(online) marketing and PR blog

And what are the 5 biggest mistakes you should avoid when sending out a press release?

Press-Release

Do editors even read your press release?

Recently, a good friend of mine, who is working as an editor for an important prime time daily television show here in the Netherlands, told me that  only 3 or 4 times a year, a topic in the show is based on a press release. That is not even 1%! All the other topics were based either on their own research, or on personal contact. Since I am one of the people sending those releases, I started wondering if  they still have any effect at all. So I questioned some friends and relations working for television, radio and newspaper. Long story short: keep sending your press releases, but make a call if you want to make sure your story gets attention. Be aware that some journalists  do not like it when you call after sending a press release. So call your 10 most important contacts before sending out a press release, with a personal email ready in your drafts. The reason it is still useful to send out a press release, is because for just a brief moment, journalists are reminded of your existence. Most of the people I interviewed scan every release they receive.

The 5 biggest mistakes you can make

Press-Release1

What are the 5 things you can do wrong that will make sure your news ends up in trash:

  1. Sending press release as an attachment. Attachments will not be opened or read. All the information necessary must be included in the e-mail itself.
  2. Writing a long elaborate text. Think about the receiver of your message! They would really like to be able to read your text as fast as possible, because there are another 100 messages in their inbox.
  3. No news. This was the actual feedback I got several times. We marketeers and PR pro’s like to “make up” news, it’s common practice. But be careful to whom you are sending a message about, for example, your 100.000th visitor. This was referred to as No News, and therefore it is seen as spam.
  4. Stalking. Sending more than 2 press releases in one week, is already considered stalking. Try to spread your news.
  5. Not using a proper lay-out. Make your text easy to read by choosing a good lay-out. Make the important parts bold, maybe even use some colour or a picture, but not too much. Keep thinking about your audience, and the 50 other press releases they have to read the same morning.

press release

A little Facebook research

Last week I spent some time researching Facebook pages of several Dutch companies and institutions, almost all active in the cultural market. Since I work as a marketeer for a theatre production company, I focused a quote einsteinlittle extra on that.

What I wanted to find out was whether the amount of followers is connected to their activity on your Facebookpage.  To be able to measure that, I looked at 45 different pages. From each page, I noted the total amount of likes and the average amount of likes of the 5 most recent posts. Then I calculated who’s page engaged its followers best. The results were quite surprising. First of all: the total amount of followers says nothing about their activity on your page Size does not matter.

Be a Museum

Like van Gogh 2Based on the results, the best tip I can give you is: become a museum. Maybe it is because they have lovely content for grabs, or because their audience is international. Museums like the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam do not only have a lot of followers, they also get noticed above average when the post an update. It is hard so see any other logical relation between the top ten pages. Likes vary between a 100 and 150 000. On top of that, they are all different types of companies and institutions. Some have money, some do not. Most of them have existed for a decent amount of time.

And the winner is….

There is a clear winner however: Het Zuidelijk Toneel. It’s a theatre company based in Tilburg. With only 1842 likes in total, their average Facebook post received 24.6 likes. It might not seem like much, but relatively it is a lot. I do not express anything in percentages, because I would not want to scare any hard working online marketeer.

Of course, there was also a clear loser. To be able to put things in perspective, I added some well known, but less cultural,  Dutch companies. One of them was Philips. Well on their way to 3 million followers, they have nothing to complain about of course. However, they do rank the lowest when is comes to engaging their followers. Time to make things better, with a little bit more fun and entertainment, and a little less sense and simplicity.

philips_slogan

Social Media Surprise

In my little bunch of reference companies, I also found a nice surprise among the retailers. Between five well known, rich brands with well functioning marketing departments, the one that stood out was not the big supermarket chain, nor the department store you find in any big city. The one that really connected well with its followers was a DIY store. Without giving away I-Pads, they are even gaining 100 followers per day. Now that is inspirational.

twitter logo map 09

twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)

About a month ago, I finally decided to actually do something with my private Twitter account. Even though I have some experience with company accounts, it felt like a fresh start.  Luckily, I picked up some nice tips along the way that I would like to share. Are you a streetwise, long time twitter fanatic? Then this article is not for you, but this might be.

5 tips for those who are completely new to Twitter

  1. Get a good profile picture: Make sure you have the correct profile picture. Everybody says so, trust me.  You have got to have a recognizable picture of  yourself on your profile. Preferably a headshot. Cartoon figures are not very trustworthy,  logo’s are for companies. Pictures of animals are very cute, but do say a hell of a lot more about you then you might think.
  2. Learn the language: Follow people who tweet about things that interest you, and look closely at how they do is. That is by far the easiest way to learn the language of Twitter. When you are comfortabel, start sending out tweets.
  3. Shorten links: Because space on twitter is limited, shortening links comes in handy. Personally, I like this one.
  4. Install Tweetdeck ( or any other dashboard application): If you want to edit retweets, this dashboard application makes everything so much easier. And it has some other lovely features that help you get organized. Get it here
  5. Keep sending out tweets: The more active I got, the more I started to appreciate the medium. Being active  is also a sign to other twitter users that you are worth following.

I still have a lot to learn, but I will keep reading and practising. Follow me if you want to see me in action!

When it comes to Facebook marketing, we all agree on certain topics. Advertising is an option, most certainly if done correctly. There are many great articles on this subject. And then there is the notion that it is even better to use Facebook the “natural” way, not by advertising, but by publishing fitting content.

For as long as advertisements get noticed by people, I think advertising is a good way of getting attention. Especially on Facebook, because the possibly of targeting your audience makes it far more cost effective than advertising on dead trees. And I have always loved the idea that “content is king”. The real success stories hardly ever come from great advertising. 90% is about companies that tell their own story brilliantly. storytelling-a7fa5b8b990ce8edcde93fa39022e51e

But what I really want to know is what Facebook does for the average small company, the company that doesn’t have enough money to experiment on Facebook with 3 different adds, the company that only has funds for one part-time marketeer/PR person/ graphic designer.

What happens if you do not have the financial resources to create your fabulous background story, or publish phenomenal content on a regular basis. What are likes worth, without time and money?

The standard answer to this question is: If you cannot do it properly, better not do it at all! In reality however, every company wants that Facebookpage. Even if they don’t, some fan or employee will make one and they will be obliged to take care of it. You’re almost expected to be present online.

Personally I love online marketing, but most companies I work for, do not have the resources to take advantage of its possibilities. Even an example about a small business like this is based on a great investment of time. It seems that to be successful on Facebook with a small company, you have to have a strategy and a good budget, and, most of the times, the help of a professional.

facebook like button

But with all the evidence against it, it still feels worth it to post some new pictures and write a few lines, just to be seen. It feels logical that those few hundred who actually get your post on their timeline, will be reminded of your existence. But then the question remains: is it worth the investment of your time. If someone has the answer, please let me know!