5 PR Tools to Improve Outreach Efforts

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PR has the ability to shape the story that you and others tell about your brand. It can change public perception and build momentum for your business. Find out the tools below can help!

Building Media Lists

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) - Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a free database that connects reporters and sources. Using HARO, journalists get the information they need for their articles, while you get press coverage for your business. It’s a win-win for PR pros (and journalists) to take advantage of this free resource. HARO offers many low-hanging opportunities that should not be ignored.

Buzzsumo - BuzzSumo is a content research and social sharing/monitoring tool that is mainly used as a tool for SEOs and content marketing professionals but also provides value in PR by locating opportunities. You can search by specific topics to see what channels they are trending in and who is writing about it. It allows you to also easily discover the number of social shares and identify social influencer opportunities.

Sharing Your Message

Dropbox - It's a known fact in the PR industry that some journalists hate attachments. If you have more than just a link to share, Dropbox is the perfect resource for sharing multiple file formats and not clogging up inboxes.

Canva - Canva is THE free graphic design tool PR pros need. These days, many design responsibilities fall under the public relations team. With Canva, users can choose among design templates or create from scratch. The site holds a library of more than a million icons, fonts and photos and uses a drag-and-drop technique to make uploading, adding and arranging features quick and effortless.

Tracking PR Opportunities

Coverage Book - When it comes to end of the month reporting on PR media wins, CoverageBook has it figured out. It is easy to use and builds a report for you in minutes rather than the hours of screenshots, digging for unique visitors per month, impressions, and formatting would take manually. There is a free demo period, but after that, you have to pay monthly. If you’re working with multiple clients or have a hard-to-impress executive team, I’d recommend paying the fee and using this service.

3 Ways to Outsmart Twitter's Timeline Algorithm

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Twitter's timeline works like this: all the Tweets from the people you follow since your last visit are gathered and shown in reverse-chronological order. Simple right? Here's the twist. After gathering those Tweets, each is scored by a relevance model. The model's score predicts how interesting and engaging a Tweet would be specifically for you. The highest-scoring Tweets is what shows up at the top of your timeline. 

Twitter also highlights three main characteristics their model considers:

  • The Tweet itself: Recency, media cards (image or video), and total engagement (number of Retweets, likes and comments).
  • The Tweet’s author: What type of past interactions you’ve had with them, the strength of your connection and the origin of the relationship.
  • You: What type of Tweets you found engaging in the past, and how often or how much you use Twitter.

Tweet and engage regularly

Tweeting for the sake of tweeting is never a good idea and, but if you can find the perfect balance of tweeting QUALITY content regularly, your followers probably won't mind it so much. Use tools like Sprout Social to schedule your Tweets so you're consistent with your strategy. Also, if you aren't engaging with other Twitter users, you're going to struggle to build an engaged following. So, schedule engaging updates and respond to your mentions. Easy!

Use video

According to Twitter’s online video playbook, videos are six times more likely to be retweeted on Twitter than photos, and three times more likely to receive retweets than GIFs. If your budget doesn't allow this, consider going live with Periscope. A few interesting tidbits and tips from the playbook include:

  • Video around a live event increases brand favorability by 63%
  • Use captions and visuals for people watching on mobile with the sound off 
  • Brand logo in a video can increase purchase intent by 9%

Re-share top tweets

Twitter moves extremely fast. So even if a Tweet gained traction and earned a lot of engagement, there’s a strong chance a big portion of your followers didn’t see it. Sharing that Tweet again will give you the opportunity to reach some of those followers who missed it the first time around.

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Tips to Help You Capture and Edit Amazing Vertical Videos For IGTV

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Achieving cinematic footage on your mobile phone has never been easier. The onboard camera controls on most smartphones are great, but to get the most control out of your images, follow these tips!

Remember the light

A good general rule of thumb for video is the higher the frame rate, the more light you will need. So if you're trying to capture 60, 120, or 240 frames per second slo-mo, it's best that you do it in good lighting conditions.

Pro tip: Tap anywhere on the screen to focus and expose on that portion of the image.

Watch your storage

More pixels take up more space, but also give you more flexibility for editing.

Even if you don't intend to share your final video in 4K, it's worth capturing in 4K for the most flexibility when you edit (ex: cropping), and then export your final video in 1080p. Of course, this takes up more space on your phone so double check your storage!

