Eek! We’ve Moved!

We would love to continue chatting PR and marketing speak with you but we have picked up and moved our blog to our website. To keep following our blog you will need to re-subscribe there. Find us at – http://clearpointagency.com/index.php/category/blog/

 

 

 

 

 

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Stop With ALL the Words: 11 Tips on How to Write for Today’s Busy Reader

We don’t need to tell you that it’s a competitive marketplace just to get a few shares and likes these days.  According to an infographic put out by Digital Buzz the average daily online activity involves:  294 billion emails, two million blog posts, 864,000 hours of uploaded video, and 35 million apps downloaded… and that’s just a snippet.

As a result of the many digital distractions, people are skimming for information that is digestible, valuable, and easy to fit into their already busy lives. So, if you’re a blogger or web content manager, here are a few quick tips on how to write for today’s internet user:

  1. Stick to the facts – cut out the fat already. Leave the opinions and long winded examples for your next dinner party.
  2. Bullet point or list – make the most important points bolded so they stand out quickly.
  3. Use images/ videos  – not only can an image replace a 1000 words, but it helps break up the text and can add substance.
  4. Use social share buttons – if you make it easy, people will share.
  5. Stick to one topic – not only will this help you to spread out your content ideas, but people like their information in small spoonfuls these days.  Sticking to one topic won’t overwhelm your readers.
  6. Use links – linking within can keep viewers on your site, and also save you from veering off subject with explanation.
  7. Pull out quotes – and pull your reader in.
  8. Think quality over quantity – we tend to share everything on the internet, but that doesn’t mean everything should be.  Before you write, ask is this relevant to my industry and will my readers find this of value?
  9. Be unique with your titles – titles are the first thing people see in the search engines, so you’ll want to grab their attention then. *Tip: Use numbers in your titles to signify a list of short, valuable tips to your readers.
  10. Use a conversational tone – the internet is all about building a human connection with your readers and fans. Do you actually read the “Terms of Service” agreement?  We thought so.
  11. Think keywords – if you’ve got a great article, make sure people can find it. Use Google’s keyword tool to find the right keyword phrases to implement into your text and title.

Remember, we are a society that tweets in 140 characters so be fast. How did we do? Does anyone think this post was too long?

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The Nitty Gritty on Facebook Promotions

A lot of our clients come to us for help growing their Facebook pages. They’re frustrated their pages aren’t growing organically and they ask us for guidance on attracting quality followers. One of our first steps is to look at their messaging and make sure they are speaking with a clear voice. Social media is not something to be thrown to a summer intern, as tempting as it might be. We research what they have been doing and then look for creative ways to increase their Facebook followers and reach influencers.

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One of the ways we do this is by running a promotion or sweepstakes on Facebook. Through sweepstakes we increased one client’s followers by more than 40%. The sweepstakes should not be thrown together haphazardly. It needs to be planned thoughtfully and based on quantifiable research. What are you trying to promote? What is your end goal? You should have a reasonable goal in place that makes sense for your product. Look at prior promotions and compare results to them when determining ROI.

Facebook Promotions Dos and Don’ts:

  • Do read Facebook’s general terms that dictate how to run a promotion on the site.
  • Don’t notify winners via Facebook – it’s against Facebook terms.
  • Do run through apps on Facebook, more on that here.
  • Don’t make it a requirement to “like” a page to enter a sweepstakes.
  • Do determine if your program is promotional. If you are not sure if you are running a promotion, re-read the rules. The short answer is: if you are selecting a winner, you are running a promotion.
  • Don’t use Facebook features or functionalities as a way of voting.
  • Do run targeted Facebook pay-per-click ads to direct people to your giveaway. It’s a cost effective way of gaining new followers.

Confused yet? Don’t be. Facebook doesn’t want any liability or involvement in your promotion, so as long as you follow their rules you’ll be fine. Or you could always hire a PR firm and let them handle all this for you. Just sayn’.

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Seeking Temporary, Part-time Account Coordinator

Join us by the Beach: Entry Level PR Position Open!

Start mid-May, 24 hours a week, pay commensurate with experience, and the possibility of becoming a permanent employee

Requirements:

  • Open to college seniors, grad students, or recent graduates
  • Must have held one prior internship in public relations or related field

The great thing about Clearpoint Agency is we encourage variety in your work load. You really will get hands on experience in many different areas. Duties for this position include office work, client account work, and Clearpoint Agency business work.

