As a business owner, who doesn’t love some good--and FREE--publicity? Many businesses strive to gain earned media (or free media) through promotional efforts other than paid media advertising or owned (branding) media. After spending hours on perfecting your press release pieces, researching media outlets, building your contact list and distributing your press release articles, then waiting and hoping that it gets picked up by a journalist, your phone finally rings and someone’s interested in publishing your story! Getting a media interview is both exciting and scary. Along with the opportunity to share your vision also comes the pressure to generate a glowing impression of your business.
If this is your first time interviewing for the press and you’re feeling nervous and anxious, you’re not alone. Even seasoned PR professionals may get the butterflies in front of the reporters. However, remember that you are always in control of your message, and with some preparation, you’ll feel much more at ease with the interview. Below are some pointers to help you ace that interview!
1. Prepare Yourself
When setting up the interview, make sure to obtain the reporter’s deadline, angle, and specific information needed. Or, at the very least, understand what the reporter is trying to get out of the interview. If you receive a call from the reporter, offer to call back rather than giving the interview on-the-spot without any preparation. The best way to do this is by saying, “I’m in a meeting. Please give me your number and I will call you back.”
Also, check that your facts are accurate. This is your opportunity to shine as a subject expert, whether it’s on the product and service that you offer, your company or your industry, so be sure to know what you’re talking about and don’t present assumptions as facts. In the age of internet and social media, people will notice inaccuracies in your statements. Be ready to answer additional questions that are off-topic, such as broad questions relating to your industry that may add value to the piece.
2. Make a plan
What’s your business objective? Always go into an interview knowing what goals you want to achieve and the points you want to make. To make your messages memorable, your objectives should be specific and action-oriented. Don’t default to generic agendas like “raising awareness” and “enhancing understanding”. Center your objectives around what you want the audience to do differently after reading/viewing your segment.
Take control of your messages by establishing two or three key points. Many people simply answer questions, which only help the journalists get what they want. It’s most important to get what you want, fulfill your business objectives, so make sure you always have your key points in mind when answering the questions. The best way to do this is by rounding your answers off with a benefit statement relating to your key points. Never leave your audience wondering about the “so what?”.
Take the initiative to ask the question you want to answer, when appropriate. Segue into the topic you want to discuss if the reporter hasn’t brought it up. You can do this by simply stating, "The more important issue is __." or "What really matters is ___."
3. Practice your delivery
Now that you’ve planned out your message to fit your business agenda, you need to practice its delivery to ensure that its perceptions are aligned with your intentions. Since reporters operate under strict timelines, it is important to be prompt and concise with your responses. Speak clearly and avoid too many filler words like “um” so your responses are communicated without distractions. As a general guideline, responses should begin with a less-than-ten-words answer, followed by a brief and relevant example, then conclude with a simple benefit statement. Remember the ABC rule: Answer the question; Bridge (example); Communicate your message (benefit).
If you don’t know the answer to a question, state so. Rather than saying “no comment”, which leaves the impression that you’re withholding information, it’s better to be forthcoming and explain why you’re unsure about something.
Finally, reporters love a good and memorable quote to make their story come alive, so prepare a couple of quotes that highlight the points you want to make to enhance the credibility and emotional factor of the interview. Incorporate key action words or descriptive metaphors to make the quotes memorable.
4. Be you
You know that you’ve done your homework and, most importantly, you’ve got a great story that you’re proud to share with the world, so be confident and enthusiastic when you speak. Show that you’re passionate about your brand, your organization, and your cause, but remember that you’re always “on-the-record” when talking to a journalist. Let your authentic self shine and have a natural conversation with the reporter. Try to avoid professional jargons so your content is accessible and easy to understand. Enjoy your moment under the spotlight and don’t forget to follow-up with a thank-you note and an offer to be available for any further questions or fact-checks if the journalist wishes.
Now that we’ve shared our tips, it’s time for you to go face the press and nail that interview! Need help with your press release? Check out our Custom PR package or send us a message!
Offline to online. Online to offline. Today’s consumers live very dynamic and multi-platform lives. Their buying behaviors reflect that same dynamic complex. In so many ways, retailers are now rushing to catch up.
