Seven ideas to promote your business for the first day of summer

With summer comes tan lines, bike rides and relaxed times — but it can also come with an underlying heartbreaker — that summertime slowdown. It’s less frequently touched on than the highlights and joy rides the season can take on us, but it can totally be real! Maybe you’ve reached a posting slump, hit a snag in your marketing plan, or began getting slower responses through your public relations efforts. Thankfully, we’re here to help with a fun list that will get you out of that rut and back into that sun.

photo: unsplash

photo: unsplash

An Instagram giveaway featuring your favorite summer collection items — nothing attracts an audience like free goodies! Set something up on your feed and your Stories for maximum results. Create a flat lay of the latest and greatest things your business has to offer, whether that be stationery, sunglasses, or skincare. For greater results, ask another local business to provide an item or two of their own, allowing them to gain exposure while also bolstering your package. Promote the giveaway frequently, and require participants to tag their friends in the comments in order for their entry to be valid (bonus entries if they share on Stories!). In this way, your post will be exposed to more eyes, providing increased brand recognition. Plus, who doesn’t feel good about a business giving back?

In-store events with indie brand pop-ups, live music, wine or snacks while you shop — summer is a time for activity! When there are so many other options for entertainment, directing people into your shop with some unique alternatives is a great way to attract new customers. If there is an added element such as snacks by a local bakery, drinks from a close-by brewery or tunes from a hometown musician, customers are bound to see their time with your brand as not just transactional, but experiential.

Free downloadable to attract email addresses — At FACTEUR, we love sharing knowledge. It not only helps position us as being well-versed in our industry, but it also allows us to give back to our community. Your business should consider the same – drop that free knowledge in exchange for a precious email address. No underhanded tactics here, just some friendly sharing about your products from time to time, coming straight to inboxes. The downloadable you share can contain recipes if you’re a personal chef or restauranteur, styling tips if you represent a fashion line or boutique, or recommendations on how to relax after work if you’re a yoga instructor. Add value to someone’s life and in turn add valuable new audience members to your e-mail list.

photo: unsplash

photo: unsplash

Instagram/Facebook live of your new summer collection — We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: GO LIVE OR GO HOME! If you want to really connect with your audience on social media, video – especially live video – is the way to go. The ultimate goal is to feel like a customer’s friend, someone they look forward to seeing pop up because you’re providing them with something helpful! In fact, some people may know you only by your handle for so long before they make the leap to in-person connection. Make it count! Creating an Instagram or Facebook live video of the items in-store will entice followers to come your way, energized about specific pieces they saw on the screen (and hopefully by your own self, too!).

Share a postcard with a discount code valid through the end of summer in shopping bags and via email after purchase — there’s no better way to thank your customers for supporting you than a.) saying and b.) saying it with a discount! If you can provide them with products for a cut of the price, you’ll be sure to create a personalized loyalty that extends with every inventory change you make. You love your customers — after all, they’re what keeps you going, both emotionally and financially — and a discount code is just as much as a thank-you to them as it is for you. While we spend so much time trying to gain new customers, don’t forget retaining your current consumer base.

photo: unsplash

photo: unsplash

Social media advertising campaigns — there is so much to be said for good old-fashioned consistent and creative posting. Social media users love to see quality content paired with your username, and we believe you can make it happen with consistency at the core! By creating a frequently used font and color palette, choosing a dedicated filter or preset and using a scheduling program such as Later or Hootsuite, you can truly make the most of your social channels while advertising products or services you offer. This might also mean taking the plunge to pay for a boosted post or spending some of your budget on video creation for your company. Whatever it is, we promise: people will notice the efforts you put in!

Pitch local media to create a story centering around a theme that includes your business — do you own a beach-glass-based jewelry company that sells at local markets? Highlight why this has a place in a larger TV or print package about summer festivals, beach clean-ups or the best local vendors to make that upcoming proposal perfect. Getting your products on television stations or in magazines that your ideal consumer watches or reads can be just the exposure you need in a dry season. Remember when pitching that your timing and relevancy is everything.

