What We Love, And Hate, About Marketing [Podcast]

What We Love, And Hate, About Marketing [Podcast]

Love is in the air at Veracity this month. With Valentine’s Day coming up, we decided to celebrate marketing and PR by asking some of our favorite people what they love about marketing. Below, you will find quotes from some of our employees, clients and partners. Amy and I also talk about it in week’s episode of PR Talk, while also joking about what we hate about marketing!

I love marketing and PR because it gives me an opportunity to meaningfully connect brands and audiences by sharing stories through media. There is nothing better in this job than working with reporters for a story and then seeing the engagement that comes from the public as a direct result. Hearing that someone saw a story in their local paper and then got involved is one of the most validating aspects of this job, and I love being able to play a part in making that connection.

Kristen Baker-Geczy

Account Manager, Veracity

The Logical Position mission statement centers around helping businesses grow and that’s truly what we love about our industry here in the digital marketing space. Over the 12 years that LP has been in business we’ve had the privilege of seeing the significant impact the results that our marketing efforts have had on our clients’ businesses and their families. We’ve been alongside small businesses as they’ve flourished, watched clients hire on additional staff to keep up with new demand, and seen countless clients increase their marketing ad spend as a result of account success. It feels good to know that the work we’re doing is truly life-changing for some of the businesses we work with, and that’s what makes the power of marketing so beautiful.

Emmy Thomas

Director of Brand and Marketing, Logical Position

I love that marketing has so much variety in the work, every day is different. With the never-ending change in the marketing atmosphere, my creative brain is constantly being challenged, which keeps me excited to see what’s next.

Cailyn Tegel

Assistant Account Executive, Veracity

As a naturally curious person, I love how marketing work allows me to learn about new businesses, new industries and new ideas. What’s even more exciting is that by deepening my learning, not only do I become a more well-rounded person, but I also serve my clients better. It’s an incredibly rewarding feedback mechanism that I haven’t found anywhere else.

Josh Friesen

Senior Writer, Veracity

I love working with a team to solve that challenge of getting your product/service in front of the correct audience, and doing it better than the competition. I also like the fast paced nature and the sense of accomplishment you get after hitting a deadline. I grew up playing basketball and baseball, and it kind of reminds me of this time in my life and the feeling you get after winning a big game.

Tyler Stoltz

Marketing Manager, Columbia Steel Casting Co., Inc.

Over the years, among the things I’ve learned about myself and my chosen career field in communications are: 1) I am interested in figuring out why people think or act the way they do; 2) I like to tell stories; and 3) I’m good at solving problems. In essence, those are all essential elements of marketing communications.

 

In our careers (and personal life), we’re typically seeking to attain a sense of satisfaction about the work we’ve accomplished. Ultimately, I think what drew me to marketing communications – and what continues to drive my love of the work – is that it matches well with those things I’ve outlined above. And, while I’ve never been one to feel like I need to achieve some big passionate goal or make some sort of compelling societal difference, working in marketing allows me to help companies realize their objectives by telling their stories. When I can do that, it feels like success.

Debra Flickinger

PR & Marketing Strategist, Veracity

What I hate about marketing is that I love it. Because I love it, sometimes it consumes me and I can’t think of anything else.

Amy Rosenberg

Founder & President, Veracity

For me, the thing I love the most about marketing is the people. I have met and worked with so many great people over the years it is amazing.

Whether it was people in the companies I have worked for, the people that have worked for me or the clients I have worked with.

When I transitioned into digital marketing and joined SEMpdx, I was pretty amazed at how helpful the people were. We may have been competitors, but we really didn’t treat each other that way. I had so many wonderful experiences with fellow board members. They turned into a group of friends that I will hang out with even now after moving off the board and not being as involved.

Also, the people in marketing that I know and interact with online are amazing too. They seem to always say yes and even when they don’t agree with you on a strategy or tactic, they are nice about it and know there are many ways to do things.