Can retailers become just as multi-dimensional? Is there a possibility for them to be everything to everyone?
Fortunately, retail success is not about being everything to everyone. It’s about optimizing the online/offline mix so you can present the most desirable options to customers. Without further ado, here’s a look at how the top retail giants are doing it.
Also known as “Tarjay” since the 1960s, Target is the second largest department store retailer in the United States after Walmart. It was founded on June 24, 1902, by George Dayton and headquartered in Minnesota, U.S. Redbrain.com reports that its in store revenue is $67.93 billion. There are 1892 stores throughout the United States and 345,000 employees as of 2017. It has 43.94% visits from Midwest U.S, 14.60% Northeast U.S, 30.27% South U.S, 31.19% West U.S. It has had ten acquisitions so far.
Target went online in 1999 and in April 2018, it has attracted 125.94 million visitors. Its online revenue is worth $3.953 billion, and it’s available on Android and iOS. It’s average visit time is 3 min 55 sec. U.S, Australia, and Canada are the top 3 countries which bring in traffic. Slickdeals, indeed.com and theknot.com are its top 3 referral sites while Facebook, Reddit, and Pinterest are the top 3 social referral sites.
Walmart was founded on July 2, 1962, by Sam Walton and is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S. With instore revenue of $461.9 billion, it has 11,718 shops around the world. In 2017, it had 2.3 million employees and 1.4 million in the U.S. Walmart has 23.285% visits from the Midwest, 9.47% visits from Northeast, 48.50% visits from the South and 18.75% from the West.
Walmart went online in 2000 and had 386.61 million visitors as of April 2018. Its online revenue is $15.316 billion, and its apps are available on iOS and Android. Average visit time is 4 min 56. Traffic majorly comes from U.S, Canada, and Mexico. Its top 3 referral sites are buzzfeed.com, searchencrypt.com, and gowatchfreemovies.to. Its top 3 social referral sites are Facebook, Youtube, and Reddit.
The Kroger Company or simply Kroger was founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. Its in-store revenue is $100 billion and has 2,778 stores across the U.S. The number of employees in 2017 was 443, 000. It has 36.54 % visits from the Midwest, 0.18% North, 63.11% South and, 0.17% West of the U.S.
Kroger went online in 2000 and had garnered 24.6 million visitors in April 2018. It has an online revenue of $22 million, and its apps are available on iOS and Android. Its average visiting time is 28 sec, and the top 3 countries that visit their website are U.S, Canada, and India. Its top 3 referral sites are Kroger.softcoin.com, indeed.com, and career8.successfactor. It’s top 3 social referral sites are Youtube, Facebook, and Reddit.
It was founded on July 12, 1976 and is headquartered in Issaquah, Washington, U.S. Its in store revenue in 2017 was $112.5 billion, and it has 741 stores spread across the U.S, Canada, Mexico, UK, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Spain, Iceland, and France. It has 231,000 employees (2017).
1998 was the year Costco went online. Its traffic as at April 2018 was 28.33 million and its online revenue was $4.623 billion. It’s available on iOS and Android. Average visit time is 4 minutes and 23 seconds. Traffic comes mainly from the US, Canada, and the UK. Its top 3 referral sites are dealsea.com, bensbargains.com, and dealmoon.com. Its top 3 referral sites are Facebook, Reddit, and Youtube.
As we can see, while people still spend a lot of time shopping in-stores, there are significant traffic to be captured online. Advantages of going online include:
However, there are also disadvantages, which includes:
Existing businesses should carefully assess the pros and cons of investing in an eCommerce platform (or vice versa). If you're thinking of expanding your brick-and-mortar into the eCommerce space, you should consider your target customers' buying habits, identify specific benefits that would meet their needs, and structure your eCommerce strategy around those objectives. Another option is to integrate online and offline platforms with technologies like iBeacon, which enables digital interactions with customers in-store. By blurring the line between online and offline, you are minimizing frictions in the shopper's journey.
