Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Getting Articles Published- Eight Steps for Trade Publications

Trade publications present an excellent opportunity for organisations to gain thousands of dollars worth of free publicity by having articles published. As they are regularly looking for articles to fill space and they are often used as a forum to promote new products or services to specific audiences. In addition to this trade publications are often tailored to specific markets and widely read, offering a tailored communication channel.

Here are 8 Steps to get your articles published:

1. Research

Thoroughly research what publications are available on the market that might be interested in using your article. A media guide such as Margaret Gee's Guide to Australian Media will provide you with the relevant contact details of editors. Take into account how often the publication goes to print; it’s audience and circulation. Also take note of specific journalists who cover stories similar to the one you would like printed. Some publication designate areas of expertise to journalists, by targeting to right journalist, you may have greater odds of being printed.

2. Be prepared

Prior to making contact with the publication prepare a script of what you are going to say to the editors when you call. Ask questions like what their word limit is, do they pay for contributions and do they have any specific requirements for your article? Ask for their policy on reprints for marketing purposes. It is also important to emphasise that you will tailor your article to suit their specific publication. Remember the initial phone establishes the relationship, be professional but approachable.

3. Be involved

It is often handy to read the publication that you intend to contribute articles to, so that you can assess the style and format of the publication. They may ask for a synopsis of the article so pre-prepare these and keep them short. Just a taste of what's in the full article. Being actively involved and prepared shows you are interested, often journalists work to strict deadlines and do not have time available to wait.

4. Prepare Your Article

Research and write your article so that it suits the style and format of the publication that you intend to use. Incorporate your key messages and package them well to capture the editor and readers attention.

5. Use Examples

If possible include examples or a case study that contains information relevant to the trade publication's readership. A real-life story livens up facts and makes the article more personal.

6. Check And Re-check

Give your article to a second and possibly a third party to be sub-edited. This allows for mistakes/typos to be found and changes to be made to your content. Spelling or grammatical errors show lack of attention and may be disregarded by the editor or journalist.

7. Submit and Co-operate

Submit your article to the editor of the publication with an attached note advising him/her that you are willing to make any editorial changes that they might find necessary. Remember to be flexible. Often a 500-word article may be cut to 300 words due to space concerns. It is more important to be certain your message goes out in the 300 words then be upset.

8. Follow Up and Feedback

Follow up with the editor to get their feedback on the article after it's been published. Ask what worked well and worked can be improved? What sort of response did they get from readers? Ask if you can send other articles in the future. Ask for complimentary copies of their publication to be sent to you to build your published article file. Establish a relationship for future efforts.

To find out more visit our website www.8mmedia.com.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Asian Media Relations- Increase Your Profile and Image in China

China's media is booming creating opportunities for marketing-savvy businesses. But many companies have little understanding of how to harness the power of the media in the world's most populous country.

The following are ten points to consider when embarking on a media relations strategy in the Chinese market and identifying with the Chinese media.

1. Understand cultural differences.

Be sensitive to local communities and understand the complex and varied structures of the Chinese media. They are not uniform and often controlled at a local, provincial and national level. Improve your cultural literacy by understanding the culture and history of those you're doing business with. Respect these differences and don't impose your own values and perceptions on how the local media should treat you. Never make assumptions, do your research.

2. Use a local spokesperson.

Depending on the news value of the story, you will have a better chance of gaining media coverage the more Chinese you make your message. Using a local spokesperson will give you greater credibility. For example in PR campaigns for Nokia and IBM in China, they use local Chairmen who are Chinese because they are well respected and have deep Chinese roots.

3. Know your point of difference - what you do in your own backyard you also have to do in new markets.

Find out what makes you or your service or product unique in the Chinese marketplace? How will it stand out from the competition. In the past cultural differences have been used as an excuse for dubious practices not acceptable back home. This has changed. Be accountable as your actions will automatically be associated with your company’s offices regardless of their location.

4. Clarify your communication objectives?

What do you want to achieve? To inform or entertain? To provide information? To build a profile? To influence public opinion? Personal marketing? Marketing or launching a new product or service? How will cultural diversity and differing news values influence this?

News values differ in China. Often issues will be reported one or two days later and not with the urgency or timeliness of the Western media. By understanding your objectives you are more able to set tasks to achieve them accurately and will gain a better understanding of the processes involved.

5. Define your target audience?

Who is your target audience? General public? Customers? Competitors? Suppliers? What age are they, what level of education, what beliefs and values, geographical location, how do they use the local Chinese media? How credible is the media your target audience uses? Does it still have credibility even though it is controlled?

The media is evolving and becoming more respected. Never assume similarities between similar markets in different countries, do your research, this not only helps define your objectives but offers cultural insight.

