Author Archives: Alex Greenwood

Reviews Favor “Pilate’s Blood”

My favorite aspects of Pilate’s Blood,
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Part 2 of Five Things We (Probably) Cannot Do

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.56.28 AMHere’s the conclusion of Five Things We (Probably) Cannot Do. If you missed the first part of this post, click here.

  1. Can Facebook double my sales in three months?

Yes and no. I say, “yes” because it is certainly possible.

I say “no” because it requires the client to work closely with us, and often clients cannot or do not help us help them. For example, we were once retained to manage a retail establishment’s social media with the aim of building name recognition–and by extension–increasing sales for a “test run” over one quarter.

Despite the fact that we created exceptional content (including fun videos) that garnered hundreds of views and many engagements per day, the client ultimately determined we had not moved the needle.

Here’s the thing: from the beginning, we asked the client to keep track of each sale by asking, “How did you hear about us?”

It was a high-end product, so a few sales a day was typical and would be easy to track by asking this simple question. It was also a tracking question they could easily add to any online purchases. In the beginning, the client said they would do so.

They didn’t do it. They never asked buyers if they saw the sale posts or fun videos on social media. The client even admitted that sales were good that quarter–not great–but good.

How could we know if our efforts were actually pushing sales if the client did not track purchases? If the client had helped us with that information even on a weekly basis, we could have adjusted our content tactics more effectively. Instead, at the end of the trial period, he just had a vague notion that social media “doesn’t really work.” He may have been right, but without working with us on tracking, he would never truly know.

  1. Can you heavily discount your rates (or work for free) in exchange for full-priced work or a bonus after we succeed?

Folks, we’re just like you. We have bills to pay, dreams of success and plans for expansion. That’s why we cannot subsidize other businesses by working for a fraction of our rate or the promise of “good things down the road.” I’m sure most business owners who ask for that, if the tables were turned, would run, not walk, from such a proposition.

That said, we occasionally work on a commission basis for clients–usually because they impressed us with their idea, we have the capacity and feel we can learn something or grow from the experience.

There you have it, five things we (probably) cannot do. We’re very careful to explain up front the possibilities for success and failure in utilizing PR and social media, so expectations and roles of the client and our firm are clear.

What do you think? Am I right or wrong? I’d love to hear your opinion about these five things in the comments section below.

Five Things We (Probably) Cannot Do

By Alex Greenwood

I strive for positivity and a “can do” attitude when working with prospective clients. However, there are some things prospective clients request that a PR/Social Media agency (probably) cannot do.

Perhaps I should speak for myself–there are PR/Social Media agencies that can and have succeeded at these five things, but in our experience, it’s usually not as simple as people may think.

Let’s take a look at the quintet of things we are most often asked to do that we (probably) cannot.

  1. Can you get me on Ellen?

Well, technically, yes. If you saved a baby who fell in a well, or have built a better mousetrap or created an incredible, funny viral video, then yes–with a whole lot of work, we have a shot at getting you on Ellen (or Today, Good Morning America, Steve Harvey, etc.) or other such shows.Ellen

However, most prospective clients don’t have that kind of earth-shattering, compelling story, at least not right off the bat. What we do is work with clients to determine their most newsworthy and interesting aspects so we have a chance at a national broadcast.

Perhaps after careful examination, we determine there’s a good fit for a local TV station’s midday chat show, not a national broadcast watched by millions. Nothing wrong with local TV! (Besides, local exposure can build into national exposure.)

(The same answer goes for People magazine, the New York Times, and even Buzzfeed for that matter.)

  1. Can you get me 10,000 Twitter followers right away?

Sorry, no. We build social media communities organically–meaning we earn every follower with quality content that focuses on a common interest between you/your brand and the follower. We do not engage services that allow you to “buy” followers. Sure, acquiring thousands of followers can look impressive, but we focus on quality, not quantity.

Who wants followers who don’t care about what you have to say? Is that really helpful to advancing your mission, cause, brand or sales? Bought followers are dead weight, not brand ambassadors. Building a following takes time, persistence and a willingness to be incremental in growth.

  1. We have enough budget to hire you for one month. Can you place stories in every local business publication about my Better Mousetrap?

This is another “technically, yes” answer. Given a month and cooperation with the client, we can devise a pitch that just might garner the coverage you seek. However, newspapers and magazines compete with each other, and that great score you got in the Business Gazette may well hinder your chances of scoring a similar story in the business section of the Daily Bugle in the same month.

That’s why we caution prospective clients that even with a great story, one big placement may be all you can hope for in a 30-day period. A longer-term strategy makes more sense, so we can plan a series of pitches to media that gets your brand consistent coverage in several media outlets over the long haul, not just a short strike in one place.

We recommend businesses plan a reasonable budget for public relations (and social media) from the get-go. All too often, PR is an afterthought, and the lack of budget hinders efforts to earn media mentions and develop relationships with the reporters, editors and producers who can help you spread the word.

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion of this post. In the meantime, what do you think? Am I right or wrong? I’d love to hear your opinion about these five things in the comments section below.

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Thanks #Omaha #PRSA!

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Thanks again, ‪#‎Omaha‬ ‪#‎PRSA‬ for having me out to speak about ‪#‎PR‬measurement. It was fun!–Alex


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