It continues to amaze me how great the clients we work with are. Their passion for their companies and willingness to use marketing to do good things is amazing.

 

What do you love about marketing?

Please leave us a comment here to share what you love.

Don’t Miss an Episode

You can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

PR Talk is part of the Marketing Podcast Network

The Marketing Podcast Network gives brands that sell to marketers direct access to reach thousands of buyers via their trusted media source: Marketing podcasts. Browse our library of shows and see where your message can be placed to reach prospective customers ripe for your message.

 

Why You Need to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Why You Need to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Way back in 1996, when the internet was still in its infancy, Bill Gates wrote what has now become a famous essay entitled, “Content is King.” In this essay, the Microsoft founder described the future of the internet as a place to distribute and monetize content. “.. [T]he broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment,” he wrote. “No company is too small to participate.”

Gates’ essay is so well known because his predictions proved to be remarkably accurate. Twenty-five years later, the internet is awash in podcasts, videos, blog posts, songs, photographs and anything else that can be digitized. Much of this content is free. However, many creators and corporations have figured out how to leverage their talent and available tools to sell content online. What’s more, internet users have shown a near-endless appetite for this material. From searching how-to videos on YouTube, streaming the latest release on Spotify, or reading someone’s take on the day’s political news, billions of hungry eyes are eager to consume relevant content.

 

What is Content Marketing?

It didn’t take long for digital marketers to use these online tools to produce content for their clients. Unlike digital marketing, which is a more overt attempt to sell products or services, content marketing distributes information using digital platforms to build community and brand affinity or help people make decisions. 

Let’s consider skis, for example. Where digital marketing uses tools like search engine marketing and social media advertising to sell someone a pair of skis, content marketing attempts to create an experience around skiing or mountain adventures, while still pursuing traditional marketing goals. This could be through explainer videos that teach consumers how to maintain tune their skis or an infographic that helps someone choose the type of skis that are right for them. Content marketing aims to create material users find valuable so they’ll associate those positive feelings with a particular brand when they eventually make a purchase decision.

Content marketing is a popular technique in business-to-business marketing campaigns, where traditional digital marketing tools are less useful. Companies can accelerate prospects through their sales funnel by creating content that explains crucial products or anticipates potential customer’s questions or objections. 

 

Examples of Content Marketing

This technique is as old as marketing itself. However, content marketing has become increasingly popular as more and more of our daily activities move online. Over the years, some companies have found very clever ways to send their brand messages using the approach. 

In 2015, the Unilever-owned brand Dollar Shave Club launched Mel, an online magazine that focuses on lifestyle and culture topics from a man’s perspective. While Mel targets the same audience as Dollar Shave Club, it doesn’t sell razors. Instead, it’s become a respected outlet for thoughtfully written content with a distinct voice. While Mel is now its own company with a dedicated website, some of its content is cross-published on the Dollar Shave Club site, which shows how versatile this kind of content can be. 

Content marketing isn’t only about writing. Search the free stock photo site Unsplash for home office images, and you’ll find a series of photographs provided by Dell’s XPS brand of laptops. These images feature sleek and modern workspaces that any home office warrior would covet, with the sleek and modern XPS laptops front-and-center. Every blogger or web developer understands the value of free stock photography. In this instance, XPS has found a way to harness that built-in demand and provide helpful solutions that also happen to send a strong brand message.

Photo by XPS on Unsplash

Photo by XPS on Unsplash

The goal of these two examples is not to make a conversion. Instead, they associate a brand with an attractive aesthetic, relatable point of view or aspirational identity. When a purchase decision comes further down the line, it will hopefully be informed, in part, by the content the buyer consumed up until that point.

 

How Can Content Marketing Drive Public Relations?

