giving is good business

Three Public Relations Hacks No One Tells You About (and they always work)

What if doing a good business turn, expecting nothing in return, and doing it because it’s the right thing, brings in new business?

Everyone preaches about being grateful during the holidays. While all of that is good and well, the truth is that it can stretch us to the limit to give “yet more and more and more time and with heart” to whatever cause(s) are planted firmly in front of us.

But what if giving is good business? What if doing a good business turn, expecting nothing in return, and doing it because it’s the right thing, brings in new business?

Science now shows that doing “free business,” when it feels right, can generate future profits for you and your agency. Here are three true examples of doing work for others, when there doesn’t initially seem to be much point (except that it’s taking time and resources from my own business) – paid off.

It does not matter that these three examples are purely public relations and marketing “gifts.” The concept plays out across all industries. You’ll know how to translate these examples into your own agencies.

1. Free Public Relations Because Your Product is Exceptional

A local, very small brewery makes some of the best tasting beer in a state that is renowned for world-wide, award-winning craft beers. There are too many breweries (if there can be too many breweries) in Colorado – yet here they are – two brothers, one a musician, the other a forced-to-retire geophysicist – now both brew beer for a living.

They stumbled into making “gluten removed” beer while they were crafting excellent tasting beer. Anyone who has celiac disease, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or any other gluten sensitivity has had to kiss beer good-bye or drink awful tasting beer. Except these brothers craft over a dozen exceptional-tasting beers.

I arranged a radio interview for them, guided them on how to “social media it to death,” and then introduced them to a celebrity chef-owned Colorado restaurant owner.

I expect nothing in return, not because I’m Mother Teresa or exceptionally generous. I just felt like doing it and their hard work and excellent product warrant the leg-up.  

How did it or will it pay off? It just feels right. That’s the pay off.

2. Sometimes You Just Want to Be Part of a Very Good Thing

I sit on the board of The Chanda Plan Foundation because I cannot resist the extraordinary CEO who happens to be a quadriplegic.

The Chanda Plan affords all spinal cord injured people free health and wellness services that have proven to dramatically improve their lives. The services include nutrition, massage, chiropractic and primary care physicians.

The clients pay nothing. Some of them go on to become fully mobile. All touched by The Chanda Plan live better lives; the results, after a dozen years, prove it.

CCPR dedicates free public relations and services to The Chanda Plan because it is the right thing to do. It cannot be explained in a spread sheet, but it somehow feeds Capital City Public Relations.

3. Scratching Each Other’s Backs Breeds Wonderful Friendships

CCPR does free public relations and marketing for a neighborhood hairdresser; our coifs look all the better for it. Another writer needs contributions to her literary anthology and she’s getting one from me.

She’s one of the best editors in the business and my copy reads better because of it. CCPR gave another paying public relations client extra services over the past few months because the boost will likely catapult that business into another realm.

Where’s the business sense in all of this? Where does the spreadsheet demonstrate how the return on investment works?

There isn’t one. Like the successful CEO that last week let me pick his brain over coffee, when he is already working a 60-hour work week to keep his two businesses running in the black, it just is because it feels right.

Perhaps your business can go the extra mile, do a good turn, contribute to the community in a new way. Perhaps you’ll never realize a dime in the action and perhaps it will even cost you.

But the truth is that these business relationships are truly friendships. And the other truth is that it always pays off. Maybe it isn’t measured on the calculator or within any traditional return-on-investment calculation.

It does not matter if it cannot be laid out exactly, in numbers, how giving pays off. It’s simply enough to know, in one’s soul, that it does.

Advertising vs Public Relations

Advertising Versus Public Relations

When you or your clients see information about a product or service, do you know if the information is provided as advertising, or is it considered public relations? Knowing the differences can help you decide what might work best in your marketing efforts.

Advertising

Advertising is described as a paid, non-personal, one-way public communication that draws public communication towards a product, service, company, or any other thing through various communication channels, to inform, influence and instigate the target audience to respond in the manner desired by the advertiser.

Advertising can be done through print ads, radio or television ads, billboards, flyers, commercials, internet banner ads, direct mail, etc. Social media platforms are now a major source of advertising.  The advertiser has exclusive control over what, how and when the ad will be aired or published. Moreover, the ad will run as long as the advertiser’s budget allows or determines it is effective.