Photo: supply co

Photo: supply co

Looking for more ideas to fuel your social media, PR, and marketing efforts? Be sure to follow us on Instagram, sign up for our e-mail newsletter below, and check out our instant resources!

How a background in journalism can give you an edge in PR and Marketing

Ever since I was a little girl, you could say I’ve loved writing and photography — it started out with my first disposable camera, ramped up with joining a scrapbooking club and culminated in creating “The Powell Times,” my version of our family’s very own newspaper with details about birthdays, field trips and visits to our grandparents’ house. It was the start of being in touch with media, and although I can cite slightly more impressive bylines now, I’ll never forget the smaller-scale creative projects I came up with.

It only made sense to attend Kent State University to get a journalism degree, so in the fall of 2014, I moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio to pursue a career in magazine journalism. Momentarily I considered switching majors, but in my heart, I always knew that reporting, editing and content-creating were the things I was best at. Having one year in post-grad under my belt, it’s wild to see how my eyes have been opened to even more possibilities as a result of this diploma.

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As my relatives would say, journalism is evolving — and I would have to agree. Structurally, media people have to think on their feet to present the news in new ways. Our society, specifically my generation, might respond to online content with more enthusiasm than they would a print publication. Although a sweeping generalization, we have to recognize that information can take on many different forms: an email newsletter, a longform article, a tweet, an Instagram caption, a press release, a broadcast story, a piece of citizen journalism captured on an iPhone. The media landscape is becoming wider and longer and deeper. And so it goes with the job market for those in communications-related fields.

When I graduated college, I never imagined sitting in FACTEUR PR, a PR and marketing studio in Ohio City nine months later, whose founder also has a journalism background. I didn’t think journalism and public relations were polar opposites, but I also wasn’t sure what aligning the two looked like. Today, I can say with confidence I do now! Studying and working with the art of fact for so long (since the days of the high school news magazine) has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the public relations “side” of this line of work. Here’s how:

Story ideation:

In almost every writing-intensive class I took, story ideas were the first step to a healthy semester. Some would use whiteboard brainstorming sessions, others would use prompts and others would assign beats to each student. It was always our responsibility to establish the “why,” narrow the “what” and find the “who” willing to help us craft an authentic, fair piece. This was a challenging process! A grade would depend on someone in authority getting back to you with a phone call, email or text, approving your request to meet with them and setting up a time within their oftentimes busy schedule.

I believe in the integrity of this system — it has produced some of the most wonderful stories I have had the pleasure of reporting. But as a trained journalist and an emerging public relations person, I see there’s no harm in letting public relations help guide your pitches. If you’re a journalist who receives an email from a communications person, it’s easy to be wary of their motives: are they selling me something? Are they persuading me to do something? Is this ethical?

If the public relations person is doing their job in a truthful way, they will present you with only the facts, operating as a messenger to inform the journalist about something engaging going on. They will act as an ambassador for a brand, event or organization to not only inform you, but to assist with art, logistics and communication. They act as a liaison from one busy person to another busy person, syncing up calendars, details and email addresses.

I used to get nervous when a public relations person would set up a conference call with me and my subject — now I welcome it! They are there to help things run smoothly, especially in something as complex as a phone conversation, where timing and intonation are key in asking questions and expressing the right message.

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Social Media:

In my photojournalism minor, I was taught photography primarily from the perspective that it would later be joined with an in-print or online news article. While this type of straight-out-of-the-camera photography is essential to the market, there’s something to be said about planned shoots. They serve different purposes, but their heart is the same: to notify you!

Social media, particularly Instagram and all of its mechanisms, has become a great short form way to tell people what’s going on — whether from your publication’s headquarters or on-the-go. There should be no shame in using this platform as a way to get your message across.

What’s phenomenal about social accounts is the adaptability they offer. If the demographic for your product, event or message is the baby boomer generation, it may be more wise to utilize a Facebook post to get the word out. If you’re looking to engage with millennials, Twitter or Instagram might be the preferable route to take. One realization I’ve had since working with trained public relations people is that this practice is not manipulation — it’s communication, and it’s a two-way street. The correct distribution of information is simply important in reaching the greatest number of people with your message you’ve worked hard to put together.

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Messaging:

Timing is everything! Whether you’re a journalist or a public relations professional, it’s important to set and meet deadlines. And when you’re a public relations professional, those deadlines should be created with the journalist in mind.

If you’re pitching to a newspaper journalist, it might be easier to notify them in a more last-minute fashion. Employees of newsrooms are well aware that our communities are constantly telling stories, and their job is to be on high alert for emerging details that will better serve their readers.

However, if you’re interested in pitching to a magazine journalist, a message well in advance will be appreciated. I never knew how real this was until I began working for Ohio Magazine. The Cleveland-based publication, which covers all things Buckeye State, operates on a month-ahead deadline schedule, often researching and writing stories for about two weeks, then fact-checking and finishing stories for the next two. I remember being assigned a piece about holiday lights shows across the state — I was calling people near the beginning of November for information. I felt like it was Christmas time for about two months.

Larger scale publications work even further in advance to create their lookbooks, articles, Q&As and round-ups. If you take a look at the editorial calendars for Better Homes & Gardens, Woman’s Day and Town & Country, you’ll find deadlines for June occur in mid-March. It’s helpful to take a look at these pages, typically available on brands’ websites, to get a better understanding of their pace.

For every single journalist, there are six PR professionals who are at the ready to help guide a story. Having experience now on both sides has definitely offers an edge: insight into how to best collaborate together. We’re excited we get to do that each day at FACTEUR PR.

How beauty brands can make the most of PR and social media

Photo: beautyheaven.com.au

Photo: beautyheaven.com.au

The world of beauty PR and promotion has changed so rapidly in the last decade. More than ever, social media is as important as all other marketing efforts, and if you aren’t engaging in some form of PR, you are definitely missing out.

So how do you make the most of the opportunities for promotion in the beauty industry?

Where beauty brands once had to be in the glossy pages of a magazine to be considered successful and get noticed, brands are now more eager to create buzz on social media in order to increase their image and brand awareness before anything else. Oftentimes, features in publications and other print media will stem from a good social media strategy.

Creating a Brand Voice and Story

Regardless of where your media coverage is coming from, all of your promotional efforts should fall under the same brand voice and story. As it is for every brand, even outside of the beauty industry, continuity and evidence of thoughtfulness are what will truly legitimize your efforts.

Brands may find it helpful to write down exactly what their mission is, what tone they want to adopt, and a create a definitive mission statement. What makes your product more worthy than the thousands of other beauty products that have the same function? Create a story that will make editors want to cover your product over another. If necessary, create your own new category of beauty, focused on a unique aspect of your product.

Instagram Scrolling Doubles as Research

When you find yourself inevitably scrolling through Instagram during a slump in the middle of the day (we’ve all been there!) take notice of what is trending and on the rise in the beauty industry. Trends and ‘the next big thing’ change nearly every few days, so stay on top of what’s hot and what’s not. Brands may also find it helpful to follow MUAs (makeup artists), influential and indie magazine editors, and more traditional influencers who dabble in beauty.

You may be thinking, yes, scrolling through instagram is fun, but how is that helping me get the word out about my brand? The answer is simply because you’re staying well informed! Half of the heavy lifting we do in publicity is in the preparation. As soon as you see a trending topic that fits your brand while scrolling, you can send a story idea, products, and offer yourself up as a source for editors, influencers, or celebs before it’s published. The time and relevance of your efforts can lead to landing a coveted spot in their publication or on their social channels!

Make use of Advocacy

As a beauty brand, you can’t miss out on advocacy if you want to differentiate your brand to stand out in the extremely over-saturated market.

