A Clear View: The Clearpoint Agency Blog

End of Year PR Checklist

Posted on December 29, 2016

The start of a new year brings New Year’s resolutions, new beginnings and new goals. And the beginning of a new year is also an opportunity to reflect on the previous year’s public relations successes and missteps.

If you find that you were just shy of reaching your communications goals in 2016, either because they were not specific enough or too ambitious, check out our end-of-the-year PR checklist below. Use it to help guide your PR strategies for the upcoming year.

Evaluate Competitors – Have your PR team perform a competitor communications analysis to identify the various tactics your competitors use in their PR and communication programs. Take a deep dive to see if they are doing anything unique and analyze what seems to be working for them or not. Most importantly, look for areas of missed opportunities. By analyzing your competitors, you can find ways to differentiate and more effectively position your brand.

Review Messaging –  Does your messaging still resonate with your audiences? Have your messages changed overtime? If you think your messaging needs refreshing, it may be time to hold a messaging session. As your company grows and changes, your messaging will as well. It is important that your messaging stays current to ensure that all PR deliverables – press releases, social media posts, website content, whitepapers, conference materials and more – are in sync and consistent with what you want to communicate to your publics. Look for your use of jargon and overused phrases. Work to develop messaging that clearly communicates the compelling benefits of working with you and how you solve challenges.  Make sure your messaging is as unique as your organization is.

Analyze Social Media – Examine your social media channels to see what type of posts resonate with your audiences. Consider updating your social media strategy to coincide with your messaging.

Social media is constantly changing. What is trending one day may change the next. It’s critical that you understand which social media platforms your audience uses most and what content results in solid engagement. Once you have reviewed your social media, create a new social media plan and calendar for the new year. Focus on goals you want to accomplish with social moving forward.

Update Website – Similar to social media, website trends continually change – everything from navigation to design to mobile capability, and everything else in between. We recommend refreshing your website at least once every two years. It is also important to update your website content to be concise, well written, and on target with your messaging. Look at your images and headlines. Sometimes just changing out the images and adjusting headlines can freshen up your website between major revamps.

Set Goals –  Work with your PR team to determine communications goals for the forthcoming year. What are the most important things you need to communicate to your publics? Is there a challenge or opportunity you must address? Are there more creative ways of telling your brand’s story? Did you land the kind of earned media you wanted to over the past year?  Did your press releases tell a story over time? What kind of content do we need to create? Ask yourself these types of questions and develop a set of goals, and at by this time next year, you will have a way to measure your communications success.

From everyone at Clearpoint Agency, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year!

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Best Time to Post on Social Media

Posted on March 15, 2016

The expression “timing is everything” could not be more true when it comes to posting on social media. It’s one thing to create fresh and exciting content, but what’s the point of posting something if your audience is not seeing it? Posting content at the right time, on the right day, and on the right platform can make all the difference between comments, clicks and shares, to no engagement all.

However, the best days and times to post do vary across all social media platforms. Below, we created an infographic and listed some tips and guidelines when it comes to the best days and times to post on social media:

FacebookFINAL Best Time to Post Infographic

We’ve found the best days to post on Facebook are later in the week, with the highest engagement rates occurring on Thursday and Friday. The Huffington Post found the optimal time of the day to post is in the afternoon from 1 – 4 p.m.

According to Quick Sprout, content that is posted at 1 p.m. will get the most shares, while 3 p.m. will give you the most clicks. In general, if you post during the 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. time frame you will still receive higher engagement than posts posted before work or later in the evening.

  • Best days to post: Thursday and Friday
  • Best times to post: 1 – 4 p.m.
  • Most shares: 1 p.m.
  • Most clicks: 3 p.m.
  • Broad timeframe to post: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

LinkedIn

Since LinkedIn’s audience is predominantly professionals, and used for networking and business status updates, the best days to post are during the core of the workweek – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. LinkedIn is the “professional” social network so it makes sense that an Elle & Co. study discovered optimal times to post can be from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m., just before lunchtime, and 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Just as people check LinkedIn before their workday begins, are getting ready to break for lunch, or as they wrap-up for the day.

According to the Huffington Post, posting on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. -11 a.m. can be the “sweet spot” for status updates, and will get a high number of clicks and shares. Avoid posting on LinkedIn from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. and on weekends.

