Don’t Make A Mistake Promoting Your Firm, Product or Services

Here’s a boring tip of the day for anyone involved in promoting their company, services or any news to the online world.

You need to tell someone about the news.

Don’t assume that those who report it will automatically stumble across it (as the other two folks in the photo at left  – Isaac O’Bannon and Bob Scott – regularly do for their respective publications CPA Technology Advisor and Bob Scotts Insights).

The world of public relations is changing fast. More news is moving online which means a greater opportunity to spread your good news faster – and cheaper – provide that you know some of the secrets of effective public relations for 2010 and beyond.

The people who you should tell and involve in your message have greatly expanded.  With the advent of LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook you need to be talking to key members of the communities that you want your message carried to.

Public Relations Secrets:  Old School Tactics Don’t Work (As Well)

The old way of printing up a press release and calling a half dozen print publications don’t work – of if they work you probably are far less effective than your competitors who have expanded their news releases to other areas like blogs and LinkedIn.

I’ve stopped subscribing to any newspapers.

It’s not cheapness but a desire to read information on line as it happens.   There are lots of others  who have done the same thing. Sure, newspapers are still around but more often they’re wafer thin shells of their former selves and people are abandoning them in droves each year.

Content and discussion has moved online and it’s never going back.  At least not in the volume that we once knew.

How do you adjust to the new method of distributing your news and information?

Find people who have authority and influence. Notice that I did not say who are active. Loudmouths with opinions are active – though they often have little influence. The people you’re looking to reach are those who can restate the important part(s) of your news and not just re-publish a press release.

Expand your horizons beyond traditional press. Bloggers, LinkedIn, Twitter, Discussion Forums and Facebook all have seriously active members who regularly post analysis of the daily news and links where other members can find more information – these are the people you want to reach.

How do you reach these influencers? Connect with them in their media of choice.

Don’t, however, make the fatal mistake of thinking that if you connect on Facebook or another social site that you have a green light to give a sales pitch.

Use the tools of social sites to build trust and relationships rather than sell.

Don’t give up when your story or message isn’t rebroadcast — or is rebroadcast in a different manner than you wanted.

The influencers of the Internet have become that way for their ability to put their own analysis on top of any information they forward to their respective social sites.

The number one mistake  with public relations is to stop communicating the first time that news isn’t re-broadcast.

Wrong Wrong Wrong.

Keep sending information. If one particular news item wasn’t rebroadcast simply move onto the next (Tip: Don’t keep re-broadcasting the same information – just keep communicating as you have new information to share).

Sage and Intacct Get It

This year at the Sage reseller conference I received a press invite.

This allowed me to sit in on most of the press conferences – though I’m still treated as an outsider when it comes to face to face interviews and I hope Sage may change this for future events.

What’s the benefit to Sage?

After all they didn’t get a shiny whitepaper out of me or a headline on a flashier news site or a name that they could use in quoting my delight in some new technology.

Instead as Sage took time to meet  over lunch and briefings where they explained key technology initiatives.

These explanations allowed me to come back to my discussion groups, Blogs,  LinkedIn and Twitter to offer more analysis (both good and bad) about what I sensed was coming from Sage.

One thing that Sage still has lagged in — which Intacct has embraced — is the idea of embargoed news.

An embargo is when advance news is sent to the press (usually only a day or two early) so that they have time to write up the story and “go live” at about the same time the story breaks. There’s a deadline before which everyone is asked not to write or discuss the news. In almost all cases unless news has leaked this embargo is honored.

Intacct embraced the concept of an embargo by mailing out news on the Taylor Macdonald hiring prior to their official press release being sent the next day.

While it’s fun to write news stories as they break – it’s more important that your story be as accurate as possible. Having an advance release (which you agree not to publish or discuss until a preset deadline) allows you to research your story rather than rush it online.

The point being is that traditional public relations and promotion is much broader.  Instead of only sending releases to formal publications – enlarge your distribution to a pool of active online users. These folks are the ones starting conversations on LinkedIn, discussion forums and blogs. They’re usually easy to find – and eager to learn of your news.

Respect that not every bit of news gets rebroadcast. Work on building long term relationships with these key influencers and you may be surprised at how quickly you can expand your message beyond traditional media and into the discussions and communities online where those you want to reach are increasingly spending their time.