Photo: Kaymeenmcadams, instagram

Photo: Kaymeenmcadams, instagram

Advocacy comes in all different forms, especially in the beauty industry. Advocates don't necessarily have to be an ‘influencer’ that you would find on Instagram, although those aren’t a bad choice. Send your products to industry insiders, like MUAs, who will include your product in their kit and use it on their clients. Editors of magazines might be getting married, or always post about their puffy eye struggles (which, you will know about because of your Instagram research!). If you have a product that fits their needs, send it! If it works, they will usually share it with their coworkers and friends, and at the best, share it on their social media channels.

You may also find it beneficial to partner with someone to be your advocate, such as a MUA or hair stylist. Some artists will sign partnerships with beauty brands and agree to exclusively use their products on clients. This is a good way to get the word out, ensure user-generated content, and have more control over your coverage.

Many brands already make use of this fun and effective strategy. Makeup artist Kaylee McAdams frequently partners with many makeup brands around award season. She executes a full face makeup look using only the products from her sponsored brand and then shares some of the behind the scenes process to her 52K followers. Her sponsorship with Chanel created a buzzworthy pink glow on actress Sadie Sink for the 2018 Golden Globes.

Regardless of whether it’s in your budget to pay for advocacy, ensuring it is as organic as possible is key! Beauty is an investment, and people place immense value in their products, so try to let advocacy happen as authentically as possible, even when money is calling the shots.

Create Buzz

In the modern beauty industry, creating significant buzz around products is ultimately what will get you the best PR. Product launches and announcements have become essential, creative, and highly-anticipated social media campaigns with every aspect planned out beforehand. If you want to capture that traditional media coverage, creating anticipation and hosting experiences that will make journalists want to write about you can be your ticket to perfectly captivating content.

Photo: blushlondon.co.uk

Photo: blushlondon.co.uk

In 2015, famed ‘mother’ of makeup, Pat McGrath sent models down the Prada SS16 runway with startlingly bright gold lips that instantly created an online frenzy in the beauty world. After creating plenty of buzz about the gold looks by sharing images of her work on her social channels, McGrath announced that the gold pigment was to be her first official product in what is now the billion dollar company, Pat McGrath Labs. Just days later, she partnered with Instagram to record her launch event for Gold 001 in Paris. The feeling of FOMO was very real for anyone who wasn’t reporting about it, and the event gathered so much media attention and coverage that the Gold 001 sold out in just days.

Your brand might not be able to send models down a haute couture runway wearing your products as a covert and masterful unveiling, but the sentiment and motivation are the same for any beauty brand. Anticipation and good social media planning, as well as creativity, are essential to creating that buzz, and obtaining the best PR for your brand.

ROI, ROI, and more ROI

At the end of the day what ultimately matters is ROI (return on investment, for those who don’t know!). If you’re spending more on your marketing budget than you end up with in sales, you probably aren’t hitting the right beauty niche for your brand, and are most likely losing out on other, more valuable opportunities. If you find yourself in this situation, re-evaluate your mission, and the unique aspects of your product. Try to find what tactics will make you stand out amongst the competition, and get creative!

FACTEUR PR is proud to partner with a number of beauty, health, and wellness brands on everything social media and PR, having secured earned media coverage from a number of top industry publications, such as Allure, Refinery29, PopSugar and more. Interested in learning about how we can help? Contact us!

Welcome home: three new client websites for 2019

One of our favorite services we offer at FACTEUR PR is website development. Since the new year began, we’ve been busy creating and launching a few of our clients’ new digital homes.

The Architetta

The Architetta is a Cleveland-based architecture practice focused on residential and small-scale commercial design. Specializing in renovation and restoration, the practice is led by Architect Antonia Marinucci. Her intention is to honor and highlight the historic roots of the architecture she renovates, while sensitively introducing modern updates to bring century-homes into the new millennia.

With a number of recent renovations and remodels in progress, we developed a website for The Architetta that best showcased much of her beautiful videography and photography, along with elegantly portraying projects in progress. Meanwhile, we also strived to illustrate Marinucci’s expertise and experience through narratives for each displayed renovation with the ultimate goal of increasing leads for her practice.

Oak + Honey Event Planning Co.

