Thursday, October 31, 2013

More and more of us are “going mobile”

By Scott Stein, VP of Client Services, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

When I was a kid growing up in Eastern Wisconsin, I remember Friday night being grocery shopping night. The main reason was Friday was the only day that the grocery store stayed open past 5 p.m. Most businesses, grocery stores and department stores among them, were only open during the day and maybe until 9 p.m. a night or two per week.

My how the world has changed since then.

Today, it’s easy to find stores that are open well into the night and even 24 hours a day. And quite frankly, we don’t even have to go to the stores to shop. Many of us have been shopping from home using our desktop computers for years. But even that is becoming a thing of the past with more and more people going mobile to do their business on the Internet from anywhere – as long as you can get a signal on your phone.  

A recent article noted that Microsoft Tag predicted a few years ago that mobile Internet use would surpass desktop Internet use by 2014. While we’re probably not quite to that point, it’s clear that more people than ever are going mobile. The latest statistics show that 63 percent of cell phone owners say they use their devices to go online, while 21 percent say they primarily use their cell phones for Internet access. 

The piece says the trend toward mobile Internet usage should have businesses thinking about some key issues like BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies for employees and employees being constantly connected.

When it comes to mobile-based marketing, the article points out that mobile users are more likely to ask a question into their mobile device than to type in keywords. The advice is to take a step back and ask which questions a consumer would ask that would lead them to their website. It’s more important than ever to be sure that contact information, directions and other frequently asked questions are addressed clearly and accurately.

What do you think of the trend toward mobile Internet use? Are you spending more time online on your smartphone? Is your business looking at ways to connect with mobile users?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting Media to Cover Your Event – Four Things You Should Know

By: Kristen Paquet, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Sorry… there isn’t any magic potion or secret key to get the media to cover your event. I’ve worked on events like new product demonstrations, ground breakings and ribbon cutting ceremonies and while many have seen successful media coverage, some have not.

If you plan on holding an event and are hoping the media will be there to cover it, here are some things to consider that might make it a bit easier:

Make sure your event is newsworthy. Just because you think something happening within your organization is exciting, doesn’t mean everyone else will. Media are looking for stories that will relate to a wide audience of readers and viewers. Ask yourself: Will this impact the community? Will anyone outside of my organization/business care about this? If you can answer yes, then you might have an event media will take interest in.

Pick a good day of the week and time. If possible, stay away from Monday and Friday if you want the media to cover your event. Mondays tend to be spent catching up with weekend stories; Fridays are spent planning weekend coverage. Your best bet is to focus on a day during the middle of the week. As far as time goes, try mid to late morning. Holding an event too early doesn’t give media enough time to plan their schedule. Late in the day puts a time crunch on editing stories to run in the evening news cycle.

Give them a heads up – but not too much.
If you have an event that you believe the media will have an interest in covering, let them know about one or two days ahead of time by sending an email with the event details. Send anything earlier and your message will most likely get buried. It might also help to follow up with each media outlet to see if they plan on attending.

Don’t hold an event just for the media.
I always tell clients this. You never want to hold an event like a ground breaking just for the media in the event that no one shows up to cover it. Things happen – late breaking stories or a national story can put a hold on everything, including coverage of your event. Plan the event for the people attending (board members, community supporters, staff, etc.) first. If media attends, it’s a great bonus for you.

Take these thoughts into consideration when trying to attract media to cover an event or ceremony. Hopefully it will help you avoid some common pitfalls.

What other ideas do you have to get media to cover an event? Any tips or things to avoid? Please share!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The eyes have it!

What you should be doing right now with your social media

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

OK…if you’ve spent any amount of time playing or working in the social media world, you’re probably sick of hearing “content is king.”  WE GET IT! But, we (as in every one of us now and then) don’t always do it. Good content. Original content. Thought-provoking content. That’s what makes a difference. And you should be adding more one thing to the mix: visuals. Good content needs more than just words, it needs visuals. Photos. Videos. Graphics. Whatever works and is relevant to the content (there’s that word again). I can hear English majors everywhere screaming, “But WAIT, if content is king and I write a good story/blog/release/whatever, that should paint a picture in and of itself. That should be more than good enough.”

But alas (can’t think of the last time I used that word), good headlines and good writing aren’t enough to be noticed any more on social media. (Kind of makes me want to cry, but I’ll get over it.) You need visuals. A variety of sources, including 3M, Zabisco, Marketing Sherpa, etc., have found that viewers spend more time on pages with visuals, and are more likely to purchase products, after watching a product video. We've become visual story tellers through Twitter, Instagram, Vine and others. It's now an expectation. So, if you're using social media for business, you need to start thinking and USING visuals to get your point across or, despite your great content, you may never reach your target audience.

What tips do you have for using visuals in your social media efforts?  What are your favorite examples of visuals in social media?
Leonard & Finco Public Relations 
For more info on visuals and social media, check out:
From Marketing Sherpa: Three Tips for Building Engaging Social Media: