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AMENDOLA COMMUNICATIONS APPOINTS MEGAN SMITH AS SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Specialist in integrated communications and digital strategies joins award-winning healthcare PR team

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Nov.  27, 2018 – Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and technology public relations and marketing agency, today announced that Megan Smith has joined the agency as senior account director.

Megan H. Smith

Smith joins Amendola with more than a decade of public relations, marketing and account management experience in healthcare, technology and ecommerce. During her career, Smith has held increasingly responsible positions with Edelman and Dodge Communications, where she helped companies build and execute strategic communications and marketing programs, leveraging traditional PR, marketing communications and digital strategies to evolve, promote and protect her clients’ brands.

Most recently, Smith served as the Director of Client Services and ecommerce for EYStudios, a specialty ecommerce web design and development firm. In this role, she helped build relationships with more than 25 clients and provided counsel on how to grow their business through increasing traffic and improving conversions as well as content marketing.

“Megan brings a remarkable skillset and history of success in integrated communications campaigns and digital strategies to her role as senior account director,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO of Amendola Communications. “Her in-depth experience, proven creativity, and reputation for exceptional client relations will help ensure that our clients receive strategic guidance along the best path to continued growth.”

Smith holds an MBA in Marketing from Georgia State University and a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

Media Contact:
Marcia Rhodes
Amendola Communications
480.664.8412 ext. 15
mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

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PeriGen Taps Amendola Communications for Fully Integrated Marketing Plan

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., October 9, 2018 – Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and health IT public relations and marketing agency, is pleased to announce that PeriGen, an innovator of perinatal early warning systems, has engaged Amendola to develop and implement a fully integrated marketing and PR program. Based on a prior engagement, PeriGen is now looking to the firm to focus on thought leadership, content marketing, and lead generation and nurturing.

 

The United States currently has the worst maternal morbidity in the developed world (26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births), and studies have demonstrated that more than 50 percent of bad outcomes in childbirth are preventable. To address these preventable complications in both mothers and babies, PeriGen has developed artificial intelligence (AI)-powered solutions that automate the identification of early warning signs during labor, supporting clinicians with standardized analysis and timely alerting of troubling trends so that they can follow protocols in a more consistent and timely way.

 

Amendola will leverage a broad range of marketing, public relations and content strategies to promote PeriGen’s market-leading maternal and fetal surveillance systems. The content marketing will include bylined articles and website content and will highlight the thought leadership and subject matter expertise of PeriGen’s leadership and its clinical end users. This includes a recently published USA Today Letter to the Editor addressing maternal mortality.

 

“We are extremely glad to be working with Amendola Communications in a more expanded capacity,” said Matthew Sappern, CEO of PeriGen. “We feel that their public relations and marketing capabilities, specific to the health IT industry, are unparalleled. With their strategic guidance and personnel, we will greatly increase the awareness of PeriGen and what our solutions can do to lower negative outcomes during childbirth.”

 

PeriGen has developed PeriWatch™ Vigilance™, a new fetal and maternal early warning system (EWS) that automatically identifies patients whose conditions are worsening, facilitating more timely interventions. Able to work alongside existing perinatal systems, PeriWatch Vigilance is an early warning system that alerts care teams to clinical trends that may require intervention.

 

“PeriGen is a visionary company that gives clinicians the tools they need to improve—and even save—babies’ and moms’ lives,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO of Amendola Communications. “We will be leveraging our deep health IT and healthcare experience to spread the word about the important work that PeriGen is doing to combat complications during labor and delivery. Together, we will execute strategic marketing programs and develop content that will increase awareness among healthcare and insurance organizations of the strong clinical and financial outcomes that PeriGen’s solutions deliver.”

 

About PeriGen

PeriGen offers innovative perinatal software solutions that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance clinical efficiency and standardization of care during childbirth. Led by skilled OB practitioners and IT visionaries, PeriGen has created the PeriWatch platform to provide consistent analysis and efficient display of complex data in real-time to promote better human recognition and communication about impending problems during labor. With PeriWatch clinicians can spend more time on direct patient care and less time on manual calculations and data manipulation. To learn more, visit www.perigen.com; follow us on TwitterLinkedInYouTube, and Facebook; or call 984.208.4250 or email.

