Media Relations: How to pitch better

Too many PR professionals still don’t understand media relations. They are still spamming journalists with pitches that are irrelevant, inauthentic, and non-targeted. Too many public relations professionals are fixated on the short-term coverage opportunity rather than building long-term relationships. They see a journalist as a tool rather than a person. All of this worsens the negative feelings journalists have already developed toward public relations professionals. So let’s change it.

It starts with a better understanding. Think of how annoying it is to get a sales pitch that has nothing to do with you or what you want. It’s irritating, right? This is how a journalist feels when s/he receives an unrelated, non-targeted pitch from a PR person.

Don’t be that person. Be the person who offers something useful—something that will make a journalist’s job easier. Remember that they too have a job to do. Your broadcast pitches are a waste of their time.

An infographic from Nowsourcing offers tips on how to pitch better.

media relations infographic writing pitches

What’s the best and worst pitch you’ve ever seen?

Digital Media Consumption: Statistics and Trends

Curious about the latest stats and trends in digital marketing? GO-Globe breaks it down in an awesome infographic, with statistics on how much time people spend consuming digital media, through what devices, when, and how it’s changed–and changing–over the years.

These facts are helpful to marketers who want to better understand how to reach those key audiences and optimize digital content.

Digital Media Consumption - Statistics and Trends
Infographic by- GO Globe Hong Kong

Why I Got HubSpot Inbound Certified

Inbound Marketing Meme

I’m not sure what exactly piqued my interest in inbound marketing. Maybe it was HubSpot’s INBOUND 2014 conference, maybe it was HubSpot’s IPO. Whatever it was, HubSpot made inbound marketing a hot topic, at least in Boston. It certainly caught my attention, and I realized just how important and relevant it is. But what exactly is inbound marketing? This is the question I struggled to answer. And more importantly, how does one do it successfully?

These questions led me once again to HubSpot’s site, only I looked a little deeper this time. I came across HubSpot Academy and all it has to offer: certifications, webinars, examples, user groups, and more. The Inbound Certification, which is open to everyone, seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn and educate myself about inbound marketing. I earned my HubSpot Inbound Certification in one weekend.

The Inbound Certification

The certification consists of eleven courses that cover the core elements of Inbound Methodology. From the essentials of an effective inbound strategy to the fundamentals of blogging to cultivating happy customers, the classes provide a deep and clear understanding of what inbound is all about.

Each class is roughly 45 minutes long, and although this seems like lot to tackle in one weekend, HubSpot does a great job at keeping viewers entertained with amusing images, charts and graphics, along with a catchy tune that somehow didn’t get old. The courses are further broken down into chapters, and each course closes with a few key takeaways and additional resources to clear up any possible confusion. I appreciated the real-life examples provided to illustrate some of the more complex concepts.

For me, the sales and “smarketing” classes were totally foreign. I never learned past the attract and convert elements of the methodology. If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry. Start taking some courses, and HubSpot will clear everything up.

What I Learned

I learned a heck of a lot from the inbound classes, including some best practices for the various social media platforms, the four elements of a quality landing page, and how to best align content with the buyer’s journey. By the end, inbound marketing will make sense, I promise.

I highly recommend this certification program to every marketer, especially college students studying marketing. Inbound is the future of marketing, and sadly, university programs take far too long to catch up. Fear not, this program has got you covered.

The Exam

The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice and true or false questions that address important lessons from each course. You have 75 minutes to complete the test and three chances to pass it. If you don’t pass the first time, you will have to wait 48 hours before giving it another go. To earn your official certification, you must receive a 75% or higher on your test. The certification is then valid for 13 months from the month you received it.

Here are some tips for passing the exam:

  • Watch the classes in a quiet space where you can focus and won’t be distracted—Some lessons are more complex and will require your full attention.
  • Take notes as you learn—This will help you make sense of things, and you can refer to your notes as you take the test.
  • If something is not clear, use the additional resources provided—Take advantage of the extra resources at the end of each class to really drive home an idea or concept.
  • Thoroughly read the study guide provided—HubSpot has an awesome study guide that will prepare you for everything covered on the exam.
  • Check out this article—The 45 Inbound Marketing Terms You Should Know

Good luck and happy studying!

Best Halloween Advertisements of 2014

Halloween presents a great opportunity for brands to engage and entertain and also show off their creativity. I look forward to the advertisements every Halloween, but this year only a few stand out. Here they are:

Snickers – Twisted

Snickers delivered once again this Halloween with a fun and spooky advertisement that’s consistent with its “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign—only this time, the message is, “You get scary when you’re hungry.” This is true.

IKEA – Halloween

In this ad, Ikea Singapore parodied Stanley Kubrick’s classic, The Shining, and recreated the eerie Big Wheel scene inside one of its stores to promote Ikea’s late-night shopping hours. Kudus to the ending and the clever play on words.

GEICO – It’s What You Do

Geico poked fun at horror movie characters and their predictably poor decisions in its horror movie commercial, “It’s What You Do.” The ad is relatable and humorous with a fitting tie-in that’s certainly on-brand.

Something I missed? Share what you think is the best Halloween advertisement of 2014!

How Businesses Are Using Pinterest: the power of visual images

Pinterest is a web and mobile application that offers visual discovery, collection, storage, and sharing. Users create and share collections of visual bookmarks, called boards. Boards are created when a user selects an item and pins it to a new or existing board.

