Monday, December 22, 2014

HIP Tips from Leah

Hey HIP fans!

My name is Leah and I am a current intern here at The HIP Event. This is my third internship in the Public Relations/Writing fields so I have a boat-load of tips for aspiring interns and employees.

What is my number one tip? Google Google Google!

I swear by it. Why? Because your internship supervisors don’t want you to ask a million questions. They have things to do during the day too. If you don’t know how to do something, Google it! A few weeks ago I didn’t know how to create a press kit. Yes, I know I should, but I didn’t. I typed “Public Relations press kit” into Google and voila! It only took a few minutes and I learned how to put together this vital part of PR.

Remember that YOU have the tools at your fingertips to learn anything you need to. Check Google, YouTube, Ask Jeeves, etc for tutorials on whatever you need to learn.

Good luck! Check back every week for great tips from all the interns here at The HIP Event.


PR Challenges For Restaurants

Drive down any major highway or through any populated downtown area and you will likely pass more restaurants than you can count. Likewise, when you ask someone what they like to do, a great majority of people will answer “well, I like to eat!” According to U.S. census figures, there are over 220,000 full-service restaurants in the United States alone and hundreds more opening everyday. That amounts to several thousand, to tens-of-thousands per state—each one vying for business.

In such a highly saturated market place, grabbing the attention of potential patrons can be daunting. But not impossible. A strategic public relations campaign can get public attention and give restaurant sales a huge boost!

Unique Features
Whether you’re a public relations firm or a restaurateur, one of the first things you must consider is the restaurants unique features and attributes. What kind of cuisine does it serve? Is there, anything special about the location or the facilities? How about the business model? No matter what it is, truly unique features will help a restaurant stand out from its local and regional competitors.

Media Doesn’t Cover Mediocre
Now that you’ve identified the unique selling points of the restaurant, it’s time to let the world know about them. Media coverage has to be exciting, interesting and/or thought provoking for coverage to be considered. Offering up story ideas to local press that are vastly different than what restaurants have done in the past will most certainly gain attention. Let the world know what it is the restaurant has to offer that beats, or is better than, anywhere else.

Creating special events based on these unique identifiers will help too. For example, if the restaurant is the only location to serve cactus soup, perhaps an event hosted alongside desert conservationists that aims to educate the public and raise funds for the local conservation would be a great idea. Events that challenge public perception of what is hip or relevant and that also garners attention for worthy charities, is always a good way to go. In today’s fast paced business world, public relations specialists need to be on point and multi-faceted in approaching client needs. Cross promotional opportunities is an excellent way of doing just that.

When in Doubt—Talk it Out
Sometimes putting it all out there just isn’t enough. Building sufficient buzz regarding a restaurant can take time and money but the rewards can be plentiful. The restaurant business is a people business, after all, and the patron’s relationship to the location– even to its staff–is of the highest priority. Not to mention how they feel about the food!

Don’t wait for comments or conversations to be brought forward. Seek them out. Social media is by far the easiest way to keep tabs on what people are saying and an excellent way to evaluate public relations efforts. Both Facebook and Twitter are great platforms to engage with publics. You may even find that what may seem like obvious breadwinning attributes for the restaurant are really not and the adoring fans really just want more of that specialty menu drafted earlier that season!

Like any other industry for any other business, what separates a client from their competition is bottom-line important. It gives patrons and customers a reason to stay and a reason to return. Foster positivity and creativity in potential clients or potential press leads. Effective public relations tactics means building the client’s brand and highlighting their unique selling points.

PR Challenges For Jewelry Stores

Jewelry is one of those time honored trades consisting of highly-skilled craftsmen and persuasive sales people. If it sparkles around your finger or glimmers around your neck, you can find it at a local jewelry store. But how do you know which one to go to? A big chain shop or privately owned shop? The shop that sells the new Ivanka Trump line or the shop that carries P. Diddy’s branded classics? This is where public relations for a jewelry store can get a bit tricky. Not to worry. If you’re a small, privately owned jewelry store, we’ve got some tips to help overcome these challenges.

