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The Blood, Sweat and Tears for Getting Publicity

I’m a publicist who works with lots of authors. I don’t view getting publicity for them different. I treat them the same. The best publicity for sales is galvanizing feature story and interviews. They should have both human interest and be educational. Book reviews sell far fewer books.

This comes from information I give to my clients It was developed to educate them and help them get into the right state of mind to do effective publicity campaign work. The title is:

The Blood, Sweat and Tears for Getting Publicity

To me, getting publicity is like making candy – it’s a tasty recipe backed by art and science, psychology, and specific tactics that come into play. It’s a persuasive communications process that one has to go through. It has a very narrow set of requirements that many people simply do not understand.

The blood sweat and tears of getting publicity is always in the writing of the news release. It contains your pitch. The news release is the crucial document that you create and transmit to media. Then you watch and wait to see what happens. It’s a very important document. Your pitch is basically a proposal. A publishing proposal.

When it’s successful, it can be real magic, like lightning in a bottle.

Phenomenal things can really happen. Careers and fortunes can be created. Millions of people can potentially see your message and be influenced by your writing and thinking.

But if it’s not, very little will happen, in fact, it can be a painful economic and pride felt loss.

The hardest part that I find is that people don’t realize that getting publicity is not like marketing.

When you market, you try to persuade tosell product or services.

When you seek publicity you are talking to a publisher or a producer and asking them to publish what you wrote, or write about what you say or do.

When you write a news release you are in effect you are communicating a very specific message:

‘esteemed and honored fellow publisher (or producer or host), please give me
space in your publication (or on your show).’

This distinctive purpose of this message is one of the most difficult things I have to teach and get people to understand when I work with clients. Many an otherwise brilliant and successful author, marketer and promoter has great difficulty with this concept. Basically they write an ad and expect
media to publish it. They are terribly surprised and hurt when it gets rejected. In fact, their failure at this point often times results in them ceasing the whole writing and creative or business development process. How tragic to come so far and then stop over the failure to be successful at
this point.

So heed the words of this publicist, and I truly believe if you grok this deeply, you’ll reduce the pain you go through as you learn what it takes to get publicity. It will make both our lives a lot easier. You’ll create better more newsworthy information, it will take less time to write a good news release, you’ll get more publicity when you do send it out, and I’ll get to spend more time fishing.

So here goes. I’ll share with you what I know.

First, understand that media are generally averse to giving anyone free advertising. They charge for advertising. That’s how they make their money.

So if when you write a news release and are perceived as asking for free advertising, for a commercial enterprise, the likely outcome is a call or email from the sales advertising manager at the media. So please do not be surprised if and when this happens.

Second, media only publish three basic things:

News
Entertainment
Education

That’s it. There is no more, except for the paid advertising that is.

Don’t believe me? Look at any media publication. Look at a newspaper, look at a magazine. Identify what you see. Do this article by article. Analyze the media. Learn and try to grasp what they do. Pick up any publication and classify every inch of space into one of these four classifications: news, entertainment, education, or paid advertising. Prove it to yourself.

Do you get this yet?

And realize that if you want to be published, this is what you need to give the media people you are pitching to and be quick about it.

Part 2

Now there’s a special psychology you need to really get down about what you are doing when you pitch to a media person.

The real key is to give media what they want. The hard part is in figuring out what that is. It’s crucial to remember we are writing to a publisher and asking for them to publish something about our topic, featuring us. BTW, if you do a good job on the news release, you’ll get some media responses even if you use the free services. But you’ll get greater penetration and quantity and quality response with services that send to custom targeted media lists matched to the message.

There are lots of issues that enter into a media decision to respond to a news release favorably: content, timeliness, quality of thinking, how many people in the audience will be interested, what’s in it for the audience, cost and effort needed to use it, prior and competing coverage of the topic,
downstream issues, and the likely audience response.

These are among the many factors that go through an editor’s or a producer’s mind. You find this out when you speak to them, and also when you watch what they select, and of course, by what they publish every day. In fact, this is the greatest source of guidance you can find, and it’s available to you everyday.

What I find is that very simply, if they see what they like, they use it. They may not use all of it, and they may change it, but it gets some coverage if it fits their readership and editorial needs. Media people make decisions based on how it will likely affect their bottom line, which is revenue based on subscriptions, advertising, and market share.

To you and me, it’s a gauntlet of sorts, and we try our best to learn, create appropriate material, present it as best we can, and act persuasively.

Once you understand this psychology and positioning, then you can get to work, and it’s really not that hard.

So how do you decide what do you put into a news release so that you maximize your publishing success?

Here are the basics.

Do you want to see your media response improve dramatically? Send a news release that pushes the media’s hot buttons. I’ve developed a little set of criteria from having sent out thousands of news releases for clients over the past two decades, and the common set of factors that produce the maximum success.

Here’s what you need to do:

Tell me story (a short, bed time story), give me a local news angle (of interest to my particular audience), hit me in the pocket book (make me or save me money), teach me something I didn’t know before (educate me), amaze me or astound me (like in WOW!), make my stomach churn (in horror or fear), or turn me on (yes, sex sizzles).

Your news release needs to do this in 30 seconds or less.

Let’s look at it again from a slightly different perspective.

I’ve studied what the media actually publish for decades now and I believe you can boil it all down to one simple formula. Look at almost every article in USA Today or any other newspaper or magazine or any TV show and try to identify the common key elements that pop out at you. You’ll see it immediately once I tell it to you.

Here it is:

DPAA+H

These letters stand for “Dramatic Personal Achievement in the Face of Adversity plus a little Humor.”

If you look at almost every media around you, from the front page of USA Today to the Olympics to the evening news to the sitcoms on TV, you’ll see this is what the American public wants, desires, and craves.

DPAA+H

As a culture, we crave to see the human spirit triumph in matters of the heart, and in trials of hardship and tragedy. We ask to be uplifted right out of the humdrum of our everyday reality into the exhilaration and extreme emotional states of those who are living life on the edge.

It galvanizes our attention. It rivets us to our seats. It captures our attention and our hearts.

It drives us to pay for newspaper subscriptions, to movie theaters for entertainment, to rent videos for fun or education, to bookstores for a good read. This is what energizes and drives the very core of numerous key economic systems and is what creates and maintains the very infrastructure
of the publishing, news, and entertainment industries.

And this is what the media seeks to provide. This is what works. Human interest stores with

DPAA+H

You will see these elements everywhere you look in varying degrees. It is a rare media feature that doesn’t contain most of these items. The media uses technology to increase the assault on our senses, enhance the effect, and make our experience ever more compelling and memorable.

And if you are writing a news release to get publicity for yourself or for a client, what you have to do to maximize your chances is recognize this desire and need, and then cater to it as best you can.

If you want to put your best foot forward and take a crack at writing a news release that does this, here is what I suggest:

For any particular publicity project you have in mind, study your target publications (the ones you really want to be in), identify articles that you want to achieve similar success, review prior and existing media coverage of your subject, and then make a list of the top ten things (ideas and actions) that you can write or talk about.

You can use News Search Engines (e.g., Google News) to evaluate media coverage of your topic and to identify articles that you can use as models. Then you can actually put pen to paper.

My 3 I technique is really useful at this point. Identify your success story, Imitate What You See, Innovate with your own information.

Just remember – you need to hit people’s hot buttons and galvanize attention. To do this you need to focus on developing some very special ideas.

One of the most successful types of news releases to use is the problem solving tips article or advice article or entertainment article.

Pretend that you are going to speak to 20 people and you wanted to inspire, motivate and impress the hell out of them, but only had exactly three minutes.

What are the very best eight to ten pieces of advice would you give them?

You must identify the topic that will interest the maximum number of people.

You must also then present the very best advice or analysis and recommendations, best stories, best insights, or best humor you are capable of to address the problem or the subject you identified. These must be ideas or actions they can take or implement that will produce highly desirable benefits in their life right now.

