Right now you’re in DIY mode. You’ve got a lot on your plate and you’re barely handling it all.

Plates are a’ spinnin’ and man are they fuuu-ulllll. If they come tumbling down, there’s going to be quite a mess–but you know there will come a time when you need to take that step and get some help. But, how do you know you’re ready? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Let’s play Do, Dump, or Delegate!

In this little game, I’m going to present you with 3 situations. Then, I’m going to ask you to assign Do, Dump, or Delegate to each. ‘Do’ means you would do the tasks yourself. ‘Dump’ means you would dump some tasks off your plate. ‘Delegate’ means you would hire someone to take care of some tasks for you. Let’s get started.

Situation 1: You’re chest-deep in your business. Things are starting to get off the ground, but you aren’t quite earning a steady profit yet. You’ve got a lot of things to do and a lot of opportunities you can take advantage of. Some things are clicking, while others are falling through. Traction is just around the corner, but you’re still feeling overwhelmed by shiny objects.

Do, dump, or delegate?

Situation 2: You’re just starting out and you’ve learned a lot in a small amount of time. You know you still have a lot to learn, but your enthusiasm keeps you busy and you want to make money sooner rather than later. Shiny objects are everywhere, but you’re willing to experiment if it means finding the right strategy. You’re not overwhelmed yet, but you know you can’t continue on in the same way you’re doing things now–not for long anyway.

Do, dump, or delegate?

Situation 3: You’re starting to get more focused on the things that actually work in your business. There’s money coming in and you’re regularly investing in your business. You have a lot on your plate, but most of it is necessary to keep your business running. You’d really love some time away from your business or more time to do the important things in your business.

Do, dump, or delegate?

What were your answers? Which situation made you say “do?” Which made you say “dump?” What about “delegate?”

If you answered “dump” to situation #1, you were right. In this situation, it’s best to dump some of the tasks on your plate by prioritizing and focusing on the strategies that are working the best so you can bring in the money you need to hire someone in the near future. You might consider hiring out just a few things if you can afford to.

If you answered “do” to situation #2, you were right. When you’re just starting out and you aren’t quite sure which direction you’re heading in yet, it’s best to hold off on hiring. You need to have a little time to experiment with your business to make sure it’s really what you want. It’s also important to take some time to learn the ropes before hiring someone so you don’t end up hiring someone for the wrong reasons. The time to delegate will come when you’ve figured out how to structure your business.

If you answered “delegate” to situation #3, you were right. It’s important to be able to pay whoever you’re going to hire, so bringing in a steady income is crucial. You also need to have some idea as to what strategies to focus on so you’re not wasting money hiring someone to do something that doesn’t make an impact on your business.

What’s your situation like? Maybe you’ve already hired someone. Maybe you’re thinking about hiring someone very soon. Compare your situation to the ones above and you might get a better idea of whether or not you’re ready to delegate.

Before you do take that step and hire someone, you will want to make sure you’ve got certain things in place–communication, access to the tools and resources they’ll need, a clear list of tasks and responsibilities for them, and your expectations for what they’ll help you do.

Here’s some quick tips for all those:

  • Communication – Slack.com (Look it up! It’s awesome!)
  • Access – Dropbox.com or Google Drive (For sharing files)
  • Access (Part 2) – LastPass (For sharing your passwords securely. Comes in handy when you hire someone to post to your social media.)
  • Task Management – Airtable.com or Trello.com (I prefer Airtable and use it to organize most of my business.)
  • Expectations – Contract (Provided by you or the person you hire. Make sure you both agree to all the terms.)

Okay, now get out there and prepare to delegate. Whether you’re ready now or not, you can take some steps toward preparing for it right away. Just worry about prioritizing and streamlining your business to make things easier for you and your new team member.

IMG_20160622_160356Bio: Kayla Curry is a coach who focuses on productivity, setting goals, starting habits, and boosting confidence. She loves figuring out creative ways to overcome problems. To find out more about Kayla and how she can help you reach your dreams, visit courses.kaylacurry.com

All too often I hear from both clients and friends,

“I have a website, but it is just not me” or, “I have a website, but I am embarrassed to tell people to go to it.”

Sound familiar?

If you have thought this, or know someone who has, you are not alone. A website is often an afterthought to many starter businesses.

More often than not,  people almost always think.

“I can do it myself, how hard can it be. ” or “I saw a, Create your website fast, easy and free ad”

Though, those options are always OK, they are usually not really your business a lot of  options and end up being more like a personal one pager.

