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Online Integration

The online world today includes a variety of formats and platforms as well as public relations and advertising options. No one can adequately address all of them, though some should become an integral part of any corporate campaign.

The company website is fading in importance among all this cacophony, but it should still serve as an anchor for your online strategy.

The company website is fading in importance among all this cacophony, but it should still serve as an anchor for your online strategy. Most sites should incorporate responsive design; that is, they should be appropriately rendered regardless of the device use to access them, whether mobile or desktop. With mobile viewership rapidly climbing to the 50 percent level of all traffic, a smartphone site rendered with a tiny print size is no longer acceptable.

Most sites today are WordPress sites as this has proven to be the most user-friendly content management system, and it incorporates blogging software as part of the site. Drafting weekly blog entries represents a minimum requirement as doing so can have a major impact on your site’s search engine ranking.

Moreover, whenever you draft a blog entry, it is a good idea to post it on your Facebook social media page.Whenever possible, you should engage in this type of “cross-pollination.”

As to social media in general, companies should focus on two or three platforms instead of trying to be all things to all people. For example, if your publicity is primarily based on images, Pinterest and Instagram are two good options. And again, the quality of your posts is much more important than the quality. Three high-quality posts per week on your company’s Facebook Page is far superior to posting everyday with little impact.

I would generally try to avoid advertising online except for Facebook. Taking out a Facebook ad to increase the number of “likes” on your company’s Facebook page is very inexpensive and accomplishes your goal to increase your company’s credibility.

As to press releases, PRWeb provides the most reliable and inexpensive distribution service. Make sure to use the $249 level to distribute monthly releases. And again post your releases on Facebook as well.

You should also set up a “media room” on your website to preserve and cross-pollinate all of your publicity including e-newsletters, press releases, bylined articles, radio or TV interviews, etc.

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Writing a Professional Blog Post

Writing a professional blog post is simple when you follow a few basic rules. First, you should load the blogging software onto your website instead of using an external blog. WordPress.org provides the best software to do so, primarily because it is supplemented by an extensive number of plug-ins. Coders write plug-ins for WordPress.org for the same reason they create apps for your iPhone, to increase the functionality.

One of the main reasons to write a blog involves improving the search engine optimization (SEO) for your website.

As to the topic(s) for your blog, it helps to create a theme related to your business. Doing so will improve the focus of your blog and help to suggest articles to write for it.

One of the main reasons to write a blog involves improving the search engine optimization (SEO) for your website (more on SEO in our future posts). Blogs provide valuable, original content, an emphasis in the Google ranking algorithm, and they establish your website as a dynamic location instead of a static one. Dynamic websites are constantly adding new pages, and each time you write an entry for your blog, you are essentially creating a new web page.

An ideal length for a blog entry runs around 300 to 400 words. 300 words represents a minimum to be taken seriously by Google’s spiders (they are constantly “crawling” the web for ranking purposes), and 400 words is a soft maximum because people don’t have a lot of time, and it is better to keep your entries concise.

Two plug-ins are essential for WordPress.org: Yoast SEO and pullquote. Yoast SEO helps you to optimize your blog entries with various SEO-related functions such as a meta description and focus keyword. It will also give you a list of optimization problems and provide a “green light” when you have sufficiently addressed them.

Pull quote lets you create a graphic illustration with whatever key quotation you wish to highlight for your entry.

Every blog entry should also contain a featured photo and three or four links to external articles within the body of the text. A great way to choose copyright-free images can be found at www.pixabay.com. This site lets you choose any keyword, and it will return a slew of possible images for you to use with your entry.

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Pitching Reporters

One of the more critical functions of public relations involves pitching reporters and editors to publish your client’s story. Whether it’s a press release or a bylined article, this task involves finesse and understanding.

It is not unusual for an editor to receive 300 press releases per day.

First of all, you must realize any publication with a circulation of 30,000 or more gets bombarded with content. It is not unusual for an editor to receive 300 press releases per day. Thus, to have any chance of publication, you must stand out from the crowd. One way to do so involves pre-pitching the story first. You need to get on the phone with reporters and ask them if they are interested in the topic. Then, ask for permission to send the content.

Then, when your document arrives in the reporters’ in-box, they will realize it is from a respected organization or PR agency, and they will treat it with more respect. Of course, editors hate it when you call them by phone; they would much prefer to handle everything by email. But a phone call is the only way you will stand out from the crowd.

When you call the reporter, they might tell you, “I’m on deadline.” When you hear these words, you must end the call immediately. This shows respect for the editor’s priorities. They must publish on time, so being on deadline is an all-consuming priority. But then, when you call back the next day, you can remind the editor how you originally contacted him/her when they were on deadline, and they will remember how considerate you were. The article is as good as published.

Assuming the reporter gives you permission to send your document (few will say not to, they will be interested in getting you off the phone as quickly as possible), you should follow up in three-to-four days and ask them if they had a chance to read it. Nine times out of ten, the answer will be no. Then, you should tell them the exact date and time of the email to confirm whether they did, in fact, get it. They will generally find it or might ask you to just send it again. When you do, they will feel a little guilty for not reading it and will be more likely to do so and give you feedback.

Keep following up in this manner and after the third or fourth call, you should achieve placement of your document.

Pitching is not a difficult task; it just takes time and follow through.