Competing with Big Chains
The key to competing with the big jewelry chains like Kay Jewelers or Jared Jewelers is not to go head-to-head on a sales numbers game but to out maneuver at every turn in the way you advertise and market.

Fashion pr firms know the deal and can create unique events to help spread the word about your business. Getting the customer’s attention, especially those who live in the local region, is your primary goal. With the help of public relations specialists, a special cocktail event for invited guests can showcase the class and sophistication of your collections and designer pieces. A special marketing promotion awarding one lucky contestant a select, fine piece from the shops collection can help drive potential customers to the shop in droves.

In the end, its not about how many pieces you sell but the professional, personal attention paid to customers who could very well become life long client; something your run-of-the-mill jewelry gallerias cannot easily say.

Going beyond Brand Names
One of the most challenging aspects for publicizing local jewelry shops is gaining press for the business and not the brand-named collections. After all, no one walks out of a Macy’s department store announcing their brand new Coach bag is a Macy’s bag.

Any and all pr agencies know: Always put your client first. When drafting pitch letters, press releases or anything involving copy, make sure you highlight your client’s name in some way. Telling potential customers about designer collections is great because it can get them in your door, and part of a business’s branding process is in affiliation with something more well known. The key is to creatively tie in a major brand with your business’s name, not the other way around

Keep the pressure on the press too. One thing you can say about persistence is that no matter what, by the time you stop pitching stories or inviting press to events, they won’t forget the name of your business. Nor will those seeing all the press the local jewelry store receives.

It’s all about baby steps. Not only will potential jewelry store clients benefit from taking smaller strategic steps but the public relations firm in charge will get great practice in dealing with a microcosm of celebrity pr.

Solving Unique PR Challenges

Here at The Hip Event, our day-to-day activities have us filling out almost every minute. Like most public relations firms we are busy writing press releases, pitching stories to magazines, following up with clients, or setting up the next big cross-promotional event. There’s always something to be done. In such a fast paced business it can be hard to rise above the crowd and stand out.

One thing we truly pride ourselves on is taking the time to sit down, brain storm and create and pitch unique events or stories for each of our clients. Effective public relations strategies should always include being creative with the needs of your clients. Take into consideration the type of business your client runs, the community where it is located and the behaviors of the target audience when creatively strategizing about your client’s PR campaign. Staying informed about your clientele will make it easy to take advantage of opportunities that will present themselves. Your team needs to be ready to greet that French pastry loving hip-hop artist with a spread to make all of Paris say “Mon Dieu!” because your client’s specialty is creating to-die-for French pastries.

Being creative can be time consuming, especially with so much to do! But aiding your clientele on a personal level to reach their audiences with fresh and unique content will pay off in the long haul.

Remember: public relations specialists not only help market and drive traffic to businesses but also build creative, long-lasting impressions that help sustain business brands for years to come.

Geographic PR- Local Press for National Businesses

Finding the appropriate venue for an event or the perfect publication for promoting your new business or product can be tricky. Even for large, national businesses. Most companies that can afford to promote on the national level do so through a wide array of demographics and media channels and when these want to focus their public relations outreach in local publications that target niche consumers, they can often saturate regional media channels.

Here are some tips for an effective public relations campaign when trying to cultivate local press for national businesses:

1) Know your target audience: Many large cities across the country are segmented into smaller neighborhoods, and those neighborhoods can be divided up even more. Do some research to determine the age range, languages used, and general behaviors of the locations to be targeted, this will help you better understand and narrow down the best pr marketing strategies that will sell your business.

2) Know the area: Try to create a link to your product or service to the area you are targeting. If you are trying to publicize your pool-installation business to the Jersey shore area, come up with unique tactics to interest the public.

3) Know what media channels an area population follows: Many smaller communities have at least one daily newspaper and a local magazine that reach them, but it’s important to tap into weekly community newspapers as well. Community newspapers are hyper-localized so they are the perfect outlet when a company is trying to target a specific market. Hyper-local social websites and blogs are also important to include in your public relations outreach.

Determining the appropriate channels is key when drumming up local press. It is also a good idea to consult with the regional experts. Consult with a local pr marketing firm to help streamline the process.

