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An honest man once said, “With a great beard, comes great responsibility…” and this past November, the FischTank team took on this responsibility with the mission of doing some good through NoShaveNovember. 

I’ve supported the NoShaveNovember campaign since it became popular. From my early high school years, I was able to grow a beard before anyone else. So I decided to participate in the campaign and grow my beard out, and the amount of questions and comments I’d receive when my beard would puff out, raised more than enough awareness than I could ask for.

Coming to FischTank, I noticed a lot of my male co-workers donned a lengthy, well-groomed beard. Growing a beard was always apart of my month of November, but having the opportunity to raise money for No-Shave November, an organization devoted to growing cancer awareness and raising funds to support cancer prevention, research, and education never presented itself.

I saw an opportunity and struck up a conversation with my facial-follicle-friendly colleagues about raising money, since the office has done charitable efforts before. The FischTank team was thrilled that they could continue to let their mane grow and be able to share social-friendly photos of their progress all for a good cause. 

(from L to R: good beard, good beard, terrific beard, good beard, no beard)

Our beard growers weren’t the only ones involved though! All team members were able to spread awareness throughout their social media pages and encourage others to grow their beard out. 

In the end, our team surpassed our goal of raising $2,000 with a total of $2,080. A $2,000 match from FischTank made it $4,080 to go towards this great cause. On behalf of our entire team, we thank all of our family, friends, and colleagues for spreading the word, donating and helping us achieve our goal!

We hope to continue raising awareness and money for these great causes in the future and with your support, we can continue to do so. 

We hope everyone has a Happy Holiday and welcome in the new decade and year with tons of fun and health!

Thank you again and continue to  #LetItGrow

Michael Canova is an Account Executive at FischTank.

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.

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.

FischTank Marketing and PR

Companies ask about media relations all the time: “why is (insert competitor name) always in the press, and I’m not?” or “This company shouldn’t get the media coverage that we deserve!”

Great question. The truth is, your competitor is probably getting more positive press coverage than you because they’ve become more of a resource for journalists than you are. No, I’m not referring to money when I talk about resources, I’m talking about unique expertise on relevant subject matter that may be important for the journalist’s respective audience.

Companies and organizations that expect heavy news coverage need to prioritize forming and maintaining healthy, two-way relationships with the press. This means providing expert commentary, distributing embargoed or exclusive news releases ahead of time, sharing feedback on a topic even when you know it won’t be included in the story, etc. Provide VALUE! This means pointing the journalist in the right direction for insight, explaining why something is relevant or irrelevant, and putting the end result (that of the quality of the story/segment) above your own corporate objectives. Trust me, it will pay off later.

This emphasis on relationships and smart information flow is at the crux of everything we do here at FischTank. We work with journalists each day who are looking for insightful sources to quote and important announcements to cover, and ultimately introduce them to our clients.  It’s one of the reasons we’re recognized as a top Public Relations Company on DesignRush!

Learn more about the way we do things by contacting us at info@fischtankpr.com or by reading some of the other information on our website designed to educate and inform on public relations and marketing strategies. The strongest relationships we with have with our clients are founded upon collaborative partnership and understanding. We provide transparent insight and leadership when developing a media relations strategy, emphasizing assets and content, spokesperson capabilities, communications and marketing objectives, and other facts that align our actions with our client’s best interests.

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.

FischTank Public Relations

FischTank is seeking individuals with anywhere from two to ten (2-10) years’ public relations experience, with a focus on media outreach and account management. The titles of Account Manager and Account Director are best suited for a team player who appreciates working in an up tempo, positive company culture.

Work is autonomous, proactive, and as minimally administrative as possible. FischTank prides itself upon being results oriented on behalf of its clients. Core client industries include clean technology (sustainability), marketing and business technology solutions, non-profits, financial services, biotech, and professional services.

FischTank possesses a strong company culture, frequently providing team lunches and happy hours, educational seminars and resources, and more.

