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Best Practices for Blogger Outreach

By | April 15, 2014

Building relationships through blogger outreach is a great way to gain traffic to your site and shares or mentions of your brand online. However, blogger outreach is rarely a “one size fits all” scenario. Follow these best practices to get the most out of your outreach efforts.

Research

Before you type your first word, you need to know who you are reaching. Make sure the bloggers you’re pitching to would actually be interested in what you’re offering. That means, do your research! Tools like Technorati and Alltop make it easy to find the top bloggers relevant to your industry. Just make sure you’re looking deeper. Check out their “About Me” pages and read their previous posts to make sure they would be a good fit. Pitching to a blogger who doesn’t write about anything relevant to your brand or customers probably isn’t worth your time or theirs.

Grab Their Attention

The first thing the blogger sees of you pitch is the subject line… make sure it’s a strong one! Keep it short, simple and to-the-point. Make sure you’re not coming off as spammy if you are offering a free product.

Make it Personal

As I said before, blogger outreach isn’t “one size fits all.” Make sure you tailor your pitch to the specific blogger you are writing to. Mention their blog title, previous posts of theirs and even ask or compliment something about them that you learned in their bio page.

Keep it Clear

The body of your pitch should, like the subject line, be clear, short and concise. Make it very clear what you are asking of them and what you are offering in return. Give them just enough information so they understand your idea. Make sure the blogger knows the next steps you want them to take by including a clear call to action.

Follow-Up

Bloggers (especially popular ones) are flooded with reader emails as well as other pitches. It is quite possible that your pitch may get lost in the crowd. A typical best practice is to follow up 5-10 days after sending the first email, depending on how quick you need their response. It may seem strange, but try adding “final” to the subject line of the follow up email to provide a sense of urgency. It also helps to provide a deadline for when you’d like to hear back about your proposal.

Continue the Relationship

If a blogger agrees to work with you and writes a review (or whatever action you requested) that relationship shouldn’t end once it’s posted! Make sure to follow up and thank the blogger for their time and effort and continue building the relationship. Who knows? You may have another blogger opportunity in the future that they could help with again.

Blogger outreach takes time. You can’t simply send out a template pitch and expect results. However, following these best practices will help you get the most out of your time and effort.

Resources:
http://www.kunocreative.com/blog/bid/82793/7-Blogger-Outreach-Best-Practices-All-Inbound-Marketers-Should-Know
http://mashable.com/2011/10/01/blogger-outreach-tips/
http://www.copypress.com/blog/outreach-how-to-follow-up-with-bloggers/

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10 (+1) Tips to Maximizing Your Trade Show ROI, Part II

By | March 12, 2014

In my previous post about making the most of your tradeshow dollars, I discussed proper components of press releases, using paid search to attract online searchers, writing multiple blog posts, and hosting pre-show breakfasts to showcase industry knowledge. Today you’ll find 10 additional tips – plus a bonus tip – to help you maximize your tradeshow ROI.

#1: Find out who’s attending – If a list of attendees is available prior to the tradeshow, check to see if any members of the press will be in attendance. If a list isn’t available, a quick Google search may show you which media outlets are attending or writing about the show. Distribute your press release to that media list, as well as through PRNewswire, Businesswire, or PRWeb. (See my previous tradeshow post for what to include in your press release.)

#2: Mind the media – Create a press kit for journalists, editors or bloggers attending the tradeshow. Buck the traditional trend of a paper press kit and place everything on a convenient and easy-to-carry USB drive. Be sure to include your (brief) company overview, latest press releases, product data sheets, and company spokesperson contact information.

#3: Coordinate with your marketing team – Most booths will have some sort of tchotchke, from bubble gum and stress balls to branded ink pens and flash drives. Take heed, however: Don’t spend a lot of money on trinkets; your ideal prospects are looking for solutions rather than tchotchkes. If you’re giving away free products, be sure to let everyone know in the Advance Show Guides distributed to attendees to help drive more traffic to your booth. Also, work with your marketing team to determine appropriate presentations, slideshows and/or videos for display at your booth.

#4: Got moving equipment? – If you have a remote-controlled truck zooming around your booth, hopefully you’re at an auto or construction show. Otherwise, make sure that any moving gear at your booth enhances your products or services, not distracts. Moving equipment can be a definite draw to your booth; just make sure it makes sense.

#5: On the subject of video… – Any product demonstrations, customer testimonials, interviews, or visuals about new services offered that you can play on video loop at your tradeshow booth will help enhance your prospect’s experience. It is also likely to draw additional people to your booth.

#6: Have list, must send – If you’ve been collecting email addresses through a lead nurturing campaign, now is the time to share with your customer list that you’re attending the tradeshow or conference. Consider offering a discount to attend the show as an incentive for visiting your booth. Invite current and prospective customers to your booth for a demonstration of your products and services.

