Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A 9-Step Crash Course on Content Distribution

Today’s post comes from Ritika Puri. In addition to sharing PR and content tips on the BuzzStream blog, Ritika has written for Forbes, The Next Web, Business Insider, and American Express OPEN Forum.

Content marketing is a customer acquisition powertool. The concept is simple — inspire, engage, and delight audiences through great storytelling. Write compelling, heartfelt blog posts. Create beautiful infographics. Produce never-before-seen e-books and guides. Delight your audiences, and pour your humanity into your brand.

It sounds simple, right? Produce great content, and you’re set.

Not quite.

The competition for audience attention has never been more cutthroat. More and more brands are jumping into the content ecosystem, with 78% of marketers believing in storytelling as the future of marketing. Meanwhile, human attention spans are getting shorter — goldfish are putting us to shame.

In addition to creating amazing content, your marketing team needs to build out a thoughtful and high-impact distribution strategy. Rely on this guide for the ultimate crash course.

 

1. Content Syndication

It takes time to build and grow your audience. One way to kickstart the process is to syndicate your content with established media channels. First, publish your content on your own blog. Then, pitch the story to editors at bigger publishers to redistribute.

Here is an example of a blog post on Coworks that was recently syndicated with The Next Web. The Coworks blog, at the time of syndication, was only 1-month-old:

 

Original Post on the Coworks Blog

 

TNWPost Syndicated on The Next Web

 

A syndication strategy takes time and patience to fully develop. Editorial relationships are tough to build, especially for brands. Prove to editors that you’re committed to delivering value. Keep networking, and keep asking. Syndication is a business development art — persistence and creativity are key.

 

2. Email Marketing

It’s unlikely that audiences will be visiting your blog (and content) on a regular basis. There is so much content on the web, and yours is likely to slip through the cracks.

The most effective way to reach consumers 1:1 is through email. When you publish a blog post, send your email subscribers a short-and-sweet snippet to tell them that you’ve published something awesome. Include a bold call-to-action (CTA) back to your blog to drive consistent traffic.

Here is an example email that promotes an article on the Coworks blog:

Email

Roughly one-in-ten users who opened our emails clicked through to finish reading the article on the Coworks blog:

GA

Visits from email about the post

Pay attention to open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates to learn how audience respond to and engage with your content. These data points will help you optimize your strategy.

 

3. Client Service Teams

Content is a tool for building relationships at scale. Your marketing team’s blog posts, infographics, videos, and ebooks can help spark natural conversations between sales teams and prospective clients.

These conversations provide a low-touch, yet high-impact say to say hello — “just because.” In some cases these “hellos” may materialize into strategic upselling opportunities.

Marketing teams should build feedback loops with account management, sales, and customer service reps — these teams are at the front-lines of your organization and are powerful distribution engines.

 

4. Paid Channel Advertising

Did your company recently publish an e-book or guide? Are you looking to generate leads? Paid channel advertisements can help you connect this long-form content with mid-funnel audiences. Here is what you do:

  • Step 1: Drive traffic to your website organically.
  • Step 2: Retarget these visitors on Facebook and AdSense with a CTA to your free e-book.
  • Step 3: Set-up a landing page to capture leads.

On Facebook, for instance, you can create ‘Lookalike audiences’ based on your existing CRM database — prospects who fit the same demographic and interest-based profiles of your most engaged customers.

Here is an example ad from General Assembly, a company that aims to democratize education. The company is promoting a free trial of its online content program.

Take a look at the paid channel ad:

Paid

…. and the corresponding landing page:

GenAssembly Landing page for paid social ad.

 

5. Social Visuals

You already know that Facebook and Twitter are invaluable channels for promoting your content. The challenge, however, is that these markets are saturated.

It’s crucial to give your tweets and status updates a ‘visual edge’ — to outsmart the crowd in capturing fleeting audience attention spans.

Be sure to include compelling images with your social media updates:

image Social updates with compelling images stand out in feeds.

 

6. Hashtags

Tap into existing conversations through #hashtags related to your content. Use hashtags strategically by pinpointing what’s trending and by tagging keywords in your tweets and status updates.

