Category Archives: Insights

Far More than Press Releases: Our Public Relations Strategy Cycle

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For over 65 years, our agency has represented companies in a broad spectrum of b2b and b2c industries. Each company we represent has its own unique products, services and audiences to consider toward the goal of gaining media exposure.

But despite varying client products, services, audiences and goals, a turnkey mantra prevails: a proven, four-step PR methodology that – when combined with tried and true communications expertise and creativity – serves to eliminate guesswork, clearly define goals, and succinctly communicate the most important messages to their respective audiences.

With that, here’s a brief look at our public relations methodology:

Step 1: Analysis. At the inception of any public relations campaign, an honest and thorough assessment must be made of exactly what the product or service is, what it offers, who its primary and secondary audiences are and, most importantly, what makes it different from its competitors.

Is your widget the newest, fastest or most efficient? Is it a brand-new, sought-after invention that others have been trying to develop, but that you figured out first? A thoughtful and complete examination of what sets your product apart serves as the foundation upon which a solid PR campaign can be built.

Editors receive dozens of press releases, pitch letters, phone calls and e-newsletters each day. Amidst all the clutter, your differentiators help achieve a PR writer’s top goal: keep the reader reading.

Step #2: Planning. Now that we have our differentiators and a deep understanding of the client’s products and services, what are we going to do with it? We need to create a game plan.

A common misconception about PR professionals is that we sit around writing press releases all day. That’s not the case. Releases are a vital component in launching any new product or service, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous PR tools (pitch letters, photo captions, e-newsletters, bylined articles, case studies, feature stories, executive interviews, etc.) which usually stem from the information in the release.

Once we have the ammunition – in the form of pre-approved verbiage, executive insight and high-resolution photos – we can approach editors with varying needs from varying angles. Here, editorial calendars and outlet familiarity help PR professionals treat each publication individually; and in practice, the first-name relationships that we build with editors keep us and our clients top-of-mind. Like any solid business relationship, editors pay more attention to PR professionals with a history of providing information that is enticing to them and relevant to their readers.

Step #3: Creation. Materials creation – and the creativity the process demands – is the most subjective of the four steps. We know the messages, we’ve identified the tools. Now it’s time to do those steps justice by developing publicity materials that honor the diligence and foresight of our analysis and planning efforts.

PR writing can be a traditional inverted pyramid of facts… or it can engage readers through succinct, crisp language, starting a discussion that paves the way for meaningful editorial coverage. Photos can “look pretty good,” or they can be dynamic, exciting, and suitable for the needs of a wide swath of media outlets. Pitch letters can be solely composed of a product’s merits… or can take into consideration the wants and needs of a PR professional’s most important audience: editors, who serve as the conduit to our clients’ audiences.

Step #4: Distribution. The value of a complete, relevant and updated media list cannot be overstated. The foundation of the Distribution step is a client-specific – even product-specific – editorial list that has been extensively researched and continuously vetted. The work put into developing the best possible editorial list is key to taking full advantage of one of public relations’ most alluring attributes: PR isn’t pay for play.

Public relations is the yin to advertising’s yang – both are important counterbalancing components in a full-fledged marketing campaign. The media space that advertising occupies is sold; the editorial space that public relations seeks to occupy is not for sale. Money put toward advertising buys a defined, pre-determined amount of exposure; money put toward a public relations retainer fee does not include definite exposure or complete message control, but has one huge upside: PR has no ceiling.

A press release might be covered in five outlets… or it might be covered in 50. Two factors determine this outcome. They are, in order, strength of message and strength of editorial distribution practices.

The best media lists have not only the right publications, but also the right contacts (editors) at those publications. These lists are utilized not only via distribution en masse, but through one-on-one pitch letters and conversations that build new relationships and bolster existing ones. In all cases the list is a living, evolving entity that becomes the lifeblood of a communications campaign.

For decades, Turchette’s team of communications professionals has generated award-winning publicity for clients on the local, national and global stages. We utilize the potent “force multiplier” of public relations as a key pillar in any integrated marketing campaign. For more information on how a well-rounded public relations campaign can impact your business, give us a call at (973) 227-8080.

Q4 Marketing Plans

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With 2017 rapidly dissolving into its final quarter, now is the time for companies to look back on their marketing efforts with a critical eye on results.

