Simplify Complex Concepts with Infographics

In years past, the CIO or IT manager was the primary decision maker for all technology-related issues. The CEO, CFO and line managers depended on the IT team to recommend the solutions supporting corporate infrastructure. But business decision makers today are more technically savvy and want to be more involved in choosing business management systems from the start.

That change presents you with the opportunity to adjust your marketing messages to help business decision makers understand your solutions. Infographics -- a combination of words, graphics and data -- can help.

Simplify Processes
Most people find it easier to understand complex ideas with visual cues. Infographics are often used to illustrate processes, stepping the reader through the details while maintaining the big picture context. Since business management systems -- from networks to collaboration -- are components of the larger business ecosystem, infographics can be a valuable tool to simplify the technology concepts.

Explain Big Issues
Infographics can also be used to provide a big picture view of a complex issue. Many of the technology solutions that partners provide have multiple components and a variety of options. Understanding how it all fits together can be very difficult for prospects. Using an infographic or Visio depiction to illustrate will help business decision makers see how solutions fit into the bigger picture.

Interpret Data
Conveying the results of research or statistical data in a whitepaper or report is great for those who want to dig into the details, but not for everyone. An infographic allows you to convey high-level information to the audience looking for just the highlights. Simplify the data to focus on key points that will interest your readers. Charting in Excel allows you to test graphs and charts to help you find the most compelling data representation.

Infographics can be especially useful in vertical marketing that targets a specific industry. People are always curious how they compare to others like them -- industry data presented through an infographic can be a powerful marketing call to action.

Appeal to Your Younger Audience
As digital natives move up through the ranks of companies, your marketing should include messaging directed at them. Quick-read, graphic information will help you interest and connect with your younger prospects. Infographics have become a common marketing tool for many industries and B2B technology is finally catching up with the trend.

Have you used infographics for lead generation? Add a comment below, or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on July 05, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


Reinventing the Whitepaper

The mother of all marketing content, the whitepaper, has been a staple of technology marketing for decades. Whitepapers used to be written by technical people for technical people to explain complex ideas. Or they were written by thought leaders to introduce new ideas and solutions.

Both of those styles have their merit, but there is a whole new approach to whitepapers that educates and engages prospects without putting them to sleep.

There Are No Rules
In the past, guidelines for whitepapers included suggested page counts and organizational structure. They all looked pretty much the same, stifling creativity.

As it turns out, there are no white paper police. You can do anything you want. Creativity released!

There Are Best Practices
While the floodgates are open to creativity, there are still ingredients that will make your whitepaper more effective.

  • Know your audience. Clearly define your target reader. Whitepapers should not try to be all things to all people. Focus on one topic that is important to your defined prospect.

  • Write for scanability.  Reading habits have changed. People scan pages looking for information that is relevant to their interest. Use descriptive subheads to help people hone in on the subjects that matter to them.

  • Use graphics. Help your reader "see" what you are writing about. Visual clues, like icons, can help the reader find applicable content just like subheads. Have fun with it -- your readers probably have a sense of humor, too.

  • Call out important numbers. Big charts are impressive and show you have done your homework, but can be hard to comprehend quickly. Highlight important findings to guide your reader.

  • Keep it short. Whitepapers don't have to be long to be valuable.

Educate, Don't Sell
Since the purpose of the whitepaper is to educate your reader, the content is clearly the most important factor. Tell your reader that you understand the problem he or she is facing and then explain the solution. Keep it simple and keep it educational.

Take a New Approach
Now the fun part. Once you have your content, you can focus on presentation. Some of the new approaches to whitepaper design include:

  • Use PowerPoint as the medium. If you can really abbreviate your message, PowerPoint can be a very effective way to present the information.

  • Think about wide-screen users. For people who are reading documents on their desktop or laptop, a landscape-formatted document takes less scrolling than portrait.  Don't go more than 100 characters per line for readability, though. Use the wide margin for quotes and graphs.

  • Add infographics. Mix in graphic depictions of the information you are presenting to add interest. Excel is a great tool for making engaging charts and graphs.

Whitepapers can be valuable components in your marketing content arsenal. Compelling evidence for your prospects, they set you apart as an expert. Without any whitepaper police to worry you, the possibilities are limitless.

