Friday, 9 July 2021

Five Ways You Could Be Stopping Journalists to Publish Your Stories

Whether planning an outreach campaign or already in the midst of a PR distribution strategy, here are five more mistakes to avoid when reaching out to journalists:


1. Thinking You Have Creative Control

The moment your press release lands in the journo’s mailbox, it technically becomes their property. Not in the sense that they can alter the facts or general subject of the PR, but they’ve full creative control with regard to how the information is subsequently presented. This is where outreach campaigns often go wrong – those behind them attempting to take full creative control. Avoid the temptation to tell journalists how to do their job – trust them instead to do their thing.

2. Bugging Them with Reminders

Do journalists and publishers lose and/or forget about PRs on a regular basis? Of course they do. Does this mean bugging them with reminders is a good idea? No way. If it’s a time-critical story/announcement and the deadline is fast approaching, there’s justification for giving them a gentle ‘nudge’ at the right time. If there’s no real hurry and it’s only been a day or two, hold off a little longer. It could simply be that your PR is at the bottom of their list of priorities – reminding them it exists won’t suddenly inspire them to prioritise it.

3. Creating a False Sense of Urgency

Most experienced journalists know every trick in the book and aren’t in the habit of falling for them. In this instance, we’re talking the classic “I’ve also pitched this suggestion to X and Y outlets who are very interested, but I wanted to give you first refusal” or something along similar lines. You’re basically saying “take my fantastic story before somebody else beats you to the punch.” And it’s a tactic that doesn’t work – it simply screams of desperation and won’t work in your favour.

4. Failing to Refuse Rejection


Where a media outlet refuses to publish your story or content, it’s for a valid and obvious reason in their minds. In which case, attempting to persuade them otherwise is a waste of time. It’s also likely to cast aspersions on your credibility, while at the same time making it unlikely they’ll consider your future requests. Where faced with a rejection, it’s best to thank them for their time, walk away and approach them at a later date with something more relevant.

5. Going for the Hard Sell

Last but not least, any press release or piece of outreach content that smacks of pure promotion for your products, your services or your business isn’t going to work. Press releases are supposed to be informative in nature and in some way relevant/valuable to the recipient. They don’t exist simply as a means by which to sell your products and services without paying for conventional advertising space. If you want all future requests to find their way straight in to the trash, try pitching a post that’s all about the hard sell.

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Is Influencer Marketing Still a Worthwhile Investment?

 The more widespread a marketing tactic becomes, the lower its subsequent influence on its target market. Consumers these days are savvy to the attempts of businesses to convince them to act on the basis of marketing messages and associated materials.

When any given approach to marketing is more or less done to death, it becomes ineffective and loses its appeal.


In which case, is influencer marketing still a worthwhile investment in 2021? With approximately 80% of companies now investing in influencer marketing, does it still have the same impact and appeal it had in previous years?

The Mechanics of Influencer Marketing

In terms of logistics, the basics of influencer marketing have not changed over the years. It is a simple yet effective strategy that involves hiring (or convincing) an influential individual to speak to a targeted audience on your behalf.

Rather than attempting to sell your products and services directly to customers, you do so via a proxy. One that has significantly more influence over your target audience than you do, and is therefore more likely to be heard.

Increasingly, consumers are expressing near-total distrust for the brands and businesses they come into contact with online. Guilty until proven innocent, you can expect everything you say to be scrutinised or ignored entirely - unless your claims are verified by someone your audience trusts.

This is where the power of influencer marketing lies - more than 90% of all consumers act upon the suggestions and recommendations of those they consider trustworthy.

The Influencer Marketing Landscape in 2021

On one hand, you could argue that yes - consumers are not oblivious to the fact that businesses are using influencers to target them. Nevertheless, this is having no bearing whatsoever on the potential value and impact of an effective influencer marketing strategy.

In fact, the influencer marketing landscape is only set to continue growing and diversifying indefinitely.

For one thing, influencer marketing almost always leverages the reach and popularity of social media. During 2020, estimates suggest that the total number of social network users worldwide once again increased by more than 10%.

This equates to another 375 million people becoming active on social media, on top of the 4 billion already hooked.

As a result, nine out of 10 marketers said that influencers were brought into their marketing strategies and will continue to play an important role in their activities going forwards. More importantly, around two thirds of businesses (65%) have indicated their intention to spend even more on influencer marketing throughout the course of this year.

All of which suggests that not only is influencer marketing still a worthwhile investment in 2021, but that its relevance and appeal are both at an all-time high.


With popularity and appeal at an all-time high, more businesses than ever before are planning to increase their influencer marketing spend in 2021.

But what are the major influencer marketing trends set to dominate the landscape over the next months? If planning a new influencer marketing venture or intending to diversify your existing strategy, where should you be allocating more of your money for the best possible ROI?