Office work:

  • Answer phones
  • Maintain publication archives
  • Tidy up office (everyone pitches in with trash, cleanup, dishes, etc.)
  • Filing
  • Check mail
  • Prepare conference room for client meetings
  • Greet clients and partners visiting the Clearpoint Agency office
  • Participate in internal planning meetings

Client account work:

  • Write first drafts of releases, bios, pitches, etc. as skills and confidence allow
  • Assist with event management projects
  • Contribute to brainstorming meetings with staff and/or clients
  • Develop media lists
  • Research  – editorial calendars, competitor communication tactics, speaking engagements, award and tradeshow opportunities, etc.
  • Monitor social media
  • Create content and build followers for social media
  • Write web copy
  • Help develop media kit materials
  • Work on award submissions

Clearpoint Agency business:

  • Assist with research for new business pitches
  • Assist with proposals and presentations
  • Maintain portfolio samples
  • Create presentation PowerPoints
  • Research and develop award submissions
  • Write content for Clearpoint Agency website, pull logos, etc.
  • Monitor Clearpoint Agency social media
  • Contribute to Clearpoint blog and social media content

Responsibilities and job tasks will vary and expand as employee’s skill level and confidence increase.

Pay: Pay will be commensurate with experience. In addition to college credit or paid compensation, Clearpoint Agency will also provide mentoring, career counseling and feedback on resume, portfolio, and writing samples. Clearpoint Agency will also occasionally cover expenses for networking and educational opportunities to further advance your career in PR and Marketing.

Hours: Office hours are 9 to 6 with an hour off for lunch

Location: Clearpoint Agency is located close to the beach at 511 Saxony Place, Suite 102, Encinitas, CA 92024.

Additional company information can be found at www.clearpointagency.com.

Interested candidates should send their resume and cover letter to Rachel Hutman at Rachel@clearpointagency.com by April 30th. Please include salary requirements. Only qualified candidates need apply; we are hard workers, and expect the same from candidates. We look forward to meeting you!

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I Know Your Blog is Offsite… But What Am I?

We occasionally get questions from our clients about whether their company blog should be on their corporate site or off. We’d like to discuss the pros and cons of both options, and provide a little insight into what most companies are doing.

It seems that so far, most companies house their blog on the corporate website, but there are certainly pros and cons to both options. The majority of companies are also using a development platform such as WordPress or Blogger. Customization is expensive!

Onsite blog

A blog set up directly on your business’ website
Example: www.company.com/blog

Pros:

  • Increase traffic to the main site, increasing Alexa rank
  • Increases indexing of your website by search engines, which is especially valuable if site content is not updated frequently
  • If blog is shared, tagged, linked to, etc. via social media, the website reaps the benefits
  • Keeps your audience up to date

Cons:

  • Harder to implement if custom building on site (and not using a development platform like WordPress or Blogger)
  • Website might include restrictions on length of post, etc.
  • Might lower the rank of other more important pages

Offsite blog

A blog set up on its own domain that links back to your business’ website.
Example: www.companyblog.com

Pros:

  • Your business brand has two properties online
  • Gives you two domains to rank twice for your keywords in search engines
  • Easy and quick to install, especially if using WordPress or Blogger
  • Very quality links back to main site
  • Greater flexibility with design and coding
  • Offsite is best if your blog will contain content that is unrelated or only slightly related to your main website

Cons:

  • May take longer to draw traffic to the main site
  • It can get more popular than the main site on search engines
  • Could look less professional than an onsite blog
  • Less control (based on the development platform — WordPress, Blogger, etc.)
  • If blog is shared, tagged, linked to, etc. via social media, the development platform reaps the benefits, not your corporate website

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Whole Other Option
Why yes, there is a THIRD option! You can have your cake and eat it too. If you have a prolific company (or awesome PR agency), you can have two blogs – one onsite and one offsite. This is a great option as it literally gives you all of the benefits, increased traffic on your site, high quality inbound links, multiple domain properties, etc.

Our research shows that in this event, it is best NOT to duplicate your content. That will just annoy people and search engines. Consider keeping company news on the onsite blog , and letting the offsite blog be a little more exciting. It could be commentary on the industry or opinion (food is delicious, banking is exciting, robots are fascinating!) anything that relates to the brand but is just a little beyond corporate news. This is a great example of a win-win.

So what about you? Which would you choose? Anyone daring enough to do both? The right answer depends on each company’s situation, and we’ve had clients successfully do both onsite and offsite blogs.Of course, blogs are like our babies, and we think they’re all beautiful. Just get blogging!

Posted in Branding, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Like Higher Search Results? Like GOOGLE+

Google+ is here to stay, so it’s time you figure out if it’s right for you or your clients. Google+ helps with organic Google search results, and Google.com attracts over 1 billion unique visitors per month, making it the web’s most visited website. It has a lot of similarities to facebook fan pages, but it also has features Mark Zuckerburg would kill for. The similarities are that you can customize your profile with a logo, link back to your website and get page updates via email. Example of sample Google+ page here:

The big difference between Google+ and facebook is the targeting of information. Targeting means that your followers can be sorted into groups (called circles), so information can be shared with only certain groups of followers/circles.