How are you using whitepapers to demonstrate your expertise? Add a comment below, or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


System Evaluation Series, Part 6: The Flawed Foundation of Data Integrity

Last week, the conversation with "Dave," who is guiding us through the business management system evaluation for his manufacturing company, took a different turn. Data integrity, in terms of both the present and the future, has come to the forefront as a foundational challenge the business must address.

On the surface, data integrity may not sound like a subject pertinent to a marketing advice blog. But as a fundamental problem that every company struggles with, data integrity is a message (mostly painful) of interest to every business decision maker.

Threats, Costs and Pyramids
As Dave was working with the system evaluation team and vendors, he started thinking about business data, information systems and processes in a different light. He developed a pyramid to help the evaluation team put data and systems in perspective.

The pyramid is composed of three tiers:

  • Bottom: "Data integrity, navigation and screen configuration issues."
  • Middle: "Process information flow and integration issues."
  • Top: "Strategic issues including future revenue streams, business models, governance and intelligence."

Dave sees both the "Threat to the Organization" and the "Cost to Solve" as increasing from bottom to top.

To guide the understanding of the application of the pyramid to the evaluation process, Dave made observations on the importance of each of the tiers:

  • "We have to solve the lower level [data integrity] of the pyramid regardless of software package or we will simply move the problem around."
  • "The middle [process and integration] problems can be solved in a number of different ways."
  • "Talking and understanding more about the top of the pyramid [business strategy] will heavily influence how the middle gets solved."

The Foundation of Data Integrity
Regardless of the direction that the company goes, the bottom tier issues of data integrity, navigation and screen configuration have to be addressed for the company to really improve operations. Every partner can relate to these challenges based on their years of data migration work. Garbage in, garbage out.

Dave's plan to deal with the issue is to define a new role and hire a document control specialist whose sole purpose will be governance of data for their information systems. As Dave noted, "In my mind, it's one of the hidden opportunities. When you have a 12-and-a-half million dollar payroll, how much of those employees' time is wasted because they can't find things? If you look at the cost of a $70,000 information governance specialist to keep information where is it supposed to be...it's a bargain."

Many companies deal with the data integrity issue at migration time and depend on hope and the new system to keep it clean. As data and its importance to business strategy continues to expand, the opportunity to help customers plan for information governance grows.

Lessons Learned
Understanding the buying process is the first step in building meaningful marketing content to educate and support prospects. Data integrity and data governance aren't as fun to talk about as the latest functionality in SharePoint or CRM, but they are a vexing -- and often ignored -- problem for every business decision maker.

Get the attention of managers with content that lets them know that they are not alone -- everyone shares the problem -- and that you can help them find a solution with:

  • a page on your Web site dedicated to data integrity and governance best practices,
  • an article or whitepaper on managing data (the title could be "Why Bad Data Happens to Good Companies"), or
  • a slide in your PowerPoint titled "Is Bad Data Causing You Trouble?" that will have prospects nodding in agreement.

How do you educate prospects on the importance of data quality? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

More from This Series:

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


Earning Microsoft's Attention Pays Off for Cloud Partner

For partners with few employees and limited sales, getting any attention from Microsoft to help with marketing or sales efforts seems impossible. In any forum that includes both Microsoft partners and Microsoft employees, the question of how smaller partners can get mindshare from Microsoft always comes up. One partner's success may provide an answer and some insight into the results engagement can bring.

On the Radar
With fewer than a dozen employees, Atlanta, Ga.-based RoseBud Technologies is definitely on the Microsoft radar -- and very intentionally so.

RoseBud was recently invited by Microsoft to Washington, D.C. to attend the SBA's National Small Business Week Conference, which recognizes outstanding small businesses from across the United States. The RoseBud team was able to connect with conference attendees in the Microsoft-sponsored lounge. "We got to meet the majority of the winners," said Greg Wartes, RoseBud Technologies' director of marketing. "Companies from a one-man shop to a 1,000-employee company who were coming to us to talk about the cloud. It was a very exciting conference."

Last week, Greg Treanor, vice president of RoseBud Technologies, was invited to share RoseBud's cloud experience with partners on Microsoft's Breadth Team East Region monthly call. This week, Treanor is headed to Redmond to tape a Microsoft Partner Network live feed session to talk about RoseBud's Intune practice success.

