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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10 Steps to Getting Paid for Your Marketing Materials

Posted on February 19, 2013

In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. So here are 10 steps to getting paid for your marketing materials. Have a tenacious idea for a blog post? Let us know!

How often have you heard yourself say the same sound bites when speaking to and advising clients, colleagues, prospects, and other audiences?Marketing_small

Imagine generating money directly and indirectly from those sound bites, those pearls of wisdom that effortlessly trip off your tongue, ideas that seem so basic to you yet are crucial and eye-opening to people around you. It is completely possible to do all that – in a tips booklet. Here’s how.

1. Capture your information tidbits immediately. Recording them on paper or electronically lets you grab them as they surface. Raw format is fine, jogging your thinking to refine later.

2. Let some time pass after most gems bubble up. Rarely does everything come up in that two hours on Thursday afternoon. You may get most out in one sit-down, but even more later.

3. Refine and organize the tips. Your tips usually go into categories. Editing for grammar, consistency, clarity, and flow happens later.

 4. Include contact details. Your readers may want more from you beyond the basics. Making it easy to connect with you helps them and you. A brief “backgrounder” section identifies your qualifications.

5. Hire a graphic designer so your words look good. The finished printed product is a 3½” x 8½” tips booklet. The designer’s output is a PDF. You can sell and/or strategically give it away.

6. Send the PDF to a printing company. A first printing of 100-1,000 copies provides samples to hand out and inventory to sell. It minimizes angst over a missed typo or valuable tip, fixed in the next print run.

7. Think of who can use the booklet to promote their product, service, or cause. Your list grows as you ponder it. Your contacts are your clients (current and past), prospects, colleagues, vendors, audiences, and even friends.

8. Consider corporations, associations, publications, and groups appropriate for your topic. There are more prospects than you realize. Some prospects prefer printed copies. Others want to review the PDF.

9. Realize large-quantity buyers promote you while promoting themselves. Many bulk buyers want your contact details added to theirs. A sample booklet or PDF and cover letter with ways to increase their sales starts it all.

10. Expand your customer base and your checking account. You now reach a larger audience than you can single-handedly, thanks to your large-quantity booklet buyers. They pay you to market you as they distribute your booklet with their marketing message.

Those sound bites you have said for years now help your buyers, their clients, and your business. You get paid directly for your information product. You also get paid indirectly by generating new client sales from your booklet’s promotional activities. Yes, you are getting paid for your marketing materials, directly and indirectly from a single activity. Keep those sound bites coming as they improve your bottom line.

081412 Paulette EnsignThis post was contributed by Paulette Ensign. Paulette is an author and speaker who has sold well over a million copies of her own tips booklet and its content in four languages and various formats without spending a penny on advertising. Paulette and her company have helped thousands of people, worldwide, create solo-authored and collaborative co-authored tips booklets since 1991. Contact Tips Products International at 858-481-0890, San Diego, CA, or www.tipsbooklets.com; www.CollectionOfExperts.com; www.AssociationBooklets.com

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10 Steps to Turn Employees into Brand Ambassadors

Posted on January 08, 2013

In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. This time it’s 10 ways you can encourage your team members to become advocates for your brand. Have a tenacious idea? Let us know!

When businesses think about marketing, they often see customers as the main and more important target audience. However, employees are the face of the company and can be your most valuable brand ambassadors. We recently attended a webinar led by Elaine Fogel, president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting on “How to collaborate effectively within your organization to strengthen your brand.” According to Fogel, employees value open communication and want to be recognized. We agree and put together a list of 10 key points based on the webinar, along with a few of our own, to consider for a successful internal communication program.

1. Put employees in the first market of the company: Fogel says that employees have to be happy and engaged in order to promote the brand before they can promote externally. Happy employees will also be loyal to your brand. Brand_blog

2. Let employees get creative: during the webinar we learned that employees who are given the opportunity to collaborate at work are more likely to bring new ideas. This also ties into employees’ professional development – being exposed to new projects will enhance their skills, and will make work more fun too.

3. Create an internal marketing plan: this is the way a company promotes its brand and values to employees internally. Fogel states that employees are the face of the company, so they need to understand the vision and values in order to be able to promote it.

4. Encourage employee engagement: research shows that engaged employees are happier and deliver better customer service. We’ve seen many companies strive to provide excellent customer satisfaction, but in order to achieve it they need to ensure that their employees are satisfied first.

5. Ask for feedback: leaders often think that their way is the right way. Fogel advises leaders to not be afraid to ask employees for their points of view. This way, you will not only gather feedback, but will make them feel valuable. We have found that conducting surveys, interviews and holding regular meetings helps leaders to receive the feedback they’re looking for.

6. Establish a reward program: it will only reassure employees that they are doing a great job and that you appreciate their hard work. It doesn’t have to be a big bonus. If you are tight on the budget, even praise, a gift card or a random day off can be enough to make an employee feel acknowledged. Remember, every gesture counts!

7. Use the Intranet: we get dozens of emails a day, and they often get buried. Fogel suggests using the Intranet to its fullest potential. Post content, interactive displays, video presentations and more. The intranet will serve as a portal where employees can receive all the information they need from one place. We also recommend sending an employee e-newsletter or creating a marketing group that everyone is required to follow. Share stories and clips you find from the web that they might find interesting to talk about.

8. Organize team building events: we have learned that you don’t have to go crazy to spend quality time with your employees. If the company is too big, group teams together and have them go to off-site meetings. This way they will break away from the routine and will be even more productive.

9. Communicate openly: at Clearpoint, we believe that open communication at the workplace is essential. If you want employees to trust you, make sure they are “in-the-know.” For example, if the company is undergoing rebranding, tell employees and ask them for their opinion. Hold brainstorming sessions, ask them for new ideas and feedback on upcoming milestones.

10. Focus on brand building as a long term play: to motivate employees as brand ambassadors, keep them engaged throughout the year. There is usually a combination of things you need to do – and it all takes time. It all depends on your company’s culture – as PR experts we can tell you that what works for one brand, may not work for another and vice versa. So, don’t be afraid to try new strategies and tactics over time to see what’s best for your brand.

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

 

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10 Tips for Public Speaking Success!

Posted on October 18, 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!

Researchers tell us that the fear of public speaking is one of the top 10 fears that people express. An entire industry has sprung up to help speakers deal with this anxiety, including US-based organizations such as Toastmasters International or POWERtalk International and the Association of Speakers Clubs in England, as well as many academic training courses in presentation skills that help people reduce the fear to manageable levels.

We think all these resources are great, but some speakers just need to boost their confidence a bit more by ensuring their content is worthy and that they know the basics. We work with many clients to help them develop better presentations. The ten tips below are ones that we have found will help you master the art of public speaking and be interesting to your audience.

1.Is your topic compelling?Is your topic worth the time it takes you to put it together and the time for your audience to sit through? Put it to the test by asking a couple of colleagues to give you honest feedback on whether your topic reaches your goals to entertain, persuade or educate. Does it have impact and timeliness; does it identify or create controversy and put forth a clear position? Be sure to assess the attention value, topic prominence, conflict, uniqueness and worthiness for your audience.

2.Know your audience.Customize your examples so that the analogies really speak to them and make obscure points clearer. In some cases, you may even want to conduct research or do a survey of your anticipated audience so you can be sure you are hitting their hot buttons.

3.Research but don’t plagiarize. It’s always a good idea to make sure you are up to date on the topic you’ve chosen, so check the Internet for information, articles, or news coverage that may have come out about your topic recently. But be careful not to accidentally steal someone else’s ideas. If you are using a particular reference for credibility, be sure to source it.

4.Use specifics to create believability. What is the biggest criticism you hear about political speeches, for example? It’s usually that they are full of platitudes, but too vague and short on substance. Don’t make the mistake the politicians do! Use facts and figures to support your premise, but remember to be selective. If you overwhelm your audience with too many numbers, you will lose them.

5.A picture truly is worth a thousand words. Maybe you are using a PowerPoint®, but don’t make it boring with text bullet point after bullet point – add some art! No Powerpoint? Ok, what other visuals could you use that will make an impression? Photos, interesting art, props, charts and graphs help to make a speech more interesting and memorable.

6.Master the flow. Keep your introduction short and pithy. Give some information that people might not expect. You have only a few minutes to capture their attention so use it wisely; let them know why this topic is relevant to them. Then deliver your information clearly with life and enthusiasm in your voice. And be sure to pause before you make your final point or conclusion. Don’t make them guess that this is the important stuff! Signal it by recapping the key points and then emphasizing the end – with impact!

7.Your body language has impact, too. Stand or sit straight and tall so you can present with authority. Keep your voice well-modulated. Make sure your clothing, makeup and appearance fit the occasion and do not distract from the topic at hand. Gesture naturally, as you would in a group of close friends. Most important of all, make eye contact with your audience. Let everyone in the room know that you are speaking to them.

8.Practice, practice, practice! Many people think that once they have developed the topic and written out their notes, they know it well enough to just deliver it on the fly the day of the engagement. And perhaps you are one of those lucky few who really can do this. But if you’re not, or if this is a new topic that you haven’t delivered before, take the time a couple of days before, to work out the kinks. You’ll be glad you did!

9.Don’t forget to publicize your speaking engagements! Don’t just send a calendar item to the events editor. Research appropriate reporters for the news topic and let them know about the engagement, including a few key points that might interest them in writing a story. Put a news release out over a wire service, too – you would be amazed at the pickup you’ll get, which will help with search engine optimization of your website, too.

10.Don’t play hard to get! After you have completed your delivery, be available to the members of the audience for a few minutes. Some people would rather speak to you in person to get more information or your card than to follow up by phone or email. If you have media interview requests, make yourself available soon for an interview to maximize your exposure.

Best of luck with your next speaking engagement. If you think you need more training, we are here to help you.

To get the recognition you deserve, contact us at Clearpoint Agency, www.clearpointagency.com

This post was contributed by Beth Walsh, Clearpoint Agency Vice President

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Happy Holidays from Clearpoint Agency!

Posted on December 13, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it just us or did the holidays come extra fast this year? Clearpoint hosted our annual holiday party for employees and family on Friday, December 10th. We look forward to this event all year, since it’s such a great opportunity to catch up with our co-workers and their families. We had delicious food too, everything from Bulgarian to Japanese, to Italian, and German. It was all so good and we’re still enjoying the leftovers.

We had three new additions to the Clearpoint family this year: babies Davey, Cameron and Philip! Counting these “newbies,” we had seven children at the party. They all received a special gift from Clearpoint Agency to entertain them while the adults played “White Elephant.” After much debate over East versus West Coast rules, the game got underway and there was plenty of gift stealing. The game was great fun, even for those who ended up with less than stellar gifts! We are already looking forward to revenge, ahem, we mean, a repeat game next year.

Between happy children, fun games, and delicious food, we were very grateful to celebrate another great year with the Clearpoint team. We’d like to wish all of our friends and clients a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter!

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Big Company Change? Remember to Use Your Words!

Posted on April 11, 2011

Audiences & tactics to remember when communicating a major company change

Having just went through our office move here at Clearpoint, we became very cognizant of something we always remind our clients – the importance of communicating your message to key audiences. When a company goes through a major change such as an office move, rebranding effort, merger, acquisition, or anything that affects the company “image” or message, its executives need to consider all of the different audiences that need to get the message and all the various ways to communicate it.

Clear and straightforward communication with your audiences eliminates confusion and fear, and gets everyone on board with your message. When you (or your PR firm) craft the message, you have more control over what people think, say and do. Of course, the risk of not doing so is that someone else could create your message and run with it – in an undesirable direction. Don’t leave your key audiences in the dark. How would a team function if only the coach knew the score?

Lucky for you, the Clearpoint team has provided a list of important audiences to consider and some example messaging methods to use for an office relocation:  

  • Internal staff – Your team is numero uno! Once the decision is made for your move (or other major change), your internal staff should be the first audience to get the message. Consider a formal internal letter with the good news, reasoning and what they should expect. Give them answers to questions they may get from clients or the media. Then, consider a less formal meeting where you unveil details (pictures!) and have an open discussion with employees. As your brand ambassadors, it’s important that your team is especially clear on your message.
  • Existing and previous clients – Use your move as an opportunity to give good news about your company to clients, in a fun and exciting way. Consider celebrating with your clients by throwing an “unveiling party” to show the new location. Send emails and newsletter updates announcing the change and reminding clients of new capabilities and what’s in it for them. For Clearpoint, we now have more room and better tech tools to host our popular messaging workshops. So we’re highlighting that – and encouraging clients take advantage of it.
  • Potential clients – This audience is similar to your existing clients, but once removed, so there is less familiarity and more formality with this group. You want to position your move similarly, as a sign of good news, but you want to include a little more about who you are and what you do. Consider the PR work horse: the press release. Announce the move, your new capabilities and a general background on the company. On the less formal side, consider blog posts and social media updates, including video. This adds personality and a greater understanding about who your company is.

With so much going on around your company change, it’s important to craft your message and your plan for communicating it to your key audiences. As we say at Clearpoint, the conversation happens with or without you, so make sure YOU are directing the conversation about your company.

Questions? Comments? Post them here or hit us up on Twitter and Facebook!

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

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