The reason is that these ideas are just like candy. Candy produces such pleasurable sensations that it results in chemical memory. People always remember where they got good candy. And that’s what you need to make. Good intellectual property candy.

The goal here is to galvanize them into action, so that when you are done, they jump up and open their wallets, and hand you their business card, and say “call me, I need your services”.

It is not just to sell your book. It is to sell people on YOU. You are the candy. It is professional branding at it’s best that we seek here, so that people are so enamored with you that they buy everything you have available for sale.

So if you’ve done your homework, and studied what your target media are publishing, you’ll see that this is what is being published day in day out in media of all types.

It is also a pathway that you can probably follow pretty easily if you set your mind to it.

So think about this relatively easy assignment and then start writing. If you do this, I’d like to see what you create. You can send it to me anytime and I’ll be happy to give you comments and recommendations on what to do with it to help you get to where you want to be.

Just remember this: If you give the media what they really want, they’ll give you what you want – free publicity.

Google Changes to the World of News Release Distribution

Discusses the latest Google algorithm changes and how the impacts on news release distribution

Google Changes to the World of News Release Distribution

For many years now marketing practitioners have been advocating people use news releases to improve their placement on search engines. The theory was that you could write and post a news release at a web distribution service and the optimized use of keywords and the links included in the release would result in oodles of incoming links all of which would help capture people’s attention and increase your page ranking on search engines as a result.

Google has decided to clean up the search results and do what it can to rid organic results of press release content that is really not bona fide news, but are instead, paid advertising in disguise. The requirements also have significance to sites that rely heavily on user-generated content.

The latest Google algorithm changes, known as Penguin 2.0, modifies how Google analyzes the role and utility of news releases posted at news release distribution services in a very significant way. The changes, adopted in late July 2013, include the following:

1. Press releases will be treated as paid placement by Google.

2. Optimized anchor text links in a press release distribution post will be considered as “unnatural” and will not be used in Google PageRank search result calculations.

3. Google now requires news release distribution services to add a “no follow” code attribute to all their outbound links in the news releases they post.

What this means is that if you now do a search for keywords on Google or Google News, your will now notice the near total absence of news releases, which used to account for fifty percent of more of what was the search engines produced in the top ten pages. No more. What is now delivered are articles from real media – newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, selected news services & syndicates, and the online versions, news web sites, and certain blogs.

The Google “no follow” and “anchored text” policies apply to”webmasters and directly impact services such as PR Web, Businesswire, PR Newswire, Send2Press, WebWire, MarketWire, OnlinePR Media, eReleases, and many more of the sites who used to be able to get top placement with their posted and archived news releases.

No more. Google has declared those days are over. The new moves by Google places the highest value on unique, quality content at real media sites.

The new search engine results highlight real media and focus on “earned media” and not subsidized links designed to simply weight and manipulate search engine results.

Google is also on the lookout to reduce the impact of large scale guest post activities and advertorials.

For several years now, SEO placement was driven by the use of “unnatural” backlinks and the heavy handed use of keywords in news releases. A variety of “black hat” SEO practices have been developed and used to push page placement. This will no longer be a viable strategy for businesses to utilize if they seek to improve their SEO ranking and the traffic they receive.

Natural links, directly to quality core content, expert or a company web site, are still acceptable.

What this means to publicity seekers is that a news release should not be written with the purpose of producing a sale directly. The news release should also not be written as an advertorial, or an infomercial.

The best view is that a news release is a pitch to a publisher (=media) to get them do publish or produce a story in the medium they utilize.

A news release, or a press release, is therefore a media proposal — a purpose driven communication that is delivered to media, or placed where they can find it, and which invites the media to do a feature story, an interview or a review (in the case of a book or product), and which contains an offer or the actual content and access to the people, needed to do that job.

So if you want real media coverage, write a news release that is truly designed to get you quality media coverage and send it to the right media. Instead of a post and pray web service. Then target your media carefully and send it to the right media directly. Reach out and contact real media people and offer them everything they need to do their job your way.

Help the people that you can help the most. The latest change means that quality content matters now more than ever before.