 

Media Contact:
Marcia Rhodes
Amendola Communications
480.664.8412 ext. 15
mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amendola Communications Honored as a Top Healthcare Agency in Ragan and PR Daily’s Ace Awards

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 22, 2018Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and healthcare IT (HIT) public relations and marketing agency, announced today that it has added another accolade from the PR industry. The agency was recently recognized in the overall Healthcare Agency category in Ragan and PR Daily’s Ace Awards 2017.

The Honorable Mention award is just the latest national recognition for the agency, which provides a full range of PR and marketing services, including media and analyst relations, messaging, media training, content development and management, social media, digital and online marketing, collateral development, website design and content creation, crisis management, strategic counsel and other services.

“We have received many awards focused on specific campaigns, but we’re especially proud of this award from Ragan and PR Daily because it recognizes the agency as a whole – our work, how we operate, our development of a high-performance team and culture, and the results we generate for clients,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO of Amendola Communications. “We’ve lived and breathed healthcare technology for nearly two decades and, as a result, have developed a team of healthcare veterans with the experience, connections and creativity to drive meaningful business results for businesses of all sizes, whether they’re early-stage startups or established public companies.”

The Ace Awards honor individuals, in-house teams and agencies in communications and marketing. Entrants represent the most talented and innovative thinkers across a variety of industries.

Media Contact:
Marcia Rhodes
Amendola Communications
480.664.8412 ext. 15
mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

Content Marketing in Eight Seconds or less

Content Marketing in Eight Seconds or Less

As you work on your content strategy, think about this: According to a recent study, the average person now loses concentration after only eight seconds. I would ask you to pause and think about that but then I’ll risk of losing the remaining seconds of your attention entirely – if I haven’t already. As a “fun fact,” researchers noted that even goldfish which are “notoriously ill-focused” have an average attention span of nine seconds.

So, whether that fact is fun or concerning is still be determined, but it really isn’t that shocking. This study simply quantifies the impact of a highly digitized lifestyle on the human brain. After all, we live in a world where our phones are constantly buzzing with emails, texts, news alerts, and social media notifications. We live in a world where…

Sorry, I got distracted for a moment. Did you know that Kim and Kanye are expecting their third child via surrogate? My phone just vibrated with that “breaking” news, as well as four work emails, three personal emails, and two trivial text messages. And even if celebrity gossip isn’t your guilty pleasure, you’re likely experiencing a similar scenario every hour of every day.

But to be clear, the aha moment from this study is not that goldfish are smarter than us. It’s an aha moment for us as marketing and public relations professionals. The study has profound implications for those of us who communicate for a living. To be successful, we must adapt our strategies and tactics to the reality of eight second attention spans.

Why evolving content doesn’t mean dumbing it down

In today’s world of digital and information overload, crafting content that is relevant and meaningful for your target audience is mission-critical. Remember that having shorter attention spans doesn’t mean that your customers are not decision-makers. It doesn’t mean that they’re less intelligent. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same pain points. It just means that they need to absorb information differently. It just means that despite downloading your white paper, they’re probably not getting past page one. There’s no shame. It’s the new normal.

That’s why evolving your content marketing is not about dumbing down the information. It’s not about simplifying or going back to basics. It’s about making your content snackable. In fact, your new bite-sized content can still convey the same concepts and ideas as the longer pieces—but that content must be more concise and free of fluff.

Even more importantly, it must provide just a taste to satisfy their brief hunger and keep their interest. It must leave the audience wanting more of your content snacks. That’s what marketing is all about.

How to create tasty content snacks – a recipe for success

Snackable content for the eight second attention span is just a new way of creating, organizing, and promoting content. To create tasty content snacks, you don’t need to start from scratch. You don’t need all new ingredients. Your content kitchen is likely full of big, heavy content meals which can be remixed and reused to fit the new snackable content mold. The good news is that one content meal equals several content snacks.

Now, let’s enter the content kitchen and see how to turn those content meals into content snacks. Here are three examples:

  1. Transform your white paper into an infographic and a cheat sheet with must-do’s.
  2. Transform your case study into a checklist of best practices, or a series of checklists that span everything from implementation to training and optimization.
  3. Transform your 30-minute webinar into a sequence of 30 second videos that highlight that key learning objectives.

And rather than being sad about the lost of art of white paper reading, keep in mind that multiple content snacks derived from the same content meal not only convey the same messages but also can easily become a lead nurturing campaign or useful follow-up references for your sales team to share with prospects.

