<![CDATA[JACOBSON COMMUNICATION - Blog]]>Fri, 28 Sep 2018 00:38:19 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Three Communications Secrets to a Successful Holiday Campaign]]>Thu, 27 Sep 2018 15:54:05 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/3-communications-secrets-to-a-successful-holiday-campaign
Tis’ the season for pumpkin spice, Autumn leaves, peppermint, and eggnog everything. But there’s more to running successful holiday campaigns than slapping a red and green bow on your products and expecting them to sell. Here are three communications secrets to creating compelling holiday messaging that speaks to your audience, drives more conversions, and creates life-long customers.
1. Know Why People Really Spend Money This Time of Year
The holidays are a time when people spend money on loved ones. But why? They aren’t doing it to be frugal or logical. They’re doing it because they want their loved ones to know they care. They want to be the deliverer of joy through a gift. They want their loved ones to have a positive experience that endures them to one another.

Humans evolved to be communicators, to have shared social experiences. Why? Because we rely on each other for survival. Because we’re a communal species. If we hadn’t formed groups when we came down from the trees, we likely would not have lasted long.

The holidays are a time where it is traditional to share gifts to show love. Is it commercialized? Yes. Is it capitalistic? Mostly. Does it have to be? No. Is it the only way to show you care? No, of course not. But with the smell of gingerbread latte wafting through the air and peppermint eggnog everywhere, it’s hard to humbug against the holiday spending spree, and as a brand, you should at least be aware of how to put your best foot forward.

To quote a saying which has been attributed to many, “People will forget what you said or did. They will remember how you made them feel.” Your customers buy your product as a gift because they want to evoke a feeling, an experience.

Make your customers feel something; something that makes them remember themselves, their loved ones, and your brand.
2. Know Who Is Buying Your Products: Hyper Target Your Audience
It’s easy to imagine your customer base as a sea of smiling faces clamoring to get your products. But you’d be wrong, and if that’s as much customer research as you do, your brand won’t last long.

Your audience is diverse. They have values, hopes, dreams, preferred breakfast cereals; it’s your job to get to know your audience.

In the immortal words of Davish Krail from Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope; “Stay on target.”

Define the 3 most prominent types of customers you have (5 if you’re really sure), and target them with a passion. Get into their headspaces, their time zones, their hopes, their dreams. Figure out what makes each of the groups tick and develop a “customer profile” for each of them. Segment your email campaigns based on these groups. These 3 to 5 profiles are your roadmap for your communications from here on out, at least until your company evolves.

If you’re a startup, it’s best to re-evaluate these groups annually.

3. Don’t Make it All About You: Make it About Product Benefits
Most noob product announcements, and even seasoned ones, pontificate about how “their company” is doing something big. How “their company” is pleased to announce. How “their company” is offering. How “their company” is having a Winter Sale. You get the idea. It’s boring and egocentric, and doesn’t care about the customer.

In the eternal words of Janet Jackson, “What have you done for me lately?” Not last year. Not last season. What are you offering right now?

It’s time to get over yourself. No one cares about your company or brand or product on its own. It doesn’t matter if you’re Apple, Amazon, or a hot new startup darling–no one cares unless you’re useful, unless you help the customer do something better, faster, or more successfully.

Instead, focus on how your product benefits customers. You’re not offering them a new watch; you’re offering them a digital companion that reminds them of the important things in life. You’re not selling them a bluetooth soundbar for their kids; you’re gifting them the experience of connecting with their child through better quality audio.

Whatever the benefits, make it as real as possible. Connect it to your customer profiles. Hire a copywriter to get the messaging right for each group. No one wants to be sold to, but everyone wants a solution.
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<![CDATA[How to Make Your Brand Stand Out During the Holidays]]>Thu, 27 Sep 2018 15:17:42 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/how-to-make-your-brand-stand-out-during-the-holidays
Whether you run a startup, a mid-size consumer product company, or another kind of successfully growing brand, you know how competitive the holiday season gets. Here are three tips to making your brand stand out during the holiday season.
1. Give Back
The holidays are about giving, but what good is it to only give to those who have? If you want to go the extra mile, why not allocate a portion of your profits to a worthy cause or nonprofit?