  • Best days to post: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
  • Best times to post: 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m., 10 a.m. – 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Most engagement: Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Twitter

Audience is key when it comes to timing your tweets. According to Buffer, B2B organizations get higher clicks and retweets on Twitter during the workweek, with Wednesday having the highest click-through rates. However, B2C related tweets seem to perform better on the weekends. To get a maximum number of retweets, the Huffington Post suggests to tweet from 12 – 5 p.m., with around 5 p.m. being the most optimal.

  • Best day to tweet for B2B: Weekdays; Wednesdays have higher click-through rates
  • Best day to tweet for B2C: Weekends
  • Best time to tweet: 12 – 5 p.m.

So the next time you are planning your social strategy, give the day and time some thought. It just might make the difference between posting to an abyss or getting clicks, retweets and likes.

 

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10 Tips to Nail Your Media Interview

Posted on November 22, 2012

In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. From “10 Social Marketing Tips You May Have Missed” to “10 Reasons to Blog,” we’ll brighten your appreciation for all things 10. Have a tenacious idea? Let us know!

1. Prepare ahead of time: this is the most important step so you can accommodate both the reporter’s and your own goals. Review background on the reporter and previous articles, understand the topic, and know the reporter’s audience. Then identify your objectives, and know the key messages you want to cover. Many times, your PR team can provide this information to you.

2. Be human and approachable: be energetic, smile (even on the phone), and display a confident, yet approachable attitude. And remember to be honest, and by that I mean, provide honest information, but be honestly yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality.

3. Avoid clichés and overused concepts: in your answers, avoid clichés such as “burning issue” and “tip of the iceberg,” as well as over-used phrases such as “innovative solutions,” and “we have no competition.” Be original and creative. Skip the fluff and get to the truth of what you’re trying to say about your company, products or services.

4. Don’t go off the record: nothing is ever “off the record.” If you don’t want something printed, don’t say it. If a reporter finds something interesting, they will find a way to use it.

5. Be credible and relevant: during the interview, provide information that relates to the reporter’s audience and to your customer’s needs. Use statistics to support your statements when appropriate. In addition, quote an industry guru or third-party report to add credibility to your messages. To make the interview interesting, use simple analogies or comparisons that people will understand easily. For example, “The Internet is like electricity. Customers do not care how it works; they just want to be able to plug into it and use it.”

6. Make friends with brevity: make your points quickly and concisely. At Clearpoint Agency, we always recommend giving the short answer first, then filling in with additional detail if the journalist asks. Remember reporters are interested in the five Ws and one H—who, what, where, when, why and how. So answer accordingly, then go beyond those to address the reader’s question of “What does this mean to me?” Personal and customer experiences can illustrate your main points and help the audience relate to a real world example.

7. Use bridging: bridging is a conversation control method that allows you to move from one subject to another. It incorporates briefly answering a reporter’s question and then following that response with your specific messages that relate.

8. Use flagging: this conversation method is used to highlight your most important messages by calling out and emphasizing their importance. For example, say, “The three most important things to keep in mind are….”

9. Incorporate images: a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether it’s a company photo related to the topic, an appropriate chart or graph, or even a headshot of you, an image will make the content more interesting, so reporters may give you more space or better placement.

10. Rely on your best tool: remember, a good PR agency just might be your best tool to nail media interviews. We know the reporters, the audiences, your key messages, and the best ways to prepare, train and support you.

This post was contributed by Alexia Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive and Bonnie Shaw, Clearpoint Agency President

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Get Busy Blogging: 10 Reasons to Blog

Posted on September 27, 2012

In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. From “10 Social Marketing Tips You May Have Missed” to “10 Reasons to Blog,” we’ll brighten your appreciation for all things 10. Have a tenacious idea? Let us know!

Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, you want to consider a blog. Blogging is a great marketing tool that along with social media will increase your online presence and enhance your company’s brand. Here are 10 reasons why you should use blogging to target your audience in a meaningful and creative way. Succesful blog

1. Become an expert. Remember, by running a business you already are an expert in certain areas. Stick to writing on topics you are already comfortable with and have knowledge about. This way you can define your niche, provide insightful information and become an expert in the area.

2. Share with the world. Okay, you’ve already found your niche and want to share your ideas and opinions with your readers. Even better, you can promote your company’s culture and tell your customers about the latest fundraisers you’ve had or fun holiday parties you’ve attended. Another big component is providing tips to your current and potential customers.

3. Expand your social media channels/platforms. Hosting a blog doesn’t require being tech savvy or knowing HTML code. There are free user-friendly platforms like WordPress and Blogger that will let you do that without knowing HTML code. They offer themes that allow you to customize your blog to best fit your company’s brand. Consider adding your blog to your website to make it easy for customers to find and boost SEO.