Websites should be considered your tool for communication. They are there to talk to every person in the world about what you do, sell or offer when you are not available. It is a method of giving your future clients, or your current clients access to you 24 hours a day.

Did you know that the majority of the people in the world spend less than 15 seconds on the average website searching for potential information of interest? Even less on sites that they happen upon, or click ads to get to your website.

So that it is important to to get someone’s attention withing that 15 seconds.

Now if you were talking to people on the phone, you could only speak to 1 person every 15 seconds, but with a website, you could potentially speak to hundreds at a time, every 15 seconds.

So you might be thinking, “that’s easy” no? So allow me to ask you a couple questions.

  1. Are You a Graphic Designer?
  2. Ever configured hosting services?
  3. Do you have html and css knowledge?
  4. Do you know php?
  5. Ever set up an ecommerce site or membership site?
  6. Do you have knowledge of joomla or wordpress?
  7. Do you have a branding package?
  8. Do you know how to setup security for a web?
  9. Do you understand how SEO works?

These are just a few of the pieces of knowledge or expertise needed to create a truly captivating site. Although not every site requires all of that, and many can be done by installing simple plug and play WordPress plugins, so no big deal right?

Well I won’t tell you, you can’t or shouldn’t build your own site. I will say that if you want a site that really delivers you need to do a few things first.

  1. Talk to a Coach

Talk to a Coach if you have not already. This will help you get a true understanding of the direction your business needs to go. It does not matter if you are a coach or an entrepreneur, having an outside perspective who works to help you get your business going is not only a smart move. It helps with separating your personal feelings out of the way and keeping your website goals in focus.  We all think to ourselves “I know what I like.”

Of course you do, we all do, however what we might like, may turn off another person. Often people like things that do not really work or are not in the best interest of the business.

For example, your favorites colors are Bright Neon Green and Hot Pink.

To you this sounds really good, and you want your branded colors to be that, however your business is Coaching Executives to look more professional. These colors most likely wouldn’t really work. I know, I know, if you were a Professional Coach for Executives you would not be thinking in those colors, however you would be surprised the ideas people have for branded colors that do not understand the finer points of branding.

  1. Talk to a Designer

A designer can really help you.  They can take your branded colors and your information and organize them into a truly captivating site. You may consider yourself a designer, or may even be one, however if you are not, now is not the time to try to become an artist. Visually captivating does not mean Van Gogh or Jackson Pollack on a website.

Clean and beautiful are the keys of a great website. A designer will lay out your web ideas entailing use of color, ease of navigation, simplification of information, and know how to squeeze everything you want to say and the images you want to show into your website, in a way people can easily see.  A well designed site will know what makes people want to stay on your site and to want to learn more.

  1. Know your Targets

You should know always your target audience, this will help the designer. This is another thing a coach can help you out with, if you do not know who your audience is. A site that is visually captivating for a millennial may not work for the baby boomers. Knowing whom you are wanting to target will make sure your site is built to stand out.

  1. SEO

Yes that’s right SEO  (Search Engine Optimization), if you are unfamiliar with this, then you have some more research to do. It is the key to making sure that when people go searching Yahoo, Google or Bing or whatever search engine they may choose, they will find you.

This is accomplished by seeing that your content, use of words, traffic and Social Media, site architecture, trackers and more are organized in a way that makes it easy for the search engines to find and list you.

Back in the early days it was as simple as a couple lines of code that had your keywords and key phrases. But this system was abused by people using the alphabet as keywords and would type in keywords that had nothing to do with the actual content of their site. And of course this lead our searches ending in mountains and mountains of porn, sales pages, spam or just plain junk.

Now the system is refined. It is made to work for business like yours and ranking them, instead of the porn site first. With a designer who knows how to set those systems up in your favor, you can get listed near the top of the categories pertinent to your website.

  1. Someone to talk to.

Some designers just want your info, badda bing, badda boom, they build a website. Your input is not necessary, they just want to cookie cut the sites. In and Out and they are done.

After they are done, it is like you sat down at a busy restaurant, was served a meal and the Waiter is hovering around your table waiting for you to leave so he can reset your table for the next. You are mow left not knowing even how to use this website you just paid for, how to update it or even how to post your own blogs.

It is important to find a designer you can talk to. Someone who is not just emails, but will get on the phone, will screen share, and will be there to show you all about your site. One who will teach you how to manage and control the site as a tool in your business. You want to be able to know how it all works so if you need to, you can maintain it, or tell another you hire to maintain it the way you want.