I think it’s time to stop mourning the white paper. Instead, it’s time to cook up some bite-sized content. After all, it’s just waiting to be eaten.

Keeping the Drum Beat Going on Marketing

Summer conjures many images that are symbolic of a slower pace – relaxing by the beach, sipping lemonade by the pool or reading a book under the shade of a tree. These relaxing pictures of a simpler time rarely include your marketing efforts, although they can fall into this summer haze if you don’t take steps to keep them amped up and the drum beat cadence strong.

New customer wins, moving into an expanded headquarters and launching innovative products are obvious reasons to keep your name in the public eye; however, summer seems to have a way with slowing down major events such as these. How do you stay in front of your main audiences without appearing overly promotional?

Conduct Surveys—Can you survey your customers to discover a new point of view? Do you have access to de-identified data within your product that could point to an industry trend? One example would be discovering which state’s residents are more likely to take their medication as prescribed than in any other state. Facts and figures are generally well-received and can support your company’s position. These results can be used for a press release, infographic, social media and media relations outreach.

Create a Campaign—Develop videos, blog posts or other content addressing problems that your product solves and position yourself as a thought leader. Champion a cause or highlight a struggle like Healthsparq’s #WhatTheHealthcare and athenahealth’s #LetDoctorsBeDoctors campaigns. Branch out as a mover and a shaker to help fix a problem even if your product alone won’t do the trick. Doing this shows you as a trusted ally and advocate.

Offer a Fresh Perspective—Your company has knowledge and a viewpoint that is unique. Does your CEO have a fresh position on leadership? What insights can you bring on the industry? Refine that information and share it through media relations, webinars and bylines. Reporters are looking for new ideas that shed light on a relevant topic in a vendor-neutral manner.

Whether done on your own, with a customer or through partnering with a publication, webinars are a great avenue to harness your knowledge about a topic and share it in a way that gives a personal connection. Attendees can get a taste of your personality, in addition to knowledge on the topic, and the chance to ask questions depending on how the session is structured. Contributing articles to publications is also a great way to extend thought leadership by sharing your perspective in your voice.

Support a Charity—There are many great causes. Perhaps your company already supports a charity, which would benefit from an event or donation. Another option is to find an organization that allows personal involvement, such as sponsoring a build day with a Habitat for Humanity® site near your office. Not only will it be a great team-building exercise, you could get some local press for your efforts. Employees and customers enjoy working with socially responsible companies, so it is a win from all sides.

Everyone hits a slow news cycle at some point. Use this time to refine your position, create a conversation and support a great cause. Each of these methods will extend your brand and deliver more content, including for your social channels.

Setting Up Your Website for Social Success

In the good old days of the Internet (we’re talking the 1990s here), clients grappled with the decision to jump on the newest marketing scheme – the website. Advertising and PR agencies, as well as marketing directors, had widely divergent opinions about several components that are now taken for granted.

The conversation has gone from, “Do we really need a website?” to “How can we make our website better?”

I was on a marketing team that received a MAME Award for Best Website. (The Major Achievements in Merchandising Excellence golden trophy is to the homebuilding industry what the Oscar is to Hollywood.)  My employer strolled into my office and said, “Did I mention you’re going to be the guest speaker on websites at today’s Homebuilder’s Association meeting?  We leave in 20 minutes.” After the shock wore off, I must have delivered an intelligent lecture because many of the builders asked me to evaluate their websites.

What surprises me today is that many of the same problems I saw with sites in 2003 still exist. Sure, with WordPress and new design trends, the hot features of today are hero images, video and animation. But in the race to beef up data capture and content marketing, simple, everyday details can easily be overlooked.  Vendors and publishers alike can up their game and make it easier for their audience to engage, sign up, download, interact and purchase.

Here are 6 key areas you should evaluate on your website to ensure maximum engagement:

Contact Information

You would think contact information would be a no-brainer. But when I’m wearing my research hat, nothing makes me yell “REALLY?!” faster than wasting time hunting down basic information. Your address and phone number should be easy to find. Your “Contact Us” link should be at the top or bottom of every page. If people can’t reach you when they have questions about your event or product, they will likely move on to the next vendor on their list.  Don’t be coy. Give ‘em your 411!

