Archive for April, 2012

Bursting the Twitter Bubble

When Twitter first burst through the web-0-sphere, at the time it was a game-changing event, and was for a time the latest and greatest new web application on the planet, but recent events have caused many analysts, including me, to ponder whether or not its credibility has now been compromised.

In the last few days reports have emerged that celebrities have been paid to tweet their praise for various goods and services, (the going rate for celebrity tweeting reportedly ranges from $2,500 to $8,000 per tweet) and the main culprits in the pay-per-tweet scandal seem to be in the leisure and tourism industry.  Twitter, to its credit, has tried to shut these ‘pay per tweet’ companies down, but I wonder if it is already too late, and the damage might already have been done.

Add to this the next unpleasant Twitter phenomenon which is tweet-hacking, where just like in email hacking, people’s Twitter profiles have had their security breached, and unauthorised spam has been sent around, compromising the credibility of the poor soul whose account was violated.

Moreover, I have personally received highly inappropriate Tweets from various people who have sent me messages that have attached virii and pornographic images as well as links to some fairly dodgy content.

I am also very lukewarm on those who use it as a blatant sales tool, tweeting such turnoffs as “buy our latest gadget, click here…”, and those who do the classic bait-and-switch tactic, teasing their followers with promises of links to mysterious and intriguing content, only to direct them straight to a sales page where they hope by some fluke that punters will buy whatever it is that they are selling.  Not so smart.

Even beyond these flagrant abuses of the spirit of Twitter and its proper usage, I have pondered from time to time, about its very nature and the kind of users it attracts.  It CAN, at times, be a magnet for very banal content.  Do I, (and does the world) need to know that person x just woke up, or that they just LOVE Seinfeld re-runs, or that they have the cutest dog in the Universe, and here’s a picture?

I do wonder what is gained by the dissemination of this content.  Has Twitter become merely the latest platform for navel-gazing and narcissism?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you also fallen out of love with Twitter, or are you still going steady?

Yours in PR

Publicity Queen Announcement Ten Years in the Making

Dear Readers, charge your glasses and be upstanding because it was today, the 19th of April ten years ago, when I launched Publicity Queen in Melbourne and first hung up my royal shingle.

They say time flies when you are having fun, and there can be no greater joy than working hard at what you love to do, and this is certainly the case for me with PR.

Along the way I have worked with, gotten to know and be-friended many clients, and enjoyed the services of some truly remarkable publicists and support staff.

So, I thought today might be an opportune time to reflect on all that we have achieved in that decade.

Publicity Queen’s Top Ten Achievements (to date!):

1. Making BRW’s list of PR firms for three straight years in row in 2009, 2010 & 2011

2. Making the front covers of mX in two Australian capital cities on the same day in 2010

3. Getting over $1,000,000 worth of coverage for Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal in a 6-week timeframe each year since 2010

4. Managing the PR for George Clooney (we’re still swooning here) and Martha Stewart in 2011

5. Creating a global viral media campaign for Animal Aid featuring ‘Sampson’ in 2011

6. Getting front page coverage in The Australian Financial Review for one of our clients in 2009

7. Trademarking TRUEpublicity in 2007

8. Expanding the business to service Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in 2008

9. Being voted as one of Australia’s pioneer marketing blogs in 2007

10. Working with a royally talented group of PR professionals and inspirational clients – everyday!

I would like to thank sincerely everyone who has worked with us during the last decade, and I can only imagine what the next ten years hold in store.   I must away for a well-earned celebratory flute of bubbly.

Yours in PR

How to Go Viral – The User’s Guide

There was a time when ‘viral’ was anything but a positive term but in today’s digital marketing world, creating a viral phenomenon is the equivalent of the marketing holy grail and the genesis of unlimited cool points.

But how exactly do you make content go viral?

This week I found some great tips from Entrepreneur magazine, who have listed their six ‘top tips’ for making content go viral.  Here’s a brief recap.

1. Be absurd. Some of the most popular viral videos involve absurd characters, including the honey badger and Marcel the Shell. If you can dream up your own unique, appealing character, you could see a substantial burst of social sharing and traffic, as well as increased brand recognition.

