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The FischTank team likes its work, but it also likes its summer vacation. As a New York PR and Marketing firm, we’ve got our options. The famed Jersey shore is close, as are Coney Island and the Hamptons. New England is only a couple of hours north while the Poconos are only the same distance west, and OCMD just a bit further to the south. Plenty of options for the team to choose from!

But it’s not just where you’re going, it’s what you’re listening to on your way there. Music taste is important in all seasons, but with the windows down in a car or open at home, everyone is hearing it.

So without further ado, find the FischTank team’s sounds and sights of summer:

I don’t really have a favorite summer song, but I do have a favorite summer band—Dirty Heads. They have a reggae/hip-hop/rock sound and every song is a feel-good jam. They’re the perfect soundtrack for a beach day, which is always my favorite place to be.

Which leads me to my favorite place to visit in the summer—hands down, it’s the Jersey Shore. Growing up in Central Jersey (yes, it does exist), I went to Long Beach Island a lot on vacation and one of my best friends is from Belmar, so any day trip was spent there. Now, I spend a lot of time in the Asbury Park/Sea Bright area since that’s where my boyfriend grew up. But my favorite thing to do at any beach, is to just post up in a good spot on the sand with a towel, some sunscreen and a good book and stay there until sunset!” – Samantha Breccia

My favorite summer song is anything I can listen to live, outside, with a beer in hand. Warm weather means outdoor concert season, and an opportunity to spend the day outside listening to favorite bands. There are some great outdoor venues in the greater NYC/Northern NJ area, lined with food trucks and craft beer stands – nothing better.

My favorite place is anywhere with a golf course. My ideal relaxation activity is riding down a fairway with headphones in, unplugging from the rest of life and yelling at myself for four hours about the horrible shot I just hit. Courses down south along the coast offer some of the best views, but anywhere with a tee box and flagstick will do. – Matt Bretzius

My favorite summer song is In My Mind by Ivan Gough (Axwell Radio Edit). Any type of house/EDM song reminds me of the summer so much because the vibe of that genre just makes you want to dance and be outside.”

“My favorite place to visit in the summer is any beach. Laying out on a beach until the sun sets truly is relaxing and what better feeling is there in the world? Especially when you are sipping on a tropical drink without any cares listening to music and spending time with your loved ones. – Michael Canova (more to come on this new dude at FischTank)

My favorite song is ‘Walking on Sunshine,’ a classic that has remained a staple on my summer playlist since I was a child. At the start of every family vacation, we would play the summer splash CD and I always remember this being my favorite track to sing and dance along to. It’s a feel-good song for every summer barbecue, beach day and road trip.

I grew up in the Adirondacks and while I’m anchored in NYC now, the Adirondack park continues to hold a special place in my heart. There’s something for everyone, whether it’s relaxing at our cabin or in Lake George with a cocktail or hiking the high peaks in Keene Valley. The Adirondacks are simply breathtaking and incredible place to spend the summer. – Kate Caruso-Sharpe

Due to the copious amount of music I listen to, picking a sole favorite summer song would be like telling me to go to McDonald’s and forcing me to pick only one burger – impossible. For that reason, I choose King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s “Nuclear Fusion” as my 2019 summer song. This band has extensively been present in my recent Spotify rotation and they’ve been dropping banger after banger for their new upcoming album, “Infest the Rats’ Nest.” Plus, “Nuclear Fusion” makes me feel like I can take on the entire world in my sleep.

My favorite place to visit in the summer is also my favorite place to visit in the spring, fall, and winter – Rio de Janeiro. It was where I was born, and ever since I was snatched away to the States at age 7, I’ve returned to Brazil every single summer (aside from a 2018 World Cup Euro escapade). Beautiful weather, beaches, music, and food – plus 95% of my family resides there, so how could it be any other place? – Fabricio Costa

One of my favorite summer songs is Ocean Breathes Salty by Modest Mouse. All of the instruments and sounds come together to make it really relaxing. I was 12 years old when it came out and it reminds me of summer at that age, which was really simple and just about being outside all day and having no responsibility.