• Did your brand stand out from the competition in 2017?
• Is your website optimized to generate leads?
• Did your trade media cover your company’s news?
• Are your salespeople armed with the smartest digital tools?

If you’d like to see some fresh thinking, a few new perspectives and perhaps a more comprehensive strategy for your brand in 2018, then call us today for a FREE 30-minute Consultation with our team. It doesn’t take a genius to find today’s best brand marketing, advertising and PR firm. Give us a call at 973-227-8080 and follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Which Platform is Best Suited to Meet Your Needs?

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When creating a new website, blog or inbound marketing program, many people immediately turn to WordPress. The software is free, it is extremely popular and can be customized inexpensively.  However, businesses that are serious about creating a truly well-rounded digital marketing platform for lead generation may want to consider HubSpot.  As with most things, the system you chose depends on your overall marketing objectives and budget.

WordPress is s a free website and blogging platform that allows you to get a website up and running with minimal investment.  According to WordPress, it is the most popular content management system (CMS) on the market and accounts for 28% of all websites on the internet.  It is the largest self-blogging tool in the world and over 60 million people have used it to power their online home.  It is a user-friendly, open source software supported by thousands of web developers with custom plugins, themes, and tools that can help you accomplish your inbound marketing goals.

HubSpot offers a wide array of products for marketing, sales and customer relationship management.  The platform is described as a content optimization system (COS), best known for its inbound marketing software for businesses.  HubSpot Marketing is a robust, all-in-one solution that allows you to build landing pages, create SEO-friendly blog posts, launch email marketing campaigns, track analytics and more – all from a single dashboard.  Since 2005, HubSpot boasts 30,000+ customers in 90 countries and 3400+ agency partners.  HubSpot offers CRM and sales software for free, but their marketing software (basic version) costs $200/month and their website builder “add-on” starts at $100/month. Read More

TOP FIVE REASONS NOT TO GIVE UP ON DIRECT MAIL

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Direct Mail is Giving Email Marketing a Run for its Money

We’ve all heard that print is dead. But it isn’t — and we urge our clients to retain direct mail as a vital part of their marketing mix. Although email marketing is a cost-effective means of maximizing your marketing reach, the truth is, your emails may not make it past various spam filters. In fact, according to a study done by ReturnPath, only around 79% of permission-based messages sent by genuine marketers are actually delivered to inboxes.

Here are five reasons you should include direct mail as part of your marketing mix:

  1. Free creative reignDirect mail can be produced in all shapes and sizes, affording you the ability to unleash your creativity. Old, junk mail marketing no longer has a place at the table–and we mean that literally. Whether it’s an augmented mailer, a foldable piece, a jig-saw puzzle, a box within a box or a clever gift…you’re not constrained to a set email platform. Rather, you have the opportunity to put a gorgeous, eye-catching, show-stopper on your customers’ desks, kitchen counters, side tables – wherever they collect their mail.
  2. Targeted Mailings Cut through the ClutterWhile it’s super-easy to hit the delete button on an email, it’s not so easy for customers to discard a piece of mail that looks tailor-made for them. Spend time on the development of buyer personas, so your headlines and calls-to-action target the content of your mailings to different customer segments. It’s a good idea to ditch the practice of purchased lists, mass mailings, and weak calls-to-action, and capitalize instead on the newer technologies that allow you to more narrowly segment your audience. The combination of hyper-targeted messages in a visually pleasing format has been shown to yield handsome results.
  3.  DisruptionAh… the concept of disruption that we keep hearing so much about. It’s all about catching your audience’s attention, and using creativity to awaken their senses and make them curious enough to take things a step further — to drive them to action. We suggest keeping your call-to-action bold, simple and clear. Consider using bright colors, limited copy and unique artwork to help your mail stand out and boost your brand’s power.
  4. Time-SaverTrying to create accurate mailing lists can feel like falling down a rabbit-hole. With direct mail, you can use a reputable mailing house to quickly address and deliver your masterpieces, and do away with the incredibly time-consuming and thankless task of trying to create the perfect email list — only to have countless messages bounce back as “undeliverable.”
  5. Staying PowerYour direct mail masterpieces have staying power in that they tend to literally stay around for a period of time – oftentimes shuffling from the office or home front desk to the meeting room or kitchen table — multiplying their chance of being seen by multiple people over a longer time period. Emails, on the other hand, tend to be shoved further down inboxes or immediately deleted.