Good problem solving advice, news, value-added commentary, noteworthy public events, innovative products, quality books, and the best entertainment will get higher search engine placement, and hence command more value in the eyes of the searching public. Earned media coverage acquired by using targeted PR tactics and strategies will be one of the primary vehicles for gaining that status.

For additional reading:

Yahoo Small Business Advisor article Sept 1, 2013
http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/press-release-writing-since-google-penguin-2-0-235044581.html

Forbes magazine article by Cheryl Conner, August 28, 2013
http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/08/28/do-press-releases-still-matter-yes-but-not-like-you-think/

Search Engine Watch articles by Lisa Buyer August 9, 2013
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2287902/12-Ways-to-Optimize-Press-Releases-Avoid-Google-Penalties

Search Engine Land article by Barry Schwarz July 30, 2013
http://searchengineland.com/google-links-in-a-press-release-should-be-nofollowed-like-advertisements-168339

Search Engine Roundtable article by Barry Schwarz July 30, 2013
http://www.seroundtable.com/google-press-releases-nofollow-17151.html

Search Engine Watch article by Lisa Buyer July 26, 2013
http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2194404/Can-the-SEO-PR-Love-Affair-Survive-After-Panda-Penguin

Search Engine Land article by Barry Schwarz July 26, 2013
http://searchengineland.com/google-adds-large-scale-guest-posting-advertorials-optimized-anchor-text-to-list-of-link-schemes-168082

Search Engine Land article by Barry Schwarz July 9, 2013
http://searchengineland.com/google-guest-blogging-for-links-you-better-nofollow-those-links-166218

Search Engine Watch – #nofollow
http://searchenginewatch.com/topic/nofollow

Evaluating Your Media Coverage – Online Clipping with Search Engines

Evaluating Your Media Coverage - Online Clipping with Search Engines

Evaluating Your Media Coverage – Online Clipping with Search Engines

There are several ways to search and find media coverage without spending money on clipping service. All you have to do is use the right keywords and search in the right places. You can discover many, if not most, of the media coverage you get from your campaigns within a week of your outreach.

There are several types of search engines you can use – all of these are free. There are more search engines out there and this list will always change over time. These are the ones that I use on a regular basis.

Search by using a persons’ name, their book, product or whatever keyword you want to focus on. To keep your results narrow and focused, place “quotation marks” around your search words.

If you want to evaluate media coverage, focus on the keywords that you are researching and study what is being published, by whom, and what the article or interviews says.

    Regular (Web) Search Engines

Google

Yahoo

Bing

Ask

    News Search Engines

Google News

Yahoo News

Bing News

Ask News

Topix


    Blog Search Engines

Google blogsearch

Yahoo searchblog

Blogdigger

Blogsearchengine

Technorati

    Media Search Engines

Reuters

USA Today

The New York Times

Washington Post

LA Times

Boston Globe


    Social Search Engines

TalkWalker Alerts

Social Mention

Tumblr.com

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

Topsy

Scour

Pipl

Zoominfo

MyLife

Peek You

Great Update on the State of the Art of Self-Publishing

Review of Guy Kawasaki's book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book (Kindle Edition)

APE is a very helpful, straight from the trenches report which covers the gamut of steps, decisions, and actions needed to successfully self-publish a book. There are numerous lessons learned and resources that will enable a rapid application of theory to any publishing venture. The only issue I found is that Guy write from a position of already having a tremendous following and platform vehicles that other people simply do not have. That said, what one learns from his expert deployment of platform vehicles offers insights based on solid track record of pure performance. Highly recommended for anyone who even thinks about self-publishing. I give this book five stars!

Using Publicity to Overwhelm the Impacts of Illegal Downloads of Electronic Versions of Books and other Products

Using Publicity to Overwhelm the Impacts of Illegal Downloads of Electronic Versions of Books and other Products

I can’t advise you on how to prevent it or stop it, although there may be techie ways to reduce the risks. I believe that there are evil people out there and you cannot avoid all of them if they want to steal from you.

I honestly think spending time chasing down the evil people is a time-wasting negative spiral that will fail to produce meaningful success or personal satisfaction given the choices you have to create the positive platform you want to achieve success.