Public relations professionals can use content marketing techniques to drive public opinion or sentiment in the same way marketers use content to drive customer behavior. In early 2019, Slack, the popular workplace messaging app, revealed an extensive logo redesign that was met with… mixed reviews. As part of the launch, Slack published a piece of content on its website explaining the very practical reasons why the change was so necessary. Even though not everyone appreciated the new logo design, Slack’s rationale for the change was widely cited by the media. As a result, their content marketing had driven extensive media coverage (see Google News results) including links from 392 domains.

Media Coverage for Slack via Google News

Media Coverage for Slack via Google News

 

Fifty years ago, a leading business automation company likely would have issued a press release explaining a significant brand change. Today, companies can steer the conversation through carefully created talking points while achieving better results using tools like a company-owned blog and social media channels.

It doesn’t take controversy for content marketing to be a successful PR strategy. PR experts can take day-to-day content like blog posts, videos, white papers, podcasts and more, and break them into smaller, more digestible pieces they can use in many different ways. When done correctly, content marketing creates flexible assets that sales, marketing and PR professionals can use to bring more attention to your brand. It only requires an overarching strategy that guides those efforts

 

Utilizing Your Team to Create a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Fortunately, you don’t have to be Unilever or Dell to develop an effective content marketing strategy. Instead, you need a focused approach that defines your audience, goals, and deliverables. Here are a few things to consider as you begin developing your own content strategy:

Define Who You’re Talking To:
Every piece of content you create should begin with its audience in mind. Start by defining your audience and the solutions you’re trying to provide.

Set Your Goals:
Next, define what you want to accomplish with your content. This step will inform how you distribute what you produce and the tools you’ll use to measure success.

Inventory the Deliverables:
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you don’t have the time or resources to produce videos, don’t try and force it. Instead, assess your company’s strengths and create content that aligns with what you’re best at.

Measure and Repeat:
Track your content marketing efforts and draw on those results to improve whenever possible.

Content Strategy Checklist

Of course, not every company has the in-house resources necessary to undertake a fully realized content marketing strategy. In these instances, organizations may look to outside marketing or PR agencies to fill in the gaps or lead content marketing efforts. Under these circumstances, companies will get the best results by treating third-party agencies as full-fledged team members who are just as invested in the company’s success as its employees are.

 

“No Company is Too Small to Participate”

Just as Bill Gates predicted all those years ago, any company can benefit from a thoughtful content marketing strategy. In the age of content, your corporate voice is a vital component in relaying your brand message and value proposition to potential customers. Because without it, consumers will certainly get the information they’re seeking somewhere else.

A Modern PR Interview with Amy Rosenberg [Podcast]

A Modern PR Interview with Amy Rosenberg [Podcast]

A Modern PR Interview

 

Author Amy Rosenberg provides insight into her new book.

In this episode of the PR Talk Podcast, I get to be the host and interview Amy about her new book  A Modern Guide to Public Relations. Listen now to hear about:

 

Maximize everything

There are opportunities to “do all the things.” This means going above and beyond what is directly in front of you and to think about the details (e.g. how you label and title your photos to help the press or help with your SEO). Another example is if you are going to write social copy, don’t just write the same thing for every platform you are on, customize them for maximum effect on each channel. And when you get a PR hit, don’t just give yourself a high-five, think about what to do after you get press.

 

Perfection is the enemy

Perfectionism can seem like a great attribute from the outside, but it really isn’t good as we need to have balance. Being able to stop before perfect and knowing when good enough is, well good enough as nothing is ever perfect. Perfectionism is a wonderful crutch for procrastination.

 

The “PR Mindset”

Amy talks about the PR Mindset and how it can set you up in any career. The PR Mindset comes from being an optimist and a maximizer. Key PR ways of doing things including being organized, having tenacity, taking your work with you wherever you go (Amy mentions work/life flow or meld which we may talk about in a future episode) and that you follow the news (meaning you know what is going on in the world) and then you can truly operate from gut instinct.