In today’s highly-digitized world there is a clear place for a partnership between direct mail and email marketing.  Companies need to strategically and thoughtfully assess their goals — and choose a variety of vehicles to create the mix that will help boost their brands’ visibility and profitability.  To learn more about incorporating direct mail into your current marketing plan, feel free to contact Turchette at 973-227-8080 for a free consultation.

 

        

HOW A TURNKEY WEBINAR CAN PROVIDE A SOLID ROI AS PART OF YOUR MEDIA PLAN

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Many clients express high interest in conducting a webinar, but are somewhat intimidated by the process. They share concerns that they may not have the expertise or technical knowhow — and some worry about potentially prohibitive costs.

The good news is that webinars can be both resoundingly informative and, considering cost-benefit ratio, relatively inexpensive. In fact, the Turchette team can offer you webinar assistance as a turnkey solution, simplifying the process for you by negotiating all necessary details as part of a comprehensive media buy.

When included as part of your digital marketing plan, and executed with the right professional assistance, webinars rank among the most effective lead-generating strategies.

Why?

Because when your webinar is part of a broad digital marketing plan, you can get:

  • a moderator for your event
  • leading subscriber databases that ensure quality registrations, and provide you with full contact and demographic information of attendees
  • multiple, dedicated promotional e-blasts leading up to the event
  • ads on branded websites
  • e-newsletters and social media announcements
  • new marketing automation integration
  • the chance to build upon your specific content by offering continuing education units (CEUs) to attendees, which tends to draw more people and keep them engaged longer
  • polling, Q&A’s and exit surveys to gather attendee feedback
  • archiving of your webinar for one year on-demand access for continued exposure and lead generation

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CULTIVATING NEW BUSINESS: TEN TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL B2B NETWORKING

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Networking is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting tools you can use to grow your business.  Are you doing all you can to create and nurture your personal and professional relationships? 

Here are a few tips to help cultivate new business:

  1. Prepare an elevator pitch.  People often ask in casual conversation, “So, what do you do?”  Be ready and able to concisely articulate what makes you – or your organization, product, service or idea – unique.  A brief, but interesting “elevator pitch” may spark further discussion. You never know when a casual acquaintance may need the product your service your company offers.
  2. Periodically touch base.  Put 30 minutes per week on your Outlook calendar to connect with people in your LinkedIn network.  Drop them a quick note to say hello, find out what they are up to and see if there is anything you can do to help.  Many people establish 500+ connections, but never reach out to any of them.
  3. Hold volunteer positions. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to organizations that have helped you.  List the causes you care about and your volunteer work on LinkedIn.  You may have common interests with a prospective client.
  4. Quickly follow up on referrals or leads.  If you get a sales lead, pursue it right away and obviously mention who recommended you reach out.  Your actions are a reflection on them.  If you wait a week or two to connect, it may be too late. Referrals from satisfied customers are usually the easiest way to get your foot in the door, if you act quickly. Some special advertising programs also generate sales leads, but all too often, no one follows up on them. Read More

Take Control of Your Website: Ten Reasons to Consider a Content Management System

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Turchette offers numerous interactive marketing services, such as website design/development, search engine optimization/management, digital advertising, email marketing and social media, to name a few. However, before we begin any digital marketing campaign, the first thing we ask our clients is usually, “When was the last time you updated your company website and was it built in a content management system?” Here’s why we ask those questions and what it means.

Click here to read the full article.

Public Relations: Cutting Through the Clutter

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To gain traction with increasingly busy journalists, building solid professional relationships is more important than ever.

By Chris Dale

Among our many marketing roles at Turchette is maximizing our clients’ investment at a wide range of industry trade shows. For me, as Turchette’s Public Relations Director, this means organizing and often personally escorting interviews at our clients’ booths with editors of relevant consumer and b2b publications.

