Subscribe to the DREAMFly Marketing Blog.
Contact DREAMFly Marketing

Newspapers Fight War With Communication Revolution: Is it the death of newspapers?

Moments define us as people. Moments define historical times.

Now, the world is knee deep in a communication revolution defined by the moment consumers began choosing social media communication and cell phone texting over traditional communication methods.

Most people receive text alerts of daily news on their cell phones or have applications that feed it to them directly, removing the need for purchasing a printed newspaper. This creates a challenge for businesses to reach consumers with a method they understand.

On April 27, 2009, New York Times reporter Tim Arango reported that just in 2009 newspaper sales had declined by 7 percent on average, which may not sound like a resounding cry for help, until you hear all of the statistics.

The top 25 newspapers in the U.S. all, in 2009, reported declines in circulation except for the Wall Street Journal, primarily because it is a must have for businesses and investors. According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, in the 2009 New York Times article, the New York Post reported a 20.6 percent decline in its circulation! (click to read Arango’s full article)

“One shouldn’t be in denial that this represents people quitting newspapers to get news from the Web,” Mr. [Rick] Edmonds said. Edmonds during the interview was the media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, a nonprofit organization that owns The St. Petersburg Times in Florida.

Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the U.S., has reported an increase in profits for the second quarter of 2010. The company’s secret however is not printed newspapers, it is other magazines as well as a Yahoo partnership for online advertising using behavioral analysis of online readers. (read more…)

Since the fall of 2008, newspaper sales have declined at an accelerated rate, confusing many business owners about how to reach consumers.

“Newspaper Web sites attract more than 73 million unique visitors each month, on average, according to an analysis by Nielsen Online for the Newspaper Association of America,” (Business Insider the Wire, July 16, 2010).

Internet advertising expands a business’s reach a million times beyond what a printed newspaper can offer. With that benefit, comes a challenge in understanding the World Wide Web, what online advertising sites work and for who.

This is precisely why newspapers, magazines and other print publications are now focusing more heavily on online readership offering partnerships with Google, Yahoo and other behavioral-based search engines to produce online advertising in an effort to ward off the death of newspapers.

Rick’s List, a CNN news program, hosted by journalist/anchor Rick Sanchez raised the consumer and news interaction level by allowing Tweets on-air during the show. Sanchez covers news based on his chosen Twitter lists and feeds and fans can message him during the two hour TV program. He single handedly changed consumers interaction with TV news, yet, print publisher seem married to stagnet written material rather than interactive reader experiences. Webinars or online community meetings could even be options for online newspapers.

Advertisers now rely on paid online advertising, social media advertising both paid and free as well as article submission sites to influence consumers.

If texts are preferred over cell phone calls, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, then I wonder what our children will be talking about when the next communication revolution breaks.

Will printed newspapers be alive then? ……I’d confidently guess no.

To contact DREAMFly Marketing, click here.

read more

Subscribe to the DREAMFly Marketing Blog.

Make Online Advertising Less Tricky – Make It Simple

To market online, you better make sure you know who your target audience is. You should never guess with any advertising, especially online, because unlike your nice local magazines, it will cost you a lot more with useless click-throughs if you are not marketing to the correct audience.

Creating Online Ads With Call to Action
Ads must have a call to action. You should not expect people to just click on your ad unless you are doing a serious giveaway like a car or a home. There is so much online that browsers see, you really have to call their attention and give them a reason to click.

Best tip to accomplish this is if you are marketing for example a sale of 25% off your products, use a call to action like “Empower Your Body buy vitamins 25% off” or some kind of wording that tells the browser why he or she should care about the sale or products you are marketing.

Determine CPC or CPM
What in the world am I talking about? Some may know. Others may be lost at this point. CPC is the price you pay per click for an online advertisement when someone actually clicks through to your website. CPM is the price you pay for an online ad by the number of “impressions” you receive on the site you are advertising. This is not a great option unless you expect massive click-throughs with your advertisement, CPM may be more cost effective.

What I have found is that Facebook browsers click through to just about anything. You are better off paying for CPM (per impression) especially if you are giving a service or product away. A click through doesn’t necessarily mean a sale and then if you people just click and don’t buy you might as well have reach more people and paid less.

