Top 4 Tips to get Media Involved

Do you want to get free coverage for something your business is doing in the community? Have no idea how to approach news outlets? Check out these four easy tips for getting media involved with your event or story.

  1. Do your research.

You need to be informed about your local news outlets and reporters if you want to intelligently pitch stories. If you watch and read local news and keep an eye out for stories pertaining to your industry, you’ll gradually learn which reporters tend to cover stories like yours.

For example, your company repairs computers, and you’re having an event where community members can get their computers repaired cheaply. You watch the local news station three nights in a row and you identify one reporter who tends to have stories about technology. You know that this is the reporter that you should contact about your event, and you discovered that merely by watching and observing your local news station!

Another useful tip: set up Google news alerts for keywords in your industry. This saves you the time of doing research on a given topic and lets you know when issues that impact your industry are in the news. This way you can stay informed with little effort, get to know the reporters on issues you care about, and look for opportunities to engage.

  1. Set up a press contacts list.

You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute when something newsworthy comes up. You want an index where you can easily find contacts to tell about your event. Creating a spreadsheet with press contacts for both print and TV news will do you a world of good.

You’ll want the newspaper editors’ names, emails, and phone numbers, as well as the name of the newspaper. It will also help to have the contact info for community calendars and general news desk email addresses.

For TV, you’ll need the news director and program director’s names, emails, phone numbers, and station name. It will also be helpful if you include a reporter’s info who is relevant to your industry.

  1. Offer photo opportunities.

For TV news, good visual are essential, and for newspapers, photos can do much to flesh out a story. When contacting reporters about your event, you’ll want to describe in detail what photo opportunities will be present.

In our computer business example, say you’ll have a raffle where you’ll give away a top-notch computer. You might describe what that would look like, so the reporter knows what kind of material they’ll be getting if they cover this event. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

  1. Send out a media advisory.

Media advisories will be easier for you to send out than press releases. These are shorter than press releases and simply give the information about the event to the news outlet. You should include any appearances by VIPs as well as the basic who, what, when, where, and why of the event.

Media advisories should be sent out to your best contacts three to five days before your event takes place to give the news outlet ample time to prepare, and so it will be fresh on their minds. Remember that media advisories are only to be used for newsworthy events!

Now that you know the top four ways to get media involved with events relating to your business, you’ll be able to get the free news coverage that will help to improve your reach in the community. Good luck out there!

Top Website Building Services to Create Your Own Site

Need to create a website for you business? Do a quick Google search and you may be overwhelmed by the options. You could hire someone to build one, do it yourself from scratch, or use one of the many free or paid tools to help a coding novice build their own website. This list is a small compilation of some of the best website builders out there. Hopefully, once you know the features of each, it’ll help you to decide which one to use!

WordPress

More than 27 percent of the top 10 million websites use WordPress, and for good reason. It is a free and open source content management system, and can be run through WordPress’s own server. When you sign up to create your own WordPress site, you can choose from templates (three shown below) if you don’t know much code. You also have the option to write your own HTML or CSS code for your site, making it perfect for a more do-it-yourself personality type.

WordPress is fully customizable, with some features easy to use without code, and some requiring code changes. Since the site is used to handling large amounts of web traffic, your website won’t crash if you have a traffic spike. It also comes with analytics tools so you can monitor your site traffic. The more informed you are about who’s visiting your website, what they’re using to access it, and how long they’re staying there, the better you’ll be able to meet your audience’s needs.

WordPress sites are SEO optimized, so they’ll show up closer to the top if someone does a Google search for your business. Social sharing is easy with WordPress, so your audience can quickly hit a button and share your web pages on their own social media, helping you to reach a growing audience.

A good option for a frugal DIYer, WordPress’s free price tag and easy to use design can be enhanced by knowing a bit of code.

Squarespace

Coming in at 12 dollars minimum per month, Squarespace is the most expensive website builder we are highlighting in this list. But with that price tag comes quality. Squarespace shines with its high-quality, minimalist website design. The templates are dominated by clean lines and look professional and sophisticated. The content on each site is delivered very quickly, giving your Squarespace site an edge over slower sites on pages of search results. Security is also a top priority of Squarespace– they offer a SSL certificate to each website every year, keeping security watertight for you and your users.