4. Cross promote your brand. Having multiple social media channels will help enhance your brand. With an established blog, you can’t miss on sharing your new posts via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms you use. Cross promotion is important because using several social media channels will help you reach the most audience. Keep in mind that depending on demographics and other factors, certain audiences may have preferences to a particular social media channel.

5. Interact with your audience. Your readers and followers will be interested in the insight you provide on your blog and it is likely they will comment on your posts. Responding to these comments is a great way to interact with your audience, be it customers, employees or partners. This will make your blog more human and will eventually enhance your brand even more.

6. Measure results. As any other social media channel, blogging platforms provide an analytics section where you can browse the traffic and views you get as well as search terms, click throughs and so on. This is a good way to experiment with keywords and include more terms that will lead users to your blog, or even better, to your company website.

7. Educate your audience. Let’s say you are launching a tech-heavy product or offering specialty services that need a deeper explanation. Writing a blog on it will be a great way to educate your customers on the specs and details of your products and services. You can use it almost as an FAQ, but in a narrative form.

8. Attend special (VIP and invitation-only) events. Once you have a solid following and a good online influence, you could receive perks like invitations to fun private events, pre-opening parties, or even speaking opportunities. Attend these events to further promote your brand.

9. Increase your Klout score. There has been a lot said about the Klout score, but it still remains the main indicator that calculates your overall social media influence. Writing a blog will definitely help increase your Klout score and make you a specialist in the topics you want to be known for. In fact, some those special events mentioned above require a Klout of 45 or higher.

10. Show diversity. Don’t think that the blog is another responsibility for the marketing manager. To keep it fresh and current you will need to post entries often. Here is where your resources come in place. Once you have your topic schedule, ask different employees to help you depending on their background and expertise.

This post was contributed by Antonia Genov, Clearpoint Agency Account Coordinator

 

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I Know Your Blog is Offsite… But What Am I?

Posted on April 03, 2012

We occasionally get questions from our clients about whether their company blog should be on their corporate site or off. We’d like to discuss the pros and cons of both options, and provide a little insight into what most companies are doing.

It seems that so far, most companies house their blog on the corporate website, but there are certainly pros and cons to both options. The majority of companies are also using a development platform such as WordPress or Blogger. Customization is expensive!

 

 

Onsite blog

A blog set up directly on your business’ website
Example: www.company.com/blog

Pros:

  • Increase traffic to the main site, increasing Alexa rank
  • Increases indexing of your website by search engines, which is especially valuable if site content is not updated frequently
  • If blog is shared, tagged, linked to, etc. via social media, the website reaps the benefits
  • Keeps your audience up to date

Cons:

  • Harder to implement if custom building on site (and not using a development platform like WordPress or Blogger)
  • Website might include restrictions on length of post, etc.
  • Might lower the rank of other more important pages

Offsite blog

A blog set up on its own domain that links back to your business’ website.
Example: www.companyblog.com

Pros:

  • Your business brand has two properties online
  • Gives you two domains to rank twice for your keywords in search engines
  • Easy and quick to install, especially if using WordPress or Blogger
  • Very quality links back to main site
  • Greater flexibility with design and coding
  • Offsite is best if your blog will contain content that is unrelated or only slightly related to your main website

Cons:

  • May take longer to draw traffic to the main site
  • It can get more popular than the main site on search engines
  • Could look less professional than an onsite blog
  • Less control (based on the development platform — WordPress, Blogger, etc.)
  • If blog is shared, tagged, linked to, etc. via social media, the development platform reaps the benefits, not your corporate website

Image

Whole Other Option
Why yes, there is a THIRD option! You can have your cake and eat it too. If you have a prolific company (or awesome PR agency), you can have two blogs – one onsite and one offsite. This is a great option as it literally gives you all of the benefits, increased traffic on your site, high quality inbound links, multiple domain properties, etc.

Our research shows that in this event, it is best NOT to duplicate your content. That will just annoy people and search engines. Consider keeping company news on the onsite blog , and letting the offsite blog be a little more exciting. It could be commentary on the industry or opinion (food is delicious, banking is exciting, robots are fascinating!) anything that relates to the brand but is just a little beyond corporate news. This is a great example of a win-win.

So what about you? Which would you choose? Anyone daring enough to do both? The right answer depends on each company’s situation, and we’ve had clients successfully do both onsite and offsite blogs.Of course, blogs are like our babies, and we think they’re all beautiful. Just get blogging!

This post was contributed by Alexia Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive

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