But you’re a business. Why would you give to a nonprofit? First of all, it’s a good thing to do. If your company is making enough money, it’s an altruistically good thing. Second, it shows that your company cares about something other than your bottom line. Third, and while this won’t be as important to your customers as it will be to future brand partners and shareholders, it sets a tone of abundance and shows that you’re the kind of company that cares about doing something positive in the world. A lot of companies talk this talk, but not many walk it.

Choose a nonprofit that aligns with your company’s brand and philosophy (Guidestar can be helpful for this). It can be local or national, specific or broad; it depends on the reach of your company. Coordinate ahead of time with the nonprofit and make sure you have permission to talk about them and their cause in your messaging. Be sure to include relevant links for customers to go above and beyond in their individual giving. This will also help the nonprofit’s SEO.

You don’t need a press release about “just this” as that would sound braggadocious, but be sure to mention this where appropriate on your “About” page, on social, and at the end of email campaigns.
2. Show Up In Multiple Places
From a brand communications standpoint, one ad campaign for the holidays won’t be enough, and neither will “one review” (even if it is from that major tech reviewer that everyone loves).

No. The holidays are about the appearance of “being everywhere” for your brand. Family products need to be in mommy blogs, parenting magazines, and the occasional call-in drive-time radio show or podcast. Tech products need to cater to more than just “tech reviewers.” Educational products need to do more than a one-time ad buy in a major website. This is the time to find business allies and get in their newsletters. Run social cross promotions with complementary companies. Offer yourself as an expert for interview to media. Get creative. Get saturated.
3. Get Creative and Have Fun within the Scope of Your Brand
Really dig into something fun about your product, or at least the benefit of your product, and drag that out into the light. Showcase something memorable in your ad campaigns. Make it funny. Make it ridiculous (within reason). Make it warm and fuzzy, or as much as you can get away with. Run these ideas on test audiences and get feedback before going live, and then go for it. 
4. Launch a Giveaway
People love contests, especially if they have a chance of winning something good. Pick a grand prize to give away. Ideally it will be one of your company’s products or something product-related that is stand-alone and substantial that your target audience will want. Make it sticky. Make it social. Make it something that people can enter multiple times if they buy multiple products.
5. Incorporate Inclusive Messaging
Not everyone celebrates the same holidays (that would be boring). And even for those that do, they don’t all do it in the exact same ways. So why would your brand’s messaging only talk about “one holiday?”

Diversify your holiday messaging to reflect this. You probably don’t have to overhaul your entire messaging plan, but re-read it with a fresh pair of eyes and ask yourself, “If I didn’t celebrate this exact holiday, would I still feel like buying this product?”

People want to feel included. Give them that opportunity, and they’ll be more likely to return as a customer.
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<![CDATA[7 Email Marketing Mistakes That are Killing Your Brand]]>Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:51:04 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/7-email-marketing-mistakes-that-are-killing-your-brand
Face it; there are a lot of emails that will never be read. Don't let yours be one of them. Here are seven deadly mistakes email marketers make.

1. Your Subject Line Is Pointless.
The first few words have to compel the reader to keep reading and open your email. If you're having a 25% off sale, lead with the words: "25% off." Don't lead with the words: "Today only, get a special, once-a-year promotion for 25% off your entire purchase."

2. Your Preview Text Wastes Space.
You've seen it; that text that previews an email's content. Too many n00b brands and some established ones waste that space with boilerplate, unsubscribe text, or other, non-essential information. This is often a remnant of the email sending service you are using. Send a test to yourself before sending the email to a group. If the preview text is not your immediate content, modify your template so that information is placed elsewhere. Preview text should always be compelling. -- mac windows, gmail, outlook, iPhone Android
3. The Top of Your Email is Legal Jargon or Boilerplate.
When your email is opened, the text at the top should get to the point quickly, reinforcing the benefit, and highlighting the call to action. Then, support it with additional details.

4. You Go On For Days.
You're not in the business of writing love letters. Get to the point. If you need to tell a long, complicated story, summarize it in the email and then have the "full story" clickable and hosted on your website. See how many people click through to the whole thing. Most people only want the summary.

5. You End on a Virtual Hanging High-Five.
So many emails end with a positive note, but fail to give a clear call to action. If you have an action you want people to take, make it obvious. Have links.

6. You Send Too Many Emails.
Aside from a select group of markets, most email marketing campaigns should send emails anywhere from once a week, to once a month. Plan your campaigns and deals ahead of time.

