Journalists Get Ideas on Social Networks; Company Sites and PR for Support

Business-to-business media continue to have a healthy appetite for social media tools. This year’s survey, “Arketi Web Watch Media Survey2011 found that 92% of journalists have a LinkedIn account, an increase from 85% in 2009. In addition to LinkedIn, 85% of journalists are on Facebook, up from 55% in 2009, and 84% use Twitter vs. 24% in 2009.

It comes as no surprise that more BtoB journalists are participating in social media sites, says the report, especially LinkedIn. Journalists are constantly seeking industry sources for story ideas and LinkedIn provides an online outlet for them to research and connect with potential sources…

Business journalists subscribe to the most popularly used social media tools.

Journalists’ Social Media Subscriptions
Social Media % Subscribing
LinkedIn

92%

Facebook

85

Twitter

84

YouTube

58

Blog site

49

Flicker

28

MySpace

18

DeLicious

15

FourSquare

14

Source: Arketi WebWatch Media Survey, July 2011

64% of Journalists spend more than 20 hours a week online, and 21% report more than 40 hours of activity each week:

Journalist’s Use of The Internet (% of Respondents)
Activity % of Respondents
Reading news

98%

Searching for news sources/story ideas

91

Social networking

69

Micro blogging (Twitter)

66

Blogging

53

Webinars or webcasts

48

Watching YouTube

34

Exploring Wikis

33

Podcasts

32

Social bookmarking

22

Source: Arketi WebWatch Media Survey, July 2011

82% of journalists say companies without a website are less credible. When unable to reach a company source, 81% of business journalists turn to an organization’s website.

Important Characteristics of Company Website (% of Journalists Responding)
Characteristic % of Respondents
Contact information

98%

Search capabilities

94

Text documents

87

PDFs

84

Publication quality graphics and photos

79

Financial/investor information

73

Press kits

69

Blogs

65

Video files

53

Audio files

47

Source: Arketi WebWatch Media Survey, July 2011

 

Journalists’ Source of Story Ideas (% of Respondents)
Source % of Respondents
Industry “sources”

99%

Public relations contacts

80

Press releases

77

Wire services

74

Email pitches

71

Blogs

56

Micro blogs

44

Social networking sites

39

Podcasts

18

Usernet newsgroup

18

Source: Arketi WebWatch Media Survey, July 2011

51% of journalists surveyed found sponsored webinars helpful, including these types:

  •  Industry trends… 81%
  • Original research… 71
  • Case studies… 60
  • Product demos… 29
  • Training… 28

Arketi Group regularly conducts surveys on relevant industry topics and publishes these findings to help B2B PR and marketing professionals. A copy of the survey reports can be requested.

 

For additional information from Arketi, please visit here.

Six Tips for Signing and Keeping Clients in a Reviving Economy

Some good ideas for nearly any business, putting the customer at the center of the business relationship.

While the last few years have witnessed new opportunities and tools to advance media and client engagement, the period also has been marked by tumultuous economic conditions. During that time, many PR agencies, especially small- and medium-sized firms, have struggled to maintain clients, and attract new ones.

With strong signs of a pick-up in business activity, the climate now is right for PR professionals to develop strategies and tactics that can help them bring in new clients as well as hold on to current accounts.

The following are tips that owner-practitioners can use to boost their chances of profiting from the economic upturn.

1. Think locally. Local business can provide a source of clients both in terms of the PR and marketing services the businesses may need and the networking opportunities they can provide. They may also offer the chance for cost-effective advertising for you or your current clients, such as the potential to rent prime window space for campaigns and promotions.

2. Invest in the right tools. Widgets (small, stand-alone applications you install within a webpage, blog, desktop, etc) can enhance your efforts and help automate much of the marketing and sales process for you. By investing in widgets for email marketing, blogging, idea generation and other online marketing endeavors, you should be able to improve efficiencies. This automation will help free up time, so you can focus on prospect and client relations.

3. Go mobile. Smartphones, tablet computers, and mobile applications have practical uses for PR owner-practitioners. These devices can help you manage client and prospect relations both remotely and in-house, since they place the technology right at your fingertips nearly all the time. Mobile applications provide various capabilities conducive to next-generation marketing and PR.

4. Enhance employee engagement. PR, perhaps more than many other fields, is susceptible to fluctuations in work cycles, wherein agencies bounce between overloading and underutilizing the in-house communications teams. This constant shifting in work flow wreaks havoc with employee morale and retention, which in turn can seriously compromise an agency’s profitability and future. In fact, studies have shown significant links between employee tenure and client satisfaction and retention. Tracey Bochner of Paradigm Public Relations shares some insights into employee retention and agency growth in this video interview with BurrellesLuce‘s Johna Burke at PRSA’s Counselors Academy.

5. Make goals measureable. Smart goals are ones that are specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and timely. To ensure that you’ve expended your efforts most profitably, you need to be able to measure your goals and demonstrate how your efforts translate back to your business and key objectives. By making your measurement a priority you are better able to counsel your own clients on its importance.