For the small business owner, Squarespace has its own set of goodies. There is no limit to the number of products you can offer or sales you can make via your website. Merchandising is easy, with drag and drop inventorying, and the checkout is sophisticated, giving you the ability to add coupons and customized shipping fees by location.

If you have the money to spend on exceptional design and eCommerce services, Squarespace would be a good choice for you and your business.

Weebly

Weebly is a web-hosting service that can be free or paid. The paid version starts at 8 dollars per month. Weebly is one of the easier to use web hosting services, with its simple drag-and-drop feature to design your website. It offers templates if you’re not design oriented, and you’ll have the capability to check on your website and edit it from a Weebly mobile app, shown below.

Weebly offers SEO tools and professional email creation – so your site will be easy to find on Google, and your contact information can be customized to your business (yourname@businessname.com). There are analytics with site traffic stats, allowing you to monitor your audience’s traffic.

Weebly is another good one for hosting E-Commerce, as it allows for easy inventory management, customized shipping, and coupon code capabilities. There is no limit on the number of products you can sell through your Weebly website, making the site good for online stores selling either physical products or services.

Wix

Wix, like Weebly, can also be free or paid. If you want to use eCommerce or remove ads, consider the paid version, which can be very affordable at $4.50 and up per month. Wix combines professional looking, high quality templates with drag-and-drop capabilities.

One of Wix’s key selling points is its ADI, or artificial design intelligence. This software can use your previous design choices, or your answers to questions, to create even better designs and layout for your site.

Wix uses an App Market that will allow you to search for the best app to perform a function on your Wix site – i.e. an app that will embed videos for you. E-Commerce is also easy with Wix, which will allow you to sell your products through your Wix website.

Wix’s best strength is its customer support. There are help/support buttons everywhere when you’re editing your site, so if this is your first website or if you just need help getting your photo formatted, the Wix team is easily accessible.

If you aren’t so sure about web design but don’t want to spend too much money, Wix is a good option for you, with its ADI capabilities and E-Commerce capability.

We hope this list helped you discover what’s out there in terms of website creation. Maybe you realized you have a need for tools you never knew existed, and good luck with your website!

Top 6 Social Media Sites for Your Target Audience (Part II)

Last week we told you how Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram can help you build your brand with your target audience. This week, we’re covering Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

  1. Twitter

Twitter has over 300 million monthly active users, and it’s easy to create a company profile and begin tweeting. Most companies use Twitter as a platform where they can share content and interact with customers, network, and manage their brand. Twitter is a more social interaction based service, so if your business model requires constant customer interactions, Twitter might be right for you.

Since many public figures, minor and major celebrities, and other brands use Twitter, connection with influencers is most important here. If you want to reach your target demographic through the other people they follow, Twitter is the platform for you.

More resources: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/twitter-marketing/

  1. LinkedIn

With 500 million users, LinkedIn is a platform catering to professionals, providing a networking space online. If your product or service would be useful to businesspeople in professional settings, LinkedIn would be a perfect social media site to advertise your content.

Since users self-input their position, full name, location, and more, LinkedIn ads can be targeted specifically to certain demographics. If you want to reach, say, high-level business development professionals, LinkedIn provides a service to target them specifically and can be very affordable – as low as $10 per day.

More resources: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/linkedin-ads-guide/

  1. Pinterest

At 100 million pinners, Pinterest is a platform that allows users to curate content, or “pins,” on various themed “boards.” The main benefit for brands here is that Pinterest acts like a search engine, so users searching for content like yours will be able to find it.

Favored by women and heavily image-centric, Pinterest’s demographic will be likely to buy concrete visually-oriented products, such as jewelry and home goods. Pinterest users also use the platform for advice and ideas, so if your product can be condensed to an infographic, it would do well with the Pinterest crowd. Below, company DesignMantic created a dos and don’ts infographic for web design. Clicking the pin would take the user to their website, driving traffic for their services.

With analytics available for businesses to see how well their various pins are doing, Pinterest allows for brands to play around with content and see what gets the most engagement. If your product or service is visually oriented and you want users to be actively searching for content like yours, Pinterest is a great platform for you to use.

 Source: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/pinterest-for-business/