Basically, it can be seen as a counterpart to Google, in which users know what they are looking for. Pinterest, however, is all about discovery.

Pinterest

Photo found at http://bit.ly/1wxi5HO

More often, people are using Pinterest to shop. In fact, 70 percent of users use Pinterest for inspiration on what to buy, and 69 percent of consumers claim to have found a product on Pinterest that they bought or were interested in buying. Businesses such as Target, Nordstrom, and Whole Foods are tapping into the visual-oriented social network to promote their brands and drive users to their e-commerce websites.

Target, for instance, launched its Target Awesome Shop, which features the top-trending items on Pinterest and the top reviews on Target.com. When you click on a pin for more information, you are redirected to Target.com, where you can add the item to your shopping cart. As a result, Target has seen a 70 percent increase in traffic from Pinterest to Target.com, according to Target Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Jones.

Quick Tip: Publish high-quality images and use Rich Pins for a higher chance of your post being viewed and shared. There are five types of Rich Pins: product, place, movie, recipe, and article. If you’d like to promote a product, Rich Pins allow you to provide information on pricing, location and availability. Pictures that contain a product’s price have a higher click through rate than those that don’t.

Nordstrom uses Pinterest a little differently. It uses Pinterest to decide which merchandise to feature in stores, with a special red tag on shoes and handbags most popular on the social network.

Whole Foods uses Pinterest boards to capture the company values in areas such as community and the environment, healthy eating and education, and natural and organic foods.

For inspiration, check out How 5 Businesses Are Using Pinterest to Creatively Promote Their Products


Good News For The Holidays

Pinterest has proven to be a major force in holiday retail, helping consumers find products and retailers identify trends and market to the right consumers.

Pinterest Grid

Photo found at http://bit.ly/1pO9auh

A study of Pinterest users by market research firm Lab42 found that 54 percent spend more time on the site during the holidays and 94 percent say it has changed the way they make their holiday preparations.

Over the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday, Pinterest doubled the revenue sent to retailers on Black Friday. And on Cyber Monday, Pinterest revenue more than tripled.

Marketers and retailers, take note.


How Does Pinterest Compare to Other Social Media

Compared to other social medias, Pinterest generates double the referential traffic than Twitter, Google and LinkedIn combined. This is a great opportunity for marketers and retailers, who have the opportunity to capitalize off the power of visual images.

Pinterest shoppers spend significantly more, averaging $140 – $180 per purchase, compared with $70 – $100 per order on Facebook.

Check out this Pinterest VS Twitter VS Facebook infographic for more information.


Some Key Facts About Pinterest to Consider

  • The majority of users (68.2%) are female
  • Fifty percent of users have children
  • The majority of users (27.4%) are between the ages of 25 and 34
  • Annual household income is $100,000+
Pinterest Infographic

Infographic by Modea, found at http://on.mash.to/1wxhohG

How are you using Pinterest?

The Official “EW!” Music Video feat. Jimmy Fallon and will.i.am Goes Viral

I’d like to discuss my favorite video out right now, the “Ew!” music video featuring Jimmy Fallon and will.i.am. In the video, will.i.am. plays the role of mir.i.am, a ditzy teenage girl in a bright yellow dress, rocking pigtails and orthodontic headgear, and Jimmy Fallon plays the role of her brace-faced and equally colorful BFF Sara—”with no ‘h.’”

The BFF’s break it down and rap about things they think are EW! Among them, “FaceTime and reclining in airplane seats and then Vining.” It’s hilarious and catchy. It’s that song you can’t get out of your head and can’t help but sing along.

Have you noticed the impulse to recite: “Seriously seriously, EW! EW!”?

Written and produced by will.i.am, the video went viral within hours, as it was most likely intended. It’s been viewed 11.4 million times in just ten days, and placed No. 2 on Billboard Trending 140, as well as No. 26 on Billboard Hot 100. Impressive.

Check out Jimmy Fallon’s response to the success, here.

I might have been the last to know that “Ew!” is actually a video series by the Tonight Show, with previous videos featuring guests such as Taylor Swift, First Lady Michelle Obama, Channing Tatum and Will Ferrel. This (embarrassingly late) discovery led me to wonder what caused this video to go viral while the others had not.

Here are a few reasons I’ve come up with so far:

Jimmy Fallon Ew Will.i.am

“What’s up with those duck lips? EW!”

1) It is relatable—the video includes teenage slang words such as “OMG” and “WTF” and pokes fun at relatable situations. Cue the awkward school dance scene and the overly confident step-dad that ruins the party. 

2) It is easy to share—in just one click, you can share it with all of your friends, on any social media channel. When I first watched the video, I shared it on my Twitter, Google+ and Facebook accounts. And now I’m sharing it here with you, just like that!

Jimmy Fallon Ew Video Set

Photo found at http://buff.ly/1ug6qaa

3) It is incredibly well produced—from the kick-ass beat, sets, and wardrobe to the special effects and bullet motion, this video is a masterpiece production. You can tell it was well planned and thought out and that it’s a high quality video. 

4) It is for our entertainment—it isn’t trying to sell us anything! So many videos out there are just to sell us some product or service, but we appreciate “Ew!” more because it is purely for our entertainment. It succeeds in making us smile. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

5) It is (also) for charity—Surprise! The proceeds from “Ew!” actually benefit charity! Two to be exact: the SeriousFun Children’s Network and will.i.am’s i.am.angel Foundation. This was surprising and delightful fact to learn.

Let’s see what you can add to the list!