7. You Don't Give People Enough Time To React.
While flash sales are fine, if you're promoting things like classes, limited time services, or discounts on appointments, give people at least a week's advance notice. Tell them once, far in advance, and once, a few days before.


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<![CDATA[7 Pro Tips for Makers - How To Get Better Sales and Engagement]]>Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:36:25 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/7-pro-tips-for-makers-how-to-get-better-sales-and-engagement
Makers are talented at their craft, but sometimes they can use a little help with marketing. Here are seven pro marketing tips to help makers maximize their sales and engagement.

1. Make a Calendar.
Whether you're a cosplay prop-maker, a quilter, a knitter, a carver... plan your year out and give your audience something fresh every season (or more often if you can).
Make something (or many things) with upcoming calendar dates in mind. Make your Halloween quilt and post the video or article about it a month in advance. Give your audience a chance to reach and have fun with it well before the event. This will put you ahead of the market and in your customer's minds just in time for various events throughout the year.

2. Tackle One Thing Per YouTube Video (or Article).
​Your YouTube videos (or blog articles) should each focus on something specific (unless it's a life update or general rant). People perusing your channel are looking for something to click on that they find engaging. Keep your videos interesting, focused, and fun as much as possible. 

3. Show Behind The Scenes.
The process is what most audiences want to see. Whatever you're making, show your process; the ups, the downs, the details that only you know. Keep it interesting and engaging.

4. Update Social Regularly.
You don't have to post a new YouTube video every single day, but as a maker, your audience assumes you're always doing something fun or creative. Whether it's a Twitter post, an Instagram photo or Facebook post, share something interesting on a regular basis. It can be something you found inspiring, a project fail, a neat quote, a past project, or something else.

5. Set Goals and Manage Your Time.
Making can be a lot of fun, and it's easy to lose track of time when you're having fun. Write down the main things you want to accomplish so you don't lose track of them. Find the times of day when you are most productive and try to work within those times.

6. Use Tags and Descriptions to your Advantage.
Get creative with your tags and descriptions. Consider the kinds of phrases people will be searching for and the larger markets and categories your products fit into. Keep these tags on your phone's clipboard for easy access when you're posting in the filed.

7. Link to Yourself So They Can Buy Your Stuff.
Have links to your site (or store) at the end of every article, and in the description of every video you make.
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<![CDATA[8 Quick Tips for Making Your Promo Video Successful]]>Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:02:17 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/8-quick-tips-for-making-your-promo-video-successful
Every marketing director thinks their promo videos are great, but when was the last time you sat through another company's entire video ad and actually cared?

Don't waste your target market's time or brain power. Here are 8 tips that will make your next promotional video more successful, profitable, and compelling.
1. Get Their attention first.
The first 10 seconds of the video have to make the viewer care.

2. Put the target audience's benefits FIRST!
Tell viewers how they can benefit from your product/service right away.

3. Stick to top 3's
Whether it's benefits, features, or testimonials, keep your video focused on the highlights, not the details.

4. Keep it short.
Promo video ads should be short; 30 seconds to one minute. If you need more time, make that part of your CTA's landing page.

5. Put humans (or a character of some kind) in the video.
If your service is about dogs, put dogs in the video. If it's a service for parents, put parents in the video.

6. Show more than you tell.
Videos are a visual medium. Find a visual way to tell the story of why customers need your product/service and how they'll benefit.

7. Have a call to action (CTA).
Don't forget to tell viewers what to do at the end of the video. Make it compelling and obvious.

8. Have a custom (permanent) landing page.
That CTA listed above should link to a custom landing page outlining how customers can take action as well as supporting information they may still need to know.


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<![CDATA[7 PR Mistakes Startups Make After CES]]>Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:52:00 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/7-pr-mistakes-startups-make-after-cesPicture
You've survived the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and even earned your startup a few media mentions in the process. You're finally taking off. As far as you're concerned, your name belongs up there with Musk, Zuckerberg, and Curie.

You may think the bulk of your PR work is done for the year, but it's only just begun. The difference between startups that flicker and fade and those who become household brands is all about media presence–continued media presence. Here are the most common PR mistakes startups make after CES.

1. Subscribe Reporters To All Of Your Company Communications.
You know that weekly wrap-up email sent your team when everything was new? You filled it with witty insights, inspiring quotes, charts, and a rundown of your team's progress. Now, you've taken the liberty of sending that email to everyone you've ever met and after an event like CES, you subscribe every reporter you meet to the list–whether or not you ask their permission.

