Monday, January 26, 2015

Survey Says…Business Executives Love Email Newsletters

By Laura Powers

At Furia Rubel, we spend a fair amount of time creating monthly and bimonthly email newsletters for our clients. We were intrigued by a recent survey performed by digital news outlet, Quartz, confirming that newsletters can be one of the most effective tools to maintain client relationships or keep colleagues informed. If done right, your newsletters could develop an engaging subscriber foundation, and potentially cultivate suitable leads and customers.

Email newsletters as a primary news source

Quartz’s survey states that 60 percent of business executives interviewed say email newsletters are one of the first three news sources they read in the morning. For keeping up on the latest industry news, 56 percent of executives said an email newsletter is their primary source of information. 75 percent of executives surveyed said they spend at least 30 minutes a day consuming the news. Why not spend a few of those minutes looking at business newsletters?

Sharing newsletter content among peers

The survey documented the changing ways, people ranging from managing directors to c-level executives, consume and share content – despite the widespread use of mobile devices. Content sharing of relevant news items that allow the original distributor access to and ease of sharing is important. So important – that 91 percent of business executives surveyed say they would share work-related news with others.

Understanding your audience is the key to relevant content

One of the biggest problems with email newsletters is that they are often disorganized and nonspecific because they are featuring news from every aspect of your business. PR stories or blog posts could be going next to random upcoming events – what a mess! Find a strategic solution for content placement by brainstorming ways to balance the content of your newsletter to be 90 percent informative and at least 10 percent promotional.

People are on a tight schedule; meaning everything they see has to be concise with such limited time on their hands. While they may want to hear from you, there is only so much information they’ll want to read before tuning out. Unless you actually have interesting news about your product, service, or company, leave out as much as you can of the self-promotional aspects and instead:

  • Offer something different from those of your competitors
  • Provide high quality content relevant to your audience
  • Include positive events in which the company participates 
  • Reflect on recent happenings in your industry

Where to promote a company newsletter 

Not sure where to advertise your email newsletter? Below are a few placement hacks we recommend:

  • During client communication 
  • Announce the arrival of the next newsletter on your website
  • At trade / industry events
  • Introduce the newsletter to new business contacts
  • Position a link to the most recent newsletter in your email signature

Please feel free to share your thoughts on email newsletters with us in the comments section below. Does your company use them? What do you feel is valuable to include in company newsletters?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Remember, The Pen is Mighty

By Rose Strong

"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure." --Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823
We recently joined people around the world as we watched the manhunt unfold for two armed gunmen wanted in connection with France’s deadliest terror attack in decades. The two brothers killed 12 people in an attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in Paris. We are still watching events unfold, as the dead are being buried, world leaders are discussing tactics to fight terrorism, and a new edition of Charlie Hebdo is being circulated worldwide.

There’s no reason to think that this type of attack couldn't happen at any newspaper or magazine in any country where citizens are free to speak their minds, free to express as they wish, and free to worship the higher power of their choice.

I sometimes take for granted that I was born in a country where I can say and create whatever I wish and believe or not believe in any deity I prefer. I can speak my mind, make with my hands what I want and put it out there for public display. If it offends or angers people, they usually react with little more than a shaking of their head, click of a mouse or the turn of the page

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It occurs to me that we Americans often need a reminder that we are fortunate to live in the United States, despite the occasional elevated threats issued by The National Terrorism Advisory System via the Department of Homeland Security. We are free, and we sometimes forget the sacrifices of those who fight for our freedoms with only a pen, camera or sketch pad.

Journalists, writers, artists, cartoonists and anyone else who champions the freedom of expression whether here or abroad often risk their lives to do so. I am indebted to them for their bravery. My heart goes out to the families of the victims and I honor all those who speak freely with a pen.