FEATURES –
• TARGETING via “circles”— You can choose to share information via circles or public. Circles info is only shared with people in that circle. If they aren’t in your circle, then they can’t see it. “Public” is visible to anyone who’s added you to a circle, as well as on your public profile.
• PROFILE VISIBILITY — Choose visibility settings for specific profile sections. Profile information can be made public, private or in-between.
• MEASUREMENT — Google+ allows us to measure how your page is doing, and learn more on how your followers’ interactions affect your business and brand. Google+ also offers ways to improve the page.
EXTRA INFO –
• Google recommends directing customers to your Google+ page with a Google+ badge on website. This also extends organic search in Google results.
• Sparks is a great feature that is similar to Google Reader, except it brings content automatically based on user interests. Google+ will provide content to related articles, videos, photos, etc. based on the keywords that you search, or in this case ‘spark’
• The Hangout feature in Google+ are virtual rooms where people can video chat with people in their circles.
• Instant Upload lets you snap a photo on your Android phone and it’s automatically uploaded to Google+, but is unfortunately not available for iPhone users.
• Public profiles can decide if they want to be indexed by search engines. This helps you be as visible as you want to be.
ADMIN –
• Anyone can follow a page and put a page into their own circle – there is no way to stop people from following your company or adding your company to their own circle. However, these people can only see information the company wants them to see. So when the company makes updates, they choose if they want them to be public, meaning anyone can see, or make them private – only to certain circles. The private information and subsequent comments are protected within that circle.
• Pages choose what page followers go into what circles. So when they update information they can choose which groups of people or circles will be given the updated information. They can also view their page from each of those circles to confirm that the correct information is there.
• You can also lock a comment so it cannot be shared or commented on. When you lock a post, people you’ve shared your post with will no longer be able to re-share it with others.
• You can also disable comments.
• You receive an email of new comments and are notified of new activity on your page by a red box by your name – that looks like this :

FINDING PEOPLE-
• You can add people easily by name if they are on Google+. If they aren’t, you can put in their email to add them and they get an invitation to join. They can choose to join Google+ or have page updates via email inbox.
• When updates are sent out – the page chooses if they want to send info to people outside Google+.
Google+ does provide some valuable features that facebook just can’t match, yet. True, not a ton of people are on Google+ so far, but give it time. Google isn’t going anywhere and if you need the ability to target information, than Google+ is probably what you’ve been waiting for.

Posted in Branding, Google+, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Pinterest – the Latest Social Media Buzz Broken Down

Pinterest is the latest social media platform that is being hyped as the next big thing. Is it really? Well, you be the judge. It does have some cool features which we’ll break down for you. Pinterest enables users to share photo content in theme-based image collections. Of course, users can upload photos, videos and other content, but the twist is that they can “repin” images of anything they find interesting, enabling them to connect similar tastes visually. You can have as many categories as you like, but some of the most popular ones are: bridal wish lists, recipe books, home décor, fashion photography and travel.

Pinterest board

From a business perspective, consumer brands can benefit from Pinterest because they can target their fans and ambassadors directly through fresh and relevant content. Such successful examples are Whole Foods and Nordstrom.

If you like staying on top of the social media game and have a visual consumer product, you probably should start “pinning”! One sticking point is that unlike other social media platforms, you need an invitation to join Pinterest. If you need an invitation, why not ask Clearpoint Agency and make your life easier? Don’t wait for weeks or even months to get on this hot social media site if you’re ready to start “pinning” and promoting your brand on Pinterest.com.

Posted in Branding, Marketing, Pinterest, Public Relations, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

New Year? New Brand!

It’s that time of year when we all make resolutions for the coming year. Many of us vow to get to the gym, eat right, maybe finally quit smoking – all to be healthier and have a better self-image.  But what about the health and image of  your company’s brand? The New Year is a great time to evaluate your brand honestly and give it a makeover for 2012.

Here are some tips to freshen up your brand:

  1. Research : Study your competition – take a close look at your closest competitors in your field. What are they doing well? What are they communicating that you aren’t?  What are their key messages? How do they market themselves? How can you better compete?  Take notes and keep track in an excel spreadsheet so you can compare easily.
  2. Question: Create a questionnaire for your clients and partners – Ask your clients and past clients what they think of your business, services, products and customer support? What do vendors and partners think of you and your business? What do your employees think? What may be the most telling and hardest to hear – what do prospects that didn’t chose your business think? *Tip: Use Survey Monkey to create a free questionnaire that can be easily emailed out  to recipients.  Follow up with phone calls to get more detail.
  3. Identify: Define your audiences and key messages. Take a close look at what your company is saying to its audiences. Look critically at your website and all collateral materials. Are you speaking with one, clear voice or sending mixed messages? It might be time to update your messaging or re-fresh it if new services or target markets have been added. *Tip: Have several key employees review it and compare findings. If you don’t have enough personnel, ask friends or relatives to review.
  4. Clarify: Define what your key services are. If you set the net too wide you could be confusing clients. Focusing in on your strengths and proven track record in key areas will provide a clear, concise explanation of your services.
  5. Announce: The public won’t know about your brand refresh if you don’t tell them. Submit press releases, conduct media relations, update your blog and email clients to announce your new site, messaging and direction.