Why You Should Stop: A. Nothing "newsworthy" happens every week, so you're waisting the reporters' time. B. Sending random company communications to reporters, that obviously goes to everyone you've ever known, looks unprofessional. C. They didn't ask to be subscribed to non-news information.

2. Stalk The Reporters You Met.
You bug them on social media, phone calls, and texts with every tiny, non-news thing your company does, and sometimes just to see what they're up to. They hear from you every other day. You're a constant presence in their lives.

Why You Should Stop: A. If you bug reporters when there isn't news, they'll learn to tune you out and ignore you, even when you have actual news. B. Constantly bugging reporters is a great way to get blacklisted. Reporters talk with each other and you don't want to get the reputation of the shameless self-promoter. C. Reporters know they're not your best friend, and if you try and contact them constantly, it's obvious you're doing it because you want something.

3. Do Nothing At All. Ever.
This is one of the most common PR mistakes startups make after CES; they meet interested reporters and they never follow up in any way. Utter silence isn't golden.

Why You Should Stop: A. It makes you look lazy. B. The reporter may forget your company completely. After all, they met hundreds of companies at CES. Why should they remember you if you don't you make an effort? C. You've wasted a great opportunity.

Instead, connect with the reporters you met at CES on LinkedIn, and be sure to send them polite company announcements a few days in advance incase they want to cover it. Make an effort to connect and get to know them on a professional level.

4. Communicate To Every Reporter The Same Way, At The Same Time.
Not all media is the same; Print magazines have a 3 to 6 month lead-time. Daily newspapers need daily stories. Contributors and feature writers often work on stories for a long time and get various points of input. TechCrunch needs to be the first to write about a company announcement (and they don't honor embargoes). Some reporters have more time to network than others. Some reporters cover a dozen topics, some cover one. Treating every single reporter the same doesn't make for an effective PR effort.

Why You Should Stop: A. It makes you look unprofessional; like you don't care about a reporter's needs. B. It makes it unlikely to get your story featured in any of the long-lead-time publications.

5. Ignore Reporters Or Take Your Sweet Time Getting Back To Them.
When a reporter does reach out to you, you take your time getting back to them or you don't get back to them at all. Sometimes a reporter will ask for your input or opinion as a quote for an upcoming story they're working on, but you decline because you don't think it's worth your time.

Why You Should Stop: A. If you don't help a reporter when they ask for something you're comfortable doing, you're waisting a great opportunity to get your company's name out there as a thought leader. B. Reporters have deadlines. If you take more than a day to get back to them, it's often too long and next time they won't contact you at all. C. Talking with reporters about your industry is one of the most important things you can do with your time.

6. Don't Tell Your PR Firm Which Reporters You Met and Know.
It's your PR firm's job to know everyone right? So why shouldn't you get some alone time with reporters when you want to without the firm having to know? This is a common mistake a lot of entrepreneures make; the assumption that they're doing themselves a favor by having secret communications with reporters, keeping their firm in the dark.

Why You Should Stop: A. You hire a PR firm to help you know reporters. At least tell your firm the 5 or 6 reporters you've met that you'd like to reach out to. Chances are, they'll have good advice as to what to say (and what not to say). B. If you're chummy with a reporter, telling them about your company's upcoming launch, and then your firm pitches the reporter the next week, with the same story, it looks unprofessional, both to the reporter and to the PR firm.

7. Assume That Your Startup's PR is Done for the Year.
Your startup was mentioned by three bloggers. You've been on TV for thirty seconds. A known online publication has interviewed you. What more could you want until the next CES?

Why You Should Stop: A. If you got quality press coverage from CES, great. But remember, you were lumped into the CES bundle of stories, and these stories will likely be soon forgotten unless you continue to get quality press mentions throughout the coming year. B. CES coverage alone is not enough to show that you have the staying power it takes to garner investors in six months, or partner with another company next quarter. C. Use these stories to launch your company's next move. Making CES coverage your stopping point wastes opportunities for future stories.

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<![CDATA[7 Questions Every Startup Should Ask Before Hiring a PR Firm]]>Wed, 10 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/7-questions-every-startup-should-ask-before-hiring-a-pr-firmPicture
Introducing the media to your startup is an important job–one that shouldn’t be done without careful research and consideration. Knowing what to expect from a potential PR firm is often challenging for startups. Here are some must-ask questions to address with any PR firm your startup is thinking of working with.

