re short on time, here’s an abridged version of the key points from my thought leadership.
Just when you thought your SEO strategy was solid, Google changes the rules. The new algorithm impacted 90 percent of search traffic.
Of course, we all know Google doesn’t reveal details on its algorithm but one thing Hummingbird does reinforce is the importance of content.
So why the algorithm change? Google has trained consumers to ask questions when searching for results, so it was only natural this latest search evolution would place a higher emphasis on how your search looks for answers. Unlike the earlier years of search, when keywords were used to find topics with search engines, Google now places a higher emphasis on content that delivers valuable information.
What does Hummingbird mean for your SEO marketing strategy?
It means if you are creating content for your company blog, you should pose questions in your copy, followed by the answer. Or even better yet, ask the question with an H2 tag and answer the question in the next sentence (like the last paragraph did).
Here is an example of how this new strategy can help your SEO better promote your content.
If you own a business, you know the importance of ROI and PR. But what is the ROI of public relations? (You can download our white paper on ROI of PR by clicking here). Under the new Hummingbird SEO, your future content should be asking questions, like in that example. In the past, ROI and PR, may have led to a decent search ranking, but under Hummingbird, Google is now taking a closer look at content and determining which content is answering the right questions.
There is another important item that the new Hummingbird reveals.
Content is King on the web and if you’re not creating new content, your business is at a strong disadvantage when it comes to search engines. Yes, your business can pull out ads and market itself on Facebook, but when those ads are done, you lose your exposure. However, if you create solid content in your industry and answer key questions for your customer base, the overall ROI of that content will be much better than a pure ad play.
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If you like what you read, you can hear more PR and digital marketing insight from Mark Macias in our #alwaysfreshPR podcast. Listen to us on your favorite channel by clicking here.
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias consults small and large businesses on publicity, crisis communications and digital strategy.
Why does the cat always catch the mouse? When you think of how agile and quick a mouse can be, he should be able outmaneuver the cat. Yet, nearly 100 percent of the time, the cat will catch the mouse.
That’s not just a fun question. It’s actually a way of thinking that applies to PR and business.
First off, I’m not an expert on mice or cats. I have never owned a cat and I hate mice. But as a person who lives in Brooklyn, and every New Yorker will tell you – “if you have mice, get a cat and the problem will go away.”
Credibility matters in life, but it especially matters for journalists. Whenever you pitch a story to the media, the journalist is subconsciously measuring your integrity and experience. If the producer is going to invest time and energy on your story, he wants to make sure the idea has credence from the start so he’s not chasing false leads.
A lawyer pitching a story on corporate fraud or a teacher pitching a story on education reform will always have more credibility at the onset than a retired citizen who works part-time at the public library. The journalist will rightfully assume the lawyer and teacher have insider knowledge or expertise, which will lend credibility to the topic.
The credibility argument works for every story —not just scandals involving corporate fraud or education reform. If you are pitching a story on a jewelry designer, you need to establish that jeweler’s credibility. The reporter or producer listening to your idea is going to want to know what makes this jeweler qualified to speak about jewelry trends. Don’t assume the reporter will know why or how the person you are pitching is qualified to speak on the topic.
Do I have Enough Credibility for a Media Campaign?
So how do you determine whether you are credible enough to speak to the media? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when trying to establish credibility for your story.
*What makes you qualified to speak on this topic?
*How many years of experience have you spent in the industry?
*What part of your daily routine is spent reinforcing your expertise?
*What do you know as an insider that others would want to know?
You may possess a limited amount of expertise, but that shouldn’t stop you from continually trying to establish more credibility. Websites, op-ed articles, trade magazines can all lend credence to a person in search of credibility. Remember, the media needs experts for nearly every story because it lends credibility to their reporting. Even the salacious stories require insider knowledge.
So before you pitch your next idea, take a minute to make sure you have established credibility on the topic. Your news release should state why you are the person with insights into the topic. If you can communicate this expertise in the right tone, you will have a better chance of convincing a journalist to write about your business.
Follow our Always Fresh PR Podcast
If you like what you read, you can also hear more of these topics from Mark Macias in our #alwaysfreshPR podcast. Listen to us on your favorite channel by clicking here.
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.
Public relations is like coffee, but it should never be confused for a quick hit like cocaine. I got that crazy thought this morning as I was pouring a cup of coffee.
Coffee – much like public relations – is needed to give your day a boost. Without coffee, you are not as quick on your feet and it’s harder to get through your day. Every growing business needs public relations just like you need your coffee. A healthy dose of PR, like your cup of Joe, gives your business a jolt and if it’s an effective publicity campaign, it makes your workload easier.
Entrepreneurs and business owners should never view PR like a drug that delivers a quick hit to your bottom line. You risk a huge crash if you take this myopic approach.
PR is not medicine. It’s more like a vitamin. We take vitamins in the morning to stay healthy, strong and vital. We turn to medicine when we need a remedy or when our health is failing. All public relations campaigns will be more successful if they are launched while a company has a healthy headwind.