I like any chance I get to visit the Monmouth County area of the Jersey Shore. Growing up, I would get to the beach once or twice every summer. After going to school in that area and spending many summer weekends there since, it’s grown on me even more. Now, sitting on the beach is one of my favorite things to do. – Kyle Evans

Choosing my favorite summer music is tough. It needs to be a little more laid back than usual, so immediately discounting most hard rock. I’ve lately gotten into Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real after hearing some of their collaborations and support for Neil Young. Their two most recent albums are tremendous, and Lukas sounds just like his old man.

My favorite place for summer vacation (other than San Diego, the correct choice for any destination-related question) is found somewhere on the South Jersey shore (major distinction from North, Central). Growing up in the Philadelphia area, I spent countless summers in Sea Isle City, Ocean Beach, and Wildwood. Some of the fun my high school friends and I had in Wildwood cannot be discussed here. When I think of South Jersey beaches, I think of boardwalk fun, crabbing for hard-shells, and eating Wawa hoagies.” – Eric Fischgrund

When it comes to favorite summer songs the obvious choice is the Grammy-Award Winning 1999 Hit ‘Smooth’ by the legendary Santana featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty. Just try to listen to the opening guitar hook without getting pumped up, I dare you. It’s an infectious jam you can screech along to at the beach, by the pool or while riding around with the windows down.

Lake Placid, NY will always hold a special place in my heart. For 10+ years, it was the site of my family’s annual summer camping trip. I have many fond memories of cooking at the campsite, hiking, swimming and playing cards every night. Downtown Lake Placid also has a great vibe, with lots fun shops and restaurants — you can even check out the Olympic Center, site of famous 1980 “Miracle on Ice” USA hockey victory over the USSR. – Erin Hadden

There is no sweeter summer soundtrack than the laidback tunes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. While my personal favorite is Learning to Fly, almost any Americana-packed Petty track makes for a great summer listen. The first concert I ever saw happened to be Tom Petty during the summer of seventh grade, but my favorite Mad Dog memory is blasting Damn The Torpedos in my 1984 Volvo with all the windows down during an impromptu midnight trip to the beach with some buddies.

Every summer from before I could remember to when I was 11 or 12 years old, my parents, aunts and uncles would load my sister, cousins and I into a mini van and trek down to Wildwood, NJ. Exploring the beach and boardwalk was the highlight of every summer, but eventually, as we all got older and the world got smaller, we started exploring other destinations like the Outer Banks and Caribbean. All offered amazing experiences, but none lived up to Wildwood’s nostalgia. I had the opportunity to return to Wildwood a few summers ago, with the same aunts, uncles and cousins, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the town hadn’t changed much – if anything, it seemed to have a fresh coat of paint on it! – Rob Kreis

The Team at FischTank Marketing and PR

Anonymous FischTank Accountant

 

My favorite song is ‘I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash because it evokes memories of listening to it on the radio (AM!) in the summer.

My favorite place to visit is very specific – Jones Beach West End Beaches, a favorite hangout spot with friends from high school. – Our anonymous accountant who values brevity 

 

 

 

My favorite summer song is the recent hit, Old Town Road by Billy Ray Cyrus and Lil Nas. It’s very catchy and fun to listen and sing along to.

I love going to Belmar beach in the summer with my family and friends! Besides being a FischTank PR professional, I’m like a mermaid, and I could stay in the ocean for hours. – Jessica Reiner

My favorite summer song is Sherry Darling by Bruce Springsteen. Although the name of my sister (spelled differently), Sherry Darling tells the story of a summer getaway. Gracing every stereo that plays it, The Boss offers yet another lyrical masterpiece giving off good vibes and a catchy tune.

