How PR can Improve your SEO – Digital Marketing Strategies

By Mark Macias

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 Credibility Matters with Every PR Campaign

By Mark Macias

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.

Why PR is Like Coffee

By: Mark Macias

By Mark Macias

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.

MACIAS PR – Why We Deliver Better Results

                               

MACIAS PR was founded in 2009 by a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Journalists and marketing peers consistently rank MACIAS PR as one of the best PR Agencies based on our results.

Over the years, MACIAS PR has launched publicity, media and branding campaigns for companies from all industries. We’ve worked with boot-strapped startups as well as established international brands, securing publicity with the most influential news publications. We have client case studies in several industries, detailing these campaigns.

Our clients always work with an experienced media strategist. We don’t pawn you off to a junior account executive. And as a boutique PR firm, our communications process is streamlined, while our execution is hyper-focused.

PR Awards – Earned by MACIAS PR

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the Strategic PR Firm of the Year from 2017-2021. As part of the selection process, marketing and PR professionals reviewed media campaigns promoted by our agency.

Finance Monthly also named MACIAS PR the 2015-2017 Financial PR Firm of the Year. And in 2021, City & State Magazine named our founder, Mark Macias, a Top 50 Political PR Power player in New York.

MACIAS PR has run B2B and B2C media and branding campaigns in healthcare, tech startups, financial services, asset management, nonprofits and service sector industries. We’ve secured big stories in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, People Magazine, CNN and others. (Here’s a closer look at our Annual Report ). We have case studies for all of these industries, backing up our consistent track record.

Message Mark at the bottom of this screen (green button on the right) if you would like to schedule a call. You can also get a free PR estimate by clicking here.

Communications Crisis: Release Flood of Bad News or Drip, Drip, Drip?

By Mark Macias

It’s the perennial crisis communications question: how do you control negative news once it’s out? And when you know more bad news is coming, how do you release it?

The end-game strategy of crisis communications is to get your business out of the news as quickly as possible. You don’t want a story to linger, or new developments to unfold because it keeps your story in the news cycle.

News is always about advancing a story. During my time as Executive Producer with NBC, we would frequently see a story in the morning’s New York Post or Daily News – and try to figure out how to advance it. No one wants to read old news. It’s why the phrase is a cliche.

Every day new information unfolds about your scandal, the more heavily favored your story is to remain in the news.

How do you Release Bad News?

If your business is in the headlines with negative news – and more bad news is still buried away – make sure you get it out as quickly as possible. All of it.

You don’t want a drip, drip, drip because it gives reporters new elements to advance their story. Every new release of more negative information gives your story another element to gain traction.

The challenge with managing negative news is you must provide a solution that demonstrates why the problem won’t happen again. Without that element, the story is still unresolved. The public also wants to know why this bad incident won’t happen again.

And it’s more than just issuing an apology. Many politicians wrongly believe an apology will lead to forgiveness with voters. Yes – Americans are very forgiving, but they don’t won’t support a hypocrite. Yet, another reason to reinforce why this pattern for negative behavior won’t return.

MACIAS PR has run crisis campaigns for politicians, nonprofits and financial organizations. If you’re facing a difficult situation and need private consultation, feel free to email us and we’ll coordinate a time to speak.

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017 and 2018 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. He’s also a frequent contributor with CNBC and author of the books, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media and the Tao of PR.

Forbes Analysis – Do Press Releases Lead to Media Coverage?

By Mark Macias

If you do any research on the different PR newswires, it’s very easy to believe that their distribution lists will lead to media coverage. Unfortunately, it’s a bit misleading.

These days, Google is picking up fewer of these press releases. Even more challenging, many news publications are now burying their press releases on their websites.

I recently wrote a story for Forbes – Do press releases lead to media coverage? You can read my article here to get a deeper assessment on when press releases are most effective. If you’re short on time, you can get some quick advice by reading on.

Continue reading “Forbes Analysis – Do Press Releases Lead to Media Coverage?”

Forbes Article – 3 Tactics for Standing out from Noise

By Mark Macias

It’s never easy standing out from the noise in a cluttered space, but if you’re going to survive as a startup, you have to figure out this formula fast. Otherwise, your business, product or new technology might never have a chance to catch on with the masses.

I elaborated on this approach in an article I wrote for Forbes, called –Three Tactics For Standing Out From The Startup Noise. You can click on that link to read but here is abridged version if you’re short on time.

Continue reading “Forbes Article – 3 Tactics for Standing out from Noise”

How PR Works Behind the Scenes, Impacting Media Coverage

By Mark Macias

Managing expectations in business is a critical component to keeping clients happy, and it’s no different with PR. If a client expects 1 or 2 media placements a month and you get 5 inquiries, they will be ecstatic. But if they expect 10 placements and you secure only 5, it’s going to be a difficult conversation.

I had that difficult conversation today with a new health tech client. 

Our media outreach started 2 weeks and 3 days ago. During this time, we secured two interview opportunities for their CEO (one takes place tomorrow), two requests for editorials from healthcare trades, a reporter asking to try out their platform, and 7 inquiries from other outlets, asking for more details on how their solution works. 