Pro tip: Tap and hold to lock auto focus and auto exposure.

Lock it in

Shoot a lot of videos and want the camera to be in video mode anytime you open it? It's possible!

On iOS go to Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings > toggle 'Camera Mode' on

Pro tip: Swipe your finger up or down as you tap (or tap and hold) to adjust exposure.

Don't forget about the sound

It seems obvious, but sound plays a big part in a video experience. If you're outdoors and it's windy, try to shield your phone's microphone.

If you're capturing a sound source that is distant from the camera, try to use a remote microphone or ask a friend to use their phone to record sound.

Pro tip: Turn on the grid. This helps with framing and composing your subject in the frame.

Capture the color

If you like to really go big when it comes to retouching color/looks of your video, apps like Filmic Pro and others have a D-LOG mode.

D-LOG lets you capture a low- contrast, desaturated, raw video, offering you flexibility for color correction.

Do not disturb

Imagine filming, and then in the middle of capturing the best moment ever, your phone rings. Womp womp. Enable 'Do Not Disturb' mode when you plan on capturing longer scenes so that doesn't happen.

Get vertical

You might have some existing videos you'd like to convert into a vertical format. Apps like Wave (desktop) and InShot do this.

InShot Pro tip: start a new project, pick your horizontal (16:9) video, tap on 'canvas', pick 9:16 and pan and zoom the video frame to center it where you want.

 

4 Key Elements to a Successful Landing Page

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1. Have a Great Headline

A headline is the first thing that catches a users attention and if it fails to make an impact it could lead to a higher bounce rate. Therefore, when creating a click-worthy headline make sure that it is short and simple, because seconds count!

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2. Focus on the Benefits

Every piece on the page should push the idea that the landing page offer is beneficial to the visitor. Your copy needs to be persuasive if you want to keep your audience engaged. Ensure that the landing page copy is brief with the benefits clearly stated and to improve readability, make us of bullets.

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3. Create a CTA

A call-to-action button draws the audience attention towards the next step that you want them to take. When it comes to creating an effective CTA make sure that you use large fonts and bright colors that catches users attention instantly. Place it above-the-fold and add a brief yet actionable text like 'Try it for Free.'

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4. Add Credibility With Social Proof

Social proof and trust symbols help enhance the credibility of your landing page. By displaying social engagement numbers like subscribers and followers, you are able to win the trust of your audience. Simiarly, trust symbols like MacAfee Secure and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) assure your audience that your landing page is safe and secure.

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The Top 4 Ecommerce Platforms in 2018

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In 2017, ecommerce sales worldwide achieved a total of $2.304 trillion in sales, and it's expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. Those are HUGE numbers that should make any business owner look into incorporating it into their business. Here are the top 4 ecommerce platforms based on the number of businesses using them and their key features: 

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1. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress.

Total sites using WooCommerce: 2,287,356

Key features:

  • Easy to manage admin panel
  • Unlimited product categories
  • Extensive range of plugins & extensions
  • Secure payment gateway
  • Great shopping cart

2. Shopify

Shopify is a commerce platform that allows anyone to easily sell online, at a retail location, and everywhere in between.

Total sites using Shopify: 1,275,905

Key features:

  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Tons of themes, plugins, & extensions
  • Mobile-friendly shopping cart, seller mobile apps and many other mobile-based features available
  • Round the clock technical support via live chat, phone as well as tutorials, along with their powerful Shopify community forum.

3. Squarespace

With Premium features, you can create a Squarespace website or online store with custom content and integrations that help your business grow. Premium features, which include the Commerce platform, are available on the Business and Commerce plans.

Total sites using SquareSpace: 1,075,124

Key features:

  • Build an e-commerce store from start to finish without any technical knowledge
  • Tools designed to meet the needs of any small business or organization

4. Magento

Magento is an ecommerce platform built on open source technology which provides online merchants with a flexible shopping cart system, as well as control over the look, content, and functionality of their online store.

Total sites using Magento: 651,035

Key features:

  • Open source and unlimited customization options
  • Usability & Manageability
  • More than 9,000 plugins and extensions
  • Free social media extensions
  • Extensive resource library for demos, new plugins, store management and everything around ecommerce stores

 

5 Factors of Great SEO Content

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Do you want more traffic from Google? Quality content is the number one driver of your search engine rankings!