Who will do most of the daily work of promoting my startup?
Large PR firms often have interns and in-experienced people on-hand to conduct research, preform initial pitches, and manage smaller accounts. Since you’re paying a PR firm to represent you, you should know what you’re paying for and how much of your account will be handled by “underlings” versus senior management. 

How often will I see “top leadership” after the initial meeting?
Top leadership in PR firms are often very good at “selling and closing deals” with clients, but are sometimes MIA from your regular meetings. This can be cost-effective for startups, but it can also be a sign that a PR firm isn’t a good fit for your startup.

What kind of reporters will be pitched for my stories?
Unless your startup is incredibly limited and specific, chances are, it will appeal to many “verticals” of reporting. If a PR firm says they’ll focus on only “tech reporters” or reporters who cover “the startup space,” you’re limiting your potential. Look for PR firms that focus on specific reporter verticals that encompass many significant areas of your startup’s potential. Examples: Health-tech, Android, iPhone, Mobile Computing, Telecommunications, Early Childhood Education, Cardiology. Get specific.

Who have you recently worked with that’s like my startup?
You don’t want to be a PR firm’s “first rodeo.” Look for past and current clients who have similar business structure, audience, or outlook as your startup. They don’t have to be a competitor, but it shouldn’t be a stretch for a PR firm to work with your startup if they’ve worked with similar brands in the past.

How do you define success for a startup like me, in say, six months?
This question will get you on the same page, fast. If they say they imagine you’ll have an article or two in a prominent blog in the coming months, that’s pretty slow. On the flip-side, if they promise thousands of media placements, that might be over-promising. Look for a PR firm that listens to the kind of business goals you have, and can align their PR expectations to your goals. Of course, PR firms can’t guarantee that reporters will “write” but they should be nimble enough to adjust strategies and tactics to get your startup media attention.

What is it about my startup that makes you want to work with us?
Of course, PR firms need to make money, but that can’t be the driving reason for a firm to work with you as opposed to other brands. PR firms should have specific answers as to what it is about your startup that they find refreshing, interesting, sell-able, and compelling. If they can’t answer this, they don’t know “you for you.” Don’t work with them in this case, because they’re not a good fit.

Are there any concerns you have with working with a startup like mine?
This is a good “catch all” question that may provide insight into something you missed or that they weren’t otherwise comfortable talking about.

The bottom line:
Working with a PR firm is a partnership built on communication and honesty. Find a firm that is easy to work with and that knows how to work with you to get the results your brand needs. Like any good lasting relationship, it’s worth the time and effort.

- By Jennifer L. Jacobson, Founder of Jacobson Communication


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<![CDATA[Hiring a PR Firm: 7 Myths Startups Believe]]>Tue, 09 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/hiring-a-pr-firm-7-myths-startups-believePicture
1. The best PR firms are really big.
Choosing a big PR firm can be a dangerous choice for a startup for three reasons: 1. Big PR firms are expensive for cost-conscious startups. 2. Big PR firms are focused on their big, name-brand clients, because they look good, and they pay well. 3. Most big PR firms don’t specialize in the nuances of startups. While they may have fancy reports and a fleet of underlings to meet with you regularly, big PR firms don’t usually understand the specific needs of budding entrepreneurship associated with startups. You’re better off looking for PR firms that specialize in, and have results for companies of a similar size and focus to yours.

 2. Celebrities and big brands work with this firm so they must be good.
The PR needs of celebrities and established brands have little in common with the PR needs of startups. Endorsements, damage control, product launches within an established brand, and ongoing brand maintenance are their primary focus. Startups usually need PR that introduces them to the world and establishes them as a thought leader in their industry. Popular brand names may sound sexy, but the PR strategies that make them successful have little in common with the PR strategies that make new startups successful.

Also consider that celebrities and big brands spend millions annually on communications, marketing infrastructure, market research, endorsements, and public relations. The work of their PR firm only plays a small part in their success.

 3. A PR firm should operate without much input.
PR is not a one-size-fits-all solution to getting your startup noticed. Each startup is unique, and a good PR firm will need to get spend time with you and get to know your brand, your goals, your industry, and more, in order to make you identify what makes you special and help you stand out from the competition. Expect to meet with them regularly and don’t be surprised when they ask questions about why your startup exists, what problem you solve, and how you’re different than others.

