Online Ads Are Cheating your Budget – Infographic Analysis

By Mark Macias

Online advertising is typically the first approach for many tech startups and small business owners, but there is a big silent secret that is stealing a portion of your online ad budget. It involves Internet bots that are disguised as consumers and secretly clicking on your ads without you knowing.

Some exposes (like this story in Moz) have alleged the ad networks are working together with the ad agencies to essentially provide “fake” clicks on ads that generate revenue for the ad networks. Google has publicly come out against the bots, even issuing a report on what it was doing to prevent these “bots” from clicking on online ads.

Here’s a closer look at how Internet bots are stealing a portion of your online ad budget without you even realizing it.

Top PR Firm of the Year - Macias PR - Analysis on Online Advertising

Crisis Advice – Media Scandal

By Mark Macias

No one wants to prepare for a crisis but it’s something every business owner should have in the back of his mind. What happens when your company has a cyber security breach or a media scandal is surfacing? If you’re in asset management, what should a fund manager do when he gets an SEC inquiry letter?

All of those questions were addressed in a recent hedge fund and private equity panel, sponsored by Macias PR. Here’s a snippet from the crisis section of the panel.

You can hear more from this panel at the Macias PR Youtube Page. 

Top PR Consultant Firm of the Year – 2015 Winner

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.07.14 AMBy Mark Macias

It feels great when we are able to secure prominent news stories for our clients with the most influential news organizations, but I have to admit, it feels even better when your peers and clients recognize your hard work with an international award that honors your achievements.

Macias PR was just named the “Top PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” for 2015 by Finance Monthly. It’s a prestigious industry recognition that evaluates talent, expertise, creativity, innovation and deliverables for advisory and legal consultants across Europe, Asia and the USA.

A team of researchers from Finance Monthly evaluated key categories to identify and select the top PR firms from around the world.

Their identification and selection process involved a 10-point criterion that included a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the firm’s expertise and deliverables within the financial media. Their researchers also interviewed both clients and journalists in assessing the PR firm’s media strategy, media expertise, innovation and industry expertise.

What does this mean to you as a client or potential client?

This recognition by financial journalists demonstrates why strategy trumps size. We don’t want to be the biggest PR firm in the world. We want to be the best PR firm for you. And in 2016, we will continue to out-work and out-think the global PR firms as we strive to help our clients grow their business on the international stage. We will never throw bodies at campaigns, like the big PR firms promise. Instead, we will throw minds at every problem and come up with the most original strategy tailored for you.

Macias PR was named the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

B2B PR Campaigns

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By Mark Macias

Our PR team works with clients in different industries – tech startups, financial, nonprofits, service sector and retail. Business to consumer (B2C) media campaigns are usually easier to run from a conceptual perspective, but many Business to Business (B2B) campaigns are even more effective with a better ROI than B2C campaigns.

I frequently meet hedge fund managers who want to reach fund of funds, which is a B2B campaign. They usually tell me a media campaign won’t work for them – and on the surface, I can see why they would believe that. They aren’t pushing a service that the consumer can buy like many tech startups, but many fund managers do read the Wall Street Journal and watch CNBC and Bloomberg to hear where the markets are going. Fund managers must always be informed and they usually get their news from the business publications.

It may take time to see or understand how this new PR marketing approach can help hedge funds or private equity groups reach new investors and institutional money, but when you look at your news tomorrow morning, ask yourself: what is this information that is swaying my judgments? When I speak with clients or potential clients at the next networking event, will I discuss the news market?

Here’s an example of a story we used to help our compliance client reach targeted hedge fund managers. It’s in The Wall Street Journal and it involves hedge fund regulation. Sounds like a story you may want to discuss with your colleagues tomorrow. Click here to read the WSJ story.

Macias PR was named the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

Market a Fund to Investors

By Mark Macias

Public relations can raise the profile of your firm. Unfortunately, the financial industry is one of the last sectors to embrace PR.

MACIAS PR has led many media campaigns for hedge funds, private equity firms, money managers and financial service providers. Our team secured media coverage for our clients with CNBC, Wall Street Journal, Barron’s Magazine and others.