At every event and meeting, Treanor and Wartes meet more Microsoft employees who will think of them when they need an advocate...or have an opportunity. Treanor embraces and builds on the opportunities.

Reaching for the Cloud
Earlier this year, RoseBud achieved tier-three status in the Cloud Champions program. "In reaching that goal of tier-three, the Microsoft channel has increased their communication with us, funneling inbound calls and leads," Wartes said. "We are seeing great success with those leads, as well."

The new status is not the only reason that RoseBud has gained visibility. Treanor and Wartes have been committed for some time to keep an open line of communication with their regional business development manager and Microsoft Breadth Team, updating them with new wins. They actively look for opportunities to add value, suggesting programs or case studies.

"We make sure that we align ourselves with our Microsoft connections to help them be successful. We find out what areas they are being measured on and how we can help them achieve their numbers as well," Wartes said. "If they are successful, we will be successful, as well."

Filling the Pipeline, Consistently
As a small business, RoseBud has struggled with the same cyclical sales issues that most partners have. When business is slow, marketing gets turned up to build the pipeline. When those sales close, it gets so busy that all hands are needed on deck to deliver the services. Marketing stalls and when projects come to a close the pipeline is empty again.

The real benefit from the growing relationship with Microsoft has been the consistency in the pipeline. "We have more opportunities now than we have ever had," Treanor said. "Leads are coming into the pipeline because of our relationship with Microsoft. It's a much smoother ride.

"There's not a magic formula. Just like any long term relationship, you have to work on it. There were times when we were very frustrated, but we stuck with it," he continued. "It's paying dividends now and we feel very fortunate."

Talking to Treanor and Wartes, it is clear that they work to align their business model with Microsoft's strategic initiatives. They put effort into building long-term, personal relationships with Microsoft employees and they proactively communicate good news -- three good answers for the "How to get mindshare?" question.

How do you get Microsoft mindshare? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 15, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


System Evaluation Series, Part 5: The Decision Matrix

In our continuing series on the business system evaluation process, we are following a 200-person specialty equipment manufacturing company as it looks at new systems to support growth and international expansion. The company's head of operations, "Dave," has been gathering information from potential vendors and their existing solution partner. Now, the decisions get interesting.

The Decision Matrix
Dave created a Decision Matrix to guide the selection process for each of the options the company will evaluate. He considers this the first draft that will evolve as his team goes through the process.

"The questions themselves in the Decision Matrix are simplistic on the one hand, but they all support the three main economic drivers of our business," Dave explained. "The three criteria include...can we increase revenue, can we reduce operating costs and can we manage inventory more effectively."

Evaluating each of the solutions on the basis of those three primary business drivers will allow the company to quantify a return on the investment. For each business driver, Dave formulated underlying questions that address the specific components of the business.

In regard to the importance of user interface, Dave noted, "The user experience is part of it, but it is hard to quantify and could be a tie-breaker at the end. We want to be objective about the decision in terms of the business case."

The Questions
Dave's Decision Matrix is a four column table with column the headers "Category," "Question," "Answer" and "How and How Much." The categories are the critical business drivers identified by Dave and the related questions address business units and processes. The task of the evaluation team will be to fill in the "Answers" and the "How and How Much" columns for each of the solutions it considers.

Category 1: Can this increase revenue?        

  • Can this increase equipment sales?
  • Can this increase parts sales?
  • Can this increase service sales?
  • Can this increase dealer equipment sales?
  • Can this lead to better marketing decisions that lead to increases in sales?

Category 2: Can this reduce operating costs/cost of goods sold?      

  • Can this reduce freight costs?
  • Can this reduce training costs?
  • Can this reduce labor hours per machine built?
  • Can this reduce labor for manufacturing parts?
  • Can this support growth without more people?
  • Can this lead to fewer stock-outs of parts in both production and parts sales?
  • Can this lead to fewer shipping errors?
  • Can this lead to fewer production errors?
  • Can this lead to less employee turnover?
  • Can this lead to improved employee productivity?

Category 3: Can this reduce or manage inventory more effectively?              

  • Can this safely reduce parts inventories required to support sales while maintaining service levels?
  • Can this reduce the number of stock-out situations?
  • Can this streamline branch resupply processes?
  • Can this improve the effectiveness of purchasing activities?
  • Can this improve customer service with improved inventory information?