TV Series Doctor Who does this well:

DW

Doctor Who page post on Facebook

 

DW2

BBC network uses same #DoctorWho hashtag. 

 

7. Your Immediate Network

If you’re publishing a particularly meaningful piece of content, ask your network to promote it 1:1.  These could be offline and online networks. As an example, take a look at this blog post on Clarity.fm, which features the story of volcanologist turned nonprofit entrepreneur Jess Pelaez:

 Wisdom

As you can see, her interview received hundreds of shares. Her secret? It’s no secret at all — it’s her amazing network.

Jess does not have thousands of fans and followers — and neither does her nonprofit, Blueprint Earth (at least, not yet).

What she did, to promote this article, was to reach out to her network, which consists of scientific and geological associations. These groups promoted this article to their audiences. This promotion strategy helped drive visitors to the Clarity article.

 

8. Your Extended Network

Thanks to social media, today’s marketers are continuously in touch with anyone and everyone. Maybe you have thousands of LinkedIn connections. Maybe you’re an avid blogger who enjoys publishing on industry sites.

In either case LinkedIn is a platform that can help you get the word out to key communities in your industry —  in more ways than one.

When you publish your content on your blog, you can very easily promote it through the LinkedIn groups that you’re a part of:

LinkedIn

Promoting Content on LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn is also opening up its influencer program — a platform for writing content within LinkedIn — to the general public. If you’d like, you can re-publish your own content through these channels for more eyeballs (like Danny Wong did here, with this example from Coworks):

Wong

Original blog post

 

Wong2

Republished on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s technology will help match these articles to new audiences, potentially driving high pageviews. Make sure to link back to the original article on your site:

takeaway

Post links back to original article.

 

9. Build Distribution into Your Content

Embeddable ‘click to tweet’ features and community interviews can help accelerate this process. Here is an example of an article of Clarity.fm that generated thousands of shares. Why?

  • The content was awesome, with a compelling human-interest element
  • The content was community-generated
  • The content was very easy to share, with integrated tweets

With natural engagement comes organic distribution:

C2T

Building in content distribution using Click to Tweet. 

 

Final Thoughts

Opportunities for distribution are limitless. Depending on your business model, there are incredibly opportunities to get your content out to the public, in a high-impact way.

You just need to scratch beneath the surface to look for the ‘less than obvious’ and ‘less than clear’ paths. These distribution touchpoints will be key opportunities to outrun the crowds and outsmart the noise.

What is your company’s approach to content distribution? How is it creative? You pick #10 to add to this list.

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17 PR Professionals Share Their Best Pitching Tips

Today’s post comes from BuzzStream friend, Ritika Puri, a data-lover and marketer turned entrepreneur and writer. Ritika works with content marketers to build lead pipelines and has written for Forbes, The Next Web, Business Insider, and American Express OPEN Forum.

Journalists and marketers are in strong positions to help each other succeed. Marketers strive to build brand awareness by telling powerful stories. Journalists look to educate and entertain audiences about trending topics.

The challenge, however, is that the media landscape is flooded — and that these core connections can sometimes slip through the cracks.

I’m in a unique position where I sit on both sides of the fence as a journalist and a marketer. Let me tell you — both sides are equally challenging. As a marketer, I worry that busy journalists aren’t receiving my messages. As a journalist, I worry that potentially great stories are slipping by my attention.

Here is a screenshot from Help a Reporter Out (HARO), a wire service that I use to connect with PR professionals for story ideas:

 

HARO

Help a Reporter Out

 

It’s nearly impossible to respond to all of these potentially great pitches. Similarly, when I’m wearing my marketing hat, I know that journalists on the other side of the computer screen are going through the same pain points that I am.

I reached out to some of the smartest PR minds in the marketing industry to learn about their best pitching tips. Here is what they recommend:

 

1. Be Short. Be Straight. Get Out of the Way.

Get to the point. Don’t use these super long emails about the company. Tell the story of why its important to the writer’s readership within the first sentence. 

Be straight – aka have a good angle that shows you understand what makes news.

 Once you have them, leave them alone to do their job and only help where you can. Stop checking in every few hours.