The best part of your brand makeover?

Current clients will affirm they made the right choice choosing you and past clients could take a second look at your refreshed company. Your business will undoubtedly benefit from increased awareness among prospective customers and opinion leaders. A brand that tightly communicates your unique offerings and conveys your company’s personality in an honest and appealing way will help you to land the business with the right types of customers.

This year put a refreshed brand at the top of your New Year’s resolutions.  It might just be easier to stick to than that new diet or savings plan.

Leave us a comment about your plans for refreshing your brand in 2012.

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Happy Holidays from Clearpoint Agency!

Is it just us or did the holidays come extra fast this year? Clearpoint hosted our annual holiday party for employees and family on Friday, December 10th. We look forward to this event all year, since it’s such a great opportunity to catch up with our co-workers and their families. We had delicious food too, everything from Bulgarian to Japanese, to Italian, and German. It was all so good and we’re still enjoying the leftovers.

We had three new additions to the Clearpoint family this year: babies Davey, Cameron and Philip! Counting these “newbies,” we had seven children at the party. They all received a special gift from Clearpoint Agency to entertain them while the adults played “White Elephant.” After much debate over East versus West Coast rules, the game got underway and there was plenty of gift stealing. The game was great fun, even for those who ended up with less than stellar gifts! We are already looking forward to revenge, ahem, we mean, a repeat game next year.

Between happy children, fun games, and delicious food, we were very grateful to celebrate another great year with the Clearpoint team. We’d like to wish all of our friends and clients a wonderful holiday filled with love and laughter!

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Corporate Gift Giving – An opportunity to communicate values and culture

Clearpoint Crew

The Clearpoint staff and Valerie Chereskin pose with their food donations for the holidays.

It’s that time of year, when business people everywhere start thumbing through catalogues to select the gifts for their clients. We’d like to suggest you use corporate giving as an opportunity to share your business values and culture. By thinking creatively, you can give gifts to your clients in ways that make a much bigger impact than goodie baskets.

Creative corporate gifts can come in all forms, but we’d like to focus on charitable giving. There are many reasons to incorporate charitable support into your corporate gift giving program:

  • Help nonprofit organizations and people in need within the community you do business in
  • Improve the reputation and perception of your company
  • Get greater exposure for your company, products or services
  • Share corporate messaging, values and culture
  • Increase networking or leads opportunities
  • Receive tax benefits

Clearpoint is a great example. Several years ago, we decided a better use of Clearpoint’s resources would be to support the community while showing appreciation to our clients during the holidays. Instead of giving large and expensive treat baskets to clients, we opt for cards and small boxes of candy as gifts, and use the rest of our gift-giving budget to donate to a charity in all of our clients’ names. We feel good about the change, and clients appreciate it too. Oftentimes, we buy the candy from a local small business or, as is the case this year, from local high school band students. This year, Clearpoint’s holiday giving is: 1) giving delicious treats to our clients, 2) donating to a charity, and 3) supporting a local high school – it’s the trifecta of gift giving!

Charitable giving is such a great opportunity to demonstrate your company’s dedication to a cause or community, and can be a powerful way to create awareness and good will for your organization with external audiences. Your internal audiences will appreciate it too. Supporting a charity is much more motivating for employees than boxes of client gifts that don’t relate to them.

Charitable giving also has its benefits to your tax return. Whether you donate money, products, or services, there is a good chance that a charitable gift can be a corporate write off. Just remember to check with your tax advisor if a gift will qualify as a deduction. A good rule of thumb is to work with nonprofits with the 501(c)(3) designation.

When choosing a charity, look for a cause that matches your corporate culture. If your employees really care about the environment, support an environmentally-conscious charity (Like Clearpoint’s lagoon support). Or match your services to your cause. If you sell sporting equipment, support your local little league team. These small steps go a long way toward expressing who you are as a company.

To get you started, check out our examples: in years past, Clearpoint has supported the San Diego Food Bank, the American Heart Association (AHA), CARE, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). In addition, Charity Navigator is a good website to find a charity, and Wikipedia has a very inclusive list. Good luck, we look forward to seeing more businesses support charitable causes this season and throughout the year!

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