6. Identify the best channels of communication.

What is the best way to reach your target audience? TV, Radio, Internet, newspapers - local or national? Do your homework on how news is structured and gathered. Investigate who is reporting on what. Find out the nuances. TV has the highest penetration, while the Internet is growing amongst younger Chinese. Each market will be different and it is important to be specific and focused on these individually as well as collectively.

7. What is your key message?

The media is becoming more competitive and market driven. They need readers and viewers to stay viable in the new economy. How can you make your message appealing and newsworthy? Distil what you want to say into three key points.

Always check translations of media releases. Have them retranslated back into English to check for accuracy. Be careful with tenses and cultural influence particularly when using humour.

8. Build your case.

When building your case look for the China angle. What are the features, advantages and benefits of your message for your Chinese targets? What evidence do you have that is seen as credible and independent within their cultural belief system? Always use a local angle, even for an international venture.

9. What is the China hook?

What will make your message or news release stand out from the rest and appeal to the values of Chinese journalists? You are not successful in China until the local market tells you. Giving money to Chinese journalists is no longer acceptable.

Use more legal andethical incentives such as providing transport, lunch or a gift or souvenir item. This isn’t to be used as a bribe however, rather a hook, something to capture their interest and should be mutually beneficial.

10. Develop long-term relationships with the media.

Visit and meet journalists face to face. Network, get to know them and involve them in the story. There is now a focus on the interactive brand experience. For example in one successful mobile phone campaign local journalists were involved in trialing the product prior to launch. They were asked for their feedback and engaged proactively in its development providing them with ownership of the product and subsequent story. Relationships and personal connections, or guanxi, are very important in China and especially so in cultivating good media contacts.

Find out more at our website www.8mmedia.com.

Monday, August 29, 2005

THE FESTIVE SEASON- YOUR NETWORKING OPPORTUNITY

The festive season is a great time to sharpen and hone your networking skills. There is not a better time to start building long-term business relationships. Christmas offers a chance to meet new people in a relaxed a social atmosphere whilst maintaining a professional relationship level.

However it is important to uphold your professionalism to make optimum use of the networking opportunities.
Ten common mistakes people make when networking over the festive season include;

1. Not Planning Prior to the Event

Work out what you want to achieve from going to the festive event. Is it just to relax, have fun and unwind after a busy year? Is it to say thank you to your clients, meet new people or build long-term relationships? Your approach will differ in all these situations. Have a plan prior to attending the event and try to reach set goals. An example might be to obtain three new key contacts or to reaffirm an existing relationship.

2. Running Out of Business Cards

There is nothing more embarrassing or unprofessional then someone asking you for a business card and you can't produce one. Always carry too many rather than too few. Being prepared gives you more confidence and entrusts confidence when developing new relationships. Remember your business card is an effective tool to very easily convey contact information and its exchange may initiate of a long-term valuable relationship.

3. Sticking to People You Know

Make a goal to meet five new people at an event. Don't try and meet everyone of the 100 or so people at an event. Making a lasting impression with a few rather than a shallow interaction with many is far more beneficial.

4. Meeting People You Know First

Most people have a great fear of walking into a room full of people they don't know. See this as a challenge rather than a handicap and avoid going for the easy option of meeting people you know well first. Certainly, acknowledge these people but leave them until the end of the function to catch up with. This will maximise your chances of meeting new people.

5. Talking Too Much

Avoid talking too much about yourself. This is probably the biggest turn-off for prospective clients or alliance partners.

6. Not Listening

Business is all about providing solutions to people's problems. How can you understand their problems if you don't ask questions and listen. Use active listening skills to build rapport and gain a true understanding of their issues and concerns.

7. Hard Sell

Networking events are your opportunity to develop relationships. Avoid the hard-sell and get to know the person you are speaking with. Once the relationship has been established the business will come. Initial hard selling may have the opposite effect and drive the person away.

8. Lack of Clarity

Many people have a lack of clarity in what they do. Research shows that 95% of business people are often asked, particularly at networking function “what do you do?”

Many have difficulty articulating what they do, particularly in conveying the benefits of their position to a prospective client. Having a 'personal branding statement' (PBS) really helps in this situation. It helps to clarify how you or your business can solve their problems and takes all the stress out of answering this question!

9. Over Indulgence

As with all aspects of life behave appropriately and in moderation. This includes limiting consumption of alcohol to an acceptable level and being mindful when introducing yourself to people. Remember you are a professional representing your company regardless of the situation or time of year. Respect those around you and your personal and professional responsibilities.