Summers are spent at my grandma’s house, nestled on the Toms River bay where we spend our time out on the boat, fishing, crabbing, or just enjoying the sun. A five-minute drive to the boardwalks, many nights are spent on roller coasters, playing carnival games, or at the bar. However, the night isn’t over until its finished off with a Seaside Tony from Steaks. – Russ Pagano

I don’t have one favorite song, but I do love listening to Bob Marley in the summertime. “Could You Be Loved” is a great song to groove to and listen to while on the beach.

I was born and raised in Monmouth County, NJ and enjoy going back to my roots to visit the good old Jersey shore. I enjoy long walks on the beach with an ice cream cone in hand. – Carly Ross

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

PR and Digital Firm

I’m always looking for ways to make my job easier so I can be more productive. Working in a fast-paced industry like PR forces you to adjust your day on the fly, often leaving your schedule in shambles so you can jump on the breaking news that just popped in an effort to get your client some press. It’s fun, exciting, and why I love the industry – but it can also sap productivity and leave me wondering at times how I can be more efficient.

One way I’ve been able to improve my daily workflow is by taking advantage of some of the great technology that’s been created for just that purpose. If there’s a tool to automate process, improve my efficiency, or just flat out save me time, I’m always interested in giving it a look. I’m not adverse to help – especially if I know it’s going to make me better at what I do.

Below are a few of my favorite technology “helpers” that help boost my productivity.

Boomerang

 I’m as guilty as anyone of living in my email (as most PR people do). I receive and send hundreds of emails a day, and at times my inbox is a disaster – sometimes I wish I could just turn it off to work for an hour in peace. With Boomerang’s Inbox Pause I can actually stop emails from coming into my inbox for any specific period of time, schedule emails to only be delivered in batches during hours I choose, and allow emails from only specific people (like that reporter I’m waiting to hear back from) while I’m heads down on an important new business proposal.

Boomerang has a ton of other great features for email too, which have helped me get as close to Inbox Zero (more like Inbox Seven) as possible, such as:

  • Email scheduling, for sending at optimal times
  • Follow-up reminders if someone doesn’t respond to your email
  • “Boomeranging” messages out of your inbox to a later date
  • Respondable: real-time analysis powered by AI to let you know if your email is likely to get a response (also an eye opener to learn how you write)

Boomerang works for Gmail and Outlook.

Capsulink

 Speaking of email, one of the biggest drains of my day is dealing with all of the spam and junk that hits my inbox. As the PR contact for many clients, my email address often goes out on press releases, corporate websites, and other public-facing documents. As such, I get crushed with spam, and spending time vetting and deleting severely hinders my productivity.

Capsulink is a custom URL shortener that lets me convert my email address into a hyperlink, which helps to avoid being grabbed and stuffed into a spam campaign.

Even better, Capsulink also provides detailed click statistics, including which channels and geographical locations clicks are coming from. This is especially beneficial in social media campaigns and other digital marketing initiatives where we want to track activity driving traffic to certain landing pages. The metrics allow us to see our most successful channels and then adjust our campaign as needed.

Asana

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a proponent of the hand-written to-do list. Anyone in my office will point to the scribbled and highlighted paper I keep next to my phone on my desk. It’s worked for more than a decade, but as I increasingly travel more and work remotely, I often find myself forgetting to bring the paper home. Enter Asana.

Asana is my electronic to-do list, but it really serves as a work management platform for PR and Marketing entire teams. I use Asana to track my tasks with due dates, what is prioritized, add long-term goals (like writing more of these blogs), and more. Some of our team members use Asana for similar purposes, helping them track and balance the daily tasks they juggle across multiple clients. It’s easy to use and super clean, and while I may never throw out my scribbled paper, it definitely has improved my productivity when I’m on the move.

What’s a tool that helps you get through the day? Comment below or track me down on Twitter @MattBretzius.

Matt Bretzius is President and Partner at FischTank Marketing & PR.

LinkedIn is a social platform FischTank utilizes to augment many a client's PR program

One of the things the entire FischTank team advocates is the importance of consistent messaging across web, media relations, sales literature, email marketing and social media.

For B2B industries, LinkedIn is such an important tool within marketing and communications, and has the ability to positively impact the public’s perception of a brand or individual. People and organizations need to be informative, compelling, knowledgeable and most important – authentic.