 4. My startup is too secret to talk about with the PR firm.
PR firms need to know what your company does, how it does it, why it exists, and how it’s better than the competition. While you may not need to disclose each of the secret sauce ingredients directly, your PR firm needs to be able to talk with reporters and make a solid case as to why your product is better than the competition. Warning: Reporters can see through vague marketing speak, so get specific. If your startup has a secret product or solution still in development, and not yet ready to be made public, be sure to tell your PR firm when it can be made public.

 5. PR should be cheap because I'm a startup.
Public relations is often the first thing people see when they meet your startup. While you can save money on things like office supplies and company lunches, public relations, can be an embarrassing place to scrimp because it’s so very “public.” It’s like wearing a ragged dirty shirt to a pitch demo. Sure you can do it, but it’s not a good idea. Think of a PR firm as you would a dentist, a lawyer, an accountant. You want good results, which come from experience, intelligence, and the ability to get the job done right. Price is a very small part of what is truly important when hiring a PR firm. According to one article: “Retainer fees for starups tend to range between $5,000 and $10,000.” 

6. I should only pay for placements.
Many startups hesitate to pay for public relations work, as it is not a guarantee of media placements. As a result, some startups consider a pay-to-play option. Pay-to-play means a firm only gets paid for the media placements they get a client. Most publications frown on the practice. Some publications will even blacklist PR people who get paid per story, so don’t ask your PR firm to do it. If you need eyeballs, consider straight-up advertising or paid placements. The downside; the audience will know you paid to get the story and control the message, so it won’t feel as genuine as real PR.

7. The intern can do it.
Don’t ask a fish to climb a ladder and don’t ask an intern to pitch your startup. Interns can be great for getting coffee and some even have the capacity to contribute to well-envisioned, well-guided, well-monitored campaigns. You may find an intern that is so good they eventually become a valued employee. But would you really trust an intern to be your company’s sole ambassador, pitching your startup to Fortune, or TechCrunch, or Ellen? Keep in mind, most reporters get hundreds of pitches a day, the odds are slim that your intern knows who to approach a reporter and what to say to make put your company in the best light possible.

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<![CDATA[Ghost PR Is Killing Your Brand: CEO Need to Know]]>Mon, 08 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/ghost-pr-is-killing-your-brand-ceo-need-to-knowPicture
Go to your company or nonprofit's news page. What media placements are listed? Are they more than a couple months old? If so, this article is for you.

You: But I was featured on our local tv station last year.
Me: Doesn't count.
You: But we were featured in TechCrunch for our launch.
Me: Six months ago. Doesn't count.
You: But my press release got 80,000 impressions according to BusinessWire.
Me: Exactly. You're a ghost. But fortunately, you don’t have to stay this way.
 
What is Ghost PR Syndrome? 
Ghost PR Syndrome is when the media hasn’t mentioned your brand any time in the last month, and it’s killing your business reputation.
 
How Is Ghost PR Syndrome Dangerous?

1. You’re Helping the Competition:
Not being actively in the media gives your competition a chance. When customers are conducting research for your type of product or service, they’re more likely to favor brands that have a variety of positive, credible media endorsements. If your brand isn’t current, you’re missing out on potential customers and revenue.

2. You Don’t Care About Your Appearance:
Relying on old PR placements shows that staying relevant isn’t important to your brand. When media placements for a brand are more than a month or two old, it’s the same as wearing dirty laundry to work; it looks bad, people notice, and no one will tell you.

3. You’re Wasting SEO Opportunities:
One of the number one ways people research new products is online, and media placements are a great way to drive SEO for your brand. If you’re not actively getting your share of media placements, your brand is missing some meaningful web-traffic.

4. You’re crippling your sales team:
Sure great salespeople can sell “anything” but if you have Ghost PR Syndrome, your forcing your team to trot out the same horse time, after time, trying to sell to leads, who are becoming more and more familiar with the competition. Current media placements can go a long way to lending credibility to your product and that can speed-up and unburden your sales team.