6. Look to the winners. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you do need to be creative in your PR activities. Look to current campaigns or materials that can be repurposed for new audiences, outlets, and verticals. And search beyond your own company’s experience so that you’re timely with your own initiatives and aware of other successful campaigns.

Networking is one of your most important tools as a communications professional. With the proper thought and effort, PR owner-practitioners can capitalize on a strengthening economy by forging bonds with prospects, clients, vendors, and employees — and utilizing digital tools that help them meet the objectives of core constituents.

About BurrellesLuce

Taking control of every stage of your media planning, monitoring, and reporting needs is simple and effective with BurrellesLuce. Our comprehensive suite of affordable services is fully integrated in one convenient and easy-to-use portal, BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™ . Incorporate and review your traditional print, broadcast, online and social media results in one report. Research and engage journalists and bloggers, and intelligently plan future campaigns. Build and manage social media communities. WorkFlow gives you everything you need to start organizing and managing your media relations and public relations results.

Crisis Communications

Whether your company caters to consumers or to other companies, you at some point will likely have to address—or advise upper management on how best to handle—a business crisis. Adequate planning is necessary to withstand the potential onslaught of a media maelstrom, accompanying a business crisis. If the plan is carefully conceived and faithfully implemented, your company can actually emerge stronger than before the crisis hit.

Following are eight time-tested tips that public relations professionals should heed when trying to weather a communications crisis. Several of the recommendations come courtesy of Dr. Joe Trahan III, APR and PRSA Fellow, who was the featured expert in a recent webinar sponsored by BurrellesLuce. The webinar, entitled “Crisis Communications: When the Stuff Hits the Gumbo Pot,” is available for review in the free BurrellesLuce Resource Center.

1. Position crisis communications as the key to continuity. Persuading executives and business owners that it is essential to have a crisis plan can be a difficult task. Organizations often have the mentality that a crisis will not happen to them. In reality, though, it is a question of when, not if, a crisis will arise. To truly get everyone on board with crisis planning, you must “sell it as a matter of operations,” explains Dr. Trahan. In concrete terms, crisis management enables a company to continue operating at the highest possible effectiveness during a crisis. Without a plan, a company can get distracted from its main source of revenue and meeting client needs.

2. Incorporate all channels of communication. Regardless of the chosen strategy, companies should look at all forms of communications channels when handling a crisis. “Whether it is sending an email to your staff, responding to a reporter’s questions or posting to your Facebook page, all tactics need to be treated as equally vital in the communications process,” declares this Business 2 Community Post on social media crisis communications. To avoid even one aspect of crisis communications can be detrimental to brand, client, or company reputation and constituent favor.

3. Take responsibility for the problem. Companies and brands get into real trouble when they try to skirt the issue or place the blame elsewhere. It is far better to own up to the problem and outline how your company, brand, or client is working to address it. Think about the messages and how they are crafted. Tell your publics what you’re doing and communicate what’s going on. If you’re making particularly good strides, be sure to talk about that as well.

4. Avoid replying with ‘no comment.’ “By saying ‘no comment,’ you are saying you’re guilty,” Dr. Trahan contends. He suggests instead that spokespersons incorporate bridging techniques . If you don’t know the answer to the question, he explains, you can tell them “I don’t know that at this time,” “This is what I do know,” or “I will find out.” This way, you’re able to get information out quickly, however little there may be at the time. Then follow up later as new developments occur. Bridging phrases are powerful tools to help you speak the truth and comment on what you do know.

5. Monitor and assess. It’s imperative that you know what’s being said about your company and who’s saying it. That’s because, in a crisis situation, you need as much detail as you can gather in order to ensure that you, in turn, can provide the specific type of information that your publics are seeking. Failing to address the expressed concerns of the various stakeholders carries the potential to exacerbate the crisis.

6. Correct media errors right away. You never want inaccurate media coverage to go uncorrected. Quickly setting the record straight is an urgent necessity in today’s digital age, when words and images can reach millions of people in virtually real-time. If information is wrong, pick up the phone and talk to the reporter who made the mistake or meet in person if the misreporting continues. In any event, constantly disseminate your story through as many relevant channels as you can. This will improve the odds that the information the public receives is not only accurate, but also reinforces the messages you want to deliver.

7. Avoid off-the-record remarks. As you build relationships with The Media, it gets increasingly difficult to remember what you’ve said, and to whom. That’s one reason never to speak off the record. Another reason is that for many reporters and bloggers, nothing is off the record. Even if they do agree to go off the record, what you tell some people may not be protected by shield laws.

8. Revisit the plan. Your plan should be a living, breathing document. It needs to be cared for and nurtured. Overcome the common tendency to forget about the crisis plan once it is created. You can never tell when you’re going to have to use it, so, to ensure its effectiveness, review the plan periodically and revise any scenarios and details that may be outdated.

With the proper tools in hand, communications professionals can gain the confidence they need to capably represent their company, client, or brand during a crisis.

