Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

Brand Journalism: Your revenue success starts with a good story

By Ron Stein
Image
William Faulkner said, “If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” So, what’s your company’s story?

Having a narrative that strikes a cord with your audience is one of the best marketing and sales tools you can have. Think about it — how many times have you been captivated by a great story? Whether it’s a novel you can’t set aside or the inspiring tale of a presenter, stories add credibility and move us to action.

You need a story that rises above the noise because people will decide to buy when they connect with your business on some level.

Read More (Florida Trend Magazine)

Filed under: Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Marketing, Uncategorized, ,

Google+ Gets a B Plus from Brown Ltd.

We are starting off our review with the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard because the title is intriguing:  “What Google+ could do for news.”  It peaked our interest because if it can do it for “news” it will do it for “brand journalism” – one of our specialties.

We give Google+ a B+ because it’s a project, not a finished app.  Definitely not a killer app.  Not yet.  Remember MySpace, OS/2 (what you never heard of it? – my point exactly), etc?

Google+ will be a strong player in marketing and PR.  Much better than Google Buzz.  We’ll have to wait and see what develops and how innovative marketing and PR pros develop its use in the integrated marketing mix.  I have some initial Ning like ideas, especially with the Circles feature, but that will be a later post.

Take a look at these reviews, see it for yourself, and let me know what you think:

“TechCrunch had one of the first and best explanations of what Google+ is all about, and Wired’s Steven Levy wrote the most comprehensive account of the thinking at Google behind Plus: It’s the product of a fundamental philosophical shift from the web as information to the web as people.”
Mark Coddington
, Nieman Journalism Lab, Harvard: What Google+ could do for news
http://bit.ly/oV3j71

“Google, the world’s largest search company, is formally making its pitch to become a major force in social networking. The product it announced Tuesday is called Google+, and observers might wonder whether it’s simply one more social effort by a company that’s had a lousy track record in that field to date.”
Steven Levy
, Wired: Inside Google+ — How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/06/inside-google-plus-social/all/1

“Google+ is a bold and dramatic attempt at social. There’s a reason why Google calls this a “project” rather than a “product” — they don’t want people to think of this as the final product, but as a constantly-evolving entity that permeates every corner of the Google empire. Overall, Google+ is solid. But I’m not going to call it a Facebook killer or a game-changer.”
Ben Parr, Mashable:
http://mashable.com/2011/06/28/google-plus-review/

“This is the way Google always wanted social networking to work, and this time the company may have pulled it off.”
Jason Hiner, ZDNet: Is Google+ about to transform the Web?:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/is-google-about-to-transform-the-web/52004

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Future Vision, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Micro Blog (Twitter), Mobile Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Public & Media Relations, Reputation Management, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Create a Brand Blog to Promote Your Products & Services

Wine in Town of Palm BeachA great “Brand Journalism” strategy is to create a brand blog to promote your offerings.  You can create one for free using WordPress.com

A recent example is one I just launched for one of my clients in the Town of Palm Beach: The French Wine Merchant.

Maurice Amiel, the owner, decided to promote a “Wine of the Week” to help launch his new business.

Newspaper advertising wasn’t working.  Free events were barely getting him business.  So I suggested a brand blog.

It’s a way to quickly offer promotions, publish stories about his high-profile events in this exclusive luxury town, and get customers and others to comment.

Launching it with the right social media mix (see my social network sites: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, ActiveRain) got him #3 on the first page of Google in the first week.  Check the site here:

The French Wine Merchant

If you want some help creating a site, it takes me about 6-10 hours, contact me today!

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

 

 

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Marketing, Lead Generation, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, , , , , , , , ,

How do you find and hire a professional writer?

More and more “writers” are appearing in the market.  They blog, write email, use Twitter, and are rabid Facebook users.  There is no shortage of channels for them to express themselves.  Are these the people you should hire?

According to Technorati, currently there are 133 million blogs indexed since 2002. An average 900 thousand posts on blogs happen every 24 hours. As printed newspapers get skinnier or disappear, more web channels are opening up from publishers, businesses, organizations, and others.

More than 72% of bloggers are classified as hobbyists, meaning that they report no income related to blogging.  Some actually write pretty well.  Of course they get to choose the topic.

But writing well doesn’t mean they can write to achieve a goal about your subject. You  have a stake in your topic, are risking your investment, or will spend your time and budget on this project.

If you are going to pay someone to write, I’m assuming you don’t just want them to express themselves.  You want something out of the deal.

Your goal may be to inform, persuade, enhance your image, increase the value of your brand, sell a product or service, drive traffic to your site or event, increase leads, expand your email or mailing list…. or much more.

If you were going to hire someone to run a company, you would want someone with a track record of success.  If you were going to hire someone to coach a team, you would want to know their win/loss record.  If you were going to employ a person to engineer a new product, certainly you would require someone with the right education and experience, and the actual physical item they made, so you can see and touch how well they did.