Matt Braun, Director of Public Relations at Hanson Dodge Creative

 

2. Be Ready for Business

Shaun Walker

Do not leave your pitch half-baked and be ready to answer questions. Have the pitch ready to go as if the reporter will want to run it immediately. The less groundwork a reporter has the do for your story the more likely they are to use it.

Shaun Walker, Creative Director at HERO Farm

 

 

3. Be Relevant

Drew Tybus

Think beyond just what you (or your client) wants to say, and think about how it fits into a larger trend. Telling a reporter about your client’s new product/service will be a much harder sell than talking to them about a new trend that your client is a part of.

When we read news as consumers, unless it’s a straight product review, we never really see feature stories glowing about one brand.

Drew Tybus, VP of Brand Marketing at Porter Novelli

 

4. Seek to Add Value

Don’t be a moocher, be a resource too! Most of the time us PR people are asking from something and not providing additional value back. Help with the stories that you are asking the reporters to create. That may mean having additional resources other than just your client or providing references for journalists stories.

The more you can help them, the more they can see you as a partner and resources. In my experience, if you are willing to help put the pieces together and make the story well-rounded, journalists respond much better and you can develop a genuine partnership with the media.

Ronjini Mukhopadhyay,Owner at The Silver Telegram

 

5. Challenge Yourself to Get Loud

Heather Anne Carson

Switch things up and practice saying your pitch out loud. If it sounds like BS when you read it, don’t send it.  The key to getting your pitch from email to reality is to be authentic — if you can’t even stand the sound of your voice delivering it, chances are, the journalist won’t either. 

Heather Anne Carson, Co-founder at Onboardly

 

 

6. Walk the Line

Breanna Loury

My favorite pitching tip, and one that works quite well, is to seek out journalists who talk about my client’s competitors, find out what they like about them, and then find ways that our product/service trumps our competitor.

Brenna Loury, Owner at Loury PR

 

 

7. Be Relentlessly Engaging

Abesi Manyando

Make the writer or news producer fall in love with your pitch. General pitches generally don’t get landed. Make sure that your pitch is well written and colorful enough to make your client stand out.

A friend of mine who is an Entertainment Editor for a top newspaper once said that your pitch has to be as engaging as the story the journalist will write.

–Abesi Manyando, President and Creative Director at Abesi Public Relations

 

8. Ask First, Pitch Second

Crystal Richard

Whenever I identify a new journalist I’d like to pitch, I always send them a short email to introduce myself and what we do at Onboardly first. I’ll ask if it’s cool if I send over a few high level bullet points on what our clients are working on that may fit their beat.

This short but warm intro is a great way to gauge their interest before I later send the pitch and has resulted in some great relationships with the media.

Crystal Richard, Director of PR at Onboardly

 

9. Build a Social Media Rapport

Brittany Berger

My favorite pitching tip is to connect with the reporter on social media, as well. This works because their inbox is flooded with names of they don’t recognize.

Connecting with them on social media and interacting with their posts on a regular basis will get your name into their heads, so that when your pitches land in their inbox, they recognize your name.

Brittany Berger, Social Media and Content Marketing Coordinator at eZanga

 

10. Be Personable

Suzet Laboy Perez

In our company, we believe that the key to a successful pitch is that–to  really cater to the needs of the reporter and to make it personal. You  should be a resource not a burden.

With that in mind, it’s also really  important to nurture the relationships behind your screen. Take the time to get to know reporters, understand their needs, and how you can best help them.

Yes, reporters are incredibly busy, but if you can, take the time to meet them in person, offer to meet them near their office/preferred place of business/industry conference in real time and life. We’ve noticed that the most successful pitches evolve from that.

Suset Laboy Perez, Owner at LalaboyPR

 

11. Pitch the Story, not the Product

Nick Brennan

Pitch the story, not the product. Writers are looking for pitches that offer a story they can put their own spin on.

If all you provide is information with no story, you offer nothing to hook the writer, which means you also offer nothing the writer can see hooking their readers.

Nick Brennan, Vice President at Janice McCafferty PR

 

12. Incorporate Calls to Action

Ashley Halberstadt

End every pitch with a clear call to action that asks a question. The question prompts the recipient to respond, where a statement like “Please let me know” is anticlimactic and doesn’t motivate the reader to reply.

