Simple tips for improving your online newsroom.

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With the growth of brand journalism and social media, there has never been a better time to build awareness and attract and build interest in your business and your work amongst journalists. A great way to do that is with the online newsroom that can act as a media hub for all your stories, videos, images, and other content you create to engage with your audiences. PR Daily recently shared eight ways to make sure your newsroom stands out:

  1. Optimize for mobile. Smartphone screens are one of the primary ways that users interact with content, so make sure your newsroom works on mobile devices. For help, download this free mobile social media press release template.
  1. Use visual storytelling. Press releases that contain images, videos, and downloadable files get nearly 10 times more views than those that use text alone, so put visuals center stage in your news releases. On your main page, use low-resolution images that load fast, and link them to high-resolution versions that can be downloaded in one click. Never hide your images behind password-protected image libraries.
  1. Make it shareable. Add social media sharing widgets to your newsroom so that it’s easy to share your content. Make sure your images and videos are automatically embedded in social posts via Facebook Open Graph and Twitter Cards. Facebook posts with images are proven to get more engagement, and tweets with pictures are 94 percent more likely to be retweeted.
  1. Make it easy to integrate into other web properties. Add an RSS or JSON feed, embed widgets, or even an API to your newsroom. This enables your media partners to integrate your content into their digital properties, giving you more visibility.
  1. Do your SEO homework. Drive more organic traffic to your newsroom by adding relevant header tags and relevant keywords, helping you get found by search engines. Check out Woorank’s SEO analyzer for a free analysis and tips to improve your SEO rank.
  1. Build it for speed. Google favors faster sites with faster load times, so take care that all your high-resolution visual content isn’t slowing you down. Pay extra for a fast server and make sure your content gets regularly cached. Aren’t sure how your load time stacks up? Use a free website speed test to analyze your load time and find any bottlenecks.
  1. Build once, use repeatedly. If you work at an agency, you’ll need to manage multiple newsrooms for clients, each with their own logos and brand guidelines. Rather than reinvent the wheel for each new client, build a reusable template that can easily be skinned for a custom look and feel.
  1. Integrate with a pitching tool. Building your newsroom is just the first step. You still have to pitch your stories to influencers, which is why you need to integrate your newsroom with a pitching tool. Choose a tool that includes automatic media previews so that you can tease your visual assets directly in your emails. Analytics and contact management are good to have, too.

All this may sound daunting, but launching an online newsroom isn’t all that complicated. With so many tools available to help you create newsrooms, setting it up is the easy part. Start small, use a good basic template, and most importantly, lead with great stories.

Source: PR DailyOriginally posted August 15th, 2014 by Frederik Vincx, co-founder at Prezly, a PR tool that helps you pitch stories to your media contacts that care.

Courtesy of April Neill Public Relations, a boutique PR firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. April Neill PR offers FREE 30 minute phone or in-house consultations. For more information, visit AprilNeillPR.com or email info@AprilNeillPR.com.

15 Tips for Garnering Media Coverage for Your Business

Garnering media coverage is a great way to boost credibility.

Getting featured in the news is a great way to boost credibility, traffic, and sales and also a great way to build trust.

Family Features recently shared their 15 top tips to help you create content that is desirable to editors:

  1. Plan ahead. Some of our best placements have 60 – 90 day deadlines. The early bird here really does get the fattest worm!
  2. Be unique. Think beyond common sense advice or information.
  3. Catchy Headlines. If it catches the editor’s eye, they know it will engage their audience.
  4. Solve a problem/inform. Less fluff = More interest.
  5. Celebrity endorsements. Readers love them and therefore so do editors.
  6. High quality HD photography. If your photos include people, make them as culturally diverse as possible – or offer alternative photos featuring Latino, African-American, Asian (et al) subjects.
  7. Cast a wide net. Don’t limit yourself geographically or demographically. Craft your message to be relevant to the widest possible audience because not everyone gets snow in the winter.
  8. Pair a video with your story. We are getting more and more requests for video content that relates to/enhances print content.
  9. Include statistical info from credible sources. Pepper your message with back-up stats from 3rd party sources.
  10. Take advantage of trends. Aligning your brand with hot topics is a big win.
  11. One size does NOT fit all. Bite size content is a consistent request. Consider crafting tips that can be published in whole OR broken into minis that will run as a series over several days. Smaller chunks = Bigger nameplate placements.
  12. Consider tailoring your message to meet ongoing content gaps. Can you authentically tie your brand to things like automotive, career, seniors, families, home buying/selling, etc.? If not, consider sponsoring a series of articles that meet these gaps. You’ll have editors jumping for joy.
  13. Pursue a target demographic with strategically themed content. Consider targeting cultural or demographic groups by selecting culture or demo-specific themes with mass appeal, i.e. Hanukkah, Kwanza, Quinceañera or Changing Careers Late in Life.
  14. Consider infographics. Make sure they are designed in a resolution that will look as good in print as it does on your computer screen.
  15. Deadlines. Did we mention the real need to plan ahead? Many publishers would LOVE to print your message….but only if you can get it to them in time. Making content available 60-90 days in advance is hands-down the best way to get visibility.