Company Directories

In this digital world, time zones abound and chances are someone out there is looking at your website when you are not open for business. There are pros and cons to both popular methods of people reaching you after hours: “Contact Us” forms and Company Directories.

A contact us form (which is what we have on our own company website) can be programmed one time and simply lives on your website. Visitors can, however, be frustrated if you create a pre-populated and mandatory dropdown-list. What if the reason for contacting you isn’t on that list?

My personal favorite is Company Directories such as the one at HIMSS. It’s easy to find their staff and there’s no question who does what. But, you must keep on top of it and update it often.

Monitoring

So, you’ve got an “info@” email address posted on your website. It’s better than nothing. But who reads your incoming message? More than one person? Do you respond to every inquiry?

Whether it’s someone asking a question or providing feedback, a simple follow-up lets your audience know you’re on the ball.

And please watch the automated replies. It’s great to receive a quick email referencing my trouble ticket number. But it doesn’t make a very good impression to acknowledge you received my email and will respond shortly, and then never get back to me.

Follow up. Every. Single. Time.

Tell me thank you, let me know you’ll consider my suggestion, or forward me to the person who can really help me. Don’t leave me in the dark.

Oh, and remember to redirect the routing of your website mail if you have a change in staff.

Testing

The team members monitoring your web mail – inquiries and data capture alike – will know the average number of contacts you receive per month. Any sudden drop in those numbers should be a red flag.

Minor updates in website programming, firewalls and email proxy servers can all wreak havoc on your incoming messages. Test your site from time to time. Send yourself an email from the website or fill out any forms to ensure everything is still running as it should.

Social Media Platforms

Are links to your social platforms elusive? Are they current?

I’ve taken over social media duties for many clients and I am dismayed when I discover they have a LinkedIn account but no way to reach it through their website.

If you have multiple channels, make sure website visitors can reach them. By the same token, if you haven’t tweeted since 2013, it might be best to remove the little blue bird until your account is more current.

Yes, websites can be expensive to program. But a laundry list of social media platforms adds an unnecessary degree of difficulty that makes it so much harder for visitors to engage. Our eyes are now trained to look for social graphics and a text list of Twitter and Facebook will be overlooked.

A much better example is to use the icons with which everyone is familiar. No questions here on how I can engage!

 

 

But let’s not get carried away. Mashable, gotta love you, but honestly, which Twitter handle do I use when I’m trying to share an article you published?

Social Media Sharing

Publications count on social media to increase readership of their articles. Even vendor websites add sharing buttons to the side of their blogs to encourage readers to engage. What surprises me is how often a pre-programmed post opens in my Twitter profile without basic information such as a Twitter handle.

When you set up your Share buttons, be sure the website plug-in of choice includes your Twitter handle. It’s a common mistake and simple to fix. Also, Twitter doesn’t include links in the character count, but it’s still nice to provide a bit.ly (or whatever service you use) so visitors can RT and comment.

Which is, after all, what engagement is all about. To wit, here are some great examples of engagement done right:

Forbes – This site could really improve by adding their Twitter handle and a shortened link, but they get kudos for adding several options of “Tweet This” above the article. Readers will be quick to click that button and get the message out.

Becker’s Hospital Review – Share any of their articles on Twitter and the post starts with “Reading @beckershr” followed by the article title and the link.

Health IT Outcomes – Push the Tweet Share button and the post is auto-populated with the title of the article, a shortened link, and “via @HITOutcomes.”

Politico’s Morning eHealth – Not only does the Share button have all the necessary bits, but the journalists’ Twitter handles are displayed for even further engagement.

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter. Not only are these suggestions relatively low-cost fixes, the attention to detail will elevate your website to social success.

What suggestions do you have for making websites more social? Please share them below.

Tips for Social Media Success

For many, social media is a mysterious beast. In part because it’s such a new means of communication, but also because the primary social media platforms we all use and love – Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – can feel like a sea of noise in which developing best practices to engage human users (as opposed to the spam bots) inherently brings with it some challenges. That said, social media marketing in today’s world is a must if you want to engage potential clients, spread the word about what your company is doing, and support your brand with a robust online presence.

Social media marketing best practices, based on measuring trends from those who have seen success, are only now developing. If you think about it, social media is the only communication medium that everyone reading this blog can remember a world without – yet, now it’s nearly impossible to imagine what news, public relations, branding and marketing would look like without it.