 

Living the PR Lifestyle

The PR Lifestyle includes ethics, teamwork, cooperation with competitors and maintaining connections. It is also taking our work with us, in a good way, meaning we can solve issues or have great brainstorms in the shower and on the road. It is really understanding your business and industry so you can get to the point of knowing what to do on gut instinct. It is writing and reading. PR has a lot of writing and you can’t write if you don’t read. This means reading every day, and scrolling through Instagram and Twitter don’t count. You have to pick up a book (or other reading device).

Additionally, I share a couple of my favorite quotes from the book, including:

Your phone ringing off the hook with calls from PR people — college-educated telemarketers in disguise — a couple hundred times a day

Amy is expressing empathy for the members of the media that are on the receiving end of the (hopefully) well-intended pitch from a (potentially) overly-aggressive PR. A bit tongue-in-cheek of course.

If doing all the work without any of the glory leaves you feeling like a slighted Cinderella step-sister, welcome to PR.

It’s not all bells and balls, as Amy shared in another recent post that “Public Relations Isn’t Just for Red Carpets.”

 

Don’t Miss an Episode

You can access more great episodes by subscribing to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio and Spotify.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

Digital PR: It’s About More Than SEO

Digital PR: It’s About More Than SEO

Digital PR: It’s About More Than SEO

The modern idea of public relations (PR) developed in response to the rapid growth of mass media in the early 20th century. Pioneering practitioners like Ivy Lee, Edward L. Bernays and Betsy Plank were among the first to recognize the benefits of using the media to deliver precise and truthful corporate messages. As the media evolved over the years from print to radio to television and beyond, PR professionals have adjusted their tactics to stay effective. Regardless of the medium, however, the goal remains the same: to elevate the client’s public position.

On the other side of the coin, search engine optimization (SEO) as an industry is relatively new. It started around the early 2000s and has evolved rather quickly. My start in the world of search engine marketing was in 2007 and the only “PR” activities SEOs did was maybe using a press release distribution service to get lots of spammy links. However, the SEO’s goal remains the same as well: to elevate the client’s search engine [Google] position.

 

What is Digital PR?

As our activities continue moving online, PR practitioners have responded with new tactics that take their traditional techniques a step further. Called Digital PR or SEO PR, this approach raises a client’s position online by targeting outlets and opportunities beyond conventional media. Some assume that Digital PR is just another term for link building. While this technique is certainly one tactic in the arsenal, that narrow view often ignores the holistic strategy directing a PR professional’s outreach efforts. When done well, Digital PR not only improves a company’s SEO presence but also increases brand mentions and exposure. 

 

Digital PR Tactics

Traditional PR focuses on media relations and outreach efforts to secure coverage for their clients (or organization for in-house efforts). Historically, these outlets included mostly print publications along with television and radio broadcasters. Digital PR still focuses on traditional media, using the tried and true PR techniques developed over generations. But, the work doesn’t stop there. Instead, Digital PR practitioners also look for other opportunities that didn’t exist ten, twenty or thirty years ago, and broaden their focus outside of traditional media to include targets like bloggers, podcasters and other influencers. These outreach tactics all converge under a broader PR strategy, developed to meet the client’s overarching goals.

 

Link Building

Every PR professional builds a media list to prioritize and track their outreach efforts. With a traditional campaign, media opportunities might be ranked by the type of audience or the size of an outlet’s reach. Digital PR campaigns use the same techniques but also include other online metrics — like a link opportunity and the authority of a website — to help judge an outlet’s value. Under this strategy, domain authority, follow vs. no-follow links and even body vs. bio links become critical considerations. Depending on the campaign goals, the right link could be the main priority and will, in turn, shape the outlets you pursue. Often, this leads PR professionals to uncover valuable opportunities that lie beyond traditional media outlets.

 

Content Marketing

Content marketing is another tactic that PR practitioners use to target media opportunities. By creating articles, videos, infographics and other assets around a strategic topic, PR professionals offer the media pre-packaged content in the hopes of receiving something of value for their clients in return, like a link or a mention. Even if the content isn’t picked up through an earned media opportunity, these assets are also valuable tools for owned media channels like social media, email or a corporate website. If a piece of content is being shared in one way or another, there’s value there.