Monday, January 12, 2015

What Happens On The Internet, Stays On The Internet

By Kim Tarasiewicz

Some days, I find the news difficult to watch, with the barrage of bad news we are faced with on a daily basis. But one of the things I look forward to is the fascinating bits of trivia that come toward the end of the news segments. Recently, I saw a segment about the Library of Congress' National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. It showed how they are taking old videos and filing them into an archive system along with restoring old films and adding them to “the vault," a former bomb shelter that is now home to more than 1.4 million films, television shows and other videos that "tell America's story."

Each year, the Librarian of Congress selects 25 movies to be added to the National Film Registry. Some of us from the 80s era will be pleased to know that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  (1986) and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) were added in 2014. The self-proclaimed “film geeks” who work at the Conservation Center even save television commercials, to show the changing evolution of attitudes during certain eras or cultures in America.

The item that caught my attention, though, is that they are also archiving today’s media in real time, including radio, television and Internet content - even YouTube videos. To store that volume of data, they use petabytes; one petabyte can store up to 13 years of TV videos at a time. The reason for archiving YouTube videos? According to the Moving Section Director, “It is for future generations to decide what is important and what is not.”

It is that same desire to capture history-in-the-making that has led organizations and businesses nationwide to turn to web archiving services such as Archive-It from companies like Reed Tech. I doubt many of us thought that those corporate presentations, video games or family videos we uploaded to YouTube would ever be a part of the Library of Congress, but now they may be, as the preservation of digital content becomes more common.

For me, this is a perfect illustration for my teens to explain the need for online responsibility and confirming that what you post out there, stays out there. I can now point to a government agency that is collecting their information and archiving it.

Companies need to be aware of this, too, when sharing items on the Internet and social media. We’ve shared blog posts here on having a corporate social media policy and a crisis management plan, but it’s important to know that your Internet items may be captured in an archive program, too. 

Each time I upload a video presentation, TV commercial or news coverage interview for our clients, I will enjoy thinking about how we are creating history and wonder how those future generations will judge us. Will our YouTube posts seem antiquated? Will the news stories seem trivial? Will the films become classics like so many of those 80s movies I love to watch? I guess we need a crystal ball to see into the future to know for sure, but if we want to look at the past, evidently there is plenty being stored in Culpeper, Virginia waiting to be seen.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Myth-Busting SEO Techniques and Theories

By Megan Quinn

There are many different theories and myths about the best ways to create and maintain great search engine optimization results, called SEO. But that’s the problem; there are too many myths. How can we separate fiction from fact and better optimize our respective websites on Google search? Let’s see…by listening to advice from someone who works at Google.

Matt Cutts, Head of Google Search Spam, has seen various SEO techniques, ads and fluff sites used during the nearly 14 years he has spent with the company. He uploaded a video to YouTube in April of last year to call out the biggest SEO myths he had heard of at the time, but most of those myths are still believed to this day.

One of those myths is, “if you buy ads you’ll rank higher on Google.” That would be false, he says. Cutts says there also is an opposing theory that says if you don’t buy ads you will rank higher on Google. This also would be false, according to Cutts. He says that Google wants only to return great search results to the users and it is only about making the users happy. Why is that? So they will keep coming back to Google for answers, of course.

Sorry to disappoint you, Google conspiracy theorists!

Google and other search engines often change the algorithms that control what websites are displayed as the results of a search. Some of those changes are minor and some are major.
According to a recent article on PR Daily, Google’s algorithm tweaks continue to work to filter out the spammy websites that gamed SEO by stuffing keywords and other “black hat” tactics once used to claim the top search results spots.  As a result of those changes in recent years, the content (like press releases based on actual news, for example) with true depth can actually break the surface.

The truth is, one simple theory or approach will not guarantee that certain websites show up at the top of page one of a Google search. Many factors contribute to better search results – as many as 200 – and improving a website’s SEO is a long process.

What does this mean for companies that recognize the importance of good SEO? It means that investing in good writing has never been more important. Creating both textual and visual content that appeals to your target audience, and sharing it through integrated public relations and marketing, will help companies get found on the web – no myths necessary.