Your business needs a social media presence to stay competitive. But, you want to make sure to do it right, lest you risk becoming one of those accounts people ignore – or worse, block completely. Below are five tips for success on any social media platform, as well as information on all-too-common habits to avoid.

Don’t use social media as a soapbox

I have worked in public relations, marketing and branding for a number of years, and this is the most common mistake organizations make. It’s OK to promote yourself on social media, even directly. But, only about 1/3 of the content you post should ever be obviously self-promotional in nature.

The bulk of what is posted on your social media profiles should be third-party content that covers the gamut of what your organization is all about – the services you offer and the issues you’re intimately involved in – in an effort to solidify a “soft” association without being overtly promotional.

It’s awesome to be proud of your company’s solutions and brand image. But, brazen promotion on social media should be kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, no one who isn’t already supporting the work your organization does is interested solely in your brand. The subtle promotion that comes from linking to a good article, or commenting more generally on a specific topic, is what will lure people to follow your profile on social media and share the content they find, which in turn fuels further interest in your organization.

Remember, the goal of social media is largely to get others to promote your organization, and accomplishing that means posting content that is likely to be read and shared. A tweet that acts as an ad is not likely to have that effect, but a link to a great article from a reputable source is going to see some engagement, especially if you add a meaningful comment to the mix.

Know your brand, maintain your voice

The companies in any industry – including healthcare technology – have a wide variety of “voices” they express through their branding. Maybe your organization has a fun, casual image; or perhaps it is the serious type who wants to focus on education. There are no wrong answers. Unless, of course, there’s an issue with consistency.

It’s OK to join in on trending conversations and talk about current events, but you want to be mindful of the tone present in a social media post to ensure each post is supplementing the brand image you want the public to associate with your organization. If your organization has a professional business image and uses social media to highlight social issues, tweeting “Tom Brady is the GOAT! #SuperBowl” is definitely not a good idea, for a variety of reasons.

Sending out a post about the Super Bowl to join a larger conversation is acceptable for any organization, as it’s always good to remind people there are very real people behind corporate walls. However, this should be done in a way that is in harmony with everything else your organization posts on social media, and joining in on trending topics should be done without being controversial and inflammatory. Most importantly, avoid slang and “Internet speak” whenever possible, as this will be seen as disingenuous by those who follow your profile, especially if most of the content you post is of a serious nature.

Don’t #abuse #the #hashtag

If you can naturally fit a #hashtag into a sentence, do it. But never rewrite a good post just to shove some extra hashtags in there. Not only does this fail to fool the automated algorithms that rank posts for display when a certain hashtag is clicked, but you risk looking like spam.

If you’ve been on Twitter recently, you know it’s overrun with spam bots and fake accounts that exist only to gain impressions. Don’t find your organization wrongly associated with that plague by overdoing the hashtags or adding off-topic hashtags to your posts. It won’t work.

Stick with one or two hashtags per post, and if you can’t put them into a sentence without forcing the issue, simply add them to the end, and separate hashtags from your primary message with a “|” whenever possible. For example, “#Ransomware is getting cleverer, not to mention more frightening. This one turns PCs into evil clowns! (Link) | #Cybersecurity”. The hashtag at the end is relevant to post and fine to include, and we avoid a “cluttered” look by separating it with a vertical line.

As for developing custom hashtags for self-promotion: These are crucial to better understanding what people are saying about your organization on social media and driving your own trends. However, the same rules above still apply – don’t overdo it, and make sure hashtags are relevant and fit cleanly into every post.

Avoid private and direct messages

The real title of this tip should probably read “be a social media user yourself,” because if you use social media, you know that direct messages are almost always spam. And regardless of how a private message is worded to a follower, it will be seen as an annoyance.

The act of opening a message box takes away from the natural flow of social media, where someone scrolls on their phone to read a variety of messages. It’s frustrating to have to have to open a box just to make an alert notification go way, especially since 90 percent of the time doing so is going to result in being subjected to spam.

This is not to be confused with an “@” message or a tagging another profile. These practices are fine. Sending someone a message of “thanks” for a follow, or including a media outlet’s Twitter handle when sharing a link to their content, is a great idea. In fact, it’s often the best way to garner more engagement. But, stay away from private messages completely. Since these can’t be shared with others on social media and are such a nuisance, there are few good arguments for sending them.

