Archive for August, 2010

Make Sure All Roads Lead to Your Website

Securing  domain names is a key PR tip that enables you to dramatically increase your online ‘findability’ – I actually equate your domain holdings with the asset class of property because securing domain names is similar to securing internet real estate.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind…

When choosing your primary domain, the age old principles of common sense apply. What you are hoping for is that at the time someone is ready to use the products or services offered by your organisation, they can find you easily, contact you, and buy from you.

The other key recommendation that we always make to clients is to secure the .com.au version of your chosen domains – this is important from a branding perspective, but more so in terms of being readily found as Australian internet users, in the first instance, look for a com.au site.

In our fast-paced and hectic lives, we may only hear a snippet of a tv commercial or recall part of the name of an advertisement that we see or from a word-of-mouth recommendation, so when reserving your internet domain, make sure you maximise your chances of being found.

So, if all someone remembered from an advertisement was ‘Paddington Plumbing’, it is important to cover all bases when attracting those vital sales leads and potential clients.  You would reserve www.paddingtonplumbingsupplies.com.au but also www.paddingtonplumbing.com.au or maybe www.paddingtonplumber.com.au as well.  You get the idea…

My strong recommendation is that you stake out the internet real estate that covers all of the likely computations on how your company’s website MIGHT be searched.

Another important element is to secure domain names that help reduce the risk of  a competitor setting-up-shop with a similar brand concept – for example, I not only have www.publicityqueen.com.au, I also have www.prqueen.com.au.

Then, once you have purchased those domains, be sure to redirect them to your website, and be vigilant in testing those referral pages over time to make sure the redirects are active.

But think creatively, too. Don’t just capture all the like mis-spells and approximations of your company’s name – go for categories too. In my case, we own http://www.pr-sydney.com.au and several other domains that business owners may key in intuitively when looking for a PR company in our locations.

By following these guidelines hopefully you will get more clicks, and from the clicks will come sales.

Yours in PR,

Publicity Queen

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PowerBoards – Advise and Inspire

Ruth Medd, Chair, Women on Boards

I recently returned from the Women on Boards breakfast, where convenor Ruth Medd gave some great insights into harnessing the power of Boards – specifically Boards of Directors, and Advisory Boards.

I am a firm believer, personally, in the power of advisory boards for small-to-medium enterprises.  Here at Publicity Queen, we have our own in-house ‘brains trust’ whom I formally meet on a monthly basis for strategic input about corporate direction. Each of my Advisory Board members brings a unique set of skills to my business and their ideas, advice and expertise has proven to be invaluable to Publicity Queen.

Beyond these scheduled meetings, I have also called upon my advisors when I have faced difficult business decisions.  Recently I had the opportunity to take on a new client, but had concerns about their potential ‘fit’ within our organisation.  Having talked it over with the advisors I felt strengthened in my own intuitive decision to forego a potentially lucrative contract that nevertheless was a poor match for our client mix and would not mesh with our corporate culture.  My advisors talked me through this decision and with their insight I felt affirmed that I was making the right call.

Ruth says that enlisting the help of an advisory board can provide a ‘moral compass’ for business, and bring a degree of intellectual rigour to discussions on important issues.

She says the key to Advisory Boards is to choose the correct people, those with a good and varied mix of both skills and experience who work in a collegiate fashion.  When recruiting Board members, think about your business, and focus on the areas in which you want to see future growth, and/or where you require some additional support – be it in finance, PR, sales or IT.  You will know when you have the right mix if you could name off the top of your head five or six professionals who, if you had the resources, you would hire as a consultant to coach or guide your business.

Advisory Boards, when they work well, provide invaluable insights.   So choose wisely, think strategically and long-term, and the benefits of recruiting your own ‘brains trust’ will soon flow.

Yours in PR

Publicity Queen

Search Terms Gone Mad – Don’t Overdo it!

When in the planning stages of our family holiday, I began with some web-searching of providers of motorhomes (oh YES, the royal PR family is going glamping!).  I was only at the initial stages of my research, looking for information on the different kinds of motorhomes available, what luxuries they do and don’t have, their layout etc, and in so doing I came across one website in particular that was so geared towards internet search terms that the site was totally ‘unfriendly’ to use.