“Give Me a Quick Hit”
I speak with a lot entrepreneurs and I hear a consistent theme from our conversations: They want to see an overnight correlation between publicity and sales. It is possible to directly increase sales from public relations, but an overnight correlation is an unstable foundation, especially for any fledgling operation.
Bill Gates grasped this concept in the early days of Microsoft. He’s been quoted multiple times, saying “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”
Another reason why you don’t want to view public relations as medicine is because it gets harder to influence the public when you face negative news. I frequently get unsolicited calls from businesses or nonprofits, asking for advice on how to improve their image following a negative news story. That’s not a publicity campaign. That is a crisis campaign and they begin with different approaches and strategies.
So the next time you’re looking for creative ways to make your work flow more productive, maybe you should grab a cup of Joe and see what it inspires for your next PR campaign.
Follow Always Fresh PR Podcast
If you like what you read, you can also hear some of these topics from Mark Macias in our #alwaysfreshPR podcast. Listen to us on your favorite channel by clicking here.
Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity.
It seems like there is new speculation everyday when it comes to media mergers. If you’re looking to get your brand in front of these media outlets, you really have to pay attention because it does impact the way publicists sell stories.
I recently wrote a story for Forbes on this topic, which you can read here. If you’re short on time, I’ll give you a quick summary.
This new alignment of media conglomerates has a huge impact on the overall news industry and the way publicists sell stories to reporters.
Back in 2003, I was Executive Producer with NBC at the time of the Telemundo acquisition. Many of my Hispanic colleagues said the new acquisition would create a stronger news force for our community.
We would have the power of NBC behind us — they said — giving us more journalists to pursue stories in our community. Sadly, I predicted it wouldnt work like that and today we can see the results. Emails for the Telemundo news department have been converted to nbcuni.com addresses. And the news desks in New York for NBC and Telemundo are combined into one desk.
News organizations need to turn a profit. And the larger organizations that have shareholders are even more beholden to the bottom line. Many business owners tell me why the media has a responsibility to do certain stories. And many times, I agree.
But capitalism ranks higher than journalism based on my media experience. If the news story doesn’t generate an audience, it’s unlikely to move forward.
This is one of the strategies behind our agency. We look for that commercial angle before we pitch any reporter.
If you want to learn more, you can read my Forbes article that gives you more background on this topic. I elaborate on what publicists need to do to stand out in this new world.
And if you’re short on time, you can catch many of our blogs and articles on our podcast, Always Fresh PR. You can listen on your favorite channel by clicking here. If you were subscribed, you could have listened to this story while commuting or doing errands on the go. It’s like me speaking directly in your ears by clicking here.
ABOUT MACIAS PR
Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named him a PR Political Power Player in 2021.
I recently wrote a story for Entrepreneur Magazine on how to get the most out of your PR and marketing team. I shared some personal examples in that article on how a few past clients alienated our work by treating us as minions – rather than partners.
You can read the column here, but if you don’t have a subscription, I’ll share a little more about how to get the most out of your publicist.
Over the years, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs, CEOs, physicians, politicians and other leaders who had fairly strong personalities. Most of these clients are leaders in their industry, so they’re used to communicating in a direct way. In some cases, their brevity might have been confused as being abrupt or short.
As an entrepreneur myself, I understand their form of communication. I also can relate to their stress, so I never took it personally. But not every publicist has the same experience.
Here’s an abridged version of my Entrepreneur column on how to get the most out of your publicist.
You can learn a lot from the people you surround yourself with, and it’s an even bigger factor in business. This is one of the biggest advantages of working with an outside PR agency. They can apply best practices to your media campaign.
We’ve worked with a lot big brands: Noom, Lifesum, Columbia University Medical Center, Plenty of Fish, Deloitte, MicroStrategy, Mastercard and others. Now, we can say we’ve worked with the 2nd fastest growing technology company in Europe, according to the Financial Times.
I typically don’t discuss our clients publicly, but I’m super proud to share some of the lessons I have learned from this CEO. He accomplished growth that only one other company achieved at a faster rate in 2021. Everyone can learn from his mind and approach.
MACIAS PR recently ran a targeted thought leadership campaign, sharing his insight with reporters and entrepreneurial publications. Here’s a closer look at what he said, in his own words.
In this podcast, I share strategies I learned from producing and promoting my Off Broadway play in 2018. The tactics apply to any startup.
About MACIAS PR
MACIAS PR was founded in 2009 by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. The agency has been named the Best Strategic PR Firm and Best Financial PR Firm by both journalists and marketing peers. The top tech and healthcare PR firm uses strategies that stem from this background inside the media.
In theory, a performance-based model sounds like a great idea. The client doesn’t pay for anything unless the PR agency succeeds. Of course, as most entrepreneurs learn, if any deal is too one-sided, you lose money.
I don’t think many entrepreneurs really understand the depth, strategy and resources required to run a successful media campaign that leads to earned media — and I’m not talking about a press release. I’m talking about a bonafide news story or feature in a publication that you read.
You can read my analysis in Forbes here. If you’re short on time, here’s an abridged version of my thoughts on performance based PR.