No different than any device you own, you may not care how it was built, and every part that went in it, but you do want to know how the remote control works, in full.

One last and final thought.

Many people believe once a site is built that’s it. It is done no need to worry about it anymore. Here is my web address go check it out and have a nice day.

Wrong, so wrong. Your website, as I stated earlier, is a tool in your business. What I did not say then, is that it is a living breathing part of your business and should be as flexible as you are. It should be capable of changing quickly without the need for a full redesign. Your business is constantly moving, you have new programs or products, webinars, seminars, retreats and all the great things you all do.

So your website should also reflect that, a site that is a living and breathing part of your business will continue to get visitors, both new and repeat. No one is going to go to a site over and over that never changes nor offers anything new. They have been there, seen it, have the t shirt to prove it, and no need to go back.

Your website should be more like. “Oh Wow, there is a new video on SOandSo.com about “This Guy is a Website Superstar” (see how I did that?)

That is what makes people come back over and over, and they want to know what you have to say or offer. They tell their friends who tell their friends, who tell their social media channel, who like your page and retweet your message of the day. And so, your audience is buzzing and a “Star is Born” on the good old interwebs.

Thank you for reading. (Tips his hat)

One of the many way coaches can increase their income is via membership sites. This can be very profitable and can used as your signature program or just as an add-on.

Here are a few items to consider before you create your next membership site.

  • Platform: There are many plug-ins that allow you to create a membership site. One of the most common one is Wishlist. This has been trusted for years by many coaches and is one of the first ones that was created. Another great plug in is WP e-Member. If you are already an Infusionsoft user, you may want to consider using their add-on iMember360.
  • Levels: Make sure you pre-plan how many membership levels you want as well as what each level will have access to. This will making the set up a lot quicker.
  • Free vs Paid: A good way to entice people to your membership site is to either offer a limited time discount. Another idea is to offer a few pages to “free” members. This will allow them to savor what you have to offer and want to upgrade.
  • Content type: It will be important to know what content you will be sharing. Are you allowing them to view the content or download the content? Are you adding videos or PDFs? If so, make sure that they are the right size and formats. Also consider if you want to “host” the items on your website server or if you are going to use outside hosting options (You Tube, AWS, Vimeo)
  • Payment: Next you need to decide on how you are going to accept payment for your membership if you are charging. Also you will need to decide if this will be an on-going monthly price or a X-time payment.
  • Timing: Another item you will need to consider is if you want all of the access available at one time or if you want to “drip” the content. Another variation is that it is you want to move the members from one page to another. This is common for “classroom” formats. Many will have the next class “open” once the member has completed all of the steps from the previous class.
  • Branding: Most coaches will have new colors, new logos and banners for their membership site. If you are thinking about this, make sure you ask your website designer what dimensions you need to give to your graphic designer
  • Domain: Here you have the option to make a sub-domain to your main domain. This is a free option and would look like (members.yourdomainname.com). You may also want to consider purchasing a separate domain for your membership site. If you plan on buying a domain, make sure you send all the log in info to your web designer.
  • Security: This will be important now days with all of the hackers. Make sure that you have one of the many free security plug in installed or consider purchasing our favorite- iThemes Security.
  • Expiration: Lastly, you will need to consider is whether or not the content or access to the site will have an expiration date. Many programs are 3, 6 or 12 month programs allowing people to log in only during these times. Others will create a lifetime site. If do a lifetime site, you need to also decide if you are going to continually add new stuff or will it be a one-time set up and members can access the material forever.

With the proper plan and guide, you can have a membership site up and running in a few hours. The key is to have all you need in advance before you send off to your web designer. Also we would suggest talking over all of the above with them beforehand and make sure that they are needing anything else before you begin to start your site.  If you are thinking about doing a membership site, we would love to assist you. Schedule your call today and let’s talk.

 
You have heard many positive things about hiring a virtual assistant. Friends in the industry may have informed you about how working with a virtual assistant has either made their life easier, added value to their business or both. After learning about these benefits, you are convinced that hiring one would definitely help you grow your business and free up more time to pursue your passions. But the question is, do you know where to find a virtual assistant?
Follow these tips to help you find a VA to hire.