Recently I found myself at one such trade show, escorting an editor at a noteworthy pharmaceutical trade publication to a few interviews I’d set up with exhibiting Turchette clients. Upon noticing polite conversation had given way to that familiar “smartphone stare,” I asked an innocent yet revealing question:

“How many emails do you usually get every day?”

“Probably about 500,” she replied, in a manner that suggested she’d given that answer many times before.

It’s not exactly headline news that journalists are inundated. In addition to the e-newsletters, meeting requests, Google Alerts and inter-office correspondence with which anyone in an office setting is intimately familiar, editors like my smartphone-saddled friend get a nonstop barrage of press releases, pitch letters, interview requests, case studies and thought leadership inquiries.

But still… wow. Five hundred. That’s fifty emails per hour in a ten-hour workday.  I thought my inbox was bombarded, and I don’t receive half that.

“It’s amazing I can ever get through to you,” I replied.

“Well, I know you…” she trailed off, without looking up from her iPhone.

Those four words, spoken from the corner of a distracted journalist’s mouth, underscore what remains the most underappreciated aspect of a public relations executive’s role: Relationship building.

As business owners and high-level executives that truly believe in the premium products and services offered by their companies, the clients we service at Turchette have reason to take pride in their work. My public relations team has had the privilege to pitch any number of terrific products and innovative services.  Our clients have some great offerings, ones that deserve to be top-of-mind to editors at the leading consumer and trade publications in their respective fields.   And when good ideas are given a boost with savvy marketing positioning, they should be a shoo-in.

I said should.  Because it simply doesn’t work like that – perhaps now more than ever.

At Turchette, we pride ourselves on building durable working relationships with key journalists in our clients’ broad array of industries. It takes both time and timing, brevity and banter.  It takes not only knowledge of the niche a journalist covers, but the specific needs each editor has to best service his or her readers.

Strong relationships result from accrued reputation – a positive snowball effect that leaves editors associating “Turchette” with one word: Useful.

If pressed, our email-checking editor would have elaborated on “Well, I know you…” by explaining that Turchette has a history of sending her items that are relevant, newsworthy and timely. Through resource-driven research, frequent examination of outlet-specific editorial calendars, and extensive industry experience, we represent the antithesis of “spam artists.”

So when the @turchette.com email protocol appears in her inbox, she opens it, and actually reads it. Mathematically, she probably gives it 10 times more attention than most of the remaining 499 messages she’ll receive that day.

Like any busy, deadline-oriented executive, editors favor expediency, and their niche has certain nonstarters. An overtly promotional thought leadership piece, or press release with unsubstantiated claims?  Deleted – this is journalism, not advertising.  Sending something in May for consideration in the June issue?  Deleted – that issue closed in March.  Following up Thursday morning on an email sent Wednesday afternoon?  Deleted – that’s… well… annoying.

Break these unwritten rules repeatedly, and polite rejection letters will soon be replaced with the deafening silence of being completely ignored by an important industry influencer.

The other side of the coin is, of course, far more lucrative. By consistently providing editors with the sort of information they want – when and how they want to receive it – a professional bond is built.  And these days, relationship building has become far more than putting faces to names.  More and more, it’s being visible and valued in a way that stands out in increasingly cluttered inboxes.

 

Digital Remarketing: Awesome Cookies

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Remarketing should be an important part of any brands’ digital marketing strategies. People who have already visited your website, obviously have an interest in your product or service. These prospects are often called “low-hanging fruit” – meaning ripe and easy to reach. When someone visits your site, their initial experience with your brand may not be enough for him or her to make a decision and take action. That’s where remarketing comes in.

In a nutshell, remarketing puts a Google AdWords or Analytics code (tag) on a webpage that places a digital “cookie” on a visitor’s browser. That cookie is then used to allow a digital marketer to target that user through paid search and display ads as they surf the Web. Remarketing lists are created based on the way that pages and actions on a Web page are tagged.  The more tagged pages and actions, the more information can be learned about a customer. If a specific product page is tagged and the buy-flow is tagged, then it becomes apparent which product (or product category) the user was interested in. This type of visitor can now be targeted differently than someone who just visited the homepage and bounced.  You can create and serve ads that cater to their specific interests or needs. With remarketing, your audience can also be targeted by demographics, behavior and interest categories.

What-is-remarketing-and-how-does-it-work

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