Source: Family Features Blog. Written by Vickie Rocco. Published Wednesday, July 30, 2014

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Visit AprilNeillPR.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

Gain Trust and Attract Business with Education-Based Marketing

Marketing signThere is a common misconception amongst small businesses that your marketing’s most important function is to promote your products and services to prospects ready to buy. In fact, the most important function of your marketing strategy should be to establish that you’re an expert in your industry, that you have knowledge to share, and that you can be trusted.

It’s a given that consumers like to do business with people and brands they trust. That said, even if you have the lowest prices, if you’re not perceived to be trustworthy, it might be difficult to attract customers. This is the basis for Education-Based Marketing.

A powerful marketing strategy that establishes trust and credibility using strategic educational messaging, Education-Based Marketing is the direct opposite of traditional marketing, which leverages selling-based messaging.

People are tired of being bombarded with sales pitches. Alarm bells go off the moment you launch into your spiel. In comparison, consumers are more likely to listen when you offer value by sharing expert information and helpful tips and facts that not only help them live better but also help them make better buying decisions. And even if they are not ready to buy, you’re planting seeds and gaining consumer trust that will likely pay off when they are ready to purchase your product or service.

Stay tuned for our next post that will delve deeper into how to craft your educational message.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

Showing Appreciation is Good for Business


Oscar-statues-001Watching the Academy Awards last night, I was struck with the awesomeness of the acceptance speeches and the genuine gratitude the winners expressed. Winning an Oscar can be a huge boost to an Actors’ personal brand and earning potential, for sure, and on this night they are at the height of their fame. Hearing them express gratitude and thanks to those who have touched their lives and to those who have helped them along the way was truly inspiring.

Businesses can benefit greatly from adopting this “attitude of gratitude” and if I had to pick one thing that can have the biggest impact on business, I’d say gratitude tops the list. This quote sums it up perfectly:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” –Albert Schweitzer 

As a brand, we want to be perceived positively by consumers. It’s necessary before being memorable, engaged or advocated for.

The more deep gratitude and appreciation you show as a brand, whether it’s your personal brand or business, for every contribution no matter how small, the more love, support and success will come your way.

That said, it’s super important to demonstrate gratitude and to acknowledge the people that have helped you get where you are. This was demonstrated during the awards ceremony last night perfectly by Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto, snagging the coveted golden statue for his riveting role in Dallas Buyers Club, who not only thanked his single mom for teaching him to dream, but also the 36 million people what have lost the battle to aids.

“And this is for the 36 million people who have lost the battle to Aids and to those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight I stand here in front of the world with you and for you. Thank you so much and goodnight,” –Jared Leto.

It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Gratitude Helps Build Consumer Confidence and Trust.

How do you stand out in someone’s mind? How do you engage and inspire them to speak positively on your behalf? To inspire your audiences to risk their reputation and advocate for you, you must demonstrate that you are worthy. There’s no better way to build trust and consumer confidence than to incorporate gratitude into your brand communication plan. Appreciation and acknowledgement can go a long way in building brand advocates who will not only love you, like we all loved Jared last night, but who will sing your praises as well.

Say a Sincere, Authentic Thank You!

There’s nothing like the unexpected, genuine, sincere thank you. So, the next time you have the chance to express gratitude, go for it! It’s good for your business.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO of April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April online at www.AprilNeillPR.com or at www.Facebook.com/AprilNeillPR.
April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call (312) 772-3832 for more information.

Tips for Leveraging Content Marketing for Success

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With today’s constantly evolving digital landscape, you need to be ever ready to adapt your marketing strategy in order to stay competitive within your industry. PR experts have always known this and one of the most widely used examples relates to content marketing.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing involves creating and sharing relevant and valuable content in order to attract and engage specific consumers. The idea is not to sell, per se, to your target audience but instead, provide valuable information that makes your prospective customers more informed and engaged with your brand. The strategy is that if you deliver consistent, ongoing valuable and/or entertaining information to consumers, they will ultimately choose to do business with you.

Here are the basics to implementing a successful content marketing strategy:

▪                Create Your Authentic Brand Voice – you want your audience to get a sense and a feel for who you are as a brand and what you do from the content you create and push.