Discover the easiest ways to improve SEO ranking of your website almost overnight below!

1. Write Great Headers

Aside from your body content, the most important piece of content for SEO is your header. A header tells people what the piece is about, grabs reader attention and gives a general overview of the topic.

To make your header as interesting as possible, include your keyword and focus on writing a header that asks a question or addresses your readers' fears. Create headers that are irresistible and make your readers want to click.

2. Don't Overuse Keywords

This is a dangerous practice that will get you in trouble with search engines, decreasing your site's rank and making it harder for users to find you. When you're writing your content, try to use keywords naturally. They should be in your header (if possible) and they should appear a few times throughout the body content. According to experts, you want your keyword density under 3% for everything you write.

3. Have High Word Counts

Did you know that word count can play an important part in SEO ranking? To provide the most value to your audience and rank, write long-form content between 1,500-2,500 words. 

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4. Include Citations

Find and mention industry leaders throughout your content to back up your content. Google cares about your sources and to rank well you'll want to link to industry leaders. Additionally, in web content you'll want to link strategically throughout your own text back to the most important pages of your site.

5. SEO Tools

SEMrush

SEMrush is a powerful keyword tool that allows users to optimize their sites for SEO, create pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and conduct social media and video advertising research. 

Wordtracker 

Wordtracker is another keyword research tool that allows users to search multiple sources for effective keywords. This tool can help you find keywords that nobody is competing on and will be an essential tool for SEO success.

Buzzsumo

Buzzsumo is an effective tool for finding the key influencers that can help you promote your content and get it noticed by a wide audience base. It can also help you find trending content topics and take inspiration for audience related content. 

 

What Marketers Should Know About IGTV

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Instagram recently announced IGTV, a new platform for longer, full-screen vertical videos, that's also accessible through the Instagram app. 

If you're still not convinced that video is one of the most powerful ways to market your product or business, peep these statistics shared by HubSpot:

  • Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019
  • Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%
  • Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions
  • According to YouTube, mobile video consumption grows by 100% every year
  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it
  • 87% of online marketers are currently using video content in their digital marketing strategies

And that's just to show off a few.

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IGTV Features

When a user opens the app, the IGTV video content from accounts you already follow will automatically start (just like your TV at home,) but on IGTV, 'the creators are the channels,' Instagram states. Instagram accounts that are verified or have a larger following have the ability to upload videos up to 60 minutes, while the rest of us are capped at 15. Still better than the minute cap we have now!

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Within the new feature, users can swipe up to switch between accounts that they suggest to you, creators you already follow, popular content, and videos they haven't finished. Just like other Instagram content, users can like or comment on videos or send videos to friends in Direct. Creators with access can also add "swipe up" call-to-actions on videos. 

Other Important Features to Know

  • Creators have their own channels, like YouTube (and anyone can be a creator)
  • Videos can be uploaded to the IGTV app or the web
  • Videos on IGTV can also be uploaded to Facebook Watch
  • File size: up to 3.6GB
  • File type: .MP4
  • Video size: 9:16
  • Video thumbnail / cover image: .JPG
  • As of launch, no advertising options are available, but Instagram says it eventually plans to make sure popular video creators are able to make money from their efforts

Brands Using IGTV

"Anyone can be a creator — you can upload your own IGTV videos in the app or on the web to start your own channel," says Instagram. Obviously, Instagram influencers like Lele Pons(25 million followers,) and other popular channels have a huge head start when it comes to engagement and viewership, but as YouTube stars figure out that the now 1 billion users are on Instagram, it's possible that you'll see more influencers heading to IGTV. 

6 Useful Apps For Everyday Productivity

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Need a little help improving your day-to-day performance? From time tracking to organizing documents, these resources can help you get—and stay—dialed in all day. Get off Candy Crush and get to producing!

Email & Communication

Newton 

This app puts all of your email clients in one place. It also lets you track whether an email has been read, useful for when you are waiting on a response before taking action.

Key Features:

  • Read Receipts - Get read-status for every email you send. Also get notified as soon as the email is read. Know exactly who read your email with individual mail tracking.
  • Snooze - Set your emails to come back to Inbox at a more convenient time. Snooze emails, not productivity.
  • Undo Send - Pull back that email blunder you just sent. Especially useful when you’re on mobile and need to reply in a hurry.