Use Online Forums That Optimize Online Ads
There are websites that will optimize ads for you. If you, for example, become a new Google AdWords member you have 30 days free of charge where they educate you about the entire Google platform, how to market, where to market and how much you REALLY need to spend to accomplish your goals. It’s a fantastic free service! Here are some other platforms with low costs for ads that promote click throughs at a much lower rate than Facebook and Google AdWords but use links on Twitter and/or Facebook to promote your business:

  • Magpie (a tweet service that pays others to promote your link)
  • My Likes (Unlike Magpie you actually choose what links you promote on your own terms)
  • RevTwt (register and pay others to promote your products)
  • TwitAd
  • Sponsored Tweets (new by IZEA a SEO Ad platform)

For Facebook ads, it’s simple. You identify what geographical area(s) you want to advertise in, ages you want to reach, what “likes” your customers might have in common and you bid on a CPC or CPM basis with a daily budget that FB will not allow you exceed, unless you change it. It protects you and your budget, but again I heed you on using CPC for sales and giveaways.

Remember branding 101 teaches us to match our public relations and customer tone to advertising – Read more about this.

DREAMFly Marketing adds zing to your marketing. Services including: design, press, advertising and marketing planning. We can help you dominate the competition, click here to contact us for a consultation.

read more

Responding to a Facebook or Twitter ad? Click here.
Subscribe to the DREAMFly Marketing Blog.

Part 3 of a 3 Part Series
Making Business News Newsworthy:

In part 1, readers learned what is classified as newsworthy news. In part 2, readers learned the tricks of writing successful press releases to produce results from media outlets.

In this final part of the series, part 3, learn how to send and where to send that captivating press release to deliver results. Where should it go and how?

Part 3: How to Send a Press Release

  • Establish a list of local media outlets
  • Use free online press release distribution websites
  • Analyze if paid national distribution is cost effective

Establish a list of local media outlets

For small to medium businesses in a city that is a not a major metropolitan area such as New York City or Los Angeles, you should be able to create a media list fairly quickly.

To submit a press release to a newspaper, is fairly simple as most newspaper websites include a news submission area. I recommend creating a distribution email list.

Visit various media outlet’s websites by Google searching “media outlets in [your area]” and identify emails for your media list:

  • Reporters assigned to your news subject
  • Editors over newspaper content – there are many sections
  • Assignment desk emails for television news
  • TV reporters covering your “beat” or area
  • Fax numbers for each media outlet

Creating a list for my area in Naples, Fla. for example took about one to two hours. You also have the option of buying media lists from a number of online providers, just search Google. But unless you are in a very large metropolitan area, it is really a waste of money to pay for a list, as they are often outdated.

Use Free Online Press Release Distribution Websites

Nearly all newspapers allow you to submit for free online and often that works better than emailing attachments. The Associated Press news release submission area, is simple to use. But you cannot attach releases, you must copy and paste them into an email.

Another great site where I have had international interest from press releases is Pitch Engine, an online press release distribution firm. They do not fax media. It is however a site media frequently visit. Although Ezine Articles is a great site, traditional “sales” news releases have trouble getting published and you would need to rewrite your company news just like a reporter would. So I only recommend it to those of you with time on your hands or staff to handle the responsibility.

Analyze if Paid National Distribution is Cost Effective

National distribution of a press release is very costly, especially for a small business, if you pay for it directly with an online source. Hiring a marketing firm such as DREAMFly Marketing makes sending a press release nationwide much more affordable. Think out of your area too! Your marketing firm does not have to be local. We are a Naples, Florida Marketing firm handling clients across the U.S., so look around.

If however your company is developing a cutting edge creation that you know is hitting it big, then it may make sense to invest money to distribute your press release nationally. When you hire a PR firm to distribute nationally, it is more expensive than doing it yourself, unless the firm is handling all sectors of your marketing plan.

Pitch Engine is a free site previously mentioned, but you may also pay between $19.99 and $49.99 for various newsroom plans so your releases never expire. PR Web charges $360 per news release if you want your news to be sent to premiere outlets such as USA Today.