 

Podcasts

Over the past ten or fifteen years, podcasts have grown from a niche product into a significant media category. More people are starting their own podcasts every day, which means there’s a tremendous ongoing demand for content. Digital PR professionals leverage podcast opportunities in several different ways. Companies can reach large, new audiences by having their people appear as podcast guests. Additionally, there are often link opportunities associated with podcasts that make some shows more valuable than others. Google is also now indexing and featuring podcast content, which makes these shows a critical component of every digital media list.

Podcast SERP

Google search results feature podcasts and specific episodes.

Events

Events have long been the domain of traditional PR practitioners. In this context, media outreach usually takes the form of interviews or profiles in trade publications. As always, Digital PR seeks out additional online opportunities that will add value to these already valuable events. For example, during a tradeshow, there may be openings to collaborate with strategic partners or customers. Other times, it could be an often-overlooked activity like filling out the company’s online event profile with SEO or link-building practices in mind. In any event, a Digital PR strategy takes advantage of every avenue that will extend the life of these limited-duration events.

 

Sponsorships

Many companies actively seek out opportunities to give back to their community by partnering with nonprofit organizations. Digital PR professionals can help their clients evaluate these organizations in several different ways:

  1. Does the organization share the client’s values or goals?
  2. Will the organization be a good partner?
  3. What kind of digital assets is the organization bringing to the table?

Rather than just spending money, Digital PR strategies can help leverage the online elements of a sponsorship agreement to deliver maximum exposure for clients.

 

A Unified Strategy Guides Everything

In the end, Digital PR is not so different from what early practitioners pioneered all those years ago. It’s still about elevating your client’s public position using clear and transparent messaging. But in this case, a client’s public position might also include their search engine results page listing. That’s why every modern PR strategy should prioritize online opportunities and employ the digital tactics necessary to achieve campaign success on every possible front. Otherwise, clients won’t realize all the potential value from their PR efforts.

 

(I just love that image of Marty Weintraub at SearchFest. An internet marketer holding up the results of some very traditional print PR work.)

Why Thought Leadership is an Essential Marketing Tool for Your Business

Why Thought Leadership is an Essential Marketing Tool for Your Business

Moving Past the Jargon: Why Thought Leadership is an Essential Marketing Tool for Your Business

For a while there, the term “thought leadership” seemed destined for the dustbin of marketing history. Part jargon, part cliche, the term became synonymous with personal brand builders who plied their trade in breathless LinkedIn posts or at TEDx talks held in hotel conference rooms. Fortunately, savvy marketers rescued the thought leader from this ignominious fate by refocusing the concept into a powerful business growth strategy.

Today, thought leadership is a content marketing approach that positions a company, executive or other subject matter expert as the go-to resource in their field. Influential thought leaders produce content that answers their customers’ questions, provides solutions to pressing problems or offers the audience a new point-of-view to consider.

When executed correctly, these campaigns include their own strategies, tactics, goals and measures to judge effectiveness. As those elements come together, thought leadership begins to drive bottom-line results. That’s why marketing leaders — especially in the B2B space — should consider incorporating this approach into their overall strategy.

Four Ways Thought Leadership Drives Bottom-Line Results

While the idea of thought leadership might initially appeal to the ego, it strongly aligns with the marketing philosophy that giving generously to your customers brings tangible returns. Here are four ways that can play out for your business.

 

Thought Leadership Increases Business Visibility

The goal of marketing is to build awareness around your company and its products or services. By producing thought leadership content, you’ll demonstrate your team’s inherent expertise in ways that are helpful to potential new customers. Research conducted by LinkedIn and Edelman revealed how thought leadership drives new business generation. According to their findings, 45% of decision-makers said they “invited a producer of thought leadership content to bid on a project when they had not previously considered the organization.” After all, delivering an exciting new idea at just the right time is a fantastic way to get someone’s attention.