10. Not Following Up

Many people simply fail to follow-up on the prospects or business leads they meet at festive networking events. Put in place a system to follow-up, otherwise many of your networking efforts will be wasted. This can be as simple as an email or phone call to acknowledge your interaction and does not have to be business related. A relationship which might not seem to be initially good for your business may lead to you being referred on, one of the strongest marketing tools used to generate more business.

For more networking tips visit www.8mmedia.com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

2005 Maximising Marketing Effort

Networking- Characteristics Of A Strong Personal Brand

How many times have you been at a networking function and been lost for words when asked "what do you do?"

We all have.

But do you see this as a threat or an opportunity?

Developing a Personal Branding Statement or PBS can be a powerful way to help market yourself to prospects, clients or potential employers.

Here are 8 characteristics of a strong personal brand:

1. WOW factor.

It must be memorable with high recall. Hearing it makes people say 'WOW that's interesting ...... tell me more'. Be truthful, accentuate interesting or key parts of your role without fabricating the facts.

2. 10 words or less.

The fewer words the more powerful it will be. Often a strong summary will work for all networking functions. However tailor your spiel for the conversation, people will be more interested in something they recognise.

3. Focus on benefits.

The statement should address the age old marketing question 'What's in it for me', known as the WIIFM.

4. It should reflect your values, beliefs and personal mission in life rather then just a profession.

Be passionate about what you do and relay this in your message.

5. Saying it should give the impression of confidence and energy.

6. Use it as a 'Teaser'.

Don't tell the whole story - think of the analogy of a newspaper, radio or TV headline encouraging the target audience to want to find out more. The questions generated by your opening spiel should act to direct the explanation to the person’s needs. Let them identify areas they are interested in rather then covering it all.

7. Positioning.

Marketing is all about positioning - use it to position and differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

8. Be flexible.

Slogans, brand names and themes change over time and in different situations. Change it to fit your market, interests and career aspirations. Know enough about what you do to be confident and flexible, uncertainty can portray distrust or other negative implications.

Find out more at www.8mmedia.com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Budget Marketing- Managing Your Marketing Money Wisely!

There's a saying that half of all marketing efforts are wasted, but its impossible to tell which half!
I know from hard won experience how easy it is to waste money on marketing.
When I first set up my own business in 1998, I spent tens of thousands of dollars employing the best graphic designer and printing a great glossy brochure.
The feedback was 'Tom, that's one of the best glossy brochures I've seen!'
ut did it get me customers and help build my business? No! It was a pure ego trip.
Now I know better.
Most marketing efforts are done for purely ego reasons alone and almost all fail to live up to expectations.So what can you do about it?I believe the best marketing campaigns are built not on glossy brochures or expensive TV advertising but on understanding the needs and wants of consumers and then providing solutions to these needs and wants.

Much of this is done by building powerful personal relationships and using the media to create awareness, credibility and trust in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Here are the Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Spending Another Cent on Marketing and help solve that perennial question of how NOT to waste half your marketing efforts!

1. WHAT AM I TRYING TO ACHIEVE?

Always start with an objective in mind. Is it to attract new customers in a start-up phase or retain long-term loyal customers? The marketing tools and tactics for each of these questions will be vastly different. Remember to set SMART Goals.
=> Specific
=> Measurable
=> Attractive
=> Realistic
=> Time-framed

2. WHO IS MY BROAD MARKET?

Who exactly are you trying to target? The more you can find out about them the better. What industry do they work in, what is their level of education and income, what are their values and beliefs and where do they live are just a couple for questions to consider.

3. WHO IS MY SPECIFIC TARGET MARKET?

If you have a broad market try and segment it down. The more specific you can be the better. Think of the best way to eat a delicious and juicy orange. You must carefully peel away the astringent protective skin of the orange. Inside is the juicy flesh. When you have done this, carefully separate each segment without spilling a drop of juice.
Take time to examine and focus on each market segment based on a range of different wants and needs. Regardless of size, each target market must be treated with precision and respect.

4. WHAT IS MY NICHE?

I heard a great saying from fellow speaker Maree Wrack recently. "Provide the fruit, not the whole supermarket!".
Focus on your strengths and deliver this product or service really well.

5. WHAT PROBLEM CAN I SOLVE?

I believe running a successful business is pretty simple. As Bill Clinton said 'most of the big things in life are simple'. Being in business is about finding out about people's problems and then providing a solution for them.Whether you are running a multi-million dollar enterprise or a business from home, the principles are the same.

6. WHAT MAKES MY SOLUTION UNIQUE?

What is it that makes your solution to a problem unique? Is it different from all the other possible solutions in the marketplace? This is commonly known as a 'Unique Selling Proposition' or USP.
Identifying your USP helps to define your marketing strengths and identify markets.

