Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

Classy Event That Generates Revenue or Cheap Function That Scares Away Customers

Has this ever happened to you? Your business needs to have an event that wows current and potential cleintele. One month before the event, you realize that you are in way over your head and the function is going to fail before it even starts. Thousands of dollars have been flushed down the corporate toilet that could have been avoided with a little help from some forethought and organization.

Where do you start?

Start with the theme and a tentative date and place. For example, you have a master-planned community that is about to be developed. You don’t have any homes built, but you want to sell the homesites. Create an event called Sneak Preview and have it in the 2 or 3 major cities that are closest to your development.

Narrow Down the Details

Decide how many people you are hoping to attract. Create a tentative schedule of events. Next to each function, right down specific details. Perhaps you are going to have a banquet. Be sure to write down “catering”. Maybe you are going to have a meet and greet. You should write down “cash bar”. If you are going to have workshops, write down the attendance size of the workshops and any components you might need there like a white board or tablets and pencils or a projector and laptop. (Don’t forget to include microphones!)

Make sure you include registration in the schedule and put down everything that you want to be handed out: nametags, gift bags, guidepersons… whatever you think is necessary.

X Marks the Spot

You should now have a good schedule that gives you the date, times, attendance numbers and any items that you need to succeed. Now it’s time to find a place to host your event. Unless you are having a huge function, there is probably no need to look at a convention center so I would start looking at hotels. Find someone in your company that is familiar with the major cities you have chosen and ask them if they know of a good hotel that will fit the bill. Or you can go online and see if they have meetings and facilites options on their website.

Call the event coordinator at the hotel and ask if they have the dates available. If so, ask to fax them your tentative schedule and needs or you can give them a brief summary over the phone to see if they have the capability to host you. Start with the projected attendance. This will be a quick way to eliminate hotels. If they can host an event of your size, follow that up with some of the more picky items: Do they have a catering department that can handle banquets? What are their audio/visual capabilities? Do they have free wireless access or can you get a deal on a group rate? This will further save you time on finding the right hotel for you.

Signing a Contract

Once you find the hotel, you need to sign a contract as soon as possible. Be sure to talk to someone who is familiar with hotel contracts. The hotel will charge you for everything they can including electricity, tables, chairs, coffee, room rental and they like. See if there is anyone else who is hosting an event at the same hotel and contact them privately to see if they can give you any advice.

If the hotel is going to be charging you for anything extra like electricity, include those costs in your vendor application fees. This will save you some unexpected fees that you weren’t expecting.

IMPORTANT: Do not advertise your function until you have signed a contract. You never know when another group might be trying to get the same days as you and they might grab your time from under you.

Getting an Audience

Now you have the place and the date. It is time to advertise your function. Select newspapers in the cities of interest, not limited to the cities that will be hosting the event, and purchase ad space. Send out e-campaigns. Write press releases and send them to the newspapers and also to PRWeb and PRNewswire. Notify any vendors that you think may be interested. Create a section on your website that talks about the event, has a form to accept memberships and lists the schedule. (Put a footnote that it is tentative and subject to change.) Be relentless and overachieve. If you want to sell x amount, make sure you invite 3 times that amount or more!

Keeping Your Attendees Happy

At the function, you want to give promotional items to the attendees so that they remember you and also stay informed. Contact a reputable promotional expert to help you set this up. Since you will be buying in bulk, they can work with you and get you a discount.

You will want: nametags, pencils, tablets, brochures and program books. Nice additions would be: personalized golf shirts, tote bags and clocks. Choosing items that are usefull after the event is a good thing as it not only advertises your company, but reminds them of your main function message. Be sure to include your web addess and logo on these items so that your contact info is always handy.

Other items you need to create are signs, easels, schedules and anything that you will need to ensure that your event planning crew can run things smoothly.

All of your items should be top quality and your function needs to be polished. The last thing you want your attendees to do is go home and tell everyone you were cheap.

IMPORTANT: Check with the hotel about any restrictions they may regarding attaching items to walls. You might need to rethink your signs if they can’t be taped to a surface.

Maintaining Correct Records

Every person that attends your event is a potential sale. Don’t forget to have them double-check their contact info when they arrive. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure that your records are up-to-date. Always have a backup if you are planning on using a laptop to check in attendees. If your laptop is dropped and not usable, make sure that you have printouts of everyone’s information that you can then edit with a pencil.

Likewise, create a short anonymous survey to be handed out at the end of the function. Ask such questions like: What was the most valuable panel you attended and why? Was there a panel or speaker that was a waste of time? Do you have any comments for us?

You may get some negative feedback, but this feedback is extremely important for future event planning. Perhaps there was a speaker that was off-color and really gave people a bad vibe. If so, then you never want to use them again. Maybe one of your panels wasn’t as structured as you had hoped. You can key in on what was wrong and make it right.