Slack  

It's where work flows. Slack acts as something between email and instant messaging. You can easily send messages or files to a group or individual in a very organized manner.

Key Features: 

  • Communicate with your team and organize your conversations by topics, projects, or anything else that matters to your work
  • Message or call any person or group within your team
  • Share and edit documents and collaborate with the right people all in Slack

Improving Focus

Be Focused

This app is a timer that uses the Pomodoro technique, where you work for a set period of time and then take a short break. The Pro version comes with time tracking and reporting for clients.

Key Features:

  • Manage your tasks
  • Track your progress throughout the day, week or custom period
  • Fast and easy goal tracking

Pocket

The Pocket app allows you to save all of the articles you want to read for a later time. It will even read the articles out loud to you. Great for the commute to and from work!

Key Features:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Tags to quickly get organized
  • Listen to your articles with Text-to-Speech
  • Save with one click using Pocket’s desktop browser extensions for Safari, Chrome, and Firefox

For Everyday Life

Truecaller

Once telemarketers get a hold of your cell number, you feel doomed when the phone rings. Trucaller saves you the annoyance by blocking telemarketer calls. It claims to block over 2 million spam numbers.

Key Features:

  • Automatically identify spam and fraud calls before you pick up
  • Filter junk SMS automatically
  • Enter any number to lookup name and other contact info

Calm Meditation

Meditating can do wonders for your mental clarity and productivity. Calm is an app which makes meditating easier by offering dozens of guided sessions.

Key Features:

  • 80+ Sleep Stories: adult bedtime stories guaranteed to lull you to sleep
  • 7 day and 21 programs for both beginner and advanced users
  • Brand new Daily Calm every day: a new 10-minute program added daily to help ease you into the day or unwind with before bed

 

4 Simple Ways to Build Your Email Marketing List

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This may come as a surprise, but email marketing still has one of the highest ROI of any marketing channel. It takes time and patience(and good content) to grow your email list, so check out our tips below!

1. Add signup forms to your website

Include a link to your email signup form on multiple pages on your website to make sure visitors don't miss it. A good place to start is your Homepage and About page since those people have most likely already shown interest in your business. Make sure to include a call-to-action as well!

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2. Use a feature box on your homepage

Another option to an entry pop-up(which may interrupt people from scrolling through your website) is a feature box. A feature box is a full-width email opt-in box. It usually offers some kind of lead magnet to encourage people to sign up for your list.

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3. Run a contest on social media

Social media is a great platform to run a contest because of how many people it can reach. For starters, you'll want to create an eye-catching graphic and an incentive(giveaway). Incentives should align with what your followers are interested in. That can be company swag, products, or tickets to an event. Use tools like Heyo's Facebook Sweepstakes Template to create contests that link up the opt-in form with your email marketing platform to easily manage Facebook Contest opt-ins. A contest countdown is also a good idea to keep users engaged!

4. Take advantage of current email subscribers

Encouraging your current email subscribers to forward your email to friends and colleagues can help you gain access to a wider network. It isn't as easy as a quick share on social media but giving them the option to click a link to compose a message online(since all email programs are designed differently) allows for a quick and easy way to forward your email to people directly. Below is a great example of the options!

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Do you want to learn how to use email marketing to get more sales? We can help. Shoot us an email to start the conversation! 

4 Free Stock Video Websites For Social Media Content

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1. Videvo

Videvo is a highly maintained free stock footage site that uploads new free videos weekly. They have everything you need, from a timelapse of a cityscape down to the regular reflections of people in their daily life. You can also download videos of nature, visual effect backgrounds, and the like.

2. Video Pexels

Originally built as a platform to access and share stock images, today it has branched into a free stock video library as well. It has hundreds of high quality clips ranging from people, nature, timelapse, and basically everything you will need to create a beautiful video. 

3. Pixabay

Pixabay has one of the most robust collections of free stock footages. Currently, they have over 2000 free stock videos available for download, all released under public domain, meaning you can use them for whatever purpose you want without attribution.

4. Videezy

Videezy is the place to share your Free HD Stock Videos, b-roll, backgrounds, and other cool free video footage. Here you can explore and discuss the footage of other videographers from around the world, or just find that perfect little cutaway for your next big project. Videezy makes it easy to explore thousands of clips created by people from all over the globe. All the videos are free to download and, depending on the license, free to use in your projects.