Public Relations and SEO

Technology is changing all the time and with it, the way we do business and communicate. When approaching your business’s public relations you can never be too far ahead. As the world of business relies more and more on the power of the internet, and subsequently search engines, it is important to know how your social media public relations campaign can benefit from the latest techniques. The ultimate goal is to drive traffic to your website and thus exposing your business to potential new clients.

With the advent of social media, websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn seek to connect people, businesses and clients alike, together. Yet, scouring the massive amount of data for specific information can be exhausting. That’s where your favorite search engine comes into play. Whether it is Google, Yahoo! or Bing, search engines allow users to search the internet for anything they please.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process by which a website can display near the top end of a search result list. Search engines like Google return results based on the information and keywords that are present on your website or social networking page. For example, if you were to search for public relations event planners in New Jersey, The Hip Event is one of the first search results because of the numerous references to public relations and event planning. The key is to strategically place keywords throughout a website’s copy.

A great tool for providing more space to infuse keywords is through a weekly blog. The blog is not only a great place to store these keywords but also provides invaluable information about your business, the industry as a whole and any special events applicable. Furthermore, through many blogging platforms (WordPress, Blogspot, Tumblr, etc.) you are able to tag, or list, the keywords associated with each blog post. By tagging your posts appropriately, you can ensure that search engines are picking up phrases that you want searchers to find, hence driving traffic right to your door.

Communication via social media and the internet is tantamount in the digital pr world. What you write has a huge impact as to who will read it so remember to get your message across with keywords that will drive people to the place to read your news.

Tweet This! – Twitter Public Relations

One of the most effective social media public relations tools for a business is Twitter. This online social site has grown tremendously in the past two years and boasts over 105 million registered users. Here are a few ways that you or your business can effectively utilize Twitter as a public relations tool.

Make Yourself an Expert
If you’re a business or consultant, you can take advantage of Twitter by tweeting messages pertaining to your businesses trade. Keep up with the current news stories and make daily comments that include your opinion on the hot topics, positioning yourself or your business as an expert. You may one day get an unexpected email from a news outlet that needs a quote from someone in your area of expertise!

Engage Customers
You can also utilize twitter to engage consumers. More and more large companies are dedicating social media public relations staff to manage their twitter and Facebook pages. If a consumer tweets how much they love their new product from your company you can engage them by offering up other products they will love! You will promote additional products to not only your happy customer but their followers as well.

Get Feedback
Businesses are also able to use Twitter to get quick customer feedback by monitoring trending topics about a particular product. If hundreds of twitter users are bashing a company or their products, a business may need to rethink the quality of products they are offering clients. Alternately, if hundreds of Twitter users love your product or brand, you can leverage this news in your advertising and public relations strategies, playing up the fact that there is a positive buzz around your brand!

Twitter can be an effective social media public relations tool that, if used correctly, can help your business grow through viral outreach. So, if you’re looking to expand and promote your business, start with the free Twitter tool.

Making The Pitch

So you want to get some publicity for your small business, but you have no idea where to start? The best way for you to get featured in a local news story is to make a pitch! A pitch letter can be a great tool in getting the media interested in your business or product.

When crafting a pitch letter remember one of the most important tools to a public relations firm is the power to make a story newsworthy! Too many times has a reporter opened up their mail or their email to find dull and boring letters that are supposed to pique their interest! Find something truly unique or inspiring about your business, a human interest angle is sure to get attention among the media and tying in a charity will make your story sell. If you have a brand new product that you’re introducing into the market, play up its innovation and explain why it is different than any other product on the market.

If you’re having trouble crafting the perfect letter, don’t sweat it. If your writing isn’t really up to par, consider outsourcing your pitch letters to a public relations consultant, who will be able to draft an effective pitch that can help your business get the attention it deserves.

After you have your finished pitch, email or mail it to the editors that you believe would be interested in your news or story. Do some research and read through local magazines and target editors who have written stories similar to the one you are trying to get written (don’t pitch a technology writer a human interest story), this will show that you have taken interest in not only their publication, but their written work as well!

Remember, the pitch is one of the most effective public relations tools and, if done properly, can garner a lot of attention for your small business or product!

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