As advertising is a prominent marketing tool, it is always present, no matter if people are aware of it or not.

Public Relations

Public Relations is a strategic communication tool that uses different channels, to cultivate favorable relations for the company. It is a practice of building a positive image or reputation of the company in the eyes of the public by telling or displaying the company’s products or services, in the form of featured stories or articles through print or broadcast media. It aims at building a trust-based relationship between the brand and its customer, mainly through media exposure and coverage.

Public Relations can be called as non-paid publicity earned by the company through its goodwill, word of mouth, etc. (It is often referred to as “earned media”).  The tactics used in public relations are publicity, social media, press releases, press conferences, interviews, crisis management, featured stories, speeches, news releases.

Key Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations

Adverting draws public attention to products or services through paid announcements. Public Relations uses strategic communication to build a mutually beneficial relationship between the public and the company or organization.

  1. Advertising is a purchased media, whereas, public relations is considered earned media.
  2. While advertising is a monologue activity, public relations is a two-way communication process. The company listens and responds to the public.
  3. Advertising is used to promote products or services with the objective to induce the targeted audience to buy. Public Relations aims to maintain a positive image of the company in the media, with an indirect result of those effected becoming customers.
  4. In advertising, the advertiser has full control over the ad, such as when, how and what will be displayed. In public relations, the company pitches the story, but has no control how the media uses or does not use it.
  5. In advertising, the ad placement is guaranteed, but there is no such guarantee of placement with public relations.
  6. In advertising, as long as you are willing to pay for it, the ad will be published or aired. Usually in public relations, the story is only published once, but it might be published in many media.
  7. Credibility is higher in public relations than advertising. This is because customers know it’s an ad and may not believe it easily and be skeptical. For Public Relations, third party validation improves credibility.
  8. Advertising mainly uses paid announcements (ads) to draw public attention to products or services. Public Relations is the use of strategic communication that aims at building a mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the public.

Advertising and Public Relations both use communication channels to inform and influence the general public. While advertising is a highly expensive marketing tool, it can reach a large number of people at the same time. Public Relations is “free of cost” implied endorsement along with validation of the third party.

Linkedin provides sales networking and leads

Using LinkedIn to Increase Sales

The real powerhouse for business networking and prospecting is the business focused social media site, LinkedIn.

Social media platforms enable you to stay in contact with friends and family and stay current on their life activities. They can also benefit you on the business side, especially for sales. For many people, the top social media networks that come to mind are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

While these sites have some benefits for sales prospecting, with general consumers, the real powerhouse for business networking and prospecting is the business focused social media site, LinkedIn.

In fact, when it comes to business, LinkedIn with over 360 million members world-wide, is the top social media choice for business networking and sales prospecting.

If you are using the popular social media business platform, LinkedIn, you might find that there are additional ways to reach potential clients or connect through others to increase sales.

For many, LinkedIn has been somewhat thought of as the go to social site when you’re looking for your next job. It certainly has value for this purpose, and it is extensively used by recruitment specialists world-wide to find and contact prospects, but its benefits far exceed that. In the know business people use LinkedIn more and more as a revenue generating, sales prospecting tool.

LinkedIn is a perfect tool to make lead and sales prospecting smoother, quicker, and ultimately, profitable. It is an extremely cost-effective tool for business development.

Modern sales techniques have changed, and LinkedIn allows you to connect directly with and gather information on companies and prospects, as well as develop relationships and contact decision makers directly.

Here are some proactive, easy to implement strategies for using LinkedIn as a tool to effectively increase your sales prospecting and grow revenues.

Optimize your LI Profile

With a couple tweaks, you can turn your LinkedIn profile into a powerful sales asset. The most important thing is that your profile is 100% complete. There is a high chance that your prospects will look you up if they are interested in what you are selling. When they do, your profile should give off a professional impression of you and your company.

Connect and Engage

An important thing to do when beginning to get serious about using LinkedIn for prospecting is to take a long hard look at your contacts. Contacts are the bread and butter on the site. If yours are predominantly family, your college classmates, and friends, you need to do a little work.

Connections spawn more connections. Your primary contacts open a route to a wide range of second and third level connections. This is how to scale up your efforts.

Target and Map Your Leads

LinkedIn users generally put a tremendous amount of information on their profiles. Everything from which teams they work with, what projects they are focusing on, which office they work out of and more.

