by Redstorm | Branding, Business Development, Communications, Social Media
Start promoting your business blog today with these five effective tips from TopRank: 1. Involve influential industry bloggersBy linking to popular blogs, you can gain the attention of both the influential blogger and his or her readers. But your blog won’t be the only one to benefit. You’ll be giving the other blog a little link juice – and be paying them a compliment at the same time. 2. Promote your blog via social mediaIf your organisation already has a solid presence on Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels, leverage your followers or fans to promote your new blog.For example, when a new post goes live, create a short tweet with a link back to the post – and provide the link on your Facebook fan page. 3. Create “link-bait” posts and “sticky” headlinesCreating compelling headlines or posts that resonate with social web users is another way to garner attention for your new blog… who can resist a “Top 5 Tips…” article? 4. Promote the blog on your corporate websiteIt’s important to gain some valuable real estate on the homepage of your corporate site – particularly in the early stages of getting a new blog up and running. Create a button with a link to the blog to appear on the homepage, or at the least provide a link to the blog in the navigation of the site. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find your blog.5. Promote the blog offlineFor all of the online channels available to promote your blog, there are just as many offline channels to leverage. Don’t limit yourself to the online world.Instead:Add your blog URL to business cards.Promote your blog at industry events.Get print publications to pick up blog posts.Use word of mouth to let customers and business partners know of the new blog.Include the blog URL in the boilerplate of press releases (and in online releases, too).Of course, these five tips are just a few of many ways to promote and market business blogs. Whatever promotional efforts you choose, look for tactics that will help you reach business goals whether they are increasing awareness, garnering buzz in the media or driving additional website traffic.Here’s the full article from Toprank…What tactics have you used to promote your blog? We’re launching our new Social Media Marketing Service in Paril – call us on +353 1 236 0909 to chat through any questions you may have on social media or blogging.
by Redstorm | Branding, Business Development, Communications, Design, Marketing, PR & Media, Social Media
In today’s cluttered, hypercompetitive marketplace your business can’t afford to make a poor first impression. Every touch point that leads to your company needs to impress, motivate and inspire a prospective customer. You may have a great product or service, but to be taken seriously, clients need to believe that you’re on the same playing field as the bigger guys. Even if you’re a consultant that works from a home office, you’ll need to position your company as a polished brand that touts confidence, experience and quality. Fear not. Here are five simple tips for branding your business to create the illusion that it is a global corporation with an army at the ready — all without breaking the bank.1. WebsiteYour website is the center of your brand universe. Simplicity is the key to looking like a big fish. Less is more. A clean, easy-to-navigate two-page site with useful content will make your company look far more established than a cluttered 20-page site with long-winded fluff. Design your site with the needs of your user in mind, not your ego. Sites that try to be everything to everyone will often become nothing to anyone.Choosing the right URL (Domain Name) is also a vital part of your brand positioning strategy. Your main URL should be as short as possible. Long URLs are harder to remember, harder to read and are more likely to be spelled incorrectly. There is a reason why apple.com isn’t weloveapplecomputers.com.2. Contact NumbersHow often have you seen a billboard or heard a radio spot that advertises an easily forgettable phone number? Phone numbers should be catchy and easy to remember. Using a catchy number is a great way to increase sales call volume, build brand awareness and increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Not only is it easy for potential clients to remember but it’s easy for them to pass on too.3. Automated Phone SystemsCombining an easy number with automated phone systems and virtual assistants enables small businesses to look and sound professional and capable. You never miss a call, the caller’s details or their query – nor are you caught dashing into a meeting with a mobile sounding like the caller is the last person you want to speak to! This also small-business owners and employees the ability to receive calls in their home offices or on their mobile devices when they choose, while appearing to be available in their office. Which brings me to…4. Virtual OfficesEven though you might be answering a call on your mobile phone from your living room, it’s important that your customers believe they are contacting a competent established and trustworthy business. Virtual offices are an effective solution for businesses that conduct most of their day-to-day communications via phone calls and emails, and rarely need to meet their clients in their own offices. This is especially the case for smaller companies based in more remote areas who are targeting larger urban based clients. These larger clients would often rather deal with fellow urban based suppliers and a Virtual Office address can enable your brand to be seen as being London based, for example, without having to actually be there.5. The Business CardNow you have a slick website, a memorable phone number and a captain-of-industry street address. It’s time to combine all of those elements into a single tool. The business card is a vital part of the first impression experience and an instant reflection of you and your company’s work. A cheap, uninspired business card will send the wrong message to a prospective customer. Spend time designing a card. Be creative, yet tasteful. Choose a thicker card stock with a high quality finish. Remember, there is a reverse side! Use this effectively to show examples of your work, bullet points of your services, your web address etc. Make sure that you are able to write on your card – people often make notes about you or your company on the card to remind them of salient details of your service, so stay away from very high gloss finishes. Customers want to do business with companies that demonstrate their ability to provide high quality services, and a creative business card will send them that message.