I shared some of my thoughts on this subject, specifically with respect to authenticity and frequency of posting, with Kiely Kuligowski of Business News Daily for an article entitled LinkedIn for Business: Everything You Need to Know.

It’s a small tidbit, but I hope readers find it useful. I’ve always placed a premium on my LinkedIn network, and its been instrumental to me and FischTank as we’ve grown this business.

Your PR firm should be asking about your social strategy and thinking about how it can improve your marketing and communications functions, and ultimately achieve your organization’s objectives.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

The old days for a PR firm consisted of the daily grind to achieve media coverage in any form, not really understanding how or why it would move the needle for their client. Sometimes this directive came from the client itself, everyone scrambling for exposure without knowing why.

Public relations meant press release writing, drafting a vanilla statement when things went bad, and distributing boilerplate pitches to reporters that more or less reiterated what your website says. “We are innovative,” “we are groundbreaking,” “we are first-of-our-kind,” and “we anticipate tremendous growth” and last but not least, “we are making a difference for the future!”

PR firms were mostly “media relations” outreach factories, and many of them still are.

Now? Companies need to look for a heckuva lot more in a public relations firm. There are simple questions like “who is your audience?” and “what is your wish-list for media coverage?” but those are just that – simple and unlikely to evolve into any real strategy with tangible results. More important questions your PR firm should be asking include:

  • “Why do you feel media coverage is important?”
  • “How has your target audience traditionally found you?”
  • “How important are online search results for your brand?”
  • “What is your SEO strategy? Are backlinks important to you?”
  • “What’s your content marketing strategy?”
  • “Where does your site traffic come from? May we have access to your Google Analytics?”
  • “How do you plan on using media coverage?
  • “Do you have an e-mail marketing program?”
  • “What keywords and searches do you want to rank for?”
  • “What is your business development strategy?”
  • “Why did Kawhi Leonard’s shot fall against the Sixers in Game 7?!”

That last bullet is still on my mind. I’m writing this following two days of business in Toronto, site of where my beloved Sixers had their hearts ripped out, and where I’ve been subject to passing by at least two dozen “We the North” signs reminding me of last Sunday.

Sorry, I just blacked out. Back to business.

People at PR firms who sell its services, people like me, are in the business of meeting a potential client or customer and immediately telling them what they can provide. “We can definitely get you top-tier press.” “We will post to your social channels every day!” “We have an expert team of writers who can draft all your press releases.”

This is wrong, for so many reasons. It’s 2019. People, whether investors, potential customers, clients and partners, etc. digest information much differently than they did 15 years ago, or ten years ago, or five years ago…or last year.

The one size fits all approach has long-since given PR firms a bad name and led to numerous journalist shamings on Twitter and LinkedIn. I’ve probably earned one or two myself over the years.

If your PR firm isn’t asking you about SEO, sales and business development, web traffic, or why you want to hire a firm – they’re not doing their job. There is the old way, “messaging documents” that take three months for some firm to rehash everything you already know about yourself, and there is the new way – understanding how an integrated approach should serve as an extension of your company’s public relations and marketing approach.

Take your pick!

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Marketing Summit in D.C. - SEO in 2019: New Strategies, New Tactics

The good news: a very kind industry contact has invited me to speak on a panel titled, SEO in 2019: New Strategies, New Tactics, at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit in Washington D.C. on Friday, April 26th.

The bad news: I need to prepare to speak in front of hundreds of marketing and communications executives throughout the region attending an event to discuss high-level issues through a series of panels, keynotes, presentations, exhibits, and networking.

OK, it’s not all bad (just a little intimidating), and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really looking forward to the Marketing Summit.

In addition to my genuine interest in FischTank’s practice areas, I’m equally interested in why and how public relations can impact marketing. This is why our team has put so much time into understanding the intersection of Public Relations and SEO, the practice of utilizing media relations and content marketing to impact search engine results and position. This is a strategy we employ for our clients that conduct their business primarily online, generating leads to support business development, increasing traffic to ecommerce platforms, and other objectives that come with the daily grind of online marketing.