Trend 1. Micro Influencers

Increasingly, major influencers with enormous audiences are losing their impact and influence over their followers. The most obvious example of which being a major celebrity, who can most likely be persuaded to say anything and promote anything - if paid the right price.

This is why celebrity endorsements are heavily scrutinised and often interpreted as unrealistic, inauthentic and impossible to take seriously. By contrast, micro influencers with much smaller audiences are far more likely to curate trust among their followers.

The bigger the audience, the lower the overall engagement rate - influencers with fewer than 5,000 often achieve the highest engagement rates of all. As an obvious added bonus, working with micro influencers typically tends to be exponentially less expensive than bringing major influencers or celebrities on board.

Trend 2. Forging and Maintaining Long-Term Partnerships

Joining forces with an influencer for a one-time-only promotional campaign can certainly have the desired effect. However, these one-off promos are nowhere near as effective or lucrative as long-term partnerships.

To develop and maintain long-term relationships with influencers is to effectively boost the appeal of your business with an influential brand ambassador. The longer and deeper the relationship, the less it looks like you are simply paying an influencer to say what you want them to say.

Particularly with smaller-scale influencers, building and maintaining long-term relationships is more about earning their interest and respect than paying them for their services. You’ll undoubtedly still be expected to pay a fair price, but they are only likely to support and represent a brand long-term if they genuinely believe in it.

Trend 3. Short Video Clips

The third biggest trend set to dominate the landscape in 2021 is the use of short video clips to send powerful marketing messages. Video content has been growing in popularity and influence for some time, though has really come into its own in the age of TikTok.

Instant gratification culture has taken over the world, resulting in a new generation of consumers that expect to be entertained and engaged in seconds. Whereas a five-minute product review video would once have done the trick, you now need to pack the same message into a 30-second clip to have the desired effect.

Short, punchy and impactful video clips from relevant influencers can be more appealing and effective than anything you could create and publish in-house. They can also be comparatively cost-effective, given the relative simplicity of producing them.




Friday, 12 March 2021

Some eCommerce Promotion Ideas to Boost Your Online Sales

 For reasons we don’t need to go into, it’s a pretty mixed bag right now for ecommerce businesses worldwide. Online retail in general is booming, but we’re slap-bang in the middle of a period where people are hesitant to spend their money.





Hence, anything you can do to boost and market online sales during this difficult time is something you probably should be doing.

For those willing to do what it takes to weather the storm, here’s a brief rundown of just a few ecommerce promotion ideas that are guaranteed to boost your online sales:

1. Contests and giveaways

We’re all powerless against a freebie - especially in times of financial turbulence. Organising a contest can be a great way of nurturing engagement, boosting interest in your products and attracting new customers. Even if the prize isn’t particularly lucrative, contests and giveaways never fail.

2. Flash sales

This is where you host a strictly time-limited sale with the kinds of major deals and discounts you wouldn’t normally offer. Perhaps for one day or even just a couple of hours, you make limited quantities of certain items available at seriously low prices. Again, a great way of pulling in the punters and attracting new customers to your store.

3. Free samples

If anything you sell is perishable and is at risk of expiring in the near future, it’s far better to give it away than to allow it to go to waste. This can be made an ongoing element of your sales and marketing strategy, offering free samples on a first-come, first-served basis to the customers in your mailing list.

4. Introduce multi-purchase deals

One of the most effective ways of maximising the size and value of every sale is to incentivise heavier spending. More specifically, through the introduction of multi-purchase deals - ideally on a long-term basis. You buy three products, you get a fourth item for free - a tried, tested and trusted approach to boosting sales.

5. Stop charging for shipping

With more online retailers than ever before offering free shipping as standard, you cannot afford to continue charging for shipping in the current climate. Feel free to impose a modest minimum spend to qualify for free shipping, but make sure free delivery is one of your online store’s key selling points.

6. Assemble product packs or bundles

This is more or less the same as a multi-purchase deal, only in this instance you decide what goes in the package. You group a bunch of similar or relevant items together, you package them in an attractive bundle and you sell them at a lower price than the combined individual product costs.

7. Improve your loyalty scheme

More importantly, think about introducing a loyalty scheme if you don’t already have one up and running. And don’t make the mistake of offering lame or low-value incentives in return for loyalty - make sure repeat business is rewarded fairly and generously.

8. Leverage user-generated-content (UGC)

Last up, now could also be the perfect time to begin leveraging the value and appeal of user-generated-content. Along with being more impactful, influential and memorable than any brand-created content, it’s also 100% free of charge! Ask your customers to submit content you can publish (perhaps on the basis of a modest incentive) and they’ll usually be more than happy to do so.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Key Video Marketing Trends to Watch For in 2021

In terms of popularity, impact and appeal, video continues to go from strength to strength. It’s been the most influential marketing and promotional medium for some time, and is expected to continue its meteoric rise throughout 2021 and beyond.