5. You’re Isolating Your Customers:
Lack of PR makes current customers less confident in the best of times and more skeptical if they have a problem. Hanging out with the “cool kids” is still a thing. Even if you have won customers and they’ve been with you for a long time, they may decide to go with the competition if the news is raving about how wonderful a similar product is. For customers who’ve had a problem, (as long as that problem is handled in a favorable way), positive media stories can help them have faith in your company while their problem is sorted out, leading them to believe that their issue is isolated, and not the tip of the iceberg of doom for your brand.
 
Is Ghost PR Syndrome Preventable?
Yes. You need to make PR a priority for your brand. Work with a firm that understands your desire to stay relevant in your market. Talk with a number of firms who represent brands of a similar size and industry to yours. Talk with fellow founders, executives, and colleagues and ask who they recommend. You can overcome Ghost PR Syndrome and get your brand back on track.

The Bottom Line: 
If you want your company to stand out, attract new customers, and stay relevant, active PR should be one of the most-valuable, most-used tools in your marketing toolbox.

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<![CDATA[8 Reasons Startup PR Campaigns Fail and How to Avoid Them]]>Thu, 04 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMThttp://jacobsoncommunication.com/blog/8-reasons-startup-pr-campaigns-fail-and-how-to-avoid-themPicture
Have you ever had a PR campaign that just didn't work? Are you planning a new campaign? Here's the top 8 reasons PR campaigns fail and what you should avoid.

1. You're Starting Too Late

Do you have a story that has to "go live" this week? Next week? You're too late. Sure, you can try and see what happens, but you need to have sent out your stories at least two to four weeks in advance.

Looking to get coverage in a print magazine, try three months or more in advance.

Looking to get your new product/service on a major TV show? That could easily take 6 months of hard work and dedication.

Do you have a holiday campaign coming up? Start in August or September. After that, it's too late.

Starting with a new PR firm? Bring them on, at least a month before you need to start pitching anything.

2. Your Story Is Not Really News

Did your startup just get a new logo? Unless you're Uber or Apple, nobody cares. Get over yourself.

A story has to include something new and noteworthy, as well as how it impacts customers, and the larger world.

3. You Chose the Wrong Hook

If you're talking about your hot new algorithm, but fail to connect that to how it will save PC users billions of hours a year, you're doing it wrong.

Consider the biggest impact your story will have on someone who does not care about your brand already. That is your hook.

4. You Don't Pitch Enough Reporters

What's that you say? You pitched a whopping total of twenty reporters across publications like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Kotaku, The Verge, etc? That's ADORABLE! Good luck!

This kind of strategy only works if you're already famous. Unless these reporters have told you when they will drop your story, don't hold your breath.

You should be reaching out to hundreds of reporters (at least), and paying for a press release on one of the known distro sites to kickstart your story. Not sure how to contact hundreds of reporters? Hire a PR firm.

5. You Don't Pitch the Right Reporters

Not every story is something TechCrunch will break to the world. If you have a "lifestyle" story, go to lifestyle-focused blogs, websites, writers, shows, etc. Consider who your customer is and what media they consume. Start there. Sure, pitch to TechCrunch too, but don't expect them to break the ice for you.

6. You Ignore Reporter Requests

If you've pitched a reporter and they ask you for further information, an interview, images, etc., and you ignore them, or take several days to get back to them, you're missing out.

You don't have to fly across the country for a tiny TV station interview with a viewership of 50 people (unless you want to), but you should have the decency to write back to reporters who ask this and more of you. If you don't have time, again, consider hiring a PR firm or a PR manager.

7. You Pitch at the Wrong Time

Pitch early in the week, at a time that works for all time-zones. Don't pitch on a Friday and expect anyone to write same-day. Don't pitch at midnight. Don't pitch on a major holiday.

Did a disaster just happen? Is something else consuming the news cycle. Hold your story for a few days if you have to. Wait for things to cool down. Then pitch.

8. Your Pitch is 100% Wrong

Most people start here, but I've saved this one for last because everything else has to work, in order for the pitch to work.

A good pitch:
• Is short, and to-the-point, complete with supporting links, and no attachments.

• Is sent at a respectful time of day, to the right reporter.

• Is not typically sent randomly over social media (unless the reporter requests it).

• Is not presumptuous, rude, or manipulative.

• May follow-up on the same story once or twice, but no more, unless the reporter replies.

In Conclusion
Most failed PR campaigns occur because they ignored one or more of the steps above. Get these steps right, and your campaign will be much more successful.

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