Hiring a writer is no different.

The bigger the track record of measured success, the better writer they may be for you.

The better the client list they have served, chances are they will be able to hit the mark – at least their brand name clients think so.

And if their portfolio (samples of their work) demonstrates a fit with the goals you have for the project you want to hire them for, chances are they are the best writer for you.

Sounds simple right?  Unfortunately, the mix of art and goals makes it more complicated.

First, before you look for a professional writer, you should have clear goals and scope of work.  It would also be helpful to know your budget for the project.  Then start the search.

As an advertising & PR agency hiring manager, former managing editor, and video producer, I’ve reviewed thousands of portfolios and hired hundreds of writers and other “creatives.”  if their portfolio has major clients and/or reputable national publishers or broadcasters, they get more than a double-take.

Goals are more important than art.  Almost anyone can write a great email to home, but very few can write to meet the clearly stated and measurable goals.

Professional writers are great communicators.  They have learned and practiced the steps to nail down the scope of a project up front, research the topic, write using the style necessary for the goal, and lead you though the review process.

Very experienced pros can help you publish, distribute, and measure your results.  Leaders in the field can put a team of creatives together and provide a turnkey service.  I have over 1,400 contacts in my cellphone for just this reason.

If a candidate’s portfolio shows great prose but their work hasn’t had to achieve measurable results, maybe they should be an essayist or write novels; but, not work for you.  Your goals are more important than their art.

Some great professionals in an organization I belong to, the American Medical Writers Association,  brought up a discussion recently about “Content Mills.”  These companies are signing people up to write for a few bucks an hour. I wish I had the time to do the research and write an article about them.  Ads from content mills are dominating Career Builder and other job sites now – right there with the jobs for selling AVON.

If you search for professional writers or freelance writers on the web you will run smack into many of these content mills on the first page.

From a quick Google search, the news is that the mills are making big bucks running a virtual sweat shop.  Anyone that can type fast can work for them.

These typists are known for a lot of plagiarism and fast “rewrites” of legitimate work they find on the web. If someone brings a content mill generated portfolio to me, I wouldn’t bother to look.

If a “writer” hasn’t been paid real money to do work, pass.  They aren’t a pro and your goals will get lost in the process.

This surge in the supply of writers isn’t surprising.  I saw this type of growth in the 1980’s when desktop publishing erupted.  Buy a computer – open an ad agency.  Early this decade, when video became affordable with digital cameras and post production on the desktop – buy some software and become a director and producer.  Now with the web and “cheap publishing channels,” more people are opening up a writing shop.

However, the marketplace has a way of lifting the talented to the top.

Great talent has the genes (and I’m not talking about Levis) in addition to the education and experience.  Professional writers either have it or they don’t.  You have to think about hiring a writer just like you would think about hiring an accountant, an engineer, or any other professional.

Do you want your accounting to run you aground?  Do you want your product, that an engineer makes, not work.  I’m sure you don’t want your communication to fail either.  Don’t try to find a writer on the cheap.  Chances are you will regret it.

The best source to find writers is to ask people you know that have a well-written website, collateral material, news stories, white papers, blogs, newsletters, etc.  Ask who wrote the copy.  Relationships and referrals are the best way to find reliable talent.

One of the top places to look for experienced professional writers is on LinkedIn.  I’ve had a lot of positive results hiring writers, illustrators, graphic designers, web designers and developers on this business site. You can also check in with reputable professional associations like:

• American Advertising Federation
• American Medical Writers Association
• American Society of Journalists and Authors
• International Association of Business Communicators
• National Association of Science Writers
• Public Relations Society of America
• Society of Technical Communication

Or you can contact me.  If I can’t help you, I have a list of top writers and will be glad to connect you.

In all cases make sure you check their portfolio, references, and ask how they, or their client, measured the results vs. the goal of what they wrote.

Professional writers usually have a portfolio online.  Mine is www.RMichaelBrown.wordpress.com

Good luck in your search and remember, hire a pro!

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Traffic, Writing, , , , ,

Brown Ltd. Launches New Freelance Writing & Producing Portfolio Site

R. Michael Brown, an internationally published writer, producer, speaker, and digital marketing and PR consultant at Brown Ltd. has launched a new freelance writing portfolio website. 

www.RMichaelBrown.wordpress.com

Mike has worked on projects for many industries but his primary focus is on health care, technology, science, non-profits, real estate, and public policy.   The site shows examples of his work in all media (web, email, print, radio, and video) and has downloadable pdf files and jpeg images of his work.

Brown Ltd. is a West Palm Beach, Florida writing, producing, and digital marketing, advertising, and public relations firm.  To contact Mike for a project, call today at 561-756-1674 or MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

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