I can wax poetic (sure?) and explain why companies should hire FischTank (yes, you should!), but I’ll take the rest of the time in this blog ahead of the Marketing Summit to ask some friends and peers in my network what they think about this topic:

“In a world of links of dubious value, true, expertly done PR generates not just publicity for the business, but good links that continue to reverberate throughout search engines. We typically see media earned links as some of the most valuable links when conducting SEO analysis. I’d encourage everyone to look at their business for hidden opportunities for press.” – Josh Greene, CMO for The Mather Group and the moderator of the upcoming panel at the Marketing Summit.

“The intersection of PR & SEO is critical as PR provides one of the best opportunities to attract links from high quality publications to your site. With links still remaining one of the top two search engine ranking factors your PR efforts can increase your sites authority, rankings & traffic. It’s important for your PR & SEO teams to be on the same page and to know for instance that getting links to the primary website is much more important than social media channels and to also push your contacts to make sure they include proper link attribution in their coverage.” – Ryan O’Connor, Founder of One Tribe Apparel

“Content is meaningless if no one can find it in search. Whether it’s a hard earned news article, a well-crafted blog post, or even a mention by an influencer, ensuring that your content is properly tagged, titled, optimized, and focused on your brands keywords are critical for ensuring search success. A properly curated digital reputation need not rely on a deluge of content but rather a few well crafted, strategic pieces that reflect the best about you or your business. It makes no sense to waste precious space in your search results for poorly written, meaningless content merely designed to fool the algorithm. Better to leverage the power of search to shape the reputation you need and want.” – Sam Michelson, CEO and Founder of Five Blocks

“Google is smart. Once upon a time, if you threw enough links any links at a site, it would rank. That’s not the case anymore. A site needs live mentions on topically relevant, high authority sites (with or without a link). Google’s bot is smart enough to know when your brand name is mentioned in an article in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times. A link in that article is the icing on the cake.” – Alex Deckard, SEO Manager, Aeroflow Healthcare 

“Companies looking to raise capital from either the public or institutional investors need to be cognizant of their message to the market, but also the results search engines show when people are doing their due diligence. This is especially true in emerging industries, such as cannabis, cryptocurrency, renewable technologies, and others where competition is fierce and there is an increased need to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. This is where media relations and content marketing come into play, ensuring both transparency and a high quality of results appear when someone Googles or otherwise searches a brand.” – Kendall Almerico, Principal at Almerico Law

“In recent years, SEO has become much more precise, more transparent, and more results oriented. As a result, public relations has started to play an even more important role in the successful management of SEO. It has become obvious to marketers that if you want your business to be visible and easily found, you have to understand that there is no successful SEO without proper PR.” – Larissa Pitersky, Chief Financial Officer of Apex Capital Partners

 

 

 

 

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

The FischTank team is very proud to share that it sponsored ‘A Night Out with City Year,” an American education nonprofit organization founded in 1988 dedicated to helping students and schools succeed

The event is the City Year New York Associate Board’s 12th annual spring fundraiser. Held at Rockefeller Center, this night brings together 250 young professionals for a chance to network, mingle, and learn about City Year’s service and impact in schools across New York City.

The organization deploys 246 highly skilled AmeriCorps members to serve in 22 elementary and middle schools. Each school has a team of diverse and talented 18-25 year-olds helping in the school community. In FY17, nearly a third of our corps, 32%, were serving in an area where they are from. Together, this team positively impacts thousands of students every day.

To learn more about City Year New York, please click here. FischTank supports a number of non-profit organizations in providing marketing and media relations services. To learn more, please click here.

 

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Public Relations and Marketing

FischTank Marketing and PR Founder Eric Fischgrund will speak on an upcoming January 31st panel entitled, “How to grow your B2B business in 2019 – what works best for organic growth?” He will discuss the role of media relations, content marketing and digital strategies to achieve this goal.