Engagement is key

Direct and private messages may be a bad idea, but engaging your followers is crucial to success. You want your organization’s profile to feel as if an actual person is behind the keyboard making the posts, and doing that can be as simple as “liking” a reply from a follower, or acknowledging when someone tags your profile by offering a quick “@(Name) Thank you.”
Honestly, little touches like this go a long way in keeping followers and encouraging people to visit your profile, click links, and engage your posts. It fuels a personal connection between followers and your social media profile, one that contains the human touch necessary to make that connection meaningful.

Your engagement level needs to match or exceed that of your profile’s followers. As mentioned previously, social media is loaded with fake accounts and spam bots (Twitter in particular).
Social media users are numb to superficial engagement, such as a tweet directed at them that contains an ad. Avoid that practice.

When you engage followers, keep promotion out of it. And most important of all, if people are directing questions, comments, and concerns towards your profile – answer them. Social media connects the world in a way that is slowly replacing phone support and written feedback.

People like when your organization responds to them, engages them, and interacts with them on a person-to-person basis. Never doubt the power of a reply or a quick acknowledgment of a message, as they could be the key to separating your organization from all of the noise on social media and building a strong presence on any platform.

The 4 P's to be a successful marketer

The 4 P’s to Think Like a Marketer

You may have heard of the 4 P’s of marketing: price, product, place, promotion. It’s a broad view to the marketing puzzle of taking a product or service from concept to consumer. Sometimes, businesses gain ground without thinking through these 4 Ps. Rapid growth is bound to plateau at some point and that when it is the perfect time to take a step back.

So, what’s next? Now, you just need to solidify how you can take your company to the next level. The next step may need to be more targeted and work quickly to reach the rapid growth you were projecting.

Nowadays marketing options are everywhere. You could pick multiple paths or you could home in on one big trend. The key is to find balance on the scale: Not spending too much time on one effort and not stretching resources too thin across multiple efforts.

Marketing efforts work best when they work together, with similar power across a range of efforts – much like a crew of rowers all working at the same time to move. When one oar is doing all the work, you’re not going anywhere. The same thing happens in marketing and PR. It needs to be strategic and comprehensive to “move the boat.”

Carrying on the alliteration fun of the 4 p’s, here are 4 ways to start thinking like a marketer in your next strategic campaign. Use this process to focus your efforts for maximum results!

1. Picture
If you could picture your perfect marketing strategy plan what would it be? List all items or initiatives that you would like to see happen. This is the time to be a little unrealistic. Think of all the efforts that would make a difference in reaching your end goals. Include stretch goals, SMART goals, and even some ideas you know you don’t have the resources to complete.

Think of a variety of goals and efforts. For example maybe you want to increase your social media engagement or maybe you just want to better target a specific demographic.

Get your ideas out and on paper to discus with your team or your agency. The benefit to adding all of your goals in the discussion phase is that there might be options that are more plausible than you thought. This can also help generate new ideas from your team.

Don’t limit yourself in the initial brainstorm, or you might find yourself feeling some regret down the road. Prevent this by letting the creative juices flow early on in the process!

2. Prioritize
Now it’s time to get realistic. Until artificial intelligence (AI) and biorobotics are developed enough for us to be highly-productive cyborgs, we are going to have to live with the fact that we are human. There are only so many things that we can do at one time, and only so many things we can do well. Not to mention the budget we have to execute them.

There are also limitations as to how many or what type of marketing and PR efforts will benefit your company. You don’t want to waste your time creating a great marketing effort that falls on deaf ears. Like an Instagram campaign for Medicare, when only 15% of Instagram users are above the age of 50.

Do your research, ask others for their opinions, and see what efforts will make the most impact on your target market. You want to think of immediate lead generation, long-term lead generation and customer loyalty.

3. Plan Ahead
Now that you have a prioritized list of what you want to accomplish, its time to decide when things need to be completed. A thrown-together effort isn’t going to have much of an effect. In fact, if it’s sloppy it may have an adverse effect on your potential customers.

My favorite example of this happening, all too often, is the holidays. It seems every year I hear people say, “Oh the holidays just snuck up on me!” While I understand this, and may have said it myself, it’s just not true. We know the exact date years in advance. You may not be able to finish your personal holiday shopping before Thanksgiving every year, but it is important to stay ahead of schedule for your business.