Over the coming weeks, the evaluation team will work through its options and the answers to the questions. Dave points out the questions will help keep the team focused on the objective measurement of the solutions.

Lessons Learned
The Decision Matrix offers many practical lessons for sales and marketing professionals to make your marketing more effective, including:

  • Web site text guidance: For those partners targeting the distribution, manufacturing or rental market, compare your Web site text to the Decision Matrix questions. Do you answer all of them?

  • Prospect perspective: No matter what market you serve, the list of questions is a great primer for any sales or marketing person on the client perspective. When you are communicating with your prospects, think about the questions that are on their list. First, try to find out what those questions are. Second, be ready to answer.

  • Content targeting decision driver: For each market you target, create a list of the primary business drivers for that industry. Focus the content of your Web site, blog posts, whitepapers and infographics on those drivers. Explain in simple, non-technical terms how you can improve business outcomes based on those drivers.

How have you defined your target market business drivers? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

Next Installment: Threats, Costs and Pyramids

More from This Series:

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 07, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


5 Things That Should Not Be on Your Web Site

It's tough to find the time to update your Web site. "Out of sight, out of mind," the saying goes. But you could be losing opportunities to your competition because your Web site has become dated.

There are lots of factors that can contribute to a Web site looking out of date, but here's a list of the top five that you should fix right away. 

1. Technical Content on Your Home Page
Companies are changing the way they evaluate and purchase technology. IT departments aren't the only ones making the system decisions any more. Business decision makers are often taking the lead to find the technology that solves their business issues.

If your Web site was written to impress IT decision makers with your technical expertise, it may be time to revisit. Solving business problems should be the focus of your content. The content on your home page should be inviting and approachable for non-technical people.

If your technical expertise is your market differentiator, add a blog to your Web site. Regular posts by your technical team will keep content fresh as well as help with search ranking. Do call out and link to the blog on your home page.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you have any text like "Our experienced professionals will evaluate your systems to provide innovative and effective solutions," change it. Clearly describe what you do in specific, non-technical terms. When in doubt, ask a friend who is not in the technology business to look at your site and give you honest feedback. Do they understand what you do?

2. Dated Collateral
Does the solutions listing on your company collateral predate Windows 7? Probably time to fix that. Company overviews and solution brochures should be updated at least once a year. Case studies on 2003 upgrades probably aren't going to impress anyone looking to upgrade today. Take the opportunity to schedule an upgrade for those case study customers so you can update their success stories.   

3. 1990-Era Stock Photos
Stock photos are bad enough. Old stock photos of an executive holding a clunky phone or two people looking at a three-inch-thick laptop may make your Web site visitors smile, but they probably won't call you. 

4. Old Partner Logos
Microsoft has nicely asked you to update the partner logos on your site. It's time. Actually, it's past time. And it's good motivation to update all vendor and partner logos as well as add new ones. If you are a member of IAMCP or any other professional organizations, post them prominently on your site.

5. Complex Contact Forms
How easy is it for someone to contact you?  Do they have to fill out a form telling you their name, their company, their industry, their budget and why they want to talk to you? Would you fill out all those fields? They won't either.

Summer is a great time to hire a student intern to go through your Web site and clean things up. You'll be helping the economy and your business.

How do you keep content fresh on your Web site? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 31, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


System Evaluation Series, Part 4: The Vertical Approach

In this series, we are following the journey of a 200-person specialty equipment manufacturing company as it evaluates new business management systems. In the past several weeks, the company revisited its existing system and begun the process of identifying primary pain points. They also scheduled an on-site day-long demonstration of an industry focused solution.

The Vertical Advantage
At an industry trade show in January, Dave, the leader of the evaluation process, talked to an IT solutions company dedicated to equipment dealers. In February, the vendor delivered an online demo to a large group of users to determine if the solution was a potential fit.

What impressed the evaluation team's members the most was how the solution mirrored their process flows and operations. From familiar field names to identifying common bottlenecks, the equipment dealer solution immediately appealed to the users.  

From end to end, the vendor is focused on their market. Its Web site is fully dedicated to the business managers of equipment dealers. "They do not market to IT departments," Dave noted. "They are specifically focused on managers and functional users such as parts and service personnel."

