Pitching Business and Technology Contributors: Q & A with Freelancer Anne R. Gabriel

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Anne R. Gabriel has spent over 30 years as a professional in the communications field, writing about business and education technologies as a journalist and marketing communications consultant. Moving fluidly between the worlds of journalism, business technology writing, marketing and PR, she does everything from writing editorial for C-Level IT publications to providing marketing support for organizations ranging from start-up to Fortune 500. Today, Gabriel covers business, technology, and IT as a freelancer and regularly contributes to BAI Banking Strategies, Channel Partners Online and Insurance Networking News. Throughout her career, Gabriel has gained invaluable experiences and insight on how she likes to be approached by professionals, how she develops story ideas, and how she cultivates relationships in the field.

How do you prefer to receive pitches?

Email is best, as I’m not currently covering urgent/breaking news for any of my outlets. I do actually read each of the pitches, even though I can’t respond to all of them. So keep those emails coming!

What kind of information do you prefer to receive?

I love getting news releases related to business technology solutions – but I do not cover consumer tech. I especially prefer story pitches where an end user of the technology (i.e. the business adopting the technology) is willing to go on record. For one of the outlets I contribute to, Channel Partners Online, pitches need to include a channel angle, but a technology end user is optional. “Thought leadership” pitches on emerging technologies in the financial services sector are also welcome.

What will catch your attention?

It depends upon the outlet; as a contributing writer to a variety of publications, I look for a few different things. For BAI Banking Strategies, it’s pitches where an end user will go on record or “thought leadership” on technologies affecting banks/banking. For Insurance Networking News, end users are defined as insurance companies (not brokers or agencies) so story pitches on insurers (or re-insurers) adopting or advancing tech utilization are appropriate. For Channel Partners Online, all things channel are of interest.

How about any pet peeves?

Contributing writers and editors are paid by the piece — not by the hour. This makes unnecessary research or admin exceptionally unwelcome. It’s amazing how often I provide specific instructions on the type of end user company that qualifies for my outlet (particularly in financial services), which can be found in the “about” section of a company’s website, yet many PR people fail to do this very basic research.

Do you use social media like Twitter or Facebook to gather leads and story ideas? Can you be pitched via these channels?

No. I get that’s heretical these days, but email is still the currency of business communications and well-crafted emails put all the info I need at my finger tips. I’m sure it’s also a regrettable side effect of my age. I’ve tried (unsuccessfully so far!) to get over being old school, but I promise I won’t give up! And, I’ll keep my Cision profile updated, so PR pros will know when/if other digital platforms are appropriate.

Anything else you would like PR professionals to know?

Serving as a PR pro in a former life, as well as working for corporate clients on marketing content today, has taught me that nobody gets everything 100 percent correct. Therefore, it’s my policy to provide a full fact-checking draft whenever time permits, which is more often than not. I truly believe everyone wins – story participants, readers and my outlets – when I take the extra time to allow sources to fact-check. However, don’t take advantage of my generosity. I include instructions with the drafts for how to proceed should significant changes be wanted and frown upon people who completely rewrite paragraphs without discussing their sensitivities with me first. Otherwise, I strive to not only be flexible but also understanding, as I well know the clients that PR pros work with can frequently go rogue and there’s little any of us can do about it.

Further, it’s important for PR professionals to build trustworthy relationships with journalists – even if it’s responding with a ‘no’ so the journalist can move on. At the end of the day, a PR pro is only as good as the relationship he or she establishes. In other words, your brand as a trusted resource is your most valuable asset. Period. I look forward to working with you!

The Cision Media Research Team maintains a database of more than 1.6 million records, including social influencers, traditional media contacts, outlets and opportunities. We collect and maintain the latest contact and pitching information of bloggers and journalists who can spread your message, broaden your campaign and help you build relationships with the people who matter.  To experience the Cision Media Database first hand, request a demo here

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Asking Prices of Apartments and Condominiums in the First Quarter of 2016

The US Census Bureau, along with the US Department of Commerce (DOC) and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), fund and publish the Survey of Market Absorption (SOMA). The SOMA contains data on recently completed apartments and condominiums, including the asking rent and sale prices of these units. The median asking price of privately financed, unfurnished, nonsubsidized… Read More ›

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The Guide to Ecommerce Holiday Success [Part One]

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Pumpkin spice is reappearing on menus and fantasy football is now the hottest hallway topic – fall is finally here. With the change in the leaves comes the inevitable countdown to Cyber Monday for ecommerce marketers.