It’s tempting to throw together a cool initiative after seeing another company perfectly execute one, but will it be valuable to your target market? If you think of a great idea for a Thanksgiving email at 9:00 pm on Thanksgiving eve and you can’t complete it, don’t scrap it! You can use it next year.

Train yourself to think like a retailer. Have you ever been annoyed at the sight of Christmas decorations for sale in August? Use that as your reminder to start thinking about holiday marketing efforts. Or other annual events related to your business.

4. Pull
Your efforts should pull your audience in. Every effort, regardless of how much power you have behind your strategy, should be focused on the end goal. When you go to execute your plan all efforts should be relevant to your customers and their pain point that you solve.

Your social media strategy should be targeted at your ideal customer, digital marketing efforts should all center on your customer and your article placements should be in publications your targets are reading. It’s easy to get caught up in something that looks cool or to fit in somewhere you have a connection. However, if it has nothing to do with your brand, what’s the point?

You know your customers’ pain points, but do your marketing efforts show your customers you want to alleviate them? For example: fitness gyms have an extreme increase of patrons and new memberships in the months of Jan- March, as many make their New Year’s resolution to get healthy. Let’s say your business is a solution for an automated member check in system that makes going to the gym easier for patrons and puts less strain on staff during rushes. You want to start marketing to gyms as they are preparing for this rush, not in the middle of the painful rush.
There are so many ways to incorporate your brand into something funky that isn’t a direct sell. But it should all point to you and your brand’s values in some way.

Set your business up for long term success by dreaming big, selecting what you can do, acting on it in a timely manner and using every effort to engage with your customer.

There are many good PR and marketing reasons to write books

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Sales: Tips for turning your book into a relationship magnet

Why should you write a book? Most busy tech executives have a hundred good reasons why they can’t spare the time for books. Their PR advisers may be tempted to concur since PR performance is judged largely on the quantity of placements secured. After all, why spend months writing one 80,000-word book when you could write 100 800-word articles for a variety of online publications?

Yet a book’s value exceeds that of even dozens of articles. With a book, you can dive into your topic in much more detail than you ever could with online content. Sure, it might not sell but sales aren’t the point: books are tools for establishing you and your company as thought leaders. They’re magnets for relationship building. An expert who is confident and knowledgeable enough to set her expertise in stone with a book will win instant credibility in the eyes of potential partners, clients and customers.

Books also achieve a few very important goals in PR:

  • Books are assets that you can share with brand advocates, customers, prospects, investors, and industry stakeholders.
  • Books can attract other opportunities to you and your company. Conference organizers, for instance, are much more likely to give a keynote to the author of a respected book—even if it doesn’t sell well—than to a book-less competitor.
  • A book can build trust by positioning your company as having a knowledge-based environment, rather than one focused on sales alone.

The key to making the most of a book is good promotion. At Amendola, while we don’t specialize in book promotion, we’ve learned over the years how to augment the distribution and promotion efforts of book publishers to drive PR value.

Below is a sampling of the tactics we use in helping our clients draw attention to their books and leverage them for relationship building:

  • Send the book to key journalists and bloggers and request a book review (ideally) as well as offering the author for an interview on the book’s topic
  • Pitch the author as an expert on the topic, with the book as proof of their expertise. Broadcast media love interviewing authors with new ideas.
  • Do a Google Hangout with the author to promote the book
  • Run a Tweetchat with the author leveraging a major partner hashtag to drive attendance
  • Turn the book chapters into a webinar series, with each chapter or section a separate webinar. Give the book away as enticement to register for the webinar.
  • Turn the book into blog posts: one for each chapter or section, and link to the book at the end of each post
  • Arm all salespeople with several hard-copy versions of the book as leave-behinds, or use book giveaways to drive a Salesforce email campaign to prospects in their territories
  • Hand out the book at all events where you exhibit, as well as at your end-user conference
  • Email the book to attendees at webinars, trade shows or seminars as a follow-up
  • Write a LinkedIn status update about the book and post a link to it in groups where prospects congregate.
  • Pull out keys facts or items of interest from the book and tweet those on Twitter with a link to the book and a popular related hashtag
  • Include the book in your email signature, with a link to download it for free.

If this short list helps convince you to write a book, give us a shout. We can help.