The free event is hosted by B2B Growth (B2BNXT), and will include other speakers including Forrest Leighton, Scott Swanson and Patrick Charron. To learn more, please click the link here or below.

How to grow your B2B business in 2019 – what works best for organic growth?

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019, 6:00 PM

85 Broad Street
27th Floor, 85 Broad Street New York, ny

23 Members Attending

The event is free to attend, featuring awesome food + drinks and an even better panel discussion! We ask that you are working at a B2B company in a marketing/business development capacity (or you’re the owner). We bring 5 special panelists (including the VP of Marketing at MakerBot), all with extensive experience helping B2B companies beat their co…

Check out this Meetup →

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Why public relations and SEO tactics can work hand in hand.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com

As someone who is immersed in both client management and business development, I frequently hear from companies about the roles that online search and SEO play in their business.

For some of the more B2B and niche companies, especially those selling an expensive product or service, it’s important to own the first page of Google for searches around your name or the industry you serve. For B2C companies of all sizes, especially those exclusively selling products online, it’s not that online reputation isn’t important — it is — but hyperlinks pointing to your corporate URL and product pages are critical to driving revenue.

PR for SEO is now a focal point for many modern marketing programs, serving as the ultimate intersection of public relations and SEO/digital marketing. Over the years, I’ve seen many PR firms offer SEO and SEO firms offer PR, both without truly understanding how the functions can work hand in hand. Now, PR for SEO is more important than ever as a long-term investment that should not be ignored by CMOs and marketing execs. As the founder and CEO of an agency that offers this type of service, I’d like to provide more insight on how you can effectively leverage PR for SEO.

What Is PR For SEO?

For media relations and communications folks, the PR aspect of an SEO campaign is likely quite similar to what you’re hopefully already doing with clients today. We’re all familiar with how contributed content in the form of bylines and op-eds are an effective communication tool. They demonstrate expertise and thought leadership, and the published pieces often make for good sales material and social media fodder.

However, many companies either fail to understand or simply don’t prioritize the benefits of SEO that come with contributed content. These pieces are generally accompanied by a short byline of the author, typically a corporate executive, that includes a hyperlink to the website. This hyperlink is extremely valuable. When a credible website publishes your corporate name URL, Google and other search engines recognize this through algorithms as a supporting reason for why your site (and brand) is credible and should rank higher.

Further driving the SEO function, your contributed piece should incorporate keywords relevant to your product and business. The ability to secure the piece with keywords and on-brand focus, coupled with the corporate mention and URL inclusion, should now play a prominent role in most any organization’s marketing program.

How To Do It With Credibility

Now that you know how PR for SEO works, make sure you understand the ins and outs of how to do it with credibility. Before creating content, identify a list of online news sites that are open to receiving contributed insights/op-eds. Use SimilarWeb or SEMRush to get an understanding of a site’s digital audience or unique visitors per month (UVMs), a number that supports the quality of the news site and thus its published hyperlink.

Alex Deckard, an SEO Manager for Aeroflow Healthcare, reviews the total number of backlinks for a website, and also its most popular pages to better determine what that site’s audience is really looking for. He pays close attention to topics covered by the publication, knowing that content that’s relevant for his company will thus improve its ranking on Google and other search engines.

It’s important to understand the value of content writing and thought leadership. If you choose to hire a PR firm to lead your program, make sure you find one that understands this. It’s not as simple as just drafting an article and changing words around to repurpose it for other publications. Most quality news sites seek completely original and company/product-agnostic articles. After all, credible news publications have dedicated readers that deserve creative and insightful content. This means your organization cannot write an op-ed about the company itself, but more about the industry or various trends experienced as an expert within the sector.

By publishing a good article, you will likely experience more article-sharing and general buzz on social channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A good public relations professional should understand these nuances, and have the capability to produce solid content to power the PR-for-SEO program.