Oak + Honey Event Planning Co. – former Oak & Honey Events – is a sustainable event planning business that specializes in unique wedding and event design. We’ve had the honor of working with the Oak + Honey team since 2017, and after a stunning rebranding with former FACTEUR clients, Studio Chartreuse, we got to work on a wedding website that positions environmental-friendly planning at its forefront. Utilizing a crisp color palette of sage, dark slate, and honey, we focused on photography that was earthy and ethereal, as well as clean and modern. The website both serves as a portfolio piece as well as an educational resource for those planning a wedding or special event while being mindful of impact on the environment.

Shannon Michael Style

Shannon Michael Style is an Ohio-based fashion and beauty brand with a mission to glamorize brides from head-to-toe. Primarily known for its on-location beauty services as well as its professional cosmetics line, the brand recently expanded to offer custom-fitted couture bridal gowns. Seeking assistance with its marketing and communications strategy for its launch, along with a refreshed web presence that would easily communicate the relationship between brands as well as boast an easy-to-use e-commerce store. With Perception Studio’s gorgeous photography, we built an online store as well as crafted all the sales copy for its bridal gown line, cosmetics line, and on-location services.

Need a refreshed website for your lifestyle brand or business? We would love to hear from you! Contact us.

How to take on event planning & marketing to college students

marketing to college students

I recently took over the marketing department at my university’s bookstore. As a primarily commuter campus, our store’s goal for marketing was “outreach, outreach, outreach.” This meant creating and executing events that would bring more students into the store and create an elevated awareness of our presence in the university population.

When you throw an event for a company you work for, whether you’re in charge of the marketing department or were just given the opportunity to pull something together, there are a few things to keep in mind that could help you to go from just throwing an event to succeeding at it.

There is no event if no one shows up.

Merely planning an event is not enough, you have to effectively market the event to your audience for it to be truly successful.

In my experience, trying to captivate the attention of anyone, especially college students, is very difficult. More than ever, people are moving and sifting through messages faster and faster. The American Marketing Association reports that people’s attention is the most scarce resource of any modern marketing plan. Whether it’s email, signage, flyers, or even word of mouth, people are capable of seeing and instantly dismissing any message. This means that whatever message you are putting out there has to be something worthy of their extended attention.

When I am marketing for the college campus community, I keep those statistics in mind. Because of the fact that my college student target audience have lives where they are constantly busy and merely skimming through every message they see, my goal is to get my message to them in as many ways as possible.

It is only because I have identified the habits of my target audience that I know this works best for my brand. You should take time to do the same; identify who your audience is, and then, how, when, where, and why they consume their media.

Every student has different media consumption habits; some delete all their emails and spend all day on social media, some will only ever see an email, some will only see signage, etc. So, I will do my best to cover all of those bases, repeatedly. (This includes any social media, the university weekly Events Calendar email blast, paper signage/handouts, and digital signage which is projected on screens around the Student Center.) I find that if I update every single possible place with messages about my event (starting about a month to three weeks beforehand) the majority of students will see it, and I will have the most success. Because I repeatedly hit up these things with posts and graphics, they will see my message more than once, driving some familiarity and curiosity about it.

This tactic of coming at the consumer from all possible angles is not the best for every target audience. In fact, with some target audiences it might drive annoyance more than anything. It is only because I have identified the habits of my target audience that I know this works best for my brand. You should take time to do the same; identify who your audience is, and then, how, when, where, and why they consume their media.

When you are faced with the task of getting the word out about an event, come up with an exact plan that you can see through to the end. Identifying your target audience will help you compile a list of every place you want a message to be. Finalizing this list should be your first step.

This list turned into my most critical organizational tool as it kept me focused and aware of every outlet I wanted during my entire planning process. Once you have identified your outlets, your message should be finalized. Customize the message for each outlet and then track progress in your original list. The more places your message appears, the more likely people are to start recognizing it and gaining interest in attending, which, leads to my next point:

Incentivize

College students often are looking out for number one: themselves.