▪                Identify Your Target Audiences – it’s next to impossible to speak effectively to an audience if you don’t know who they are and/or you can’t identify with them. Start researching and get to know the prospects you are interested in. Then begin pushing out relevant content that provides value and appeal to these clients.

▪                Identify What Makes You Uniquely and Wonderfully You – Ask Yourself What Differentiates You From Your Competitors? – There may very well be a lot of companies that offer the same services that you do; that said, this is your chance to tell everyone what makes your services or offerings special and how you are better than your competitors.

▪                Craft and Push Content across the Web that Speaks to Your Target Audience. – Posting valuable content on your website, on a blog, on hyperlocal sites and on social media channels can be a great way to connect with your target audience and ultimately, a great way to attract customers to your brand.

For best results, Synergize Your Efforts!

Remember that content marketing works best when it’s synergized with your other marketing initiatives, so don’t stop doing what you’re currently doing. Leverage content marketing as one of the many strategies it takes to convert a “friend” to a client or customer.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email AprilNeill@gmail.com to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

Giving Back the Greatest Gift of All; Northbrook Chiropractor Brings Hope to Kenyan Youth

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With the holiday season upon us, many of us are looking for that perfect gift to give to the special children in our lives. We’ve trimmed the tree, we’ve got our houses decorated with tinsel and garland and holiday lights; we’ve hopefully dug ourselves out of the recent snow storm that left us Chicagoans with a blustery winter wonderland!; and now it’s time to fight the crowds to go shopping for those last minute gifts. Hmmmm, what to get for that special child in our life?

For one Northbrook chiropractor and humanitarian, his goal was bigger: to give a special holiday gift of sport to thousands of underprivileged kids in Kenya.

Armed with a mission to bring hope and joy of sport to thousands of impoverished children during the holidays, Dr. Warren Bruhl recently traveled to Kenya, Africa to deliver soccer and baseball gear to schools and villages in need. Bruhl serves as the Executive Director of youth charity Gear for Goals and partner program Dreamweaver International that provides sports and hope to underprivileged kids both locally and internationally.

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G4G (Gear for Goals) provided over 1000 children with instruction and resources to bring about transformation in the incredibly under resourced Kimana Rift Valley – 4 hours outside of Nairobi in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

To date, G4G has impacted over 25,000 kids in 15 countries and efforts continue. To find out how you can join the effort, visit G4GSports.org.

Purchase a sports ball, give the gift of hope.

Good news on a Chicago area youth charity bringing the gift of sports to impoverished children during the holidays: Are you looking for a cool holiday gift? Check out how you can purchase a Gear for Goals’ logo’d sports ball and help a child in need below!

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Aiming to bring sport, hope and opportunity to children living in poverty both locally and internationally during the holiday season, Northbrook-based youth charity Gear for Goals (G4G) recently launched their ‘One Gives One’ campaign.

During One Gives One, G4G will donate a new soccer ball or baseball to a child living in poverty for every soccer ball or dozen baseballs purchased at G4G’s website.

Community members can purchase a logo’d G4G sports ball and help a child in need at g4gsports.org. Multiply your gift giving during the holidays! Together, we can make a difference.

Working for the past year to develop a significant footprint of impact around the world, Gear for Goals has currently delivered sport and hope to over 25,000 children in 15 countries. The request outstrips the resource nearly 10 to 1, according to Gear for Goals’ Executive Director Dr. Warren Bruhl and more donated equipment is needed to fulfill all the requests. This is especially true for soccer equipment and soccer balls. Soccer is the international sport of the world and Gear for Goals aims to help the over one billion children around the world who have no sport to have a chance.

Soccer balls purchased through G4G’s One Gives One campaign are high quality number 5 Baden Soccer Balls and the baseballs are high quality Baden balls. Help Gear for Goals help them! Excellent gifts for the holidays, One Gives One can also be utilized as a fundraiser for sports groups or teams. For more information on how your group can get involved, contact. Dr. Warren Bruhl at 847.869.2031

Gear for Goals is a sports project of non-profit Dreamweaver International based in Northbrook, Illinois and Kenya, East Africa.
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Gear for Goals’ relief efforts continue through the end of the year with a mission trip to Kenya, East Africa and welcomes all donations of new and used sports gear and musical instruments. To donate gear or to make a cash donation, contact Dr. Warren Bruhl at dr.bruhl@dreamweaver911.org or by phone at 847.869.2031.

G4G currently provides sport equipment to children in the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Bolivia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Russia, Philippines, Jamaica, India, and Cuba. For more information about ways you can help, visit dreamweaver911.org.