Please apply by e-mailing careers@fischtankpr.com 

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Media relations
  • Strong writing skills
  • Experience with relevant PR tools (Cision/HootSuite/etc.)
  • Positive attitude
  • Story identification skills
  • Familiarity with top tier and trade media
  • Works well with a team
  • Media results

About FischTank

FischTank Marketing and PR is a full-service communications and marketing firm serving clients spanning various industries including but not limited to clean technology, business and marketing technologies, marketing/ad tech, emerging technology, real estate, and non-profits. Incorporating an integrated strategy consisting of public relations, SEM/SEO, digital/social media, copywriting, and outbound marketing, FischTank helps clients amplify their message with results that impact their bottom line.

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 is a leading media relations firm in NYC

One of the most exciting times in the life of a young company or entrepreneur is when their product or services are ready to be unveiled to the world. With that excitement however, comes the realization of the task that still lies ahead – How do we get people to notice us? Then the light bulb goes on. We need PR!

Generally though, when most non public relations professionals think of PR, they lean solely toward media relations and news coverage. But media relations is only a small part of the PR puzzle, and an even smaller part of the overall integrated marketing strategy that’s really necessary to take your business to new heights.

So how do you know if you’re really ready for an integrated marketing strategy that includes the media coverage you crave? Here are four things to consider:

Do you have something to say? Gaining visibility comes down to being seen and heard. A product launch, funding announcement, or high profile personnel hire is a great place to start, but should not be solely relied upon to build a company profile. You are an expert in your field – use this to your advantage by getting involved in various industry discussions.

One of the easiest ways to gain media coverage is by discussing current trends and news within your specific vertical, with a perspective has broad industry appeal. This enables you to become a recognized thought leader within your industry, bringing instant credibility to your brand. Then the next time a reporter researches your company while deciding on whether or not to write about your announcement, they’ll see you’re legit.

It’s important for you to have something to say – and not always about yourself.

Do you have proper expectations? This is one of the first discussions that should occur at the onset of a new campaign so both parties can get a realistic idea of what is attainable, potential challenges, and end goals.

Too often, a young company will say, “We’ll take whatever we can get” which really lets the firm they’ve hired off the hook for producing measurable results. At the same time, it’s important for you to understand that it’s unlikely you’ll be on the cover of the New York Times on day one – no matter how good looking you are.

To use a baseball analogy, have a discussion with your new firm and decide what your goals are in the sense of singles, doubles, triples, and homeruns. Singles and doubles are the easiest to obtain, are most constant, and keep your rally alive, while triples and homeruns are less common but have a major impact. This way your campaign – and business – will really score.

Do you have a plan for leverage? It’s an awesome feeling to see your company’s name in an article or to create a great piece of marketing content internally to share with the masses, but your efforts can’t stop there. This is where an integrated marketing strategy really is crucial to ensure you reach current and potential clients, investors, and industry partners.

Don’t simply post a link to your website – use a multi-pronged approach that includes social media, email, your sales team, and self-publishing to increase value. Many companies don’t fully utilize the power of their positive press by proactively sharing it. Instead potential customers and partners are left to find it on their own – an ironic twist since these companies are struggling to get noticed to begin with.

Do you have the resources? Obviously money is a factor here, but there are other resources that are just as important. I’m talking about personnel – you and other members of company leadership. While the firm takes on the bulk of the work, there are times where they will need access to you to discuss trends, campaign ideas, schedule interviews, or ask questions.

You are, after all, the expert in your field, so it’s important that you make yourself available. If you’re hoping to simply write a check and then “set it and forget it” you may not get the results you’re looking for.

Any good PR or marketing firm will be flexible and work with you to meet your needs – whether you’re ready or not. But following this guide and coming prepared enables you to earn results everyone can be happy with, and maybe hit that grand slam you’re looking for.

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

Public relations and marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is defined by Webopedia as the methodology of strategies, techniques, and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine (SERP) — including Google, Bing, Yahoo and others.