About BurrellesLuce

Taking control of every stage of your media planning, monitoring, and reporting needs is simple and effective with BurrellesLuce. Our comprehensive suite of affordable services is fully integrated in one convenient and easy-to-use portal, BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™ . Incorporate and review your traditional print, broadcast, online and social media results in one report. Research and engage journalists and bloggers, and intelligently plan future campaigns. Build and manage social media communities. WorkFlow gives you everything you need to start organizing and managing your media relations and public relations results.

Media Relations: Know the Facts from the Fiction

Media relations has always been a vital part of a successful communications strategy. What has changed, however, is the way communications professionals must interact with The Media — and, by extension, the bloggers, journalists, freelancers, and syndicated writers who generate coverage.

It is no longer enough to merely send out a mass press release — also known as the “spray and pray method” — and hope that someone working at a relevant media outlet or online site not only reads it, but then acts to convert the release into a story. No, in working with The Media, the expectation is that media relations professionals are educated and informed about proper targeting and evolving trends. This includes building one-on-one relationships with bloggers and journalists, regardless of their title, assigned beat, or outlet/website affiliation.

Beware These Lurking Media Relations Myths
There are many misconceptions floating around (not to mention plain old bad advice) that prevent media relations professionals from optimizing their efforts and connecting with The Media in meaningful ways.

Here are six myths and facts about media relations and how savvy PR practitioners can get a handle on them:

1. You need a “list” of the top blogs in order to send their contributors a press release.

False. This particular misconception is tricky for a couple of reasons. First, the idea that there is a single list of top blogs ignores the fact that the value of any such list varies according to each organization’s media-relations objectives; one size, so to speak, certainly does not fit all. Second, a blogger is not necessarily a member of the credentialed press and, as such is often working without the backing of a large news organization. The result is that, in general, they are often more hard-pressed for time (most are blogging part-time or as a hobby) and, thus, they are less likely to weed through untargeted pitches. Instead, target your blogger outreach to include only the most relevant influencers. And by “influencers,” we mean those people whom you identify as being closely associated with your subject, client, industry, or audience.

2. It’s OK to send an email blast as part of your outreach strategy.

False. Actually, it is anything but OK. For starters, bloggers are unlike the writers for mainstream media in that they do not have a “beat,” their outlet doesn’t necessarily dictate that they write on certain topics, and they are not necessarily bound by geographic limitations. The same also can be said for an increasing number of journalists, as there is a general trend toward producing more hyperlocal and mobile content. Thus, you need to research each and every targeted writer, and customize the pitch accordingly — regardless of their media segment — and understand federal shield laws as they relate to journalists and bloggers.

3. Media relations should take time and resources.

True. Absolutely. If you’re not willing to invest time in proper outreach, how can you expect journalists and bloggers to show a willingness to invest time in considering your pitch or story? A post on the Bad Pitch Blog sums it up best: “Does this read like a lot of work? Well, as the definition of a media outlet morphs, so must our approach to engaging with them. And as more and more bloggers extend the olive branch, the price of a bad pitch is increasing — less coverage, whiny bloggers, angry clients and amused competitors.”

4. As long as the release or pitch includes a lot of information it will get picked up.

False. More than ever, journalists, bloggers, and their audiences are being exposed to information overload. As Seth Godin writes , “Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all information, not just the last bit.” Therefore, quality of information is much more important than quantity. Perfect the headline. Lead with the hook. Skip the fluff. Write concise messaging. These measures don’t guarantee that The Media will act on your story, but they can certainly help it stand out from the other information already cluttering email boxes.

5. Search engine optimization is important.

True. SEO is crucial for successful media relations. In fact, 91 percent of journalists search Google for stories or other relevant material, while another 89 percent use blogs and still another 64 percent rely on social networks, as noted in this post from BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blogger, Tressa Robbins. Understand the impact of industry terms and their effects on search and traffic to your website. Always include relevant keywords in your copy as they relate to your target audience and how they search. But do not confuse SEO with jargon.

6. Learning never stops.

True.
Even if you are a senior communications or media relations professional at your organization, you must always be aware of new trends and developments in the industry and be willing to shift your efforts accordingly. Things are constantly changing and if you are not willing to keep up with those changes you cannot expect that your campaigns will be effective and gain the respect of your audience, The Media, and your peers.

Understanding BurrellesLuce ContactsPlus
BurrellesLuce ContactsPlus is revolutionizing the way PR professionals interact with bloggers and The Media. ContactsPlus is a media research tool that allows communications practitioners to target their efforts so that they are connecting with only the most relevant journalists and bloggers, based on a writer’s most recent body of work. Stop building lists and start building relationships. Learn more about the BurrellesLuce Media Outreach module of WorkFlow™ and schedule a demo, today.

About BurrellesLuce

Taking control of every stage of your media planning, monitoring, and reporting needs is simple and effective with BurrellesLuce. Our comprehensive suite of affordable services is fully integrated in one convenient and easy-to-use portal, BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™ . Incorporate and review your traditional print, broadcast, online and social media results in one report. Research and engage journalists and bloggers, and intelligently plan future campaigns. Build and manage social media communities. WorkFlow gives you everything you need to start organizing and managing your media relations and public relations results.