Once a few articles have been successfully placed, the process should get easier to repeat. Frequent brainstorming with corporate executives helps keep content fresh, which cannot be understated. By identifying timely topics and providing value to the publication, a high-volume PR-for-SEO strategy is very achievable.

How To Measure Results

There are a number of resources for digital marketers to measure more technical as well as traditional KPIs. Speaking traditionally, bylined articles are great sales and marketing tools and are commonly featured on corporate websites and social media platforms.

Many digital marketers and SEO specialists who manage and work with PR teams use a combination of KPIs to ultimately determine both short- and long-term return on a PR-for-SEO program, including but not limited to UVMs, URL link, quality of the news site, social shares, total link quantity, and long-term search engine position and rankings for specific online searches.

Thinking Long-Term

PR for SEO is very different than more technical onsite SEO upgrades and link-building, and must be viewed as a long-term project with significant upside. It can take days or even weeks to develop an article and identify the right news website for submission, and sometimes even longer for it to publish. These articles often stay online forever, meaning the content reflecting your current brand and values may become a permanent search result for your company and for the name of its author.

An op-ed submitted today may one day result in site traffic and sales of next year, meaning the long-term value of a PR-for-SEO campaign is something that must be featured in any marketing and communications program.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

FischTank provides crisis communications for a number of public and private companies

While no one ever wants to think about the potential for negative or controversial news, many businesses often encounter challenges that result in an unwanted spotlight. It’s imperative that  the company’s marketing and public relations professionals take the time to prepare messaging that is simple and targeted to the audience at hand for when controversy arrives. As one of the Founding Fathers (allegedly) said, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. When preparing to address media questioning ahead of time, be sure to think about the audiences below.

Stakeholders.

If you’re a public company, it’s extremely important to maintain transparent communication with those who have invested in your success (or struggles) as a brand. This doesn’t necessarily mean over sharing – you shouldn’t put out news releases just for the sake of doing so – but instead for important milestones that show the growth and trajectory of the company. Unfortunately, not all news that you share will be music to investor ears, which is why you must have a crisis communications plan in place to address issues so your shareholder base isn’t left feeling angry and confused.

You can also be sure that investors will ask questions of your colleagues and partners, especially those listed as a contact on press releases. Since a media relations professional isn’t always an investor relations contact, nor at liberty to discuss certain information with investors, you have to prepare for next steps. Ensure a set protocol is in place for how all members of your team address investor inquiries, and be sure that that you can refer investors to the appropriate contact. What may seem like a simple question (i.e. how has a certain part of the company grown?) is not always something a media relations or marketing professional should disclose. If your company doesn’t focus on the investor relations aspect of marcomm, be sure to educate your colleagues on the dos and don’ts of working for a public company.

Customers.

Building positive rapport with customers is crucial for any company, especially in the age of social media where someone can share a rave review – as well as an unfavorable one – to the masses with the click of a button. You must actively work with your public relations team to share out pertinent information to customers in a timely fashion.

Social media is one of the quickest and most effective ways to reach key audiences, but it comes with the expectation that your company must also respond quickly to inquiries from the public, including those who may not be happy with the company. Anticipate common questions and concerns based on previous interactions but also common sense. For example, if you launched a new initiative, it may take time for people to fully understand its objectives, and naturally questions will follow.

Journalists.

For the reporters that express interest in your company and who have invested time in covering your milestones, it’s important to be honest and straightforward about less than ideal news. It’s understandable that you may not be comfortable discussing negative news with the press, but ultimately in order to maintain transparency and an honest relationship with reporters, you have to make yourself available.

Look within your organization to identify the right person to speak with the media, which is something your public relations colleagues or partners can assist with. Most likely the best spokesperson will be someone who is already media trained and will understand the way press inquiries work. Even with that in mind, discussing potentially damaging news is a different animal, and requires further approval on messaging and a candid conversation with both internal and external partners to make sure everyone is prepared for the worst-case scenario. Be sure to be realistic based on the media inquiries at hand; if your pick for an ideal company representative has never been in front of a camera or on a live program, now is not the time to test their skills.