7. HOW DO I REACH MY TARGET MARKET?

What is the best way to reach your target audience? How do they get their information? Is it worth of mouth, personal referrals or through the media?

8. HOW WILL I DELIVER THE SOLUTION?

What is the best way to deliver the business solution? What are the best and most cost effective distribution channels for my product or service?
The channel chosen to communicate your message can define expense and effectiveness. Be realistic and savvy, make optimum use of your budget without cutting corners.

9. HOW MUCH WILL I CHARGE?

Pricing is a very sensitive issue. Do you want to position your product or service as a low cost, high volume business or high value, exclusive and expensive. Make well informed, long term decisions keeping in mind your company’s needs and those of your target market.

10. HOW WILL I RETAIN EXISTING CUSTOMERS?

It is more expensive to attract new customers than service existing ones. The research shows that if you increase repeat business by 5 per cent you can increase your profitability by more than 35 per cent. How will you keep and retain existing customers?
Create a structured model to follow for all clients and keep this is a high priority.

Find out more at www.8mmedia.com.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Integrity and Marketing- Finding the Right Balance

When marketing themselves to leads and prospects there are five common mistakes people make, all which can be easily avoided by finding the right balance to maintain your personal and professional integrity in all pursuits.

Five common mistakes many people make are;

1. Talking too much.
Enthusiasm sells! But don't talk too much about yourself - focus on your prospects needs and wants and how you can solve their problems.

2. Not listening.
All good marketers have exceptional listening skills. Be an active not a passive listener. Ask plenty of questions to find out what problems your client has so you can provide a solution.

3. Hard sell.
Even in desperate times always avoid a hard sell approach. Ignoring the needs of the client or your own company can have long term effects and result in the loss of potential work both immediately and in the future.

Always market the benefits - the "What's In It for ME" approach really does work and is better than purely focusing on selling the features.

4. Lack of clarity.
It is a competitive market out there and you need to focus on your UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION. What is it that makes you, your service or product unique anddifferent from others? Once you have identified this you have your strongest selling point, and the focus of your marketing campaigns.

5. Distractions.
Life is really busy. Some people are too busy and easily distracted from the main game.Learn as much as you can about setting goals, writing them down and working out on a daily basis the important tasks to do. It's called time and priority management and is a hallmark of successful people.

Remember the "3 D's - Do It, Dump It or Delegate It" and if your life or your job depends on it - then it is a Must-do "A" priority, the rest can wait. Focus is a powerful thing.

Find out more on our website www.8mmedia.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Turbo-Charge Your Viral Marketing- Five Easy Ways

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

The world of marketing has changed. With increasingly better educated and more skeptical consumers, marketing methods must be increasingly accountable.

Questions being asked by CEOs and business owners from the largest companies through to the smallest solo operators include:
· How can you be more confident about your ability to quantify your return on your marketing investment?
· How can you prove the effectiveness of your marketing?
· How can you define, measure and take action on your return on investment?
· How can you match your marketing to meet your corporate goals and expectations?
· How can you predict what would happen to sales if the marketing budget were cut?
· How can you forecast the impact of your marketing program on your sales?
· How can you integrate modern marketing methods into your existing marketing plans?
· How can you convince your boss that marketing does deliver measurable results?
· How can you convince your boss to increase and not decrease your marketing budget?

One of the emerging tools that answers these questions is viral marketing. Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence

Word of mouth marketing and personal referrals or recommendations from peers are the most powerful marketing tools. Email and the Internet have extended this by providing technology that induces Web sites or users to pass on a marketing message to other sites or users, creating a potentially exponential growth in the message's visibility and effect.

A sort of word of mouse!

And this is easily measured through using web statistics and sales data. So how do you get results by your customers, clients, subscribers or program members promoting your service for you?

Here are five easy ways to turbo-charge your viral marketing efforts and quickly spread enthusiasm about your product or service.

1. Collaborate With Thought-leaders In Select "Communities" of Influence

The more influential the group and aligned with your target market, the more likely you are to have success. This requires research, communication and understanding of your target market and affiliated, or potentially affiliated, businesses.

2. Offer An Incentive

Most people are motivated by rational self-interest. Offer something they really want like a holiday, free knowledge or education, discounts, or package deals. Just as your company will benefit from their involvement, offer a benefit in return.

3. Follow-up With A Personal Approach

Relationships are always strengthened by personal interaction. Often your emailed expression of interest or offer may be one of thousands received daily by a company. A follow up phone-call or meeting will develop a more personal relationship and strengthen your company's involvement. This also allows time to negotiate with the company directly and better identify with their needs.