This track record is partially why industry peers named MACIAS PR the 2017 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. And in 2015 and 2016, Finance Monthly named us the Financial PR Firm of the Year.

A recent white paper, How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules, found less than 5 percent of SEC registered hedge funds are taking advantage of PR.

The white paper found fewer than one in 20 SEC registered funds had a website, putting them out of reach of new investors. The research also discovered roughly 80 percent of the funds in Connecticut didn’t even have an email address for  investors to contact.

The white paper was published by MACIAS PR and can be downloaded by clicking here.

How to Market a Fund to Investors

Before the SEC lifted the restrictions on marketing, most funds had not developed a website, fearing it would give the impression of skirting the old SEC prohibition on advertising.

Those funds are now at a huge disadvantage since they are entering a modern world where an online presence is crucial to marketing any service.

Marketing a fund with the media is drastically different than marketing a product to the public. Every fund needs credibility before the media will even consider putting a portfolio manager on TV or quoting him as a financial expert. This is why he says it’s so crucial for all funds to establish credibility now with a strong online presence.

Here is an except from the white paper How to Market your Fund under the New SEC Rules:

Establish Credibility before any Media Outreach

Credibility matters in life, but it especially matters for journalists, says Macias who was a journalist for NBC, CBS and King World Productions. Whenever a portfolio manager is pitched as an expert to the media, journalists will quietly and overtly measure his expertise, integrity and experience in the financial industry. If a reporter doesn’t see an online presence on your fund, credibility questions will be raised, Macias says. Here are a few credibility questions you should be able to address and answer before your fund pursues media placements.

Develop a Content Marketing Plan

Your team of analysts already has a wealth of research that could be turned into white papers, blogs, articles or editorials that could be marketed on the web. This is known as “content marketing.” Content marketing is one of the most effective methods for reaching new investors because it provides a real value to consumers. When promoted on the web, content marketing platforms, like nRelate or Outbrain, can help your original content reach even more targeted business readers on influential blogs and news websites.

Research Financial PR and Financial Marketing Firms

Unlike ad campaigns that stop when your campaign ends, media campaigns keep working for your fund long after a PR campaign is over. The cost for a PR campaign effectively diminishes overtime, since news organizations rarely bring down their stories.

Another benefit to a financial PR campaign is a boost to your search engine ranking. If your PR team can convince a news organization to post a link to your website on their news site, other search engines will suddenly view your fund as more valuable, boosting its ranking to a higher position. Here are a few questions to help you determine which PR firm is the best fit for your hedge fund.

Develop an Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing campaigns can be a targeted way to share your investor newsletters with potential investors. When written in a concise way, a fund’s newsletter can be shared with your clients’ sphere of influence, especially when it contains social media links embedded in the newsletter. The key to launching a successful email campaign is to deliver original content that educates readers on your fund.

Macias PR was named the 2017 Strategic PR Firm of the Year and 2016 and 2015 top PR Firm of the Year – USA by Finance Monthly. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

How to Break Bad News to Others (or the Media)

By Mark Macias

You probably don’t realize it, but crisis communications skills are used almost every day in your personal life.

Why were you late to dinner?

What do you think of the new young hire?

Did you follow-up with the potential client?

All of these questions have double-blades that can get you into trouble.

Crisis Communications Advice for Business Owners

Here are a few principals you can apply from my crisis communications book – Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. These are tactics I learned from my media career as an investigative producer when everyone on the other side of the camera was the villain.

Be Transparent

If you project any vibe that you are hiding something, clients will run from you and the media will run to you.

The best investigative stories have conflict and when reporters discover a subject lied in their interview, they have instant conflict for the story.

As a journalist, my radar flashed red lights when I noticed the interviewed subject was avoiding my questions. Be direct with your response. Don’t mince words when asked direct questions or reporters (or anyone else) will become suspicious.

Stay Ahead of the News

It is much easier to put out a fire before it starts and it’s no different with the media.

You can better manage negative news when you are in control of the message.

