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
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.
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.
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.
From luxurious retreats, to expensive market research analysis, entrepreneurs have many resources to help them become seasoned thought leaders, but as they say, startups ain’t got time for that.
If you only have fifteen minutes before your interview with a TV show, radio show, podcast, or other media engagement, here are nine things you need to know right now:
1. Check Your Facts: Run a quick Google news search on the topic you’ll be discussing. Make sure nothing has changed in the last few hours/days. (In the tech space it’s entirely possible).
2. Know About the Show: Know the show’s name. Google it. Learn the host’s name. Know where the show airs. Keep this in mind during the interview.
3. Know Your Segment Length: Know how long you’re on for and make the time. If the interview is 30 minute long, don’t rush it to try and leave at 25. Be respectful.
4. Know the Format: If it’s “live,” then the audience can year you as you speak. If it’s “live to tape,” then they record and use everything, just at a later time. If it’s “edited” then they’ll shoot more than they can use and edit it down to the time they need.
5. Look in the Mirror: If the interview is in any kind of video format, check your teeth, your hair, your buttons, your fly. Make sure nothing is out of place. If you’re wearing jewelry, keep it small and to a minimum. Less is more.
6. Drink Some Water: Don’t down a bottle, but hydrate before you get out there.
7. Relax but Keep the Excitement: It’s a fine line to walk, but you want to sound “natural” as you talk. Avoid talking too fast or too slow.
8. Listen to the Host: During the interview, really listen to the host and try and answer their questions as best you can. You’re having a real conversation and hosts are representing the kinds of questions their audience will have for you.
9. Turn Your Cell Phone COMPLETELY OFF: Vibrate won’t cut it. Literally, any data your cell phone sends or receives during a recording or broadcast will mess with the audio equipment/signal and it will ruin your interview. You have to put your cell phone in airplane mode or turn it off.
Jennifer L. Jacobson is a communications strategist who helps brands advance in growing industries. Her clients have been on The View, The Today Show, in TIME Magazines’s best site of the year, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, Scientific American, USA Today, and thousands more.
You may be ready to pitch the venture community, but is your pitch deck? Take this checklist with you to make sure your pitch deck has what it takes to get investor’s attention and make you look like a professional. Read more.
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Do big global PR firms work for startups? The siren song of larger, global PR firms are tempting to many, but there are good reasons startups should avoid them. You can do better than a big firm. Here’s why. Read more.
Jacobson Communication is a Pacific Northwest boutique public relations firm that helps startups, emerging brands, and nonprofits get the attention needed to drive positive brand engagement. From sales, to biz dev, to company enrichment, you'll be surprised what better communications can do for your brand.
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