PR Newswire has a lot of hidden costs, although boasts a low subscription fee. It costs $415 to have a logo on a subscriber’s online releases.

The only national distribution site I would confidently recommend for cost effective purposes and news reach is i-newswire. It is reasonably priced between $13.33 and $23.50 per press release and goes to many of the same media outlets as the more expensive distribution programs.

In summary, make sure you news is really news and ensure you are writing your business news just as a reporter would to ensure once you have your media lists, company news publishes seamlessly.

To subscribe to this blog, enter your email into mail champ on the top right of this website. To contact DREAMFly Marketing, click here.

read more

Responding to a Facebook or Twitter ad? Click here.

Part 2 of a 3 Part Series
Making Business News Newsworthy:

photo of typing on a keyboard

Subscribe to this blog in the right column’s blog feed subscription box.

In part 1, readers learned how to determine if business news really is news. Click here to view part one.

Part 2: Writing a Capturing News Release

  • Write a release for the public not your company
  • Adhere to the Associated Press Stylebook writing standards
  • Hit readers over the head with a shocking or punchy lead
  • KISS your release, Keep It Simple Stupid
  • Releases should specific to media outlet specialties

Writing Releases for the Public Not Your Company

The best way to explain this is to show an example with comparisons. Below is an example of a lead written with the company in mind:

Anderson Parks is proud to announce the grand opening of its newest park, Green Park, on Sept. 12 at 11 a.m. at 2222 Greenway Circle. This marks a park accomplishment for the department in providing more green space without additional staffing costs.

Below is a better take on the same news keeping readers and news reporters in mind:

Residents and visitors will appreciate Green Park, the newest park in Anderson, Fla., because the park’s preserve will provide an up close experience with a number of wildlife including 42 species of birds. On Sept. 12 at 11 a.m., the Anderson Parks Department will host a grand opening for Green Park located at 2222 Greenway Circle.

The second release told the benefits to the reader of the new park up front, whereas the first lead patted the company on the back. Big difference! The media should be able to copy and paste your news release, and when is the last time a newspaper lead a story with text supporting a company?

Adhere to Associated Press Stylebook Writing Standards

The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook acts as a basic guideline for media writing and make it easier for media to use your releases as written. Highlights of those standards are:

  • Numbers are spelled out one to nine
  • Numbers 10 and above use numerals or a combination thereof
  • Months are spelled out if not used with specific dates
  • Abbreviate Jan. Feb. Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. if used with specific dates such as Sept. 1, 2010
  • State abbreviations are specific such as Florida is Fla.
  • Abbreviate St., Blvd., Ave. if with the numeric portion of an address such as 2121 Langly Blvd.

More AP writing rules are answered on the Associated Press website. For immediate online access to the AP Stylebook, click here.

Hit Readers Over the Head With Punch Leads

An over-the-top lead can work, but is not for every news release. An example of one that works:

Imagine for a moment a man is flying through your neighborhood wearing a bright red cape and gold leotard, just as you are outside looking up wondering if there is any way to save your home from foreclosure. Kissimmee, Fla. realtor Paul Antonelli is claiming to be a superhero that will help homeowners get out of trouble.

Clearly, this realtor is not a superhero, but playing off the radio show’s superhero logo sets this press release apart. What is not appropriate as a “punchy” lead is: “Shelter X announces it will euthanize 400 animals this week, if more people do not adopt.” That would prompt people to adopt for the wrong reasons. Be clear with your lead what you are calling readers to do.

KISS Your Release, Keep It Simple Stupid

Most of us fail to follow this very basic writing rule. In a press release, do not include every single detail. Highlight important facts including the who, what, when and where of the news item.

Drive readers to websites or social media sites to connect with you and learn more there.

For contests or deadline-oriented news, always, always, always send out at least three press releases starting four to six weeks in advance.

The first press release of four for Challenge to Change, a weight loss contest with cosmetic surgery as the grand prize, provides basic sign up information and a lot of details.

Subsequent releases will be briefer focusing on contest benefits and deadlines to increase media exposure.