Many early SEO tactics are often referred to as the Wild West of internet marketing. Those of us in the business ten years ago recall black text on black backgrounds, duplicate websites, a barrage of low quality press releases, keyword stuffing, and many other tactics that quite honestly, worked.

That is, until Google the sheriffs of internet search decided to change their algorithms and penalize websites (and the companies, organizations, and individuals who built them) for executing “black hat SEO” tactics designed to manipulate search engine results.

As such, many SEO firms and internet marketing professionals have disappeared, and a new crop of digital marketing professionals and firms have emerged.

FischTank has received an influx of requests from B2C and B2B companies, non-profits, individuals, and other organizations that are looking for the right way to increase not only their position in online search within their respective industries, but to also find ways to strengthen their online reputation (ORM). These companies are slowly moving away from “quick fixes” and old SEO/ORM tactics, and seeking efforts that generate long-term, high quality results for their brand. A few effective strategies to review include:

  • Media relations, the practice of engaging editorial, third-party media entities, represents an effective tactic for driving SEO results. The reason is simple — media sites generally receive significant online traffic. A business themselves, media platforms via publishers, advertisers, and journalists do their best to publish strong content (with even stronger headlines) that drive users to their website. By sharing announcements and providing expert commentary, companies are able to gain inclusion in these stories, often with a hyperlink, which builds their respective positions with search engines.
  • Content marketing appears in many forms. The easiest first step is to develop a content calendar for self-published content such as press releases, blog posts, white papers, and case studies. Sharing these pieces on social media and within networks relevant to one’s industry often results in click-throughs to the website, increasing site traffic and rankings for the URL of which it’s hosted.

A more advanced form of content marketing is creating content to be published elsewhere, generally by third-party media or affiliated websites. For example, a company could draft a 500-700 article on something relevant to their sector, then share it with a trade publication within that industry. 99% of the time, that third-party media platform (or affiliated organization) will publish the article as a byline and attribute it with a URL to the individual and company that created it.

  • Social media. Perhaps the easiest of these three ideas to execute, creating social platforms and posting on a regular basis are almost guarantees to rank on the first page of search engine results. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are all high quality platforms that, when content is published to and receives even minimal engagement, easily outrank mundane online results for a search for a company, organization, or individual.

Yes, these ideas may be easier said than done. In order to execute, companies seeking improvements to their online search results must identify marketing/PR firms or individuals that understand quality content. It is wise to seek firms that possess existing relationships with journalists, are strong writers themselves, and can execute social media tactics on a regular basis, not some “set it and forget it” approach.

Avoid anyone who promises a quick fix, and create a long-term strategy that ensures online searches for you and/or your brand reflect and present the best of what you do.

To learn more about how FischTank may be able to help your brand, please contact the team at info@fischtankpr.com 

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 Account Manager in NYC

FischTank is seeking an individual with 2 – 5 years public relations experience, with a focus on media outreach and account management. The role of Account Manager or Account Director is best suited for a team player who appreciates working in an up tempo, positive company culture.

Work is autonomous, proactive, and as minimally administrative as possible. FischTank prides itself upon being results oriented on behalf of its clients. Core client industries include clean technology (sustainability), marketing and business technology solutions, non-profits, and professional services.

FischTank possesses a strong company culture, frequently providing team lunches and happy hours, educational seminars and resources, and more.

Please apply by e-mailing careers@fischtankpr.com 

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Media relations
  • Strong writing skills
  • Experience with relevant PR tools (Cision/HootSuite/Meltwater)
  • Positive attitude
  • Story identification skills
  • Familiarity with top tier and trade media
  • Works well with a team
  • Media results

About FischTank

FischTank Marketing and PR is a full-service communications and marketing firm serving clients spanning various industries including but not limited to clean technology, business and marketing technologies, marketing/ad tech, emerging technology, real estate, and non-profits. Incorporating an integrated strategy consisting of public relations, SEM/SEO, digital/social media, copywriting, and outbound marketing, FischTank helps clients amplify their message with results that impact their bottom line.

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.