Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered

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This new year is off to a busy start, but we want to make sure we take the time to give back with a bit of what we know and have learned! Every Friday on the @FACTEURPR Instagram Stories, we answer a PR or marketing question you've asked. That includes media relations, advertising, social media, influencer engagement, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, etc. The videos will stay live on Stories for 24 hours, and we will add the most recent ones to our Instagram page Highlights. 

To ask a question, send us an email, drop a comment below or leave a comment or DM us on Instagram.  

We look forward to connecting with you and hope you find this series valuable. And as always, we're always here to help with your specific public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative needs! Contact us here.

How to pitch an event to local media

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Every Friday on Instagram, we are answering your marketing and communications-related questions on Stories! That includes topics such as media relations, advertising, social media, influencer relations, blogging, content marketing, planning, pitching, SEO, and more. This week's Q&A notes are below, and be sure to follow @FACTEURPR on Instagram to see our past and present Q&As, too!

Q: What is the best way to pitch your event to local media?

A: Before you pitch your event to the media, consider these three pre-pitch points:

  • What makes my event unique?
  • Who would be interested in my event?
  • Why is this relevant right now?

From there, you'll be able to identify if there could be media interest and where to start pitching, which leads us to our first step.

1. Find the right reporters or editors at your local publications or stations who would cover an event like yours.

If you're hosting a fashion event, find the style editor. If it's a restaurant opening, find the food writer or arts and entertainment editor. Follow he or she on Twitter and Instagram, read their latest stories, engage with them online so by the time you reach out to them, it's not necessarily the first time they are hearing from you. 

2. Make contact with enough lead time.

Email is always a good way to pitch a story, but keep in mind, journalists get a boatload of email. Reach out the first time about 4-6 weeks before your event. Give your email a subject line that sounds like a headline to make it compelling enough to open. Make sure your email is as concise and to the point as possible. I always say "lead with your lead." Keep the most important information towards the beginning - it's a good idea to include the three pre-pitch points I included before step one. You can insert a press release or a JPEG of your invitation, too. I suggest an invitation because editors are very visual and will most likely want to see pictures accompanying text, which is what they will give their readers, too. 

3. Follow up once, maybe twice. 

If you don't hear back after sending two emails, you may assume the reporter is either not interested or didn't have time to write you back. If you follow-up twice with no response, cease your outreach - you don't want to come off as annoying. Depending on the event, if you did reach out to a local TV show producer and didn't hear back, try contacting the news desk and see if it can be a news segment instead of a program feature. 

4. Thank them. 

Journalists juggle a lot. Make an impression and go out of your way to send a thoughtful thank you email or better yet, a thank you card if they covered or attended your event. And there's also no better show of your appreciation than sharing the story and thanking the writer in a Tweet or Facebook post. 

5. Prepare for next time

If you didn't receive a response or if the media wasn't interested this go-around, don't be discouraged. There could be a number of reasons- the editor didn't see a fit, the publication recently covered an event like this, resources didn't allow for coverage of the event, the timing wasn't right, etc. Be sure to take the time to evaluate the who's/what's/why's to the event you're planning (see the first point about pre-pitching). And if your first or last event was a smashing success, use that in your next pitch. Remember: media relations is an ongoing process! Good luck!

Do you have a marketing and communications related question you'd like to see answered? Share it in the comments below, send an email, or head to our Instagram page and send us a direct message!

Have additional tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

 

Need more assistance? FACTEUR is here to help. We would love to work with you on a tailored public relations or integrated marketing and communications strategy for your brand and business. From planning to pitching, and consulting to creating, we're as hands on as you need. Learn more here.

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Our most beloved apps and tools for PR and social media

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January 8 is National Clean Your Desk Day! I actually cleaned my desk off last week, as I wanted to kick off the new year with less clutter surrounding me. Clear space, clear mind! I also made sure to scrub my chalkboard and make a place for new goals for the new year. 

In the spirit of creating space and working smarter, I wanted to share some insight on what types of apps and tools I've been utilizing to maximize my time, creativity, and results at FACTEUR PR – both for my own brand and my clients!

Adobe Creative Suite
While one can argue that the Creative Suite is not mandatory for successful media relations or marketing, I would still stress the benefit of the software. An important part of my job is not just getting the job done, but cutting through the clutter and making it stand-out. I use InDesign to design press kits for clients as well as my own new business proposals. Photoshop is great of course for editing photos as well as designing graphics, which we do a lot of for social media and websites. And it's hard to not need Acrobat Pro for e-signing or filling out documents.