#7: To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question – Whether at a tradeshow or conference, many attendees are likely using Twitter to communicate with others and to share with their followers anything of importance. Whether you’re tweeting live from the exhibitor’s floor or inside a session, be sure to use the show’s designated #hashtag so other attendees can keep up with your posts. Twitter can be a great note-keeping tool to help jog your memory when it’s time for a blog post recap of the event. Best of all? If you keep up with chatter from the hashtag, you may find that a prospect is seeking information via Twitter. If you have the answer to that question, you may have found a new customer.

#8: More blogging – In my last blog post, I talked about how vital blogging is. Well, here’s another blog post idea for you: interview other tradeshow attendees, speakers, influencers, etc. This is a great way to show thought leadership on your website to prospective customers and others in your industry.

#9: Snap, snap, snap photos – Break up content on your blog with pictures from the event. Showcase your team greeting people at your booth and photos from within the sessions on your blog and all social feeds. On each of your social media channels, be sure to use the tradeshow or conference hashtag so that those searching will find your photos and other content.

#10: Goals = Great – Keep your staff engaged and focus on specific goals throughout the tradeshow: number of qualified leads, prospects, appointments with existing customers, etc. Send any potential leads to your sales team for follow-up, post-show, along with insightful notes as to why you deemed those worthwhile leads.

#11: Say “thank you” – After all leads are entered into your CRM, be sure to follow with a “thank you” email for stopping by your booth, and to reiterate any information on products/services that are of interest to them.

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10 Tips to Maximize ROI at Manufacturing Trade Shows

By | February 25, 2014

Tradeshows are a popular sales, marketing and branding effort in the Manufacturing world. While many industries have moved away from spending money on setting up booths, many manufacturers continue to tout tradeshows as an effective way to get out their brand name, showcase new products, nurture relationships with existing customers, and build relations with new prospects.

What hasn’t changed in 20 years is the need to prove that money spent on tradeshows turns into revenue for your company. I’ll be writing plenty more about this topic in the coming weeks, but today I offer you 10 ways to maximize ROI at your upcoming tradeshow.

#1: Press Release – Creating a press release to be distributed online is essential. It should include the basics like keywords that are relevant to your products or services, along with a link back to your website. But it also should address:

  1. If you’re exhibiting at the tradeshow, give the booth number and tell attendees what they can expect to see from you.
  2. If you will demonstrate new products. Are experts at your booth showcasing your widgets? Give prospective customers a reason to stop by.
  3. If you’re available to meet with the media. Trade publications and local reporters assigned to cover the show may look for exhibitors with whom they can connect. Make it easy for Reporter X to set up a time to chat.
  4. If you’re unveiling a new product at the tradeshow. A great way to generate buzz for your company and to pique the interest of current and prospective customers.
  5. If someone from your company is speaking at the show. Many shows have a conference component, so if a salesperson or the VP of product development will be discussing industry topics, be sure to let your audience know.
  6. I caution you to limit tchotchkes, but they’re pretty much a guarantee at most tradeshows. If your company is giving anything away for a promo or holding a drawing, make sure the giveaway is something of value and relevant to your company. Too many items end up in trash cans. Tchotchkes can guarantee you booth visitors who come by to grab your wind-up toys, but you’re there to get qualified leads.
  7. Offer a discount code – unique to your company – for anyone in your industry who might want to attend the tradeshow.

My journalism professor used to say it like this: Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em, tell ’em, tell ’em what you told ’em, then shut up. To say it a little nicer: write the press release telling readers that you’re attending the tradeshow, tell them what to expect from your company, then… stop.

#2: Home Page CTA – Create a noticeable call-to-action on the home page of your website that tells visitors – current customers and prospects – to visit your tradeshow booth. You can include the discount code from the press release here, too, to incentivize attendees to check out your products in action or be wowed by your latest product in person.

#3: Use Paid Search – Begin bidding on tradeshow keywords with your PPC budget. While the focus of this PPC campaign is to merely connect your company’s name with that of the tradeshow, you’ll want those who do click through to put their email address into a form on the landing page. So offer something of value to get their email: a whitepaper, guide to the tradeshow, your industry newsletter, etc. Make sure all copy is tailored to tradeshow attendees with clear calls-to-action.

#4: Blog! – Write a blog post about your attendance at the tradeshow before you go, and write another post once you return wrapping-up the event. This gives you fresh content on your website, chances to plug in relevant keywords, and showcases your industry expertise.

#5: Spread the Love – Circulate those blog posts on your company’s social media channels. B2B marketers should focus on LinkedIn, as this is a great place to show industry connections what’s going on with your company. Have your employees – especially salespeople – post the blog to their personal LinkedIn pages, too.

#6: Get It All on Video – Is your company spokesperson speaking to an audience or conducting interviews with media at the tradeshow? Record it on video and post everything to your company’s YouTube channel. If you don’t have a YouTube channel, create one today. This valuable tool isn’t just for teenagers who want to watch skateboarding dogs. 