 

According to a recent poll, content creators who concentrate on YouTube are seeing up to 30% more views right now than a year ago. More broadly, research suggests that around 56% more people are watching video on social media today than during the same period in 2019.

Live streaming in particular has seen a stellar spike in popularity last year – up as much as 70% on platforms like Instagram.

It’s therefore clear at a glance that video marketing is set for another incredible year in 2021. As for the most notable trends to watch for, the following are widely predicted to rule the roost over the coming 12 months:

1. More Interest in Webinars

It’s taken a while, but Webinars are finally beginning to hit their stride in terms of popularity and influence. Simple yet effective, these ‘web seminars’ are essentially enhanced and extended tutorials, which can be published for a variety of purposes. Education, industry insights, basic entertainment – a webinar can be anything you want it to be. It can also be a seriously powerful and impactful marketing tool, when engineered and distributed strategically.

2. Greater Emphasis from Google

Roughly translated – Google is showing preference to websites and publishers that include high-quality video in their content strategies. Traditionally, video hasn’t had a huge impact on SEO as its content cannot be crawled and assessed by search engines like Google. Today, increasingly sophisticated algorithms are giving video content the respect and consideration it deserves. Of course, the fact that Google owns YouTube also plays a major role in its preference for quality video content on web pages and sites.

3. Live Mobile Video Streaming Growth


Sophisticated mobile technology combined with 4G and 5G networks is making live HD mobile streaming more popular and accessible than ever before. Some of the world’s most popular social platforms now make live streaming literally as easy as touching a button. All of which has spurred meteoric growth in the popularity of live mobile streaming – both with publishers and consumers alike. Live streaming is often considered to have more appeal than conventional and video content, in that it’s unfiltered, unedited and ultimately more ‘real’ by design.

4. Multichannel Video Content Distribution

 Last up, it’s becoming increasingly rare for publishers to dedicate themselves exclusively to just a couple of channels. These days, you’ll usually find out when a video has performed well on Facebook, it’s also been published on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit and elsewhere. The fact that so many social platforms have such massive global audiences makes the whole omnichannel distribution thing something of a no brainer. Even if your audience is primarily on Twitter, there’s no harm in promoting your content to audiences elsewhere

Friday, 8 January 2021

How to Survive (and Win) the Post-Christmas Lull

 There’s always a sting in the tail with the annual Christmas ecommerce frenzy. Things are just about as peachy and positive as it gets for a couple of months, after which comes the inevitable lull. 




One of the biggest (and most common mistakes) made by smaller businesses is focusing too heavily on leveraging shoppers’ appetite to spend over the festive period. And in doing so, losing sight of the importance of compensating for what happens next.

Consumer spending always dips massively in January and February – a fact and a reality there’s nothing you can do about. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty you can do to survive and even thrive during this post-Christmas lull.

A few suggestions on how to make January and February slightly less painful for your online business:

1. Launch a Sale

It’s a pretty old-fashioned concept in this day and age, but consumers still cannot resist the prospect of the classic ‘January Sale’. They’ve already overspent during November and December, yet are attracted to January discounts like moths to flames. Don’t forget that your closest competitors are probably planning major January sales of their own, so it’s worth doing likewise.

2. Leverage the New Year Attitude

New year, new start, new opportunities etc. – the New Year attitude that temporarily motivates the masses. At the very beginning of the year, people become determined to improve their personal productivity, clean and sanitise their homes, improve their health, do something charitable and generally become ‘better’ people. All of which can and should be leveraged in your sales and marketing strategy for the New Year.

3. Launch Something New

Most businesses time their new product and service debuts for the spring and summer. They instinctively avoid times of diminished spending, for reasons rooted in logic. However, this also means there’s a glaring gap in anything new and interesting hitting the market at the start of the New Year. If you’ve been sitting on something you think your audience will get a kick out of, why not take advantage while your competitors are hibernating?

4. Get Serious with Email Marketing

Ideally, every single sale you made over Christmas will have resulted in another email address making it onto your list. In which case, there’s no better time than right after Christmas to start working on a serious (and appropriately segmented) email marketing strategy. Too soon to start bugging those who only recently shopped with you? Not at all – it’s always best to reach out to satisfied customers while they remember why they shopped with you in the first place!

5. Stay Active and Communicative

Last up, don’t make the mistake of going quiet and temporarily vanishing into thin air. Due to a combination of fatigue and the fact that business is slow, countless brands go dormant and largely inactive after Christmas. In doing so, they overlook (or are oblivious to) the fact that social media use skyrockets during the darker and gloomier months of the year. Hence, there’s really no better time to engage your audience and take your social media marketing strategy a step further.