All posts by Shelly Kramer

Brand Crisis Comms: This Is How You Do It Right

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brand crisis communicationsCrowdfunding giant Kickstarter hit a rough patch lately with some project misses (and some all-out fails), but one thing they’ve done right? Crisis communications, a notoriously complicated area for brands and businesses—and one that can, in many instances, determine overall brand image and sometimes even the ultimate success of a company. Continue reading

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Agency Outreach Gone Wrong: And How to Avoid It

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effective agency outreachWork as part of a PR or ad agency team doing outreach to bloggers or influencers on behalf of your client? If so, there are some easy steps to follow to make sure your outreach yields good results.

And before I begin, I’ll say that this post was prompted because I got a very nice email today from someone reaching out on behalf of their client, a very big one, asking about opportunities to connect when we write on topics specific to their client. I’m being intentionally vague here because I believe this person isn’t incompetent, they just don’t know any better. And that? That’s the PR agency’s fault. Continue reading

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Writing Workshop: Before You Hit Publish

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writing for the web checklistWhile my Kansas City friends were stuck with more snow, I spent the end of last week soaking up the sun and fun in the Gaylord Biodome at Blissdom (where is that sarcasm font when you need it)?

At V3, we work with agencies and brands and do a lot of blogger and influencer outreach. My recent workshop: Writing for the Web: What, Why and How to Kick Butt At It is intended to help bloggers master the art of not only writing for the web, but also understanding how to deliver great results for the brands and agencies they work with.

Content marketing is the number one strategic marketing focus for brands and agencies, so when bloggers understand the basics of content marketing, they can better position themselves for relationships that are mutually beneficial. And agencies and brands, we’re all over that.

But writing for the web and effective content marketing takes skill. It’s not as easy as writing a blog post. And the work doesn’t stop when you’ve written the post. The distribution channels you develop and relationships you’ve cultivated over the years can have a huge impact on the success (read that: reach and impact) of your content. Equally as important is tracking your results and reporting back to your brand or agency partners–which is delivering the ultimate value as a content partner.

But distribution and reporting are things I’ll cover in a subsequent post. Back to writing. Here are the bare bones, must-do things you should do before you hit that “publish” button:

Before You Hit “Publish”

The Basics

  • Your headline is key. Make sure it’s compelling, captures attention and is clear on the value your post delivers. Cute but unclear won’t cute it.
  • Make sure your post is 300 words minimum and no more than 700.
  • Images are important. Sometimes an image is what makes me read your post, so be sure and include one.
  • Your first paragraph is very important. Make sure it delivers the key message of the post and that it’s short and compelling.
  • Cite your sources and make sure that any claims made are linked to clear sources.

SEO 101

  • Your headline must be 60 characters or less.
  • Your first paragraph must be strong and include the keyword or keyword phrase from your title.
  • Make sure you’ve included a link in your first sentence or first paragraph that connects to a related piece from the blog on which you’re publishing.
  • Include 2-5 additional links within the body of the post that connect to relevant material on relevant external sites, as well as the site on which you’re publishing. All links within the body of the post should not be to your site or to the site that your post is appearing on.
  • Make sure your links use text phrases 2-5 words long and describe where the link leads (i.e. use “writing for bloggers” vs. “click here”).
  • Use bolded subheads in your post to help readability.
  • Use keywords wisely in your subheadings.
  • All images have captions, alt text and titles relevant to the post topic.

Content

  • Read the post aloud to proofread before publishing.
  • Use contractions. This will help your writing sound conversational.
  • Ask yourself if you’re using needless jargon and if so, ditch it.
  • Make 100% certain that your post delivers what the headline claims, otherwise, you’ll annoy your readers.
  • Don’t ramble. This is where reading aloud will help you. If your content isn’t on topic, get rid of it.
  • Provide valuable action steps instead of vague, empty statements.
  • Finish with a strong call-to-action at the end.
  • Edit, edit and edit again.

And there you have it–your pre-publish writing checklist. Bookmark it, print it out, tattoo it on your arm–whatever you do, make sure you keep these tips in mind as you’re creating content for the web. My wish is for you to develop fantastic, long-lasting relationships with great brands and agencies. And hopefully these tips will help you write content that knocks their socks off.

Image: Courtney Dirks via Compfight cc

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7 Little-Known Tricks to Maximize Your Facebook Page

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buy viagra online at cheap price alt=”little-known facebook tricks” width=”300″ height=”200″ />If you’re like most marketers, you probably have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. Yet there’s no denying that the social networking behemoth is a great addition to your digital marketing presence, allowing you to expand your reach, increase your engagement and drive more people back to your website.

Facebook changes features and functionality on what seems like a weekly basis, so it can certainly be difficult to keep up with what’s new. And as a result of a slew of recent changes, you may not have noticed a number of updated features that give you more control over your Facebook page—and, by extension, your Facebook marketing efforts.

Consider this your cheat sheet. If you’re not already putting these features to work for your Facebook page, now’s a great time to start. Continue reading

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How Are You Using Pinterest In Your PR Campaigns

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power of pinterestThe Pinterest juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down—and although the online pinboard started as an inspiration haven for individual users, more and more businesses and brands are flocking to Pinterest as part of their larger digital marketing strategy. Continue reading

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Lessons From Kansas City Chiefs Social Media Blunder

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kansas city chiefs twitterWhat happened with Travis Wright and the Kansas City Chiefs on Twitter earlier this week was nothing less than a classic example of a brand’s social media misstep. And, as these things do, the story quickly went viral. And while I abhor “lessons from” posts, as I watched this unfold and the conversation that ensued, there was just no way around the word, so deal with it. Continue reading

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Future Marketing or PR Pros: 8 Tips To Help You Rock Your Job

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advice for future pr and marketing prosThinking about a career in Marketing or PR? You likely have some pre-conceived notions about the position—Mad Men-esque awesometastical clients, wild agency parties or scoring sweet swag from your latest batch of A-list clients.

Consider this your wake-up call. Before you sigh, roll your eyes and wander off to watch more of the Olympics, stay with me. My team and I have huddled and some valuable advice for you—and not the “When we were your age, we walked uphill to school! Both ways! In 10 feet of snow! Barefoot!” variety. Instead, we want to impart some hard-learned wisdom that will (hopefully) help you decide if a career in Marketing or PR is really the career path for you. Sure, imagining your dream job is fun. But sometimes a dose of reality from those who have been there can help you make better decisions as you start your professional journey. And by the way, this advice applies to just about any career … or at least we think it might. Continue reading

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