by Redstorm | Branding, Communications, Marketing, PR & Media
Learning to communicate is one of life’s most basic lessons… but how many of us do it effectively?One of the earliest lessons to learn in business is “Stick to your knitting” – Do what you are really good at and you will do well. But that’s only the start. You may know what you do well, you may understand all the nuances of your offering, the benefits you bring, the functionality, the service levels and the target audience – But does the market know? How can you succeed in business now when budgets are slashed and people really just don’t want to meet another supplier?The key is to communicate; effectively, cleverly and consistently. This doesn’t need to cost you anything, just a bit of time, attention and imagination. Remember your business doesn’t have to be different – you just need to do things in a different way. This article looks at the four Cs of effective communication that Redstorm uses in all our communications strategies. Use these four Cs to sharpen and target your communications whether you’re a sole trader or an international bluechip.Do your communications pass the 4Cs test?1. Crisp and ClearHow do you describe who you are and what your business does? Let’s go back to that dot com favourite the “Elevator Pitch”. Can you describe what you do (and your benefits) to someone not in your industry in 30 seconds or less? When you go to a networking event and you meet a promising prospect, does your description of your business hold that person’s attention? Do they actually understand what you do, well enough to explain it to someone else? Or do their eyes glaze over or wander across the room? “Crisp and Clear” is key to getting your message across and getting it understood and valued. Being crisp is about telling people what you do in as few words as possible and being clear means they take away the same message as the one you think you are giving… you’d be astonished how often this is NOT the case!2. Customer-CentricThe most important aspect of all communications is knowing your target audience, being “Customer Centric”. Know what they want, what they are trying to achieve in their own businesses and the types of products/services they may need. But even more important, try to get to know what they fear, what keeps them awake at night – to identify the benefits they would most value from you. This will enable you to tightly target your communications to smaller groups, leading to a better uptake of your message because it’s highly relevant , easier measurement of your campaigns and therefore decreased spend due to increased efficacy of your communications overall.3. Colourful ContentThere is so much noise and bustle in the communications space now that in order to grab some attention for your company your communications must have Colourful Content – tell them a story they will associate with. What makes your message worthy of attention? Is there an angle you can put on it to make people come on board? Can you inject a bit of excitement/colour into your communications to blast through all the other communications people come across every day?4. ConsistentOnce you get your message “Crisp and Clear”, ensure it’s “Customer Centric” and “Colourful”; that message needs to flow through all your communications – verbal, visual, written and web – it must be consistent! Everyone working with you needs to know what the message is and how it’s being communicated – Watch out especially if you’re a small company… NEVER assume your team knows what’s going on just because there are only 5 of you! In a larger company it’s critical to get strong internal communications running to ensure every team going into the market is singing the same song.The more consistent your communications, the stronger your brand becomes because people instantly see the brand and understand who you are, what you do and the benefits they will get from working with you. Re-establish this with EVERY customer interaction throughout the company. Reinforce your story as often as possible.Make Your Next Campaign CountEvery business is feeling the pinch so money is tight BUT marketing is key to the survival of your business so each and every bit you do counts. Have a look at the last campaign you did – even as simple as a round of emails to lapsed clients. Did it follow the 4 Cs? Was it Crisp and Clear, Customer-Centric, Colourful and Consistent?
by Redstorm | Communications, Marketing, PR & Media, Social Media
Here are a few steps for how to maintain your sanity while using social media tools effectively:
1. Learn the differences, know what each tool is good for
Each social media tool has its own personality, its own community of enthusiasts, its own speed and frequency. Take the time to learn them. Log on, create a personal profile and “listen” for a while. Join groups that are of personal interest to you and watch how people share information. Learn first-hand how the tool is used by others before using it for your business.
2. Stay focused on your goals and know your audience
While social media tools can reach and influence millions of people as they did for the Obama campaign, for most small businesses, this is not the point. Don’t get sucked into the hype and forget your main communications goals. Perhaps you need to find and build a few key relationships, or reach a few tens of thousands depending on the scale of your business. Figure out who & what you’re looking for and stay focused – remember only get involved with the areas that will succeed for your business otherwise you are bringing non-profitable work on yourself – Social Media is time consuming so ensure that it’s working. Know your measurement criteria clearly.