 

Thought Leadership Builds and Maintains Trust with Your Audience

By some estimates, acquiring a new customer costs five times as much as retaining an old one. With this in mind, businesses must find ways to grow their existing audience and build the trust necessary for them to purchase again and again. Thought leadership accomplishes this by delivering content that helps customers do their jobs better. According to research conducted by The Grist, 66% of executives use thought leadership to stay ahead of trends. In addition, 60% of executives reported that thought leadership helped them make better, more informed decisions.

When business leaders see smart, relevant and helpful content, it drives behavior. The LinkedIn/Edelman study found that 55% of decision-makers increased their business with an organization based on their thought leadership. What’s more, 60% said that “thought leadership convinced them to buy a product or service they were not previously considering.” These statistics show that well-executed thought leadership campaigns effectively engage existing customers and drive ongoing purchasing decisions.

Thought Leadership Shortens the Sales Cycle

For businesses managing long and complex sales cycles, thought leadership can be an effective strategy for answering questions in advance, preemptively addressing objections and moving customers closer to action. LinkedIn and Edelman found that nearly 60% of decision-makers awarded business to an organization based directly on their thought leadership. By demonstrating your knowledge in advance and anticipating customer pain points, you show potential customers how you’ll serve them once they’ve decided to purchase.

 

Thought Leadership Supports Other Marketing Goals

In addition to driving customer behavior and bottom-line results, carefully developed thought leadership content becomes flexible assets that support broader marketing efforts like increasing social media engagement, driving traffic to your website and overall brand development. You may also begin to uncover unmet customer needs as you develop audience profiles and mine your organization’s existing expertise.

 

Potential Thought Leadership Channels

Some companies might hesitate before jumping into thought leadership because they believe they don’t have the expertise to successfully execute their strategy or stand out in a crowded marketplace. However, thought leadership can take on many different forms, including:

  • Corporate blogging
  • Guest posting on established blogs
  • Public relations outreach
  • Podcast appearances
  • Social media content
  • Expert interviews for media
  • Conference speaking engagements
  • Video content

The key is to assess your organization’s capabilities, find the channels where you’re well-positioned to succeed and then share what you know.

 

The Recipe for a Winning Marketing Strategy

With this information in mind, it’s easy to see how thought leadership has evolved from an occupation for a specific set of personal brand builders into a legitimate business growth strategy — especially in B2B marketing.

By consistently demonstrating how your unique expertise solves a customer’s specific problems, you’ve positioned your organization as their essential partner for success. Creating that communication ecosystem drives new business leads, accelerates your sales cycle and strengthens existing customer relationships. All the while, you’re creating flexible content that supports other outreach initiatives. That has all the makings of a winning marketing strategy.

Maximizing PR for SEO: Mike Rosenberg: CommCon2019 [Podcast]

Maximizing PR for SEO: Mike Rosenberg: CommCon2019 [Podcast]

Traditional PR Transformation: Maximizing PR for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I will be presenting at PRSA Oregon’s CommCon event on May 3rd to help PR and communications professionals add SEO to their marketing toolbox. With a short history lesson, the overall basics of SEO and some specific how-tos, I hope attendees will realize that they are already doing many SEO-worthy activities. A little extra work and strategic planning can pay major dividends.

Presentation Abstract:

Many traditional communications professionals may be surprised to learn they’ve been part of the “IT” crowd all along. In fact, we’re leading the way. Due to continued competition and Google’s ever-evolving ranking algorithms, it continues to be difficult to achieve high rankings in Google for a website. Instead of completely removing “traditional” PR’s role, now the most technical search marketer must rely on our savvy to take their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to the next level.

This presentation will offer attendees a deeper understanding of the SEO game, instilling them with the confidence, language and basic understanding to insert their skillset into any digital or website discussion. We’ll then delve into how to transform typical PR strategies to include SEO results. And finally, we’ll offer hands-on practical tips that should be infused into any digital PR campaign.

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.