1. Look for virtual assistant agencies.

The increasing demand for reliable and competent virtual assistants has led to the rise of VA agencies like yourvirtualassistants.net. These agencies may have VAs that specialize in one type of task such as copywriting or web design, or they can offer several services and serve as a one-stop shop for your business needs. To ensure that you are working with a legitimate agency, do a background check prior to hiring them or anyone from the agency. Ask for references, check their portfolio and see what their past clients say about them online. Once you decide to hire them, have a contract that stipulates the work hours, your requirements, and other conditions that you and your VA have agreed upon. It would also be prudent to have a non-disclosure agreement, especially if you plan to share your personal details or trade secrets with your VA.

2. Check freelancing platforms.

Popular freelancing platforms like Upwork (formerly oDesk) and Elance will help you find virtual assistants for various types of jobs. You can create a free account and post job ads for the type of VA you are looking for. There are literally millions of contractors on these freelancing platforms, and it may be challenging to attract the kind of applicants you need. The key here is to write a detailed job description that communicates what you need from your virtual assistant. Make your job description as enticing as possible by also including how your virtual assistant will benefit from working with you.

3. Post on social media.

Twitter is a good place to start. Just tweet about your job opening and add a #virtualassistant or #virtualstaff hashtag. You can also look for VA communities on LinkedIn and Google+ and post your job ads there. Any of these three ways will help you find your ideal virtual staff. To save your time, remember to be clear on your goals and the results that you are looking for from your VA and include these in your job posting.

Marketing is one of the most important strategies in business because it introduces the business and its products to the consumers. Video marketing has the ability to take a business to another level as long as the business owner is ready to devote their time and resources. Today, most people are interested in video representation of information as opposed to the traditional text or audio.

With that said, anyone interested in effectively marketing their business should be ready and willing to use all the available resources to propel their businesses forward. It is important to understand video marketing well to get the optimum results. Here are highly effective video marketing tricks to assist you in succeeding.

Good Titles for your videos.

The power of a good title should not be overlooked in the distribution of online videos. Viewers are drawn by powerful and relevant titles which is why you should spend time in creating a title that will attract your target viewers. Keep in mind that the title should represent the content of the video. This means that it should not underrate the video or create a perception of something else.

Always remember that the title will pay a major role in determining the type of people who will be watching the video and taking the necessary action. A misleading title can attract a lot of viewers who will be disappointed in the video and will leave immediately. It is better to have a few viewers who are interested in what you have to offer than a huge useless traffic.

Be Original when coming up with content

People have seen quite a lot of things on videos and to get more attention, you will have to be unique and original. Instead of copying what most of the other people are doing, do your own research and put yourself in the viewer’s shoes. This will help you not only in creating something original, but in attracting the attention of the viewers.

Have A Marketing Strategy

It is crucial that you understand that making the video is just the first step. You will need to take the video where your viewers are and this calls for an effective marketing strategy. It is true that the video will be marketing your business but you will also need to market the video so that it can deliver positive results.

You should use all the necessary resources to ensure that as many viewers as possible are viewing the content. Embed the video on your business website and use social media to push the video to a wider audience. The more relevant viewers you get the more people you will have interested in your business and its products.

Have Goals

When you are creating a video to market your business, you should have goals. This is what you want the video to do for your business, do you want people to click on a link, visit a web site, take part in a survey, or like a social media page? Having well defined goals will assist you in achieving them by setting the marketing strategy properly.

It is possible to have a viral video which is useless because you have not given the viewers a way forward after they watch the video. Make sure you lay out everything in a funnel strategy where all efforts are focused on leading the audience to a particular direction that leads to more sales.

Be Consistent

People are always searching for fresh interesting content online and to succeed in video marketing, you should be consistent in positing new content. You also need to ensure that your new content is not only driven by quantity but also by quality. This means that you should be consistent in posting new content and also in keeping everything interesting to the viewers.

You Don’t Need A Fortune

Marketing does not have to be expensive. This also applies to all its strategies such as video marketing. You do not have to go all the way and get professionals to do the videos. Though quality is important, it is not a must that you break your bank account. Focus on high quality videos that are simple to cut down on the cost of the entire process.

You have perhaps seen a very interesting or even funny video on the web. You may have even wondered how the creators of such videos cash in from their work. Can you really make money with videos?

You will get surprised to find out how much money people are making from such videos. The following are some of the most effective ways to get the most out of your creativity.

Using YouTube

You can get a share of revenue from YouTube. Every month, over a billion people are visiting YouTube. The channel is making over 4 billion dollars every year through advertisements.

It is possible for you to get a share of this revenue by uploading your videos to this channel. To enable you do that, you will need to sign up with Google as a YouTube partner.