The Technology Is Not the Point
One of the things that Dave found refreshing in the approach of the equipment dealer software vendor was that the underlying technology was not the lead. As we noted in the first installment of this series, the company we are following is a Microsoft-centric company. Still, business benefit is what is driving the system evaluation process -- not technology.

Microsoft partners may want to evaluate how much they rely on the Microsoft technology message in their marketing and sales process. Competition with SaaS vendors will continue to erode the importance of the technology message.

The Target Market
As a follow-up to the first successful demo, the equipment rental solution provider was invited for a full day on-site demonstration. The two representatives immediately connected with managers and users, showing familiar navigation, processes and workflows.

Dave said, "Feedback from everyone that viewed the system was very positive. It has 95 percent of what we need already built, including the BI cubes that relate to our business."

Lessons Learned
Microsoft clearly endorses (perhaps an understatement) the vertical approach for partners. There is no doubt that marketing a vertical solution delivers more results for dollars spent. But partners still fear losing the potential of the broader market if they focus. It's a frightening leap for partners.

The other clear lesson from this story is that marketing and sales messaging should address the business benefits rather than the technology. Those business benefits should be targeted and delivered to the people whose roles are most impacted by aging and ineffective systems. The days of IT departments leading all technology decisions are over.

Next Installment: The Decision Matrix
Even though the evaluation team and users are impressed with the equipment rental solution, the decision is far from made. The build-versus-buy option is still on the table, as well as retaining the current system.

Dave has developed a Decision Matrix to give the evaluation team a method to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the business management solutions they are considering.  We'll take a look at that process next time.

Are you finding success with vertical solutions? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

More from This Series:

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


5 Ways To Show Customers You Care

You appreciate your current customers, but when was the last time you told them? As the economy and your business improve, it's easy to forget how important each of your existing clients has been to your success.

Make it a priority to regularly thank your customers. Here are some ideas:

  1. A phone call or handwritten note: Simple. Surprising. Effective.

  2. Coupons: How many times have you seen a business offer a coupon that is only good on your first order? Why reward strangers when the people who have done business with you for years get nothing? Doesn't make much sense. 

    Delight your customers with a coupon for services or a free software license. Let them know that their business is just as important to you as attracting new customers.

  3. Customer success stories: When was the last time you wrote a case study about one of your customers? Case studies are great content for your Web site, subjects for your blog posts and recognition for your clients. Commit to a schedule, like one case study each quarter -- and stick to it.

    Case studies don't have to be long; one side of one page is plenty. Tell the story simply with a description of the customer's problem and your solution. Focus on the business benefit, not the technology.

  4. Free planning session: By staying involved with your customer's plans, you position yourself as a true partner rather than just a vendor. Planning sessions don't have to be at the end or the beginning of the year. Summer can be a great time to suggest planning sessions for some seasonal customers, like retailers and schools. 

     
  5. Networking event: You probably have customers who share many of the same challenges. Why not facilitate the opportunity for them to connect? Sponsor a happy hour or dinner for a small group of IT managers or CFOs to help them share ideas and position yourself as an advocate.

    A side benefit of the networking event is the opportunity to educate yourself on issues that affect these customers. By finding solutions, you can expand service offerings to meet the needs.

As your business picks up, don't forget to thank the customers who helped you keep the doors open during the tough times. Don't let the excitement of winning new clients take the focus off maintaining long-term client relationships.

How do you show clients that you care? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge. 

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 16, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


System Evaluation Series, Part 3: The Cost of Ignoring Your Customers

In this installment of our continuing series following "Dave" and his evaluation team as they define their five-year technology roadmap, we're going to take a step back to learn a valuable lesson.

The Value of System Review
As part of the evaluation process, Dave engaged his team's solution partner to perform a paid review of the current Syspro system.

Dave was skeptical about the review. Since the original implementation, the solution partner had been silent. An invoice for the annual maintenance agreement was the full extent of communication. "If we treated our customers the way most IT partners treat their customers, we would be out of business," Dave noted.

Based on Dave's experience with IT vendors he believes that they place too much emphasis on the technical solution and not enough on the business value. "I would gladly pay for a tune-up every now and again to make sure the system is being used to our greatest advantage," Dave said.