In 2015, one out of every six dollars spent over the holiday season was spent online. To capture your share of that revenue, you need to plan early (and often). To help you get started, we’ve put together a three-part guide to help you succeed this holiday season. The first part, 1. Before the Season, kicks off the series by helping you reflect on 2015 and start putting together a plan for 2016.

The guide covers:

  • How to learn from 2015
  • How to develop key goals and metrics
  • Guidance to build a holiday marketing plan
  • Holiday campaign inspiration
  • Systems to audit before the holiday rush

Download The Guide to Ecommerce Holiday Success: 1. Before the Season to get started on holiday 2016 (and stay tuned for parts two and three of the guide).

Get the guide to start planning for holiday season success for your ecommerce company.

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Behind the Headlines With Peter Shafer

Peter Shafer

Is your brand communication sparking conversations…or falling on deaf ears?

Peter Shafer, partner at Brunswick Group, says to stand out brands need to engage their audiences in a dialogue and ensure it is not one-sided.

In this interview, Peter discusses how brands can better engage audiences, improve their measurement practices and quantify their communication efforts.

What do you hope to accomplish in your new role as partner at Brunswick Group?

I’m excited to be a partner at Brunswick Group and scale Brunswick Insight with new sets of clients in North America and globally. I will start by introducing Brunswick Insight to my network of corporate and public affairs contacts as well as others in various industry sectors such as Health & Wellness and Fast Moving Consumer Goods.

What are some of the key components of a successful marketing strategy?

There is one basic guidepost on all things marketing: focus on the client. The key components of any successful marketing strategy are (1) meeting the client “where they are” and then working with them on the best path forward to achieve their aspirations and (2) the ability to focus on the “why” so that consumers can make a clear decision as to whether the product or service fits their needs and that you’re the right brand to trust.

With so much content saturating the marketplace, how can brands stand out?

Great question. Besides hiring Brunswick (LOL), brands can stand out in a VERY crowded marketplace in three ways: (1) leverage new “channels,” allowing their voice to be original and heard in new places; (2) engage in a dialogue and conversation across all platforms and outlets which can build higher quality relationships quickly and with more precision because the days of “controlling the message” are over; and (3) make the story about “them” and not you.

I still encounter so many brands that “talk at” their stakeholders, and don’t “talk with” their audiences. Using a combination of listening better and being more authentic in responses creates an environment where the brand can grow and thrive versus being defined in one dimension.

SE-CO-4.1.2 Avoid the Numbers Trap Blog Banner

Why is measurement and analytics such a difficult area for marketers? How can they improve?

Measurement and analytics are evolving every day and it is tricky to keep up with. Too often, I think marketers hear those two words and immediately think, “That’s a left-brain activity and I am totally right brain in what I do as a marketer.”

There has been too much mystery associated with measurement and analytics that most marketers are still trying to sort through what’s truly meaningful. But measurement and analytics can be a terrific source for narratives and can enrich most marketing approaches immediately.

For years, every McDonald’s campaign had one simple measure – how many hamburgers served.  That marketing analytic created credibility, community and creativity to how metrics can make a story come alive.

How has measurement evolved in recent years? What are brands doing differently today that they didn’t do in the past?

I believe marketers are cautiously embracing data and measurement but are still in the “wait and see” mode overall. Brands are doing two things today that are evolutionary within measurement – (1) they are combining different data sources (sometimes big data, sometime not-so-big data) to create a more complete and, more importantly, accurate picture of the consumer and how she behaves; and (2) brands are using technologies like passive metering and cookie tracking to gather in-the-moment data that is more reliable and factual.

This enables marketers to research needs without relying on survey data or other types of data collection methods. But the critical element of measurement that is still emerging is the interpretation or story-telling about the data and results – and that is the next “big” area of opportunity for marketers.