I don’t share this to brag. I’m writing this because I didn’t manage the client’s expectations.

Despite media inquiries from – Forbes, Fierce Healthcare, Pharmashots, Popular Science, Pharmacy Times, StrictlyVC.com, Dot.LA and editorial requests from HR.com and Benefits Pro – the client told me at the end of our call today, “we need to reassess because we have a lot of wins and losses.

Losses? 

“What are these losses?” It’s less than 3 weeks and we have a long list of reporters asking for elements.

Media Placements Rarely Happen Overnight

I’ll stick with more examples from this campaign because it has lessons for any case study. This startup spent time debating the actual public announcement of their launch.

“Should we launch on a Thursday or 4 days later?”

I’m a straight-shooter. It doesn’t matter whether the announcement is released on a Thursday or a Monday because the strategy is a longer-term play. And that’s not reading tea leaves. I made that recommendation based on 13 years of running this PR agency, and my time as an Executive Producer and Senior Producer in New York. 

If you’re trying to sell a story to the larger and more influential media publications, it will take time to assess the value of the story. Writers need to sell the story to their editors, and get approval. Producers need to pitch their Executive Producers. And even when the story is approved, the editorial calendar plays a role on scheduling. A story is rarely published in 24 hours, and that includes online news outlets.

You Need an Angle – Not an Announcement

Unless you’re Facebook announcing a name change, or Apple releasing a new product, an announcement rarely gets coverage. If you’re a big brand, timely announcements matter. But if you’re a startup or smaller brand, you need to identify an angle to sell the story.

It’s a little harder to give guidance on finding the right angle because news is nuanced. Each story is personalized based on the elements. But I can tell you what an “angle” isn’t. 

An angle isn’t a history lesson or information on a problem. It’s bringing a problem to light, or putting history into context with an idea that is relevant today.

If you’re trying to get publicity for an announcement, you have to identify the angle first and position your announcement into that story.

Targeted Media is Good; Broad Media is Better

A lot of potential clients tell me why they want to only target one specific trade publication or medium. And I get it. On the surface, if clients are in a specific industry, you want to reach them via the trades they read.

But that approach shouldn’t disqualify alternative or broader outlets.

For example, years ago, our firm ran a few media campaigns for hedge funds and private equity firms. Most of these CEOs only wanted to reach the hedge fund trades. 

In one situation, we secured an interview with the business editor of the New York Post. Unfortunately, the CEO turned down the request because he said it wasn’t a publication he wanted. To paraphrase, “my clients don’t read that tabloid.”

I’ve been inside newsrooms with NBC, CBS and American Journal, as well as regional TV newsrooms in Arizona and Florida. Those writers and producers aren’t reading the weekly hedge fund newsletter. They’re reading the daily newspapers in each region.

Yes, producers with CNBC and Bloomberg do read the FT and NY Times, but in that morning meeting when they are all pitching ideas, they aren’t reading those in-depth publications. They’re flipping through the tabloids or skimming the news on their phones. But if you get a story in one of those publications they’re skimming, you’re just pitched another reporter without knowing it.

The takeaway? Don’t limit your exposure out of the gate. Your potential clients do watch CNN and read their community papers – in addition to the trades.

If you narrow your targeted audience too much, you are tying the hands of your publicist. And if your publicist’s hands are tied, any story or campaign will be at a disadvantage on day 1 and day 17.

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.

Future of PR – Revolves around Reputations and Search Engines

By Mark Macias

One of our nonprofit clients went to a Google marketing conference and shared with me some of the best takeaways he heard. One of the boldest statements came from a Google executive who told the crowd that in the future, there will be no brands.

It seems hard to believe that brands won’t matter in the future, but it makes sense. Yes, household names, like McDonalds, Starbucks and Netflix will continue to be in our subconscious. However, among smaller brands – especially in the B2B sector – will become more susceptible to branding from Google. Let me break it down further. Continue reading “Future of PR – Revolves around Reputations and Search Engines”

Can you sell a story in 30 Seconds?

By Mark Macias

Before I launched this PR firm in 2009, I lived inside morning news meetings at both the local and national level. It’s the place where stories are killed or made – in a matter of minutes.

At the Arizona Republic and the local TV station, Channel 3, we had to pitch story ideas in front of editors, producers and other reporters. In New York, I pitched stories for a nationally syndicated TV program, American Journal. I also approved story ideas as the Executive Producer for Special Projects with NBC.

I don’t want to bore you with my journalism background. (You can read more of my background on LinkedIn).

Here’s why that experience inside the newsroom matters: you only have seconds to pitch a story and that background is the center-point of MACIAS PR.

As the above video demonstrates, if you can’t identify the narrative, communicate the story and angle within 30 seconds, your PR firms in tech and healthcare won’t succeed.

Before anyone on our team pitches a reporter, we practice and perfect our pitch. To outsiders, that might seem a bit childish or even less productive. It’s not.

Continue reading “Can you sell a story in 30 Seconds?”