Evernote:
This is one I can't live without. I absolutely love Evernote to take notes, whether it's to brainstorm new business or blog ideas, or to jot notes during a client call or meeting. I have the Pro version so I can have my notes on more than one device.

Asana:
Asana is an important tool we use for internal communications between our team and clients. I love its calendar function, which lends itself particularly well for deadline-driven projects, which includes just about everything. It's also the platform we use primarily for client project communications and content planning. Protip: Download our curated content calendars and input your content ideas into the Asana calendar to remind you about your story ideas for social media, blogging, and PR. 

Google Trends:
Speaking of story ideas, have you checked out Google Trends before? In addition to the important data you'll reap from your website's Analytics dashboard, I love using Google Trends to develop content ideas based on search results. Monitor the trending topics of the day, or search for a term such as "Cleveland Restaurants" to see the keywords' interest over time as well as related search queries.  

A Color Story:
If you love bright, crisp photos, you need to download A Color Story on your smartphone. The app is free but certain filter packs carry a nominal fee. We use it to edit almost all of our Instagram photos. (Follow @FACTEURPR!)

Harvest:
If you work in a service-based industry and have to track your time (or just want to get really productive with your time!), I recommend checking out Harvest. It's only $12/month and you can really get a good handle on how much time you spend on projects. If your hours are billable, you can also instantly export an invoice directly from the website. Harvest integrates well with Asana, too. 

Planoly:
What I like about Planoly versus other Instagram scheduling services is that there is a desktop calendar-view component. You can schedule and arrange future posts by message or creative, and publish them straight to Instagram through the app. 

Boomerang:
This is a must-have plug-in for Gmail. Boomerang allows you to flag emails you're sending out and notifies you when it's time to follow-up if you haven't heard back. Furthermore, it's useful to schedule emails for later, too. I love it for media pitching and client relations. 

Mention:
If you're monitoring your own media coverage or staying on top of your competitors, Mention is a great and affordable tool to use. It's so important to know what's going on with your competitors or brands that are offering similar products and services to you. If you're looking for a free, lighter version, of course, there's always Google Alerts.

These are just a couple of the apps and tools I use when doing my day-to-day work at FACTEUR. If you like these types of posts, please let me know, and I will be sure to share more! In the meantime, share your must-haves in the comments, too! 

FACTEUR PR Holiday 2017 Playlist

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The holidays are exhausting, so it's no wonder it's a relief for a lot of folks that they will finally be over in just a couple of short weeks. I happen to love the holidays, but one thing that does continue to tire me about them is the music. We recently created a holiday-themed playlist for our client Banyan Tree during a blogger party, and we thought it would be fun to create one for our other clients and friends! Whether you're jamming away at your desk or looking for new tunes to play at your store while your customers shop or party, we think you'll dig this Hip Holiday playlist. 

FACTEUR PR: HIP HOLIDAY WINTER 2017 PLAYLIST

We're seeking a digital intern!

digital internship winter 2018

Attention college students and recent grads! FACTEUR PR is currently seeking organized and enthusiastic candidates with a passion for PR, social media, and marketing to join our team this season! Interns will receive mentoring and experience in public relations, social media, and content marketing with an emphasis on client relations, project management, relationship building, visual communications, and strategy. And a huge perk? You can work from home.

This is a digital internship. So interns have the flexibility to work remotely. Interns will be required to participate in a video meeting or call up to one day a week with their FACTEUR PR supervisor. Cleveland-based interns may be required to meet or work on-site at meetings or events as needed.

While there is no typical day, interns can expect to gain experience in:

  • Media relations: research (outlets, reporters), outreach, editorial calendars
  • Social media: research, management, news, trends, advertising, content and design, influencer outreach
  • Content: researching, writing, blogging, designing, e-mail marketing, optimizing
  • Writing: pitches, press releases, biographies

Does this sound like an opportunity you might be interested in? Learn more and apply here

Want to know what it's like to intern with FACTEUR PR? Check out our former intern Julie Hong's blog post! 

Refreshingly simple: meet our new e-mail newsletter

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If you haven't read our blog post on the importance of e-mail marketing, start here! At FACTEUR PR, we truly believe in the value of an e-mail subscriber list, because while Instagram could disappear tomorrow, our e-mail list is something we arguably own.

Last week, we were super excited to unveil our new e-mail newsletter design! But first, a few reasons why we decided to make a change.