I’ve run several crises campaigns for nonprofits and politicians where their lawyers were closely involved with the media strategy. Of course, their attorneys wanted them to say “no comment” for legal purposes, and I understand why. But in the court of public opinion, this approach doesn’t work.

When it comes to journalism, you give reporters cart-blanch to write any story if you refuse to comment. Don’t make it easy for them.

Don’t Lie

You get caught lying and all credibility is lost. It might seem easier to lie your way out of the problem when you think no one will know, but trust me, that is myopic. And if you’re dealing with a seasoned investigative journalist who has prepared for your interview, you are in more danger by lying when the cameras are rolling.

Just ask former Congressman Anthony Weiner about that. If you forgot about that lie, it’s on YouTube and will likely be there for eternity. (Here’s an article I wrote on why I suspected he was lying before he confessed. Hint: he forgot.) Yet another reason to tell the truth. You won’t forget what you said years down the road when your story is emblazoned on the Internet.

Macias PR was named the 2016 “Financial PR Firm of the Year – USA” and the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. We have launched and led media campaigns for clients in healthcare, finance, tech and the nonprofit sectors. The founder of Macias PR – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He is also a PR contributor with CNBC, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

Publicity for my Business

By Mark Macias

A web TV show recently asked me to help promote their program with the mainstream media. I was flattered by the invitation, especially since the producers also have a media background and are theoretically “media experts” themselves.

Before I had a chance to say, “hmmm, I’m hungry,” they emailed me their press release, asking me what I thought.

I read it and squinched.

It was horrible.

Their press release had no focus, no narrative. It was an announcement for a show.

The mainstream media doesn’t want to do announcements. They get paid to tell stories.

Press Release 101

If you’re trying to get publicity for your small business, you need to focus the message and uncover the news peg before you send it out because you only get one chance with reporters.

Look for the controversy and exploit it. Or, position yourself as an expert.

And look to the future, not the past. In the case with that web program, the producers focused their release on a guest who appeared on their program a few weeks earlier. That’s not even an announcement. It’s old news.

So take your time to make sure the message is in place before you reach out to any reporters, or you risk losing any chance of getting publicity before you even start.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. 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.

 

 

 

Media Training – The TV Interview

By Mark Macias

You’re prepared for the job interview, but are you ready for the TV interview?

I recently interviewed a high-level executive with a major tech company. It was for a story that would run on the web.

Minutes before he sat in front of the camera, the corporate communications woman handed him a briefing document for the interview.

As the producer, I stayed quiet and listened.

This was a friendly interview and the questions were all softballs, yet this executive made the same mistakes that I continually saw throughout my TV career.

The executive tried to read from a script when he should have been speaking from the heart and mind.

Media Training 101

If you do any TV interview, throw out the script.

Don’t try to memorize sentences because you will forget no matter how much Gingko is in your system.

And if you’re preparing a briefing document for a client, don’t write out long or even short sentences. In fact, don’t write out any sentences. Instead, communicate the thoughts that should be expressed in the interview. Those bullet-points will force your client to understand the issues rather than memorizing sentences.

Media Training 201: Understand the Topic 

In the case with that C-level executive, I was shocked because he knew the content, but his communications person was unfortunately confusing him with sentences that were from her heart and mind – not his.

After 10-minutes of watching this executive stumble over simple words, I asked the cameraman to stop rolling and politely asked the executive to throw his briefing document in the trash.

I reminded him that he knew this topic. He needed to tell me what he knew – not what someone else thought he knew.

Less than 2-minutes after the camera started rolling again, he gave us the best sound any producer or viewer would want to hear because he spoke from his heart, not from memory.

Media Training 301: Speak from the Heart – Not from Memory

If you know the topic intimately and speak from the heart, you won’t mess up when you are under pressure.

It’s when we fight the nervous energy that our anxiety becomes more pronounced and we forget what we are supposed to say. So embrace that emotional energy and remind yourself that the best communicators always communicate on a level where others can feel it. If you feel it, your audience will feel it if channeled in the proper way.

That’s something you won’t get from a script written by another person.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. 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.