What you can do is market and promote and publicize so effectively and thoroughly that the number of people who steal from you is de minimis compared to the income that you derive from your publishing and other related sources of income, and because of the sheer power, presence and reach of the personal and professional brand you have created for yourself.

Focus on helping the people you can help the most. Get out there in front of the people you want to reach so many times and give them such quality content, advice, information and entertainment that the links to your articles and posts you get on your own and other people’s sites simply overwhelm the organic search results that contain the links to the illegal download sites.

Be so active in media and the online communities you can participate in that when a question pertaining to the subject of your area of expertise comes up, you are top of mind because the wonderful things people are saying about you block the discovery of the sites that cause you harm.

You have the choice. You can be passive and stay in the ‘if you build it they will come’ mode (very similar to the ‘pray and do little if anything’ mode), or you can decide to get systematically active with your marketing communications and realize that every day gives you the opportunity to reach out and answer someone’s question and share the answer so that tens if not hundreds of people see that answer and are presented with a new reason to call on you.

Even one article or post a month, shared on twenty blogs and media sites per month is 240 new incoming links in a year and then you also get the Tweets, FB shout outs, and other social media links that go with those.

So you want to know what to do? Ignore them. Build your platform! Choose to do the things that you need to do to be successful for yourself. Focus on your outreach. What you focus on will get bigger.

If you want to be flying with the eagles, stay away from the turkeys.

Kickstarter Success Story

Kickstarter Success Story

One of my newest clients is Ms. Erin Faulk, who just conducted a successful Kickstarter campaign.

She raised more than $24,000 to fund an independent film adventure where she goes cross country, meets, interviews, and films 140 “characters” she only knew previously through Twitter.

The PR campaign resulted in numerous articles and radio and TV interviews which contributed to her going over her $15,000 goal.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1020889969/follow-friday-the-film?ref=category

She did an interview with the Cision Navigator in which she offers tips on building online relationships.

http://blog.us.cision.com/2012/06/building-online-relationships-tips-from-follow-friday-the-film/

Two days ago, icing on the cake. Audi USA donated her the use of a brand new Audi for the 8,000 mile cross country tour.

http://followfridaythefilm.com/

Promoting and Marketing on Facebook, Twitter and social media

Promoting and Marketing on Facebook

> Trying to promote books on Facebook is as pointless as trying to buy
> groceries in a church. It’s just not there. Been there, done that. Don’t
> waste your time. You can’t put “likes” in the bank.

OMG, failure certainly speaks louder than success.

Promoting as in marketing books with the immediate goal of selling books on Facebook is not how it works. This is not a direct marketing method of communication.

That’s simply not the right way to approach the use of these instant publishing technologies.

Think about what results in people taking action and sharing on Facebook.

They read and/or see something short, sweet, and incredibly thought provoking. They may comment on it if it’s worthy of comment. And they may share it if it’s value packed and worthy of sharing with others.

It’s a filtration process. The cream rises to the top.

Notice that only the really good noteworthy and excellent ideas and knowledge are passed on from person to person.

If you are going to intentionally and strategically use these technologies, you simply have to focus on creating messages that are worth sharing.

The Bottom Line: Quality and excellence is what triggers action.

I harp on this all the time. If you learn how to turn people on first, THEN you get to leverage the technologies to repeat the message and trigger the actions you want to happen.

Leave a trail of tasty intellectual candy and people will keep on taking bites and eventually want to buy the whole bag.

You can leverage, maximize and benefit from posting good, positive, enthusiastic, entertaining, and educational information.

You can see your ideas shared if what you post is truly noteworthy ideas, writing, photos, and helpful support every chance you get with every post you make.

You cannot just believe you are good. You must BE REALLY GOOD. In fact, other people must find what you shared to be so good, they are driven to share that incredible goodness with others.

This is real time public relations. You want to learn how to do this with Facebook, and every other media (= prime media, Internet media and yes, now even social media) you try to get published in.

If you write something that is really, really good, people will share it. But you have to learn how to create and make use of micro marcom.