2. Capture emerging trends. By releasing fresh and timely content on an emerging trend, you can earn a natural first mover advantage and attract lots of attention. People might be more apt to share such newsy content, resulting in more backlinks and traffic to your site. You also could benefit in the search engines because Google’s recent freshness update gives preferential treatment to timely content.

 3. Think in terms of sound bites. Sometimes, viral content catches on simply because it sounds catchy. To determine whether your content has this elusive quality, try reading your headline or the opening paragraph as if you were a newscaster. Would you want to tune in to learn more about your piece based on this small snippet of information? If not, go back to the drawing board until your content has the right ring to make people want to share it widely.

4. Use infographics. Visually appealing infographics are among some of the most frequently shared types of online content as most people would rather learn through engaging imagery than long paragraphs of text.  To harness the power of infographics, look for recent studies you can pull data from or try to combine data in new and distinctive ways.

5. Get influencer buy-in. An endorsement from an authority in your industry could help make your content go viral. Simply attaching an influencer’s name to your blog or article can give it significantly more clout.  Start by building relationships with the thought leaders in your industry. After you’ve published your best article or released your best video, ask these influencers to share your content with their own followers. Not all of them will agree, but even one “yes” can mean a significant flood of traffic andcan take your content viral.

6. Offer outstanding value. Providing exceptional value in your article or video could help you achieve viral status. For instance, if everyone in your industry is releasing a “Top 10” list of points on any given topic, how much more interest do you think you could generate if you created a “Top 100” list? Going above and beyond what your competitors offer can help increase the number of times your content gets shared socially.
Although these tips could increase the odds of social sharing, keep in mind there’s no guarantee they’ll make your content resonate with your audience. Going viral can be a difficult thing to achieve.

While going viral may not gauruntee more sales, it does provide an excellent opportunity for a significant increase in brand exposure and recognition through increased traffic to online properties.

Although do bear in mind that generating more brand exposure does have its own intrinsic value, but before you launch your new viral campaign, put serious thought into HOW exactly you will convert your new and enhanced visibility INTO ACTUAL SALES.  That’s the trick.

Yours in PR

How to Get Your Media Release Found on the Web

Last week I shared with you how exactly journalists use social media.  Looking at our readership it seems this struck a chord with you all.  In that article I wrote that the use of the media release is far from dead, as to adapt the words of Mark Twain, stories of (its) death have been greatly exaggerated.

OK, so the media release still has work to do, but how do people (in particular journalists) find it?  That is the topic for today.

And here I would like to introduce Nick Papagiannis, of Cramer-Kasselt, who has written a great article that explains in six simple and easy to follow steps, exactly how to get your media release found on the web.

Six steps to getting your content found on the web

1. Use relevant keywords
Finding a phrase with high search volume can ensure a press release appears in general search results and Google News results.
For instance, Google pulls a live feed of news releases into its general search results for common or trending searches such as “St. Patrick’s Day.” Including trending terms can help your release grab the most exposure.

Write a search-friendly headline
In terms of search, the headline is the most heavily weighted element. Keep it short and sweet, no more than 100 characters. Be sure to include the keyword phrase.

3. Make the most of the summary
Whenever you have the ability to include summary text with your release online, take advantage of it. Be sure to include the keyword search phrase you identified in Step No. 1 and, if possible, keep it to 240 characters or fewer.

4. Sprinkle keyword search phrases into the text

To increase the perceived relevance of the release, try to include keywords or phrases once in every 100 words throughout the body copy. This gives a consistent theme for search engines to identify.

5. Give yourself some link love

Where appropriate, include hyperlinks to your own branded content, press releases, or company website in the press release. This practice probably won’t factor in the search ranking of the press release itself, but it’s a good opportunity to drive traffic to—and raise the relevance of—other brand content. If you do embed links, use no more than one link every 100 words.

6. Optimise your boilerplate

Make sure your boilerplate includes language that’s beneficial for search and website rankings. Key product categories or service offerings should be mentioned along with the company name and relevant brand links (website, media room, etc.).

Press releases are not for the archives, they have always been an integral part of a brand’s content strategy, and are a central tool we use when beginning a PR campaign on behalf of our clients.   The trick is to ensure that the release also supports the brand’s overall SEO strategy so that you don’t miss out on the opportunity to, in digital terms, shout “OVER HERE!”

Yours in PR

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