 –Ashley Halberstadt, Director of Media Relations at Digital Relevance

 

 

13. Don’t Be a Spammer

I convince clients the shotgun approach- where firms mass blast their pitch to thousands of reporters- the majority of which will ignore the pitch — is wrong and does not generate a return on investment.

Instead, pitch individual reporters with customized ideas that provide real value for the journalist’s readers.

Nick Winkler, Owner at The Winkler Group

 

14. Engage Authentically

Laura Knapp

As a PR pro, once you’ve established a relationship – in person or via  email, it is okay to follow that journalist on various social media channels. Don’t stalk them but, instead, engage with them authentically.

 –Laura Knapp, Social Spotlight Media

 

 

15. Proceed with Structure

Danya Bushey

Craft an outline of the story for the writer. Don’t just tell them they should cover your client. Let the writer know who they can interview (both internal to your client and external if that makes sense), provide relevant website links, attach photos or videos, and offer ideas for images.

Danya Bushey, President at Carte Blanche Marketing

 

 

16. Build Relationships

Tanya Sammis

It’s two-fold: 1. Make a relationship and 2. Say thank you. Media relations is about relationships. Staff members, trainees, interns and others have asked me how I have had success with media, and I tell them that the key truly is cultivating a genuine relationship.

Don’t always ask, request and expect things from your friends in the media. Show interest in the stories they tell, get to know them, engage with them, then pitch stories when they are relevant and newsworthy.

Members of the media are much more likely to listen to you or read your pitch when you have taken the time to get to know them and where their interests lie. On the latter, ALWAYS say thank you.

Whether they accept the pitch or not, thank them for their time. Our team loves sending handwritten thank you notes to the folks in the media for any mention or story they do for our clients. Gratitude matters.

Tanya Sammis, Co-owner at Sammis & Ochoa

 

17. Think Big-Picture

Lauren Lewis PR is about much more than an initial placement in the media. It is about building and maintaining relationships with key media, when you have a story to pitch as well as when you don’t.

 –Lauren Lewis, Owner at Lauren Lewis Public Relations and Communications

 

Your Thoughts

What PR lessons have you learned the hard way? What valuable tip would you share with emerging leaders in the space? You pick #18 on this list. Leave us a note in the comments section below.

 
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Finding and Claiming Links for Content

You can find opportunities to claim links for your content (like ebooks and infographics) similarly to how you find unlinked mentions and links to reclaim for your brand. Acquiring all the links you deserve can move the needle on search and traffic. Here are three common missed opportunities and fixes for each.

Missed Opportunities Image via Lel4nd on Flickr

Missed Opportunity #1: Only Searching for Your Content’s Title

Fix: Also look for the titles that other sites give your content.

When sites like Mashable and HuffPo pick up your content, they’ll usually change the headline to suit their audiences. Then, when smaller sites pick up stories from those big players, they use the same wording.

Sometimes, the smaller sites do their homework and credit you by linking to your original content, but often they credit the sites like Mashable and HuffPo instead.

How to find these opportunities: Look at the post titles and headings that big sites use to describe your content and enter them into a tool like Fresh Web Explorer.

 

Fresh Web Explorer

Here’s an example of a Fresh Web Explorer unlinked mention search using the terms that big sites used to describe this Oscar dress infographic

 

How to reach out: Simply thank the site owner for sharing your content and ask if they’d be kind enough to credit the original with a link back. Whenever you can, use this outreach as an opportunity to build a relationship. Share the post on your own social media channels and offer to ping the blogger when you release similar content in the future.

 

Missed Opportunity #2: Ignoring Sub-Sections and Data Points

Fix: Looking for cropped versions and unique text, too.

 

If you have very large visual content, bloggers and journalists will likely take screenshots and create smaller versions that better fit their blogs’ layouts (or things like Twitter’s 2:1 aspect ratio). As you’re doing your own reporting roundup, look out for these smaller clips.

 

Google Analytics

For example, Google Analytics created a 2:1 image of a recent infographic to optimize a tweet.