A good idea is to video tape any panels or presentations to be used for training purposes. It is also a good chance to archive these videos or to put them on your website.

Conclusion

Event planning can be overwhelming. There are always little things that need to be handled. But using structure and organization is a good way to get above the chaos.

If you would like to talk to someone who has experience planning functions for small and big companies, consider talking to Intra-Focus, Inc. Their experienced staff would be happy to talk to you to see if their services could help you with your special occasion.

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Why Are My Rankings So Bad? (What to expect when you purchase SEO.)

Each day, millions of people turn to internet search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN to find what they’re looking for. At this very moment, there’s a good chance that many of your ideal prospects are using search engines to find the exact products or services you provide. The question is — are they finding you? That’s where search engine optimization comes into play.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the act of improving a website for better visibility among major search engines. From a business standpoint, the goal of SEO is to help your ideal prospects find your website, products and services.

A Good Approach to SEO

A competent SEO firm should take a “holistic” approach to search engine optimization. Instead of relying on any one tactic, they should incorporate a number of proven strategies to give you longer-lasting results. They should also provide a managed service that focuses on steady, long-term improvements in your search engine visibility.

Which Tactics are the Right Ones?

Unfortunately, there is no specific rule as to exactly which strategies work. The world of SEO is in a constant state of flux and what will work for your company might not work for another company.

What Will My SEO Firm Do to Improve My Results?

To start, you should expect your firm to have an extended conference call with you and your team. Perhaps you will meet with them at their office to go over your company, products, services and SEO goals. This gives you a great opportunity to see their office and work environment. If you are not comfortable in their office or, even worse, if they refuse to allow you to come to their building, you should immediately consider going elsewhere! There are SEO firms out there who are in it for the buck and not for your wellfare. Avoid these firms at all costs!

Once you have established the relationship and had your initial interview, you can expect the firm to implement specific SEO actions which may include:

  • Initial website evaluation (structure, content, navigation, etc.)
  • Keyword research to determine the exact phrases your prospects are searching
  • Content development where needed, with a focus on proper keyword usage
  • Link-building campaigns to increase your search engine visibility
  • Submitting your website to directories such as Yahoo and Best of the Web
  • Online article distribution to generate back-links from relevant websites to yours
  • Online press release distribution (with back-links to your website)
  • Constant pursuit of targeted online exposure
  • Regular reports to show how your visibility is improving

Some SEO firms will recommend that you redesign your website. If this is the case, do not panic. Ask them if they can implement some other SEO tactics while the site is being redesigned. This will give you the benefit of immediate optimization results while waiting on the new site, rather than waiting for everything several months down the line. Also be sure to see if the firm offers web design services and have it added to your package. This allows the entire optimization process to be handled by one company rather than being spread to another company that might not have SEO experience. You don’t want to spend the money on a new website that you may have to redo in a few months.

Your first reaction may be “This company is just trying to make another buck by selling me a new website.” Don’t jump to that conclusion. A good SEO firm SHOULD tell you if you need a new website if it is indeed a necessity. The majority of websites are not built to meet good SEO strategies. It is extremely probable that your website was not originally built to optimize your online presence. However, if the SEO company’s web design department is below par, then by all means, look for another design company that will work with the SEO firm to give you an outstanding website!

Don’t forget that you should try to redesign your webite every 1 to 2 years, so this is a great opportunity to have a fresh look and to update your content.

How Long Will This Take?

To install strong optimization features for your online presence, you should expect at least a six month process. This means that your SEO firm will monitor your website, update keywords, submit your site to relevant directories, write and release pertinent articles and make adjustments where they need to be made along with other tasks that they feel will help your results. It is this long process that will give you the best success. Some of the tactics will show you immediate results, but don’t be surprised if four months down the road, your SEO firm is still hard at work for your benefit.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Wikipedia.org defines Black Hat SEO as “methods to try to improve rankings that are disapproved of by the search engines and/or involve deception.” This is a practice that has helped unethical companies make a quick buck while detroying the online reputation of some honest businessmen who didn’t realize they were being swindled. Black hat SEO will most likely result in your website being banned from major search engines, especially Google! You do not want this to happen. It takes between 3 months to 1 year to get your site listed on Google once it has been banned. Make sure that your SEO firm does not do the following:

  • Create a redirect file that will send a user to a different page
  • Hide text on a page
  • Hide text in the source code
  • Create thousands of nonsense pages that do not have original content
  • Stuffing your content with keywords
  • Creation of web pages that contain content that isn’t relevant to your business
  • Links in your content to web pages that have no affiliation with your business

Trust me… if Google makes your website invisible, your online business will plummet. It’s just not worth it.