3. Don’t reinvent your wheel
What marketing and communications strategies are already working for you? Don’t ditch these in favour of Social Media just because it’s the Hot Topic of the moment. If you know what works with your audience now, start by figuring out how to achieve similar results with the addition to your arsenal of these new tech tools.
4. Don’t spread yourself too thin
You don’t necessarily need to be active in all places at once. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the hot spots of the moment, but make sure you know who your audience is and how they take up information. Spend some time figuring out which Social Media vehicles will give you the greatest access to this audience and start there.
5. Don’t sweat it and don’t rush it
Honestly, everyone is still figuring out the best way to use social media tools. The sudden explosion of these tools themselves shows that people are still figuring out how best to use the Internet! Don’t panic, don’t fear you’ve missed the boat and go rushing into something that you’ll have to back pedal on later. Take the time to learn what these new social media tools could do for your business – start small and slow.
by Redstorm | Branding, Communications, PR & Media
Small businesses always benefit from some strategic media coverage. Often though they don’t have funds for PR professionals. Here are the Top 10 Tips for small businesses to generate their own successful PR. You just need to be proactive. Most of the news and information you see on the TV news or in the daily newspaper is generated by individuals or businesses just like yours. They send information to the media, usually via news releases and personal contact. Don’t expect the media to use your release verbatim – they may use some of the information often supplemented with a call to you as a spokesperson.Here are some tips for getting your organisation noticed by your local media.1. Get to know the media that are most likely to cover youRead and watch the media in your local area. Subscribe to the newspapers and magazines; watch the local news; bookmark media websites; and join any organisations where you are likely to meet reporters and editors .2. Learn the names of the reporters who cover the beats most significant to youFor instance, health reporters or sports reporters may be the ones who would be interested in your news. Then you can send your information directly to them rather than just to the “editor”. Don’t forget more specialised reporters such as the society page editor who might be interested in your special event if it involves community leaders. The calendar page editor will want your event listings. Most newspapers also carry a list of volunteer opportunities, so find out who writes those.3. Get to know reporters personallyStart by arranging a short meeting at their papers or TV stations to introduce yourself. Be considerate of their busy schedules and make it brief. Drop off some printed material or personally deliver that press release instead of mailing or emailing it. Over time, you will have other opportunities to develop these contacts into more familiar relationships.4. Send complimentary copies of your publications to reportersInstead of just sending these out with your mass mailings, personally send a copy with your business card attached. You can also attach a note directing the reporter to some item in the publication that might be of particular interest. Send an invitation to your special event to the appropriate reporter. Even if you don’t really expect the reporter to attend, the invitation will remind him or her of you and your organisation.5. Keep up with the personnel changes at your favorite media outletsThe turnover in the media is often rapid. Develop your own media list and keep it up-to-date. You may be able to subscribe to a media list for your locality, but it can’t substitute entirely for your own meticulously kept list.6. Always give the media information that is newsworthyYour information should be new, noteworthy, and relevant to a large share of the public. Reporters are not interested in yesterday’s news, items that are of interest only internally to your organisation, or routine events. Provide reporters with good human interest stories. Invite staff and volunteers at your organisation to let you know about good story ideas that you might be able to pitch to the media. The best ideas often come from people who are on the front lines of your organisation.7. Develop a “virtual” media kit that resides on your organisation’s websiteInclude the history of your business, its mission and goals, brief profiles and photos of key staff and board members, the most recent news releases, and a downloadable PDF of the current annual report if applicable. Busy reporters will appreciate being able to access this information easily.8. Take advantage of breaking news stories to promote your organisationThe best way to do this is to develop a cadre of “experts” who can speak to the issues your organisation addresses. Train these experts (they can be staff members and/or volunteers) and make them available to reporters.9. Make yourself available to the media at any timeGive them a home or cell number where they can reach you day or night. Put that number in your online media kit. Include it on your business card. When you receive a call from a reporter, get back to him or her as soon as you can. Reporters are working on deadline and will appreciate your rapid response.10. Always thank a reporter for his or her coverageSend a hand written thank-you note. Plus, never nitpick over minor inaccuracies. Corrections appear in small type on a back page. They are not worth your effort or of running the risk of irritating a reporter or editor.