How can communication professionals best quantify their efforts to demonstrate marketing’s real impact on the bottom line?

Quantification of communications results continues to get more sophisticated and more accurate daily. Metrics on volume help tell the story on reach and effectiveness. In addition, because many campaigns are now more targeted and specific, it is easier to see the needle move on an issue.

I think marketers are becoming much better at defining their objectives in measurable ways.  The simplest ways to measure effectiveness in communications today is by determining (1) how far the “discussion” had moved since we became involved; and (2) whether or not overall business objectives such as profit and productivity shifted because of our efforts and conversations.

The ability to measure “relevance of message” in the midst of disruption will be key. For example, are “brick-and-mortar” retailers’ marketing efforts aligning with the shifts in consumer behavior? Looking at several metrics, the efforts may not be in alignment as in-store sales shift rapidly to online.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned throughout your career?

I am glad to say I keep learning new lessons all the time so “continuous learning” is a lesson everyone should learn and embrace. In addition, active listening is a skill that has to be practiced and refined all the time.

I remember in several jobs that my ability to “listen” in a meeting and capture/synthesize in writing the key points of those meetings for senior executives got me promoted faster and got me assigned to much larger projects.

Finally, be respectful of everyone’s role and ideas, especially now in this world of social media analytics. By demonstrating genuine respect, you will get the breakthrough ideas you need to set your marketing group apart from your peers.

Rapid Fire Round

1. My hobbies outside of work include…working part-time for the National Football League (NFL), solving crossword puzzles and word games, traveling and playing golf.

2. If I was stuck on a desert island, I’d…find things I could eat ASAP.

3. The thing that gets me up in the morning is…curiosity…I am always interested in what every new day brings.

4. I laugh most at…British comedy shows.

5. One thing most people don’t know about me is…I have authored two books and many journal articles.

6. My biggest pet peeve is…rude people.

You too can be a headline maker. 

The key is understanding the impact your marketing’s making and how you can use those insights to improve your future efforts. Find out how Cision can help by requesting a demo.

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How To Find and Fix a Broken Transmission Mount Acura Legend 1991-1996 & Acura RL 1996-2004

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August Construction Employment Growth by States

NAHB’s analysis of August regional employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that states with the highest annual growth rates of total construction employment are Iowa (18.68%), Hawaii (12.25%), and Colorado (11.31%). The total number of workers in construction reached 6.7 million nationwide, up by 3.13% annually. At the same time, the largest construction jobs gains happened… Read More ›

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How To Increase Referral Traffic And Get More Leads

ThinkstockPhotos-546453534-384519-edited.jpgMost marketers have one goal in common: increasing the amount of traffic to their website. There are various tactics for accomplishing this goal including search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), blogging, social media marketing, etc. The problem is that SEO takes times, PPC is expensive, Google is becoming oversaturated with blog content, and social media has always had a problem proving ROI.

One often overlooked tactic that can potentially have the greatest impact is referral traffic. So, what is referral traffic and how can you use it to generate more leads?

What Is Referral Traffic?

Visitors that come to your website from sites other than the major search engines are considered referral traffic. When someone clicks a link on a website or social network and is then taken to another site, tracking software, such as Google Analytics or HubSpot, counts that visitor as referral traffic. The originating website is called the “referrer” since it refers traffic from one website to the other.

Why Is Referral Traffic Important?

Referral traffic is important to inbound marketers because it sends potentially qualified visitors to your website from trusted websites. This in turn gets your content in front of new people, giving your website the opportunity to convert that visitor into a lead and your sales team the opportunity to convert that lead into a new customer.

But that’s not all! Referral traffic also has SEO benefits. When someone visits your website from another site they are usually clicking on a link or completing some type of social activity. Google and other search engines consider these links and social signals as positive ranking factors as long as they are coming from trusted websites.

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, let’s get started on getting you some juicy referral traffic so you can brag about all the hot leads you have rolling in.