In order to get people interested in coming to my events, I create some sort of incentive. People, and students especially, are extremely busy, so they won’t come to an event unless they benefit or they see the potential to benefit.

The most effective incentive for a store event is a discount on your merchandise. If your company is able, offer anywhere between 5-15% off one item when they come to your event. If this doesn’t apply to your company or brand, consider having guests be able to enter a drawing when they attend an event. I recently had success doing a giveaway for a $100 gift card to an upscale restaurant which brought people in because they wanted to win, and then ended up staying for the actual event.

If giveaways aren’t your thing, bring something to the event which will benefit your guests. As crazy as this sounds, one of my most successful incentives was when I brought in dogs from a local animal shelter for a stress relief event. My target audience go crazy for adorable dogs so I knew having some at my event would inspire a lot people to come. The best part about having something out of the ordinary like this is that word-of-mouth marketing comes into play. People texted and Snapchatted their friends when they saw an opportunity to play with some adorable puppies and encouraged their friends to also enjoy the experience. Therein lies your success: When people step into your space and see what you have to offer them and they like what they see. So, make sure what you’re offering is clear, obvious, and noteworthy. 

Interaction

Interaction with guests is absolutely critical to building a clientele and leading to more success in the future.

When you throw an event, introduce yourself and your colleagues to new faces and old. Whether you’re representing a large corporation or a small family-owned business, connections between people make a huge impact. Customer interaction is now more important than ever, with 54% of some companies rating customer interaction as being in their top 5 list of priorities, and half of those rating it their #1 priority.

You build trust when your guests can identify a face, voice, or attitude that they automatically can associate with your brand. One successful event will only lead to more successful events if you have made your attendees want to come back. This doesn’t mean leaving them happy, but leaving them happy AND wanting more.

Measure your success and identify your weaknesses.

Once you’ve thrown your first event, you will have a much better idea of what to plan for in future event planning. I’m not ashamed to say my first event didn’t go over that well because it enabled me to identify what I was doing wrong. If your attendance is low, you didn’t market or incentivize enough. If people came but seemed less than impressed, you didn’t plan or interact well enough.

With each event you plan, what works best will become more and more obvious and you will be able to expand and focus on those things that will create effective and successful events for your brand. And remember, marketing is an ever-changing field, so always try new things in order to be more successful.


Hannah Krisinski is a junior at Cleveland State University, where she studies Journalism and Promotional Communications and minors in Digital Design. She currently handles marketing, promotional work, and event planning for the CSU bookstore, where she is able to use creativity and innovative ideas to engage in campus life nearly every day.

Takeaways and trends from SXSW

Marketing trends from SXSW

Every year, South by Southwest (SXSW) springs upon us, and feels like it flies by. During each conference panel, festival, exhibition and networking opportunity, there is greatness that happens, and new ideas and trends that we in the creative fields need to be aware of!

This year from March 9 through 18, SXSW dedicated itself to helping creatives achieve their goals, whatever they may be. Throughout the conference, there were some definite trends that were talked about that we need to keep our eyes open to and consider so we can stay relevant in this crazy world that we live in.

SXSW covered some of the trends that they thought were most relevant from this past conference, and I want to highlight some that I think are the relevant when it comes to marketing.

The Maturing VR Market

We’ve seen Virtual Reality enter our world fast and mighty, but throughout this past year, it’s really making a name for itself. What may have been thought of as a trend or a fad, was wrong. SXSW reports VR has really matured into a potent tool in the arts, medicine, business and entertainment fields and is really accelerating into mainstream technology now.

So, what’s next after VR, you ask? It’s MR, which is Mixed Reality.

Mixed Reality is going to allow you to created environments and overlays. It is going to give you a really immersed feeling and becoming more of a mainstream technology tool.

Inclusion in Business and The Arts

During a time where the country has never felt more divided, we have seen a rise in inclusion in brands and throughout marketing. It’s 2018, so we should expect this, but now it’s actually happening and is going to continue!