Releases Should Be Specific to Media Outlet Specialties

If you are sending press release to a children’s magazine, the writing should be softer and generally child-focused. The Superhero Realtor press release above, for example would need rewritten as:

Kissimmee-based Realtor Paul Antonelli is hoping his new radio show will save children and families from becoming homeless by providing assistance to families in danger of home foreclosure.

If a magazine you want to have your news published in does not publish long articles, then it may be best to send a personal email to a writer at the magazine instead. This may get you further than a press release.

The final part of the 3-part series for Making Your Business News Newsworthy covers: How to Send a Press Release. If you have questions, click this link to email DREAMFly Marketing.

read more

Responding to a Facebook or Twitter ad? Click here.

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series
Making Business News Newsworthy:

This 3 part series will be published over 4 weeks, so make sure to subscribe so you receive a full picture view of how to successfully make your business newsworthy.

PART 1: Learning What is Newsworthy

I can promise you there is only rule to obtaining media coverage:Make your business’s accomplishment newsworthy.

Most of you believe you can accomplish that one task easily, but you are mistaken. In fact, most business owners and managers are so close to the business, they tend to think every accomplishment is newsworthy.  If that’s true, why aren’t news reporters pounding down your door? As a marketing professional for 11 years and former television reporter and freelance journalist (1998-2004), I will provide you with some solid, easy to follow tips on how to turn your regular business updates into news flashes.

4 questions to gauge if your news is really news:

  1. Is it controversial or does it have interest for others outside your regular customers?
  2. Does it benefit the community or a group of people positively or negatively?
  3. Will it prompt comments or discussion within the community?
  4. Should anyone care except you (the owner)?

To be controversial or not to be

Controversy good and bad believe it or not will produce news and very often it has been said bad news coverage can actually be good news coverage. The exception to this rule would be extremely bad news that has an adverse effect on the population such as BP’s oil spill.

A good example of bad news that prompted bad and good news coverage and helped a company is Tylenol’s recall some years ago that actually improved company sales.

To benefit the community or not to benefit

If your business’s news will help others in the community or prove interesting, then it might be newsworthy. For example, if Shoney’s or Perkins offered free meals for a full week to anyone that would be newsworthy, because during these economic times many families are struggling to feed themselves.

What would NOT be newsworthy is a story about a park throwing a community open house to connect people with services. Why not you ask? Because there is no wow factor – it’s just an event.Another newsworthy “benefit” story example is if a fitness trainer were to say give away $5,000 to the biggest loser for a weight loss competition in a city rated at the top of the obesity or unhealthy lists.

News that prompts community comments good and bad

Remember this above all else. Even if people are outraged at your news, (maybe you are closing a factory or raising prices) news coverage is still news coverage.  Very often, outrage can route right back around into solid, good news about your business.

Many businesses fear bad media coverage as a result of a negative announcement. You CANNOT CONTROL WHAT THE MEDIA WRITES. What you can control is what you say and how you say it.

Example: local park where I live had some employees leave a special needs teen in a hot car for a couple of hours purely by accident – media was all over it – but the park system handled it brilliantly by investigating the incident, temporarily suspending employees, meeting with the teen’s parents and honestly answering the media’s questions.  Controversial news became “what the park did right” news.

Should anyone care about the news but you?

Sure your new tanning beds, your new car washing services or your restaurant’s new dish may be interesting to you, but who else really cares about it unless you give them a reason to care?

If you want to send out a press release to give your business a pat on the back, you are not going to get media coverage.

Examples of stories that made news because people cared:

  • Collier County animal shelter announced a potential end to pet adoptions if the budget was cut
  • A state announces increases to sales or income taxes
  • Oil drilling off Florida shores

General examples of what is newsworthy in today’s news climate:

  • A business closing after being open for more than 30 years
  • A business laying off people, even if it’s fewer than 10
  • Businesses offering discounts or day of free service for unemployed
  • Free gift or prize without purchase
  • Food giveaways
  • New business or expansion of a business in this economic turmoil
  • Animals – always news regardless
  • Kids – always news if it has to do with helping them, raising money or special needs children

Use the above as a guide to identify where your news falls – on the floor or hits the paper?

Part 1 is long but it is important to understand what makes news, before moving on to Part 2: Writing a Capturing Press Release.

read more