Get Started Today!

The key to search engine success is to start an SEO program early and sustain it over time. It takes time to “climb the charts,” so it’s best to get a head start on the competition. If you would like to talk to a company who has experience with SEO tactics and implementation, contact Intra-Focus, Inc. and ask about a custom SEO program for your company’s website!

Get Noticed Online

Publishing press releases can support your internet marketing and PR program in several ways. Creating an entire online PR campaign opens up lesser known opportunities and also generate leads to direct inquiries from the media and prospective customers. Use the following steps to help you realize your online PR campaign.

Step 1 – The Press Release

The first step is to identify a topic for your press release. Popular topics include new or improved products, relocations or new locations, website or blog launches, or any other unique stories associated with your company. Be sure that you have a competent person create a professional press release that identifies your target audience. Be aware that writing for print media and writing for the web can differ. If you do not have an employee that can meet these needs, you should hire a marketing firm to write the article for you. You might be surprised at how little it will cost for this service!


TARGET AUDIENCE QUIZ

Which of these sentences would appeal to men aged 16 – 20.

#1. The new Speedster skateboard uses ionized paint to anticipate the retroactive artistic styles of master artisans of the past century.

#2. The new Speedster skateboard has a retro look that will appeal to your senses.

Both of these sentences say the same thing and are professionally written, but the first sentence will probably cause the target audience to immediately stop reading. If you do not have someone in your business to handle these duties, you should consider hiring a marketing firm that has a copywriter. You might be surprised how little you will have to pay for this service.


NOTE: Do not finalize the press release until it has been checked for spelling and grammar by someone other than the copywriter. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes!

Step 2 – Releasing to the Media

Once you have the press release finalized, it is time to release it to the media for release in their publication or electronic medium. Send your PR to prweb.com and prnewswire.com. These websites are two of the most sophisticated online press release services around and many media outlets use these two websites to find news. Your article might just get picked up by dozens of newspapers! By combining your marketing firm’s knowledge and experience with the powerful distribution networks of sites like PRweb, you can transform your press release into an online promotional vehicle with unlimited reach.

You should also send your press release to your local newspaper and any local television or radio stations. Make sure that they have good contact information for you in case they would like to use you in a feature story!

Step 3 – The E-campaign

At this point, you should strongly consider hiring a marketing firm to handle the creation of your e-campaign. If you used a copywriter to write the press release, see if they will also set up the e-campaign. (Better yet, try to get everything in one package!) The e-campaign should be attractive and eye-catching and have at least one link to a landing page. Make sure that the landing page contains a form for lead generation or, at the very least, a button for people to contact you.

An important item that is largely ignored is the size of the e-campaign. If you choose to send the entire press release in the e-mail, then the campaign should be no wider than 600 pixels. This will fit in most e-mail clients. If you choose to send a summary of the article or an eye-catching graphic that will go to the press release, then the campaign should be no wider than 600 pixels and no taller than 395 pixels.

Your marketing firm should also have a system that will track how many people viewed and clicked on the e-mail. Be sure to ask for reports. This is an excellent opportunity to not only judge the success of your e-campaign, but also to remove any defunct e-mail addresses from your customer database.

Step 4 – Updating Your Website

If you don’t have a news page on your existing website, you are missing out on a great opportunity to add fresh content and to expand your profile on search engines. Get your news section built and add your first article.

If you do have a news page, get your article up there with a dateline at the top and contact information at the bottom.

Be sure to link no more than five phrases in your article to other pages in your website. This is called an optimized press release and will be beneficial to your search engine optimization efforts.

Step 5 – To Blog or Not to Blog

This step is optional, but can bring great rewards to your online presence. If you have a blog, post your press releases with target phrases linked back to your existing website. Optimized press releases get a lot of visibility in the major search engines. They can also generate new links back to your website, as other sites republish your release. These "backlinks" play an important role in the overall search engine visibility of your website.


INDUSTRY EXAMPLE – Online PR Campaign (Intra-Focus, Inc.)

An online PR campaign was recently created for Jimmy Jacobs Custom Homes and their work on Extreme Makeovers: Home Edition. In addition to electronic press releases, they also created a special website to generate buzz about the project.

>> Read the press releases
>> View an example of an e-press release
>> See the website
>> Visit the main website


The world is becoming more internet focused by the minute and you need to stay on top of this technology wave or your company will drown. Don’t wait! Get proactive and start your online PR campaigns today!

Learn More
If you are interested in getting a quote from a marketing firm or just finding out more about the process, you should contact Intra-Focus, Inc. Intra-Focus has a wealth of experience writing press releases, optimizing them for the search engines, and distributing them online. They can transform your press release into an online promotional vehicle with unlimited reach.