You can use this information to develop a map of who the decision makers are and how they can be reached and influenced to make the sale. (Start by checking out the “viewers of this profile also viewed…” box on their profile.)

Use Groups to Keep Up To Date and Engage With Prospects

Groups on LinkedIn are collections of people with similar likes, needs, skills and more. They are a great way to learn about the industries you target for sales and can be a great source for new prospects. Engaging with member questions is a great way to build trust and authority while raising your thought leader profile which can lead to sales inquiries. They are also a great “soft” way to make contact with a prospect.

Turn Your Profile Into A Lead Generator

Much of what we’ve touched on so far has been outbound information, where to go to find prospects, how to engage, etc. This is purely inbound. The prospects you’ve engaged with through connections and Groups will most likely seek out your profile to learn more about you. (Information flows both ways on LinkedIn!). So it only makes sense to optimize your profile to drive sales. Make sure you have current links to your company site, your Twitter account and your Facebook page. Include some high-quality recommendations from existing happy customers – think quality, not quantity. This can give visitors a better idea of who you are and what you’re all about. Remember, effective sales is all about building trust and relationships.

3d orange exclamation mark and thumb up stick figure men on white background

How to Help Customers Understand Title Insurance

Sure you know the ins and outs of title insurance, but it is likely buyers and sellers have limited knowledge of what title insurance covers and why they need it. You need to be able to respond to questions that will be asked, or have answers to some that should be asked, to be able to best serve your customers.  Learn more about title insurance regulations, and other key points to explain to customers why the policy you provide is to protect their interests.

google search

Three tips to increase your business Google rank

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-evolving beast that can be difficult to navigate.

The rules are always changing and understanding where to begin can present a challenging maze for those unfamiliar with the most current trends.

Google, of course, is the giant of the search engine ladder, and if your business URL ranks at the top of a Google search, it has a 33 percent chance of getting clicked, while the second position gets close to 15 percent of the share, and the third position, 9 percent.

Moreover, a whopping 75 percent of people who use search engines to browse topics never leave the first page of search results. In other words, a high rank leads to more clicks, and more clicks equate to more leads.

To achieve optimal results, businesses can implement several strategies to increase their visibility on Google. Here are a few tips to get started.

Improve the speed of your landing page.

The time it takes for your home page to load is front and center in the minds of the public—and Google. If your load page is too slow, Google recognizes the lull and will promptly demote your ranking.

As well, a slow website affects the ways in which visitors to your site engage with your pages. Research shows that 40 percent of visitors will leave a website if the page takes more than three seconds to load. Even worse, 80 percent of those visitors won’t bother to come back.

To test the speed of your website, consult a free online service like Pingdom.

Regularly update your website with new content.

If you allow the content on your website to become outdated, or worse, let it fade into oblivion, your SEO ranking plummets. To generate traffic and increase your website’s visibility, posting fresh content is imperative.

If your site is littered with irrelevant or outdated content, get rid of it. Update your site on a regular basis with newsworthy, consumable, relevant and value-driven content (including graphics, videos, how-to guides, webinars and live chats) and visitors will likely return.

Something else to keep in mind: Google increases your website’s search engine rank when visitors spend more than a nanosecond on your site. If you keep your target searchers engaged with great content that makes them care, they’ll stick around—a factor that Google takes into account when it ranks websites.

Use the correct key words and phrases.

Keywords play a huge role in Google’s ranking algorithm. When creating content for your website, include keywords and long-tail keywords (three-or-four-word phrases) that speak to—and define—your brand.

Keywords can be used in the body of a blog post, header tag or as part of photo captions.

Google isn’t particularly keen on saturating sites with keywords, however, so use them strategically and sparingly, otherwise you risk diminishing your search ranking. Tip: Take advantage of software sites like Moz and Ahrefs, both of which offer keyword suggestions and monthly search volume.

Real Estate Corner:
New Amazon and Realogy partnership strives to lure homebuyers with up to $5,000 in home products and services.

graphic - real estate, blue

Retail kingpin Amazon and the nation’s largest residential brokerage firm, Realogy, whose brands include Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and Sotheby’s, have joined forces to attract home buyers in fourteen different cities.

To entice buyers to take advantage of the newly launched partnership—called Turnkey—Amazon is offering up to $5,000 in home services and products upon the closing of a home.

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