 

How to find these opportunities: Do a reverse image search or set an Image Raider alert to find instances of bloggers using the cropped images. Hit the Buzzmarker to check for a link on those pages (or manually check using “View Page Source”).

In you have a lot of text content: If you did original research, look for instances of people sharing your data points and not crediting you.

In you created sub-content like diagrams: Run reverse image searches on those, too.

How to reach out: Again, a polite thank you and request for credit will serve you well.

 

Missed Opportunity #3: Forgetting about International

Fix: Get familiar with Google’s other TLDs.

Even content with a lot of english text can get picked up by non-english sites. Here, too, are many opportunities to earn high-authority links.

 

Infographic

Image of english infographic on non-english site.

 

How to find these opportunities: Run reverse image searches on domains like Google.es and Google.de to find these sites. (If you’re using Chrome, you can hit the “translate” button to understand what the sites are about.) Then hit the Buzzmarker or view page source to check for links.

How to reach out: Since this outreach is short and simple, translation tools work relatively well. However, investing a few dollars in a service like Gengo can give you a much better template to work from (which you can save and use in the future, too).

 

Learn More about Unlinked Mentions and Link Reclamation:

Link Reclamation Whiteboard Friday by Ross Hudgens of Siege Media
Guide to Using Unlinked Brand Mentions for Link Acquisition by Kiala Strong on Moz
Reclaiming Links to Your Infographics and Creative Common Images by Kristi Hines on iAcquire
Monitoring Your Brand — Unlinked Mentions by Sarah Gurbach of SEER Interactive
Link Building 101: Finding Web Mentions by Jon Ball of PageOnePower

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LinkLove 2013 – a Link Building Conference By Distilled

linklove

LinkLove London, the link building conference, is coming up fast, and today we have a discount code for attendees.

What is LinkLove?

LinkLove is (to our knowledge) the only conference solely devoted to link building and link analysis.  The conference takes place on Friday the 15th of March at The Brewery in London. 

You can hear from industry leaders like:

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Product Update: More Flexible Filtering and Improved Tag Management

 This week, we’ve checked off two more features that many BuzzStream power users and team accounts have been clamoring for. We’ve added more flexible ways to filter your contacts and better ways to manage tags.

Tag Management

In BuzzStream, tags are one of the primary ways you classify your contacts so that you can quickly create lists. The great thing about tags is that they’re flexible and they’re super-easy to create. The not-so-great thing about them?…well, they’re flexible and they’re super-easy to create.  If you’re not careful, you can end up with multiple tags for the same category, tags that are no longer used, overly granular tags, etc. For those of you that operate in a team, things can get particularly messy, since you have to wade through the tags that you and everyone else has created. 

To help with this, we’ve added a ‘Manage Tags’ page in you settings. From this page, you can control which tags are shown to you and you can delete unwanted tags.

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Major Product Update: New User Interface

We’re excited to announce that the new BuzzStream user interface is now live. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback to us over the past few weeks!

We revamped the UI to make the app more visually appealing (obviously), but that was only one factor in our decision to do this. The deciding factor was that we were finding that a significant amount of our development effort was focused on supporting custom UI components. We’ve invested pretty heavily in back-end infrastructure designed to increase development speed, but this was the one area that was slowing us down. By moving to a new UI, we’re now leveraging third party UI toolkits (mostly open source) that will address this bottleneck. These toolkits also let us retire some code that was impacting performance. So not only does BuzzStream look better, it should be faster and new features should come out even quicker…a nice three-fer. :)   

What’s Changed

We’ve tried to be careful to avoid major changes to the interface (most capabilities are still accessed in the same way), but there are some changes. Let’s take a look.

Changes to the Navigation

One of the biggest problems that we saw in usability tests was that people would have trouble finding contacts because they weren’t aware which project they were in. To help with this, we’ve moved the Projects dropdown to the far left-hand corner of the app and made it more visible. You’ll see this change if you have projects enabled.

BuzzStream Projects selector

 We’ve also reduced our navigation from two levels down to one level. In the old interface, your list of People, Media Outlets and Link Partners was housed within the ‘Contacts’ section. We’ve eliminated ‘Contacts’ and placed them at the top of the navigation. 

 BuzzStream navigation

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