7 Steps To Generate More Referral Traffic

1) Publish Your Website To Online Directories

Submitting your website to online directories is one of the easiest ways to get referral traffic but you don’t want to publish your website to every directory out there. Instead, focus on the ones that are most relevant to your industry or generate the most traffic. Whether you’re a veterinarian in St. Louis or an assisted living facility in Daytona Beach, Moz has you covered. They offer a free resource for finding the top directories by category and city.

Once you’ve submitted your website to the top directories for your city and industry, I’d focus on finding directories that can generate some serious traffic. How do you know which directories will accomplish this? It’s as simple as performing a Google search. The directories that appear at the top of the search results should, in theory, generate the most traffic. For example, if you do a search for “personal trainer in los angeles” there are 4 directories that show up on the first page of the search results: Yelp, YourTrainer, IdeaFit & Thumbtack.

Google search personal trainer in los angeles

You can’t use SEO to pass up these directories in the search results overnight. What you can do, however, is list your website on these directories in order to generate quality traffic and get some free SEO juice. After all, if someone is looking for a personal trainer in Los Angeles and they find your website via Yelp, that referred visitor is just as valuable to you as them landing directly on your website.

2) Get Published On Review Websites

Review websites are a great source for getting more referral traffic. These visitors have already gone through the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey. They’ve now reached the decision stage and are comparing vendors or products. What better time to get your product or service in front of them for consideration?

Getting listed on a review website can vary depending on whether you are a B2B or B2C company. If you perform a search for “st louis roofing company reviews” there are 3 websites that you would want to be listed on if you were a roofer: HomeAdvisor, BBB & AngiesList.

Google search st louis roofing company reviews

By adding your website to these 3 directories you are increasing the likelihood of your website being found during the decision phase of the buyer’s journey. If you are operating a respectable roofing company that treats customers fairly you should have no problem standing out from other roofers that have not so positive reviews.

B2B businesses will find that it is more difficult to get featured on review websites. A lot of times you have to “pay to play,” meaning you will basically have to pay to be featured towards the top of the review listings. For example, if you do a Google search for “top mobile app developers” the first search result is Clutch.co. They showcase a list of mobile app development firms with reviews but if you look closely you’ll notice that they are “sorted by sponsor.” Essentially these companies are paying to have their website and reviews featured first. It’s a slick way for Clutch to make money but also maintain it’s reputation as a respectable source for reviews.

Clutch sponsored results

3) Publish Guest Blog Posts

Guess what? You’re currently looking at step 3 of the 7 steps for getting more referral traffic to your website. That’s right. You’re reading a guest blog post by Leap Clixx, a HubSpot Partner Agency. Guest blog posts create numerous opportunities to get referral traffic to your website. External links (like the two in this paragraph), author bios, and call-to-actions (like the one at the bottom of this post) are typically present on most blogs. If you can get a post featured on a well-know industry website you’ll benefit from the referral traffic and links coming to your site. It’s best to focus your efforts on websites that are considered thought leaders in your industry. Since we’re an Inbound Marketing Agency, HubSpot is the perfect place for us to post a guest blog post. Can you think of a more respected website when it comes to the topic of inbound marketing? I mean, HubSpot literally coined the term inbound marketing.

Here are a couple tips to keep in mind when guest blogging:

  1. Focus on websites related to your industry – No one wants to read about Fall fashion trends on a blog about guns & ammo, unless you’re talking about camo.
  2. Keep the target audience in mind while writing – Most blogs have strict guidelines in place for guest bloggers.
  3. Write content under your own name – After all, you don’t want someone else getting credit for your work.
  4. Link to influencers – They will notice and might even help promote your guest blog post, which in return will increase the referral traffic it generates.

4) Leverage Social Media

According to Social Media Examiner, a whopping 89% of marketers indicated that social media generated more exposure for their business. Additionally, 75% found their website traffic increased as a result of their social media efforts.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest were the top 7 social media platforms used by marketers. Being active on social media isn’t just trendy anymore; it’s a tactic most marketers are using to get more traffic, leads, and sales.

benefits of social media marketing

Everytime you tweet, share, like, or pin a piece of content you are creating an opportunity to drive referral traffic to your website. Plus, you’re increasing the likelihood of your content showing up at the top of Google. 58% of marketers using social media reported improved search rankings. Like I said before, referral traffic not only brings more potential customers to your website, it also helps with SEO.