#7: Save the Trees – At every tradeshow and conference I’ve attended, I inevitably walk away from some booths with loose papers that end up in the hotel trash can at the end of the day. Stop giving literature out to every passerby. If someone is a qualified prospect, get their email address and offer to send them all the information they’ll need after the show … so they don’t have to carry it. And so it doesn’t end up in the trash can. Best of all: you’re building your email list.

#8: Relationship Building – Are company partners or vendors attending the tradeshow? Stop by their booths and introduce yourself. Putting a face to the name gives you the opportunity to strengthen your company’s relationships.

#9: Don’t Forget Those Who Got You Here – Schedule time to meet with existing customers at your tradeshow booth. A bonus tip: schedule time to meet with prospective customers at the same time. Many times your happy existing customers can be a natural selling tool for prospects.

#10: It’s Time to Break Bread – If you have an email list of qualified prospects, host a breakfast before the tradeshow kicks off to discuss a topic of interest in your industry. If you advertise in an industry trade publication, consider asking the publisher to co-sponsor the breakfast for additional publicity. This is a great way to establish your company as an industry thought leader.

Next week, I’ll discuss more tips for maximizing manufacturing tradeshow ROI in the digital world, focusing on email and social media.

I’d love to read in the Comments section any tips you have on maximizing tradeshow dollars or any questions you have about tradeshow promotion in the digital world.

 
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Learn why the Internet is manufacturing’s best friend, including reliable ways to generate cost-effective leads:

Digital Marketing 101 for Manufacturers

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5 Steps To Increase Your Visibility on LinkedIn

By | August 19, 2013

A common question we get here at Fathom is, “I have a LinkedIn page–now what?” With over 230 million users, LinkedIn has solidified its place as the world’s leading network for professionals, and taking advantage of this enormous market is key for businesses today.

LinkedIn logo

Just having a personal or business page on LinkedIn is a great start, but there are many ways to make your presence on LinkedIn count for much more. Here are a few ideas we suggest to our clients:

  1. Post early and often. Make sure you’re posting status updates regularly to your company page—this is what helps grow your following and engages your followers. LinkedIn says that most of its users are active in the morning and at midday, so schedule your updates to send at those times for maximum reach and engagement.
  2. Include images in your posts. This applies to both personal posts and those from your company page. We regularly see higher engagement rates on posts with images included, especially those with color that stand out on users’ feeds. If you don’t have many images available, try using free images from Creative Commons or another site.
  3. Participate in LinkedIn groups. There are over 1.5 million groups on LinkedIn, many of them with very active and engaged members. Participating in these groups—with positive and informed comments—is a great way to help get yourself and your company noticed. You can find groups based on geography, industry, interests, and more. Think about where your customers might be, and start talking (and listening!).
  4. Utilize the (new!) insights on your company page. LinkedIn recently updated their company page analytics, making it much easier to see what types of posts your followers want to see. These insights now allow you to see the engagement rate and reach of individual posts, as well as compare your page to those of similar companies.
  5. Encourage your followers to connect with you on other networks. Few people have time to check all their social networks on a regular basis. Make sure you’re reaching your followers on their favorite channel by telling them where to follow you on Twitter, Facebook, and any other networks you maintain. Likewise, encourage followers on other networks to connect with you on LinkedIn.

We have more tips for mastering LinkedIn, including how to optimize your company page, in our new LinkedIn guide. Do you have any other tips for maximizing LinkedIn visibility?

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Press Releases: Creative, “New School” Ideas for Driving Results

By | July 29, 2013

Last week, Fathom’s own Stephanie Pflaum took part in a PR Newswire webinar that reviewed the evolution of the press release.  It also revealed “new school” creative uses for press releases, and discussed ways press releases have driven business results that matter.

Noted as the most popular PR Newswire webinar to date, there were close to 1200 attendees and at one point, the topic was even trending on Twitter!

Pflaum, an online marketing specialist, spoke on the subject of the “digital funnel” and the roles that press releases play in each stage – acquire, convert and nurture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She used three case studies to prove the point that press releases, though sometimes viewed as an “old school” tactic, really do directly impact traffic, conversions and the likelihood that a visitor will convert.

For information about the specific tactics used to increase traffic and conversions through press releases, download Fathom’s entire presentation on Slideshare.

For a brief synopsis of each case study, please visit PRNewswire’s recap blog post.

A big thank you goes out to Sarah Skerik, VP of Content Marketing at PR Newswire, who moderated the event, as well as the other marketing professionals who took part – Anne Donohoe (Managing Director and Director of Public RelationsKCSA),  Beth Monaghan (Principal & Co-Founder, InkHouse Communications) and Jason Khoury ( Director of Communications,  Jive Software).

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