ECommerce platforms are important assets of many major retailers. There is no denying that having an online shop is a relatively low-cost way to expand your business. The lack of geographical boundaries make online stores great channels to broaden market reach, thus enabling rapid growth. Before your dive into the eCommerse world, it is important to formulate a clear strategy that reflects your competitive advantage and responds to essential customer needs. Additionally, there are other options to engage with in-store customers digitally to bridge the gap between online and offline platforms.
The choice of going online or offline is not an easy one to make, but you will be further along if you prioritize your customers when you make your decisions.
With the drastic increase in mobile usage, Google has been striving to deliver a friendlier mobile experience to its users. The shift from “local 7-pack” to “local 3-pack” is an attempt from the search engine giant to cater to the mobile screens.
This new focus on mobile is urging local businesses to make changes to the way they are conducting their online listing to stay on top of the search. Some small changes in SEO technique could prevent a business from taking a hit on their online visibility due to drops in their search rankings.
What is Google’s “Local 3-pack”?
Simply put, Google used to show the company information, or “cards”, for seven local companies in the search results on the first page; now they’ve trimmed that down to three.
As a result, Google changed the information that users see when they conduct searches for a specific type of business or service. For example, the local cards for the top seven results used to be prominently displayed at the top of the search results; now, the name, reviews and the type of business are displayed for the top three business on mobile. If a user wants more information, they must click on one of the businesses, which leads the user to that business’s local card. If searching from a computer, the local card for the selected business will still be shown but a map will also be displayed along with the contact information and location of 20 other similar businesses.
Why it matters?
What Factors Affect Search Results?
The proximity of the user conducting the search is the number one factor in the local three pack rankings. If a user is standing directly outside of a business and searches for what it specializes in, then it’s likely that the business will be the first to show up in the search results. Since users are often at a distant physical location when they do a search on Google where more factors are taken into consideration, we want to explore some of the other factors that affect the search rankings .
Here are 4 tips that you can easily implement to enhance your local ranking on Google:
I. Having up-to-date information about the business on the Google My Business
This means that there should be a good description, as many high-quality photos as possible, the correct telephone number, address and business hours.
Note: For businesses with multiple locations, in the Google My Business listings, the correct phone number for each location should be listed and the name of location should not be included with the name of the business.
Example: A pizza shop located in the town of Carlisle would be called “Two Brother’s Pizza Shop” as opposed to “Two Brother’s Pizza Shop-Carlisle”
Google will check these against local directories and the company’s website to make sure that everything matches. If a discrepancy is found, this could hurt the business’ position in the local rankings. Make sure that this information is correct and up-to-date.
II. Increase your reviews on Google and other directories, such as Yelp.
How to encourage customers to review your business online:
1. Don’t post fake reviews. Google and other websites do have ways to weed out fake reviews and if they find these, your company could drop in the rankings.
2. Actively encourage patrons to review your business. A little bit of tact could be helpful here. If customers feel like you are begging for good reviews, this could hurt your chance of getting a review and paint the business in a bad light in the customer’s eyes.
3. Respond to any negative reviews promptly. It’s important for the business to acknowledge the customer’s complaint and to inquire as to what may be done to fix the problem. If appropriate, the business can work with the reviewer to find a remedy to the situation (and hopefully receive a better review after retaining the relationship).
4. Don’t neglect the positive reviews! Write a quick thank-you note to show your audiences that you appreciate their support.
III. Categorize your company appropriately.
If a company find that it is not doing well in a certain category, one option is to try to specialize the category that your business is under. An example would be changing the category of a grocery store that specializes in selling natural or organic items from “grocery store” to “health food store”.
IV. Have a mobile responsive site.
Google recently started giving preferential treatment to businesses with mobile responsive sites to provide for a better experience when people are browsing the web from their phone.
Getting a top spot in the Google search results takes ongoing efforts on the part of the business. Any changes to business products and services, location, telephone number, or operating hours should be updated immediately to ensure that the most up-to-date information is available. If a company finds that it’s no longer ranking well under a certain category, experiment with different categories and track the results to find out if there is a category that receives a better response. Finally, monitor your online reviews regularly, and quickly respond to any negative reviews.
With some time and effort, businesses can increase their chances in landing one of the top three spots.
What’s your favorite local SEO tip? Please share in the comments below!