Obviously, you will not always be lucky enough to prepare for a crisis before it strikes. For news that you are privy to in advance, whether it be missed revenues, downsizing, or another issue, take ample time to formulate a communications plan that clearly outlines the role of reach team member (from both your company and your agency partners), correct messaging, and a spokesperson that is ready to address all issues tactfully. After you’ve made it through to the other side of a crisis, be sure to review your process and address what went well and what could be improved. Getting your crisis communications plan organized ahead of time can make the process smoother for all involved .

FischTank media coverage generates ROI

***This blog post originally appeared on CommProBiz***

Whether potential clients or companies we’ve already partnered with, at some point comes the question:

“How do we measure success?”

“What is the ROI for media exposure?”

“Is this working?”

These are fair questions that must be asked, and the answer is the same every time – your ROI depends on your objective. Some organizations retain PR and Marketing firms because they’re looking to achieve some form of conversion, such as a sale or new business lead. Others do so because they seek to use media placements as content for some marketing function, perhaps as signage at a trade show, or as a marketing/sales touchpoint like an e-mail blast. Others evaluate media relations efforts for the SEO and online marketing value they bring, especially when a hyperlink is included.

The point is, each company and organization that retains a firm like ours should know exactly what their objective is prior to engaging, or at least let that become a focal point for strategy discussion.

If it’s e-commerce, or the sale of products via a website, then you may be looking at a two-pronged approach for success. One – how do you create impactful media results that drive interested customers to the website to make a purchase? Two – how do you improve your online search position so that when people Google or conduct other online searches around certain terms, your company name shows up on the first page or within the first few entries?

The former of the two approaches is obvious – to produce media coverage that directly reaches consumers and influences their buying decisions. To this point, no two pieces of media exposure are created equal. If a media relations team secures an article in USA Today, yes, that could drive traffic. But also consider the audience. If the article is about something technical in nature, there’s a very good chance the ROI of said USA Today article could be very low. However, if that very same article were to publish in a blog read by only 8,000 people, but who also happen to be your specific customer type, you could very well garner more sales/conversion from that blog exposure. To this effect – focus on the audience, not the circulation.

With respect to the second approach regarding online search, the value of strong digital content may be difficult to measure per individual piece, but the sum of all efforts most definitely can be quantified. More and more often we work with companies whose primary objective is the search engine optimization (SEO) value of the media coverage we secure on their behalf. Will a hyperlink be included? Will it be chock full of keywords that also mirror the search terms your company wants to rank for? Will these articles show up on the first page of Google? Securing high quality link backs to corporate URLs on a constant basis will ultimately drive traffic for, and interest in, a company.

“Not so fast! My company doesn’t conduct business online. We’re very B2B, and most of our business comes from networking, our sales/marketing team, or (insert some other form of sales process or transaction)”

Let’s take a step back. Despite what some may say about the current state of media, there is still a significant trust that comes with media exposure. Being quoted or featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, NPR, influential trade publications, and others still provide tremendous value. Whether you’re a pre-revenue company seeking investors or a 100-person organization that relies on its sales team, media exposure gives you one crucial asset: touchpoints.

If you’ve ever signed onto LinkedIn and seen a CEO of a competitor posting about being quoted in an important article, that’s a touchpoint. If you’ve ever seen a blog post on a website highlighting “recent media coverage in ________),” that’s a touchpoint. The same can be said for media placements sent via e-mail to shareholders, PDFs of articles sitting on table tops at conferences, and “As Featured By” sections on the front page of a website.

What these examples demonstrate is simple: expertise and relevancy. Media coverage means your company understands its role within its respective market, speaks intelligently to its audience, and understands the value in thought leadership.

Of course, these ideas listed above are not comprehensive public relations strategies, they’re singular tactics desired to achieve specific objectives. Everyone wants (and deserves) to know the value they’re receiving when they commit time and budget to a public relations campaign. By looking in the mirror and asking themselves what they want and need most, companies can attain media exposure that yields both long and short-term return on investment.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.