5) Comment On Blogs

A question that comes up a lot is “Does blog commenting help SEO?” It not only can help with SEO but it can also generate more referral traffic for your website. According to Neil Patel, his 240+ comments on blogs have generated close to 4,000 visitors to his website. Commenting on blogs will definitely increase your referral traffic; just make sure you’re not filling the interwebs with more spam. Here are a couple tips for the newbie blog commenters out there:

  1. Make sure your comments are valuable – No one likes a complainer or bragger. If your comments are negative or promotional in nature just keep them to yourself.
  2. Focus on blogs that allow links in the comments – Remember, you’re trying to get more traffic. In order to do that you need to add a link to your website
  3. If you aren’t first, you’re last. – Just like search engines, if your link is at the top of the comments list you’re more likely to generate more clicks and traffic.

 

 

6) Be Active On Industry Forums

Online forums are a great source of potential leads and customers but are often overlooked as a marketing tactic for generating traffic. Similar to blog comments, you should focus your efforts on forums in your niche and always be trying to add value without sounding too promotional. I’ve outlined a couple steps and tips below for getting the most out of forum marketing:

  1. Make sure the forum is active – Don’t waste your time on a forum that hasn’t had a new post for a month.
  2. Register using your brand name – You want to make sure people associate your comments with a memorable brand name.
  3. Create a signature with a call-to-action link – This is how you’re going to drive traffic to your website.
  4. It’s time to participate – You’ll want to participate in the areas of the forum where you have the most expertise.
  5. Use real life examples – Don’t just offer your advice. No one likes a know-it-all. Try to provide value using your personal experiences.
  6. Share your resources – Start a new thread with a link to resource you think could benefit the group. If you’re proud of a particular piece of content it’s likely others will enjoy it too.  

7) Publish Infographics

When asked to select the single most important form of content for their business, 37% of marketers picked visuals. The reason is pretty simple. Humans have attention spans shorter than goldfish and it’s easier for the brain to consume an image than a bunch of text. Plus you’ve probably noticed that an image of a cute puppy gets liked and shared more than a 100+ page industry report.

attention span of internet user

The great thing about infographics is they can help people understand complex data with simple visuals. The goal is to get your infographic shared, liked, and pinned on social networks and have others embed it in their articles (like I’ve done above), thus creating links to your website.

In addition to your own website, there are several websites where you can post an infographic. One of my favorites is Pinterest. After all, Pinterest is responsible for around 5% of all referral traffic to websites, second only to Facebook. Pinterest gives you the option to link your infographic to your website and makes it easy for it be shared on other’s boards.

Next Steps

Once you start receiving additional referral traffic, you’ll want to make sure your website is ready for these new visitors. In this FREE eBook “Turn Your Website Into A Lead Generation Machine,” we go over some best practices for ensuring your website is setup to convert visitors into leads for your business. Download it now by clicking on the link above or on the banner below.

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Top 10 FOX Affiliate Stations on Facebook

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If you find yourself needing more local news in your Facebook feed, we’ve got you covered! This week’s list includes the top 10 FOX affiliate stations on Facebook based on number of likes. All numbers were pulled September 21, 2016 and will change over time as the follower counts fluctuate.

1. WNYW-TV – New York – 1,413,916

2. KSAZ-TV – Phoenix – 1,065,849

3. WTVT-TV – Tampa, Fla. – 1,029,674

4. KDFW-TV – Dallas – 1,006,950

5. KRIV-TV – Houston – 985,272

6. WAGA-TV – Atlanta – 920,468

7. KTTV-TV – Los Angeles – 844,252

8. WJW-TV – Cleveland, – 808,066

9. WFXT-TV – Boston – 775,174

10. WFLD-TV – Chicago – 745,998

How To Replace U-Joints 2 Ways

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FOMC Statement: All Eyes on December

The statement released following the September meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) fell in line with market expectations as the committee chose to keep the federal funds rate unchanged.  The Committee’s assessment of the economy remained positive, leaving a December rate hike very much in play.  In the statement, the Committee continued its upbeat assessment of labor and economic activity…. Read More ›

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