4. Make It Immediate

Viral marketing works when you consider news values such as drama, consequence and immediacy. Be aware of what's happening in the community and the world and try to tie in with recent dramas.

An example of effective viral marketing in the wake of the London bombings is demonstrated by the following email widely distributed around the world:

"Hi All,
Don't usually forward emails but thought this may be a good idea.
Following the disaster in London . . .
East Anglican Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of Emergency (ICE ) " campaign with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston.
The idea is that you store the word " I C E " in your mobile phone Address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency".
In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them.
It's so simple that everyone can do it. Please do.
Please will you also email this to everybody in your address book, it won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest.
For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc."
By acting on the incident, viral marketing has spread this message quickly, and cheaply, around the globe.

5. Make It Interesting To Create Buzz

We have become rather immune to a number of tactics commonly used to generate attention. Spam emails, free offers etc. are often overlooked in a sea of similar materials received daily. Always think outside the box in order to make and impact.

A good example of this is the recent US made TV commercial featuring Paris Hilton for a burger chain.

PR expert Don Crowther said recently "it cost the chain eight to ten million dollars to air the commercial, plus, probably another million or two in production, Paris's fees, and website production fees.

But what did it do for sales? Same store sales revenues at Carl's Jr. increased only 1.7%, at Hardee's just 0.7%.
Sounds like a great investment to me - Spend 8 to 12 million dollars, get back $1.1 million in sales."

On positive side Don adds "the ad has generated a significant amount of controversy, a reported 802% increase in web searches (though I seriously question how many people were coming to the Carl's Junior and Hardee's sites before...), 4 million hits on the spicyparis website, free showings on news shows, several petitions against it, and some franchisers refusing to run the ad.

So, unquestionably, it generated buzz."

Whether scandal, drama or incentives are being utilised it is important to capitalise in order to make your viral marketing effective, measurable and noticed.

For more information visit http://www.8mmedia.com/.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Effective Media Relations Tips- What To Do After The Media Interviews You!

Effective Media Relations Tips - What To Do After The Media Interviews You!

By Thomas Murrell MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

You've done all the hard work - prepared a media kit, engaged with a reporter and they've listened to your message and asked questions.
What now?
Well, effective media relations doesn't just stop once you have been interviewed.
There are many ways to leverage your media experiences to help build your brand, reputation and image management skills.
Here are five tips on what to do after the media has interviewed you.

1. Implement a Professional Media Monitoring Service

How will you know what media coverage you are getting if you don't monitor it?
Media monitoring collecting and evaluating all press featuring your company or industry. The media however can involve print press, radio, websites, TV and even blogs and it is wise to enlist a professional media monitoring service.

These services use keywords to search all media outlets and email summaries immediately to the company with links to the full articles. Often media monitors can break down searches to specific geographical areas. These services provide a far more precise and detailed evaluation of your company's media with less chance of missing something that has been published.

2. Analyse Your Quotes

After the story has been run analyse which quotes the reporter has used. Often a one-hour interview may result in just one or two key quotes being selected by the journalist. This offers an insight on the way the media operates and what journalists look for in interviews.

The more you understand how the media works, the more you can customise your message to what they want and the greater the chance of success in your comments being used by the media.

3. Understand What Quotes or Sound Bite Elements Were Used

Pay particular attention to exactly which quotes were used and how effective they were at relaying your message. This offers a personal insight into your own media techniques and can identify areas that require further attention and training. For example: simple, direct quotes are often favoured by the media. If a lot of the article has been paraphrased perhaps your messages were too long or confusing or weren't articulated well.

By combining your understanding of the quotes used, identifying areas of weakness in the interview and examining the workings of the media you will have a greater understanding and chance of stronger media relations in future interviews.

4. If You Like Your Quotes Re-use Them

Good quotes are like diamonds. They are often formed under intense pressure. They are valuable, unique and when polished, cut and set can really make you shine. If you've made the diamond and had it set, why not show it off as many times as possible.

If your quotes communicate your message well, re-use them again and again. Not only are they effective in relaying more message but have been approved for use by the media, that is they identify with what the media views as a "good" quote. It is more important to communicate your message confidently, clearly and consistently than it is to be original.

5. Never Get Angry or Trash The Media

If you get interviewed but not quoted, resist the temptation of trashing the newspaper, magazine or reporter and getting angry. Instead, analyse the quotes that were used by others and try to improve your message delivery so they could have been better crafted and therefore more likely to be used.

The quickest way to improve your knowledge in this important and growing area is to learn more about how to craft messages that even the most cynical reporter will want to use.

For more information visit www.8mmedia.com.