We are seeing a rise of empowerment of women, people with disabilities and people from various backgrounds. It is part of our jobs in PR/marketing to further these messages.

The Rise of the Short Documentaries on Social Media

Social media is the new form of journalism. We get our news and learn new things from social media. For example, on Facebook, there is a page called 60 Second Docs. These short documents do a story about someone/something in 60 seconds.

With our short attentions spans, these short documentaries are a quick way to learn a lot about something! In PR, we are constantly looking for a way to grab someone’s attention through all of the noise, and video content is the way to do it!


Danie Minor is a recent graduate of Kent State University, where she studied public relations. She is passionate about all things having to do with social media and influencer relations.
 

Five social media tips for 2018

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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: How do I grow my social media following?

A: This topic is HUGE. So huge, we spend a minimum of three months with our coaching clients researching, developing a strategy, and working together on creative, narratives, schedules, measurement, and more. (You can learn more about that offering here.) However, that doesn't mean there aren't tactics you can use now to see results. The new year is anticipated to be a tough one for brands on Facebook and Instagram due to algorithmic changes, but all that really means is pivoting our strategy just a bit to focus on conversations around content rather than strictly selling. (Related: Grow your brand or business with content marketing)

1. Post more video content

For several years now, predictions about the mounting impact of video marketing have only escalated. Year-after-year, video content consistently claims the top spots of seemingly every must-have marketing list, and ours is no different. Just take a look at these incredible statistics released by Hubspot just last year:

  • Video will account for 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it.
  • 80% of customers remember a video they’ve watched in the last month. 

If you're looking to gain awareness for your brand and sell products, consider video as part of your marketing strategy this year. And we don't just mean fancy, expensive videos. Platforms like Instagram Stories and Snapchat were set-up to steer users away from uploading rehearsed or professional video content. Instead, consider tip number 2.

2. Go live or go home.

That's live as in live video, not living life (although hey, we should all do that part, too!). Before you changed your notification settings, if you ever did, you may have noticed that many times when a page or person goes live on Instagram or Facebook, you receive a notification. This isn't happenstance. This is a feature these platforms are pushing to encourage meaningful, real-time conversation. Make a date with your audience and take the time on Facebook or Instagram Live to announce a new product or service, or answer questions about a specific topic. (Related: Friday Q&A: Your PR and marketing questions answered)

3. Use hashtags wisely.

People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers.

Each Instagram post allows for 30 hashtags to be attached to your photo. That is 3-0 opportunities for people to find your content. Use every opportunity available, meaning all 30 hashtags if you can. Vary them up post-to-post and make sure you are only using hashtags that are pertinent to the content you're posting and/or your brand. Pro-tip: At the end of 2017, Instagram rolled out a new feature where you can follow hashtags. This is a great new way to discover content and interact with it while scrolling through your feed. Follow those hashtags!

4. Focus on relevancy and relationships.

People are following you on social media for a reason. Never lose sight of that reason and make it crystal clear for potential followers. Focus on a strong bio, solid branding, and consistency in your message and voice. For example, if your company offers interior design services, chances are the majority of the people who are following you are interested in seeing and learning more about interior design (but of course, check your analytics to confirm!). That should be the focus of your feed. It's great to break things up with a post here and there from your lunch outing or vacation, but make sure you are balancing that with the content folks signed up to see. We often suggest creating a "social media formula" for your page, and would be happy to help with that. And don't forget, engagement is a two-way street. There's nothing like building valued relationships with returned likes and comments, too! 

5. Remember quality over quantity.

We always say social media is an art as well as a science. The way you present your brand is just as important as the hashtags you use and the frequency you're posting. Be sure to spend extra attention on crafting your creative, prioritizing quality content (photos, captions) over content to post for posting's sake. Pro-tip: Hire a professional photographer once a quarter to take "stock photos" of you, your team, your newest products, your store, etc. to share on social media and use for PR. Need content ideas? Be sure to check out our curated content calendar downloads for story ideas!


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

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!

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.

 

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.

Our most beloved apps and tools for PR and social media

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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! 

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