1.) More people are reading their e-mails on mobile devices than their desktops. 
Depending on your business, your e-mail communications sound better coming from a person and written more like a narrative or an message to a friend. This is particularly a good strategy if you aren't doing a lot of linking from your newsletter to your blog or website to further storytell. However, our e-mail newsletter's primary objective is to inform our readers. Our newsletter comes out once a month, so it makes more sense in terms of real estate to link to our blog for full stories at this time. Therefore, we shortened the copy in our newsletter.

2.) Our previous layout was restrictive.
Our old layout featured a single-double-single column approach. This lent itself to predictability every month for our readers, but also restriction for us in terms of what content to include. With our new layout, we can extend our content with the addition of sections heading vertically down the screen, which aids in readability, too, as folks are typically scrolling up and down on their mobile devices and desktops.

3.) We just needed a change.
It started one day with the realization that our logo was too big. We love our logo and have no plans to change it and we feel it still embodies our brand. But the rest of the newsletter wasn't putting our best foot forward. After all, we do provide e-mail marketing services for our clients. Therefore, we decided to 'walk the talk' and create a layout that made us proud to send out every month and hopefully makes our readers want to open it - both for the great content and its aesthetics. Take a look at it below, and tell us what you think!

Above: Our former e-newsletter (left). Our new e-mail newsletter (right). Take a closer look at the new design below!

The new FACTEUR newsletter.

The new FACTEUR newsletter.

Are you interested in a new e-mail newsletter design, or looking for a new strategy, design, and set-up for our e-newsletter? Get in touch

Digital content and social media ideas for December

While we're planning for 2018, let's not forget we still have one important and busy month to end the year on, December! Can you believe the holiday season is here? It can definitely be hard to think about making time to curate content for your blog, PR, and social media channels when this month's to-do list seems almost a mile long. Here are just a few opportunities this month to align your brand or business with some already note-worthy happenings online.

December is...

  • Root Vegetables Month
  • Exotic Fruits Month 
  • AIDS Awareness Month
  • Universal Human Rights Month
  • Write a Business Plan Month
  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month 

Daily opportunities include...

December 1: Day With(Out) Art Day
December 2: National Mutt Day
December 4: National Cookie Day
December 11: International Children's Day
December 13: National Cocoa Day
December 15: National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day
December 18: Free Shipping Day
December 30: Bacon Day
December 31: National Champagne Day
 

Want more content ideas? Check out our curated content calendars specifically for the food & drink, arts & hobbies, health & wellness, and lifestyle industries. You can find them under the Instas tab here on the FACTEUR website (and showcased below). We've pulled together social media, blogging, and PR opportunities based on monthly and daily holidays, hashtags, and high profile events that are related to each of those industries. Also included is a list of story ideas to get you started with developing your editorial plan, as well as space to brainstorm your own ideas. Right now, we're offering each calendar for $9, and if you buy all four with our Blogger Bundle, you basically get one free! Plus, every time we update the calendars, we'll make sure you'll get the newest iteration (at no extra charge, of course). Happy creating!

Holiday marketing: quick tips to help you grow this season

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The 2017 holiday season is officially upon us! While most of us are happy to survive the rush that the month of December brings, there is an immense opportunity to still reach new audiences and ultimately grow your business. Below you'll find a few quick tips to get you started. Need extra support? FACTEUR would love to help!

Involve your staff

Your staff can help boost any marketing campaign. Have them repost content to their social-media platforms, post in groups they belong to and share with friends! They are your greatest ambassadors. Don't forget to introduce them on your own social media channels, too. (Instagram stories is particularly valuable for that.) Related: Five ways to use Instagram Stories for your brand or business

Get emotional

The holiday season carries a lot of meaning for most people. People aren't just buying gifts, they are hoping to make someone smile or perhaps even make their loved ones' lives easier or better. Harness that emotion and share the 'why' behind why your offering makes a great gift. Sharing testimonials is a great way to do that.

Invest in paid social

If you've never invested in your social media strategy, now is the time. Instagram and Facebook are especially 'pay to play.' Look into boosting posts to reach your ideal audience. The audience insights alone are worth the cost. 

Generate a sense of urgency

Tell your customers why they should buy from you RIGHT NOW. Is it free shipping, a holiday bonus gift, or just that there is limited product so act quickly! Create a time sensitive offer to increase the chances of an impulse buy from your customers.