I’ve been studying and developing successful strategies that people utilize for micro-marcom (micro marketing communications) for a while now. The media are masters at this.

The best way to use FB and other technologies is to make use of little tiny galvanizing nuggets of clarity.

You see the tweets in their headlines on Google News, in newspaper headlines, and in chyrons on TV. They hint of stories that will be dramatic, personal, achievement in the face of adversity plus humor. You can see these headlines are designed to be Attention Grabbing Short Phrases, with a link to get you to sit through “the rest of the story”. Study these tweets and you’ll see they basically fall into one of the following seven categories:

Problem Identified
Problem Warning
Problem Solved
Someone in Trouble
Someone Saved or Rescued
Something Bad Happened
Something Good Happened

If you are going to use Facebook and all these media to promote, you will be most successful if you stay as personal as you are talking to your best friends and giving them your very, very best.

And you have to be quick about it. You can provide a link so they can get more goodness, and by golly it had better be as good as you said it is!

This way the image and impression you create is always helpful, educational, fun, entertaining, and worthwhile.

You can choose to create a personal brand that people always want to enjoy, and that results in people sharing what you offer, because it is simply so good.

When they like what you do, they will act to get more of you.

Don’t sell the book

Don't sell the book

Don’t just say, I wrote a book. Please buy my new book.

Do your best and make a really good impression.

Let your book go. Go beyond the book. Give people news. Educate. Entertain. Explain. Exhort them to take action.

Do your best at whatever you do.

if you are a comedian, make people laugh.

If you are a teacher, teach them something new, and make them realize the importance of that knowledge in a way that changes their lives, for the better, forever.

If you are an auto mechanic, help them with a problem and solve it easier and fatser than they ever imagined.

If you are a children’s book author, make the children smile.

If you are a health and fitness expert, help people lose a few pounds and enjoy it.

If you are a financial expert, take the mystery out of an important money making or cost producing event or happening and make it easy for them to find out more if they want to.

If you are a fiction author, tell a really good story. Make people interested in your genre by sharing something fascinating and intersting about the story you wrote or the history and facts upon which your story is based, or the characters and what they represent to you.

Help the people you can help the most. Do what you are best at. Be exceptional.

And do it in 30 seconds.

If you do that, they will remember you, and they will share you, your ideas, and your products or your services with others.

Achieving Publicity Success: Mommy Bloggers Are Very Important!

Tactics for successfully marketing and publicizing with mommy bloggers

Bloggers are quite important to all of us who do work in the world of publicity. Mommy bloggers are really crucial!

Who are the best ones with regard to marketing and publicizing a book or a product?

Well, it depends. There are now several thousand of them and their ranks are growing every day. Perhaps 20 to 25 percent of the media who write on family and parenting matters are now blogging regularly.

Mommy bloggers are simply mothers who blog. They don’t publish in magazines or newspapers. They just blog where people can find them – in the news search engines and specialty blog search engines. The originality and creativity or their unique perspective is what generates their audience.

Many of them offer up a highly personal view of parenting, women’s general interest, fashion, wifehood, love, romance, health, fitness, food and cooking, husbands, kids, and the challenges that go with being the head of the household.

Some are funny, some are serious, some are highly intellectual, some are sexy, some are not.

Many of them offer their experiences or opinions on the subjects that they decide are worthy and provide reviews of products, books, recipes, movies, TV shows, celebrities, politicians, even things like astronomical events, and quantum physics.

Some of them are highly regarded and have very dedicated audiences who relish their every post. The number of people and the demographics of their audiences vary.

I mean if you want to spend some time with a yenta, go see your local mommy blogger. Mommy bloggers know how to spread the word!

I’ve transmitted news releases about books and products to Mommy Bloggers and the responses, benefits and results for the author/owner have at times rivaled and even exceeded that produced by conventional prime media.

Mommy bloggers are a force to be recognized and utilized!

When you decide to do publicity you should make sure that you do your best to contact Mommy Bloggers if you have something that is of interest to Mommys everywhere.