I won’t dob in the company, but one entire column of their website was an exhaustive list of internet search terms (honestly, it was soooo obvious it was awful!), and the site was so heavily geared toward this, that it actually failed to provide the information that I needed in order to… wait for it… BOOK THE MOTORHOME!

It got me thinking about the need to use the internet strategically and to keep the intention and purpose uppermost in mind.  Internet findability is certainly important, and many businesses work hard so that their site is among the first 10 ‘hits’ on Google or the search engine of choice, but then what?

Unless your ‘landing page’ propels your site visitor from ‘click’ to ‘purchase’ in a logical and quick process, all your effort is in vain.  To borrow the advice of David Meerman Scott, in his book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR”, your site needs to be written from the point of view of a potential customer – the buyer persona as he calls it – what do they need to know to make their purchase, and generate their site visit into a sale as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Be careful, don’t get soooo caught-up in SEO and SEM, that you actually compromise the layout and user-friendliness of your website.  Don’t forget WHY we  have websites in the first place.  Get found, absolutely… but get sales – YES!

Yours in PR

Publicity Queen

3rd Party Endorsements – Ignore at Your Peril

When meeting with a prospective client recently, I was surprised to discover that although the company had a strategic corporate partnership with a prestigious quasi-government agency with a strong reputation in their field, this endorsement was not visible on any of their corporate promotional materials.

We won’t name names, but it got us here at Publicity Queen thinking about the power of third party endorsements and the potential for such endorsements to elevate the status of a brand/company/individual onto a whole new level.

While it is normal practice when writing one’s CV or resume to include one’s professional association memberships, how often do you do this for your own business?

If you are a member of a professional body within your field, whether it be PRIA in the field of public relations, the AMA for doctors or CPA for accountants, let your annual membership fee earn its keep by displaying both the words and the logo of these professional collegiate groups on all of your promotional materials, including your website and business cards.  You may even be able to negotiate a reciprocal arrangement to have your company’s logo and website linked to those of the professional association, and vice versa, which in turn may lead to new sales leads.

Importantly, if your business owns its own intellectual property, or has undergone quality assurance processes, or has a rating provided by independent auditors; positive ratings of this kind add increased credibility to your brand and can single you out from your competitors, who may have the same accreditations as yours, but have not made the strategic decision to publicise these connections.

If your business is not already a member of such a group for your industry per se, it might be worthwhile seeking out the local chapter of a business chamber for your local area/city/State, or to find a chamber of commerce that promotes export/import relationships with a country whose market you want to connect with.  In addition to the intrinsic endorsement, these linkages can provide excellent opportunities for networking and professional development.

So, in short, toot your own horn, and let the sound of all of your third party endorsements chime in for the chorus.

Yours in PR,

Publicity Queen

Master the Power of Association in PR

As the MasterChef Australia juggernaut has ended for another year, having surpassed all expectations in terms of both viewers and wealth generation for the Ten Network and its partners, we here at Publicity Queen are keen to espouse the power of association as it applies to PR.

There is a clear and tangible link between product placement on a show like MasterChef, and sales at the till, as evidenced by reported increased purchases of the cuisine items featured on the show. For example, the episode that controversially featured squab (a pigeon that has its wings cut and is fattened up for extra tenderness prior to consumption) resulted in record sales for the same.

Prior to its featuring on MasterChef we doubt how many Australians would even have heard the word ‘squab’. Similarly, the high media profile given to the contestants and the judges and featured chefs and experts has created a ripple effect of wealth generation that is a genuine phenomenon.

The lesson is that by linking your self or your company or brand to a highly successful media vehicle – be it a complementary market brand, a celebrity or a patron, the multiplier effect can be enormous, and profitable.

In choosing your partner, though, it is prudent to think strategically and long-term, so as to avoid being caught up in the orbit of a falling star, so to speak.  Choose a partner with an established media profile, with strong industry credentials, an enviable network of contacts and whose views are influential across your target market.

Your link with them needs to be mutually-beneficial and inherently logical – such as the partnerships MasterChef developed with Coles.

By following these general guidelines, your pitch may magically be transformed, through the power of association, into a home run.

Publicity QueenYours in PR

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