Online deals

Don’t have an online store? No problem. You can still post coupons or special promotions to your social media sites to draw customers in. For example, “show this post on Instagram in store and receive 20% off one item today and tomorrow only!” (Need assistance creating your online marketplace? We can help!)

E-mail your subscribers weekly

Up your emails and communicate with your subscriber list on a weekly basis. Make sure your communications are thoughtful and relevant with each send (meaning: don't send the same email over and over again!). Related: E-mail is not dead: why you need to build a list to build your brand or business

Print postcards

Score! You attracted new customers. Now how do you get them to return? Your opportunity at the cash register might be the only time to connect with them. Drop a postcard in their bag with either a special offer during the months of January-February, sign them up for your e-mail newsletter, send an invitation to an upcoming event, or a follow on social media to stay engaged.

Personalize campaigns

Take your ads to the next level. Find a way to incorporate customers into your brand story. Office Max saw a huge boost with their “Elf Yourself” social-media campaign. The more innovative and fun the better!

Streamline channels

If you're a small business and do not have a full-time social media person on staff, we can't stress enough the importance of scheduling your holiday posts out. Take a few hours one day after work each week and create your content and schedule your communications. Keep a consistent theme throughout the season and across all social-media channels. Don't forget to also spend extra time monitoring your comments and answering questions, too! 

Currently: Favorites with Reena Goodwin

Reena Goodwin. (Photo: suzuran photography)

Reena Goodwin. (Photo: suzuran photography)

Welcome to Currentlya new series from FACTEUR PR where we share the latest favorites of our staff and clients here on our blog! In this edition, get to know Reena Goodwin, FACTEUR Founder and Director! Read on...

Name: Reena Goodwin
Job: Founder and Director
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
College you go to/went to (and major): The Ohio State University, BA in Public Affairs Journalism

Currently, my favorite...

Book I recently read or reading: I've just started digging into Brene Brown's newest book, Into the Wilderness. I am such a sucker for books on self realization. This one is pretty good so far (but then again, Brown can do no wrong!).

When it's time for happy hour, a glass of red bordeaux is the way forward.

When it's time for happy hour, a glass of red bordeaux is the way forward.

Part of my job: I love that everyday I get to take what I am passionate about it and use it to help other people. Having a business is kind of like having a baby. It's so precious, and I feel really honored to be part of a growth story. Specifically, I'm a people-person so I love meeting with people, be it clients or reporters. Everyone's got a story to tell and it's so nice to listen.

Album or song: I'm not in love with the new Arcade Fire album, but I've been listening to the track, "Creature Comfort," on repeat. 

Magazine I read: Nylon has always been a favorite.

Blog I read: Olivia Jeanette's self titled blog. It's equal parts fashion, shopping, love, family, NYC, travel, beauty, etc. She is such a lovely person from what I can tell based off her posts and the exchanges I have had with her. 

Place I visited: Austin, Texas. Just until recently I had only been to Austin for SXSW, and it was so nice to experience the city for once outside of a crazy music/film/tech festival!

Rooftops and pools in austin, texas.

Rooftops and pools in austin, texas.

Clothing/accessories/shoes I bought: I haven't gone shopping in seemingly forever because I'm still trying to lose these last 10 pounds of pregnancy weight! But I did buy my first pair of heels for post-baby. They are black leather sandals with a wooden heel from Clarks. And they are surprisingly cute and mega comfortable!

Event I attended: Seeing Sheryl Sandberg speak over the summer. Her words were so powerful and personal. She's a woman that truly inspires me professionally.

Simone vera goodwin was born july 6, 2017.

Simone vera goodwin was born july 6, 2017.

Instagram account: @FACTEURPR of course! Just kidding (sorta). I've been addicted to influencers more than brands these days, and just love Chinae Alexander's feed. She's totally real and such a badass. I'd give her a follow if you're into fashion and fitness (and girl power).

Food I ate/restaurant I tried: Cleveland has some ah-mazing restaurants. I really enjoyed checking out Forage recently. Moules frites is one of my favorite foods ever, and they've got a good bowl of that.

Drink: A delicious red Bordeaux when it comes to booze. Matcha almond milk lattes if we are talking caffeine. Plain old water for everything else. 

TV show or movie I watched: I am digging the new season of "Broad City" and really loved the last season of "Master of None." Now I have to go to Italy asap.

Thing overall I'm obsessed with: My baby. It's true. Ever since Simone was born over the summer, I've been madly in love. I'm that girl, now.