Find Your PR Gimmick for Publicity

By Mark Macias

Everyone needs a gimmick when it comes to PR and it’s no different than living in New York City.

As any New Yorker will tell you, if you want to stand out at a cocktail party, you need material to push you above the crowd. Some call that personality; others call it charisma. I like to call it a gimmick.

It’s no different when branding a product, business, or service with the media. You need to discover what your gimmick is if you want the media to take notice.

Now before the critics start breaking down that statement with comments like, “That is shallow,” or “Execution beats style,” –  I agree with you.

But let’s take off that analytical cap for a sec and discuss this idea not in black and white terms, but in gray terms – which is where publicity lives.

Many entrepreneurs rightly assume that “gimmick” implies a form of forgery or scheme of deception. Think of it as a way to distinguish your business from the crowd.

There are hundreds of public relations firms in the U.S., so my PR firm, Macias PR, needs to stand out from the packed field.

What’s my gimmick?

I am a former journalist who understands intuitively and intimately how the media works. I’ve been inside (and run) those morning news meetings where stories are approved and killed.

I know what it takes to get a story on the news.

That is what separates me from other publicists.

It’s no different for your business. If you can’t identify your gimmick, then you are in trouble, because consumers have no reason to buy your product.

What was President Obama’s “gimmick” when he ran against Sen. John McCain? Barack Obama was the man with hope. I’m sure Mr. Obama believed it, but that was, in essence, a gimmick.

So if you are starting a business (and it doesn’t matter what you are selling), you’d better discover your gimmick before the doors are opened. If you need to brainstorm on a future gimmick, ask yourself what you can do to stand out from the crowd. Sure, it’s a simple question, but most lawyers, accountants, and medical doctors don’t acknowledge that question on day one.

Perhaps that is because they are choosing to use their left brain over their right brain.

Now that I think about it, these are probably the same people who are arguing that a “gimmick” is shallow and will never work.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. 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.

 

When One Employee Inspires a Crisis

By: Mark Macias

Rupert Murdoch runs a global media empire that includes Fox News, Fox Business News, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Television Network, The New York Post, 20th Century Fox – and others, making him one of the most powerful people in the world.

When it came to influencing readers, Murdoch holds the ink that moves the pen.

But cracks in Murdoch’s concrete empire began to appear in 2011 after a few employees were accused of illegally hacking into voicemails of the British Royal family.

You don’t need to run a global media empire for this type of crisis to impact your company. It only takes one rogue employee to create negative news that splashes your business name on the front pages of the local newspaper.

There is no universal crisis communications book or one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to managing a crisis situation. Each case is individual based on the situation, but here are a few rules that apply to all crises, regardless of the scandal.

1) Get to the bottom of the truth as quickly as possible.

“I don’t know,” can be an acceptable response in the early stages of a crisis as long as it is followed up with “let me find the answers.” Reporters won’t walk away just because you can’t answer their questions, but they will give you time to research it. So if you are learning in real-time that your employees may have engaged in any unethical or illegal behaviors, it is your job to get to the bottom of it quickly.

2) Hold the Guilty Accountable. 

If you discover an employee engaged in any illegal behavior, fire him. It sends a strong message to the media that your company won’t condone any form of behavior that breaks the law.

Likewise, many professions — like journalism — involve ethical standards. If you discover that your employees violated  ethical codes while conducting their jobs, make an example out of them – and don’t be afraid to share it with the media. The public is more forgiving once they realize it is less likely for your mistakes to happen again.

3) Be Open With Your Findings. You may not like what your employees did, but if reporters ask you specific questions, don’t be evasive with your answers. Allow yourself to be human and share your disappointment with the media. Contrition is a trait that makes us all relate to one another.

4) Be Prepared to Announce New Policies. If your internal investigation into the crisis discovers a systemic problem, now is the time to announce a change in policy.

This crisis communications advice isn’t just for business owners. It’s practical information that can apply to managers, political leaders, public personalities, or anyone who could become the face of a scandal.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the crisis communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias has consulted politicians and nonprofits on their crisis communications strategies. He now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.