Brief them in, share with them what you’ve created, tell them why it’s good and who will benefit from what you’ve created, and by all means, offer them a review copy or product sample if you can afford to do so. Offer to send them additional information, especially good photography.

Be forewarned! Some of them will only write about you favorably if you send them chocolate!

Here’s a web site that ranks the top mommy bloggers based on voter popularity.

Here’s TOPMOMMYBLOGS.com

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/index.php

Response to the Social Media Bandwagon Phenomenon

Response to the Social Media Bandwagon Phenomenon

One person on the publishing and promoting list at Yahoo posted the following message:

> “For any of those that are still questioning the importance and/or value of Social Media, check out the stats in this video…”

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8

Another person responded:

> “Those who pooh-pooh it are going to be the ones running to catch up.”

———

Social media rah rah sis boom bah.

Yes you may think it’s cool you can text with your iPod and splatter words all across other people’s machines everywhere.

But if you are in business, social media is more than just tweeting and facebooking. Social media Is not a quick fix for sales or marketing success. It’s not something that you can start tomorrow and go to the bank with a smile on your face in two weeks.

Social media is a specialized set of communications technologies and tools and tactics that can be used to improve how you communicate with people who use these technologies.

They can only help you generate profits if you use them to communicate meaningfully with your particular pool of interested clients, prospects and customers if this is how they communicate and make decisions.

Even getting followers is no guarantee that you will be able to turn them into raving fans and paying customers. You need to learn what to say and how to say it to get people interested and then you need to keep them interested.

The numbers of people using these technologies follows the adoption curves of all sorts of technologies that have spread into use before. This should not be a surprise at all. The past 50 years have seen all sorts of devices come and go. Phones, TV’s, faxes, computers, email, PDA’s, now iPods.

Now the online technologies have diversified. First there was the Internet, then there were news search engines, mailing lists, discussion groups, forums, blogs, audio, then satellite radio, video, and now social media technologies.

The ways to communicate with people continues to evolve and get smaller, faster, and easier to use.

But each technology has special communications requirements. Each requires training, practice and skill if you are going to use the technologies to persuade people to take action.

So the real question is can you use these technologies and use them well?

Regardless of the technology you use, you need to focus on your message. This is because your message is how you connect with the mind of the person who receives the message.

So what are you saying?

Do you have a purpose and a goal of triggering action?

Does your message trigger interest?

Are you giving value? Are you truly making a favorable impression? Are you making people laugh, cry, jump for joy or cringe? Do you achieve emotional and intellectual engagement?

Do your individual messages or even the suite of message you send over time result trigger people to action? Do you see sufficient numbers of people investigate you, your products and services? Do enough people make a decision to buy what you sell so that you can operate your company?

Where do people go after you persuade them to take a step your direction? Do your landing pages result in favorable response? Do you see sufficient conversion to sales?

Then when you finally get a customer, do you really deliver something of value? Is your product and service and performance of sufficient quality to achieve sales and positive reviews? Will the personal satisfaction people experience result in them spreading the word for you?

You have to have something worthwhile to offer in the first place.

Social media is a suite of tools that you can use *if* you take the time and put in the energy to develop the relationships with the people on the other end of the messages. You need to think out how all the tools you use interact to develop interest, satisfy needs, build credibility and trust.

And sell product.

Would you believe, that to date, the statistics and studies continue to show that base level income and profits in most companies continues to be derived from the old fashioned conventional methods of communicating and marketing?

The social media is an expense that comes as an addition to all the alternative technologies that are available for people to use. It takes money, time, skill, and expertise to operate these like any other of the technologies businesses use. Which technologies and which communications tactics and systems produce the income and profits that allow a company to survive and thrive have to be developed, determined and managed.

But no matter what technologies you use to communicate with your target audience, the message is perhaps the most crucial decision you can make.

The good old person to person “How can I help you?” is about the best place to start.

I wrote a few more posts about the ROI of Twitter a few months ago. If you’re interested, you can find them at my blog – here’s the link on the tag social marketing:

http://blog.directcontactpr.com/public/category/social-marketing