'I Wish I Had Known'
The system review went better than expected. The two-person team spent three days working with system users to observe how they were using the system and help them solve specific challenges.

"We found out we were being our own worst enemy," Dave observed. "We were not using the system as it was designed." The Syspro partner team fixed navigation issues, corrected problem data practices and suggested a number of small steps that will make a huge improvement in the company's use of the current system. Improvements worth the cost of the engagement -- even without the system review report.

The most common reaction to the guidance of the Syspro partner team was: "I wish I had known about this sooner." To the Syspro partner's credit, they acknowledged their oversight in follow-through and committed to change.

Lessons Learned
The primary lesson here is pretty self-evident. No matter what kind of technology you provide to your customers -- from managed services to ERP to training -- ask your clients how it's working for them. If you don't set up a systematic way for that question to get asked regularly, it won't happen.

Create and schedule an action plan to connect with your customers regularly and ask how they are doing. Different clients need different levels of attention. Segment your customers to align the right level of investment into keeping relationships going. 

Based on their purchases or system value, tier your clients and build your customer relationship plan. For example:

  • Top 20 percent of customers: Assign a client account manager to schedule quarterly or annual system reviews with the client and your solution architect.

  • Next 40 percent: Assign a client account manager or consultant to call each customer at least once a year. "I am calling to see how Dynamics (Lync, training, IT services) is working out for you. Are there any ways the system could work better for you?"

  • Last 40 percent: Send a personal e-mail asking about their system as well as an invitation to a webinar to learn about how new releases can build value in their business.

These touches should be in addition to a monthly e-mail newsletter which always includes an easy way for them to contact you with questions.

Next Up: The Decision Matrix
Dave is developing a decision matrix to help the evaluation team weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the business management solutions they are considering.  In the next installment, we'll see how the company will prioritize and select.

How do you give your current customers the attention they deserve? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

More from This Series:

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 10, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments


Get (the Right Kind of) Attention from Journalists

Last month, Scott Bekker, Redmond Channel Partner's editor in chief, was invited to share his expert advice on media relations with the D.C. chapter of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP). The Internet may have made it easier to publish a press release, but harder to stand out from the crowd. Bekker's audience --which included MSPs, Dynamics partners, learning and break/fix partners -- learned valuable lessons to help them get noticed.

Why Don't Journalists Respond to Your Press Release?
Bekker delivered an eye-opening introduction explaining why it's so difficult to get attention from the press for the stories that you think would appeal to a broad audience. Two factors are primarily to blame, according to Bekker. "One, people want to read bad news," he said. "Two, time pressure on editors is becoming more intense as they take on more responsibility for writing and curating online content."

Since bad news is probably not the way you want to attract the media's attention, the second issue is where the opportunity lies.

What Can You Do To Get Noticed?
Treat media relations the same as you do customer marketing, Bekker advised. As we've said previously in this blog, building relationships is a continuous process and applies to customers and journalists. Consistently touching your target audience to educate them on the benefits you can deliver is the key to success with marketing and with media relations.

Journalists, just like customers, may not respond to your e-mail the first time or even the tenth time. But when the time comes that they need what you have to offer, they will remember you.

And just as you do with prospective customers, identify the journalists you think would be helpful to your business and concentrate on them.  Sending mass-distributed press releases to publications that don't serve your markets is a waste of time and energy. Focus your PR efforts on the industries you serve and the publications that your customers read.

Help Journalists Build Content
Journalists are in the business of delivering meaningful content to their target audience -- they are always looking for good material. Build your relationship with journalists by helping them identify interesting stories and write great content. You efforts will be appreciated and likely rewarded.

Bekker had several specific suggestions for ways to connect with your target journalists:

  • Comment on blogs or articles using your full name and company name.
  • Follow on Twitter, reply and re-Tweet entries.
  • When you send a news release, include a blog post the journalist can use.

Keep in mind that your focus should be on helping the journalist, not just helping yourself. Send an e-mail asking what stories are coming up. Respond with suggestions about how you could contribute to the story.

It all comes down to journalists being people, working with limited resources, who can use all the help they can get. As you build your relationship with the journalist, you'll be rewarded with exposure.

How has PR helped your business? Add a comment below, or e-mail me and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 03, 2012 at 11:57 AM0 comments