After signing up, you will then proceed to create interesting videos and upload them to the YouTube channel giving them a short description. Some adverts will be placed next to your video depending on your type of audience.

Whenever someone clicks on the advert before or after watching your video, a certain portion of revenue is credited to your account. The amount may be very small but it can build up to a good amount if a big number of people watch your video.

It therefore boils down to how many people will watch the video. To make your video go viral, you need to be creative and target the right audience. You also have to give it a very catchy description and ensure its presence in social media.

Apart from YouTube, you could also sign up with other revenue sharing sites such as Revver, Blip.TV, Google video, eefoof.com and many others.

Affiliate Marketing

It is also possible to make a kill with your videos using affiliate marketing. To start off, sign up with an affiliate marketing program where you can earn some money by referrals facilitated by placing affiliate links next to your videos.

You could create a webpage and upload your videos to the page. When people visit your site, some of them will click on the affiliate links after watching the video. You can then earn a proportion of revenue made through that link

Creating Google video websites 

Create a website for a specific niche that you are interested in and embed Google videos that are related to your niche. You can then monetize your videos by using Google Ad Sense or using other related links.

Selling your videos

There are a number of sites that are willing to buy your videos to stock them in their site. They must however be quality and professional videos that other people would want to use in their websites.

A good example of such a site is iStockVideo.com. In addition to buying your videos, they also pay you for inviting other people to upload videos in their website.

Get sponsors for your videos

If you can create professional and interesting videos that are appealing to a certain audience, then you can get some advertisers willing to sponsor them. You can then give them an opportunity to advertise during or after the video.

You could also promote their services and earn some commission by making a call to action after your videos.

Using Videos to support your own business

It is also profitable to use videos to promote your own products. This can increase sales by converting viewers into potential customers. Create a video that will interest a certain audience and advertise your products using it.

Create videos to advertise local businesses

Form a partnership with local businesses in your area and create some videos to market their products. This can be effective if you choose a specific line of business and create something that interests potential customers in that niche.

It is therefore evident that you can really make money using videos. However, not everybody will succeed in this field. You have to devise an effective strategy that will make your work stand out from the rest.

Choose one or a combination of techniques that you believe will work best for you. Do not expect to become a billionaire overnight but remain consistent and you will get income streaming in faster than you expect.

We are  giving a 50% discount on all Animated/Whiteboard/Prezi and Powtoon Videos until Sept. 15th,Click here to see some examples.

Every business demands growth, and double-digit growth is the dream of every dedicated business owner, even when lackluster results show up at quarter’s end.

Most entrepreneurial business owners need a guide to navigate their way toward substantial, sustainable growth.  It can be done even in a slow economy as demonstrated by such companies as Harley Davidson, Starbucks, and WalMart.  Even smaller companies such as Paychex and Oshkosh Truck have been able to make gains in revenue, gross profits and net profits.

Here are 5 disciplines of sustained growth:

  •  Retain Your Customer Base:  Keep the growth that you have already earned by coaxing customers into complex relationships that make it a hassle for them to switch to your competitor.  Tailor your products/services using data gleaned from your customers giving you an advantage.  Proactively managing customer defections will help you anticipate and pre-empt them. Bonding with customers wherever emotion is tied to an interaction is another great way to retain them.
  •  Gain Market Share at the Expense of Your Rivals: Give customers a reason to abandon a competitor’s product/service for yours.  Do what it takes to lower the switching costs.  Pulling customers away from a competitor can be difficult, so you must devote many resources to raiding their customer base.  Offering higher value and quality are crucial to this end.  Buying a competitor is another way to do this.
  • Exploit Market Position:  Show up where growth is going to happen by spotting it early.  This can be done by watching the industry for shifts in buying criteria, product or service innovations, and population trends.  You must be able to spot positioning opportunities to make the most of them by continually using a systematic approach to the process.
  • Invade Adjacent Markets: Before moving into a nearby market, decide whether it offers significant long-term growth and profitability.  Determine whether you have an advantage over a competitor, and ensure you can match its standards of quality and value.
  • Invest In New Lines of Business:  If you take this approach, never overpay for a new line.  You must find simple strategies instead of complex ones, and partner with the new business by assessing its leadership team and balance sheet

Although a successful growth portfolio might not include all five of these disciplines, it must contain more than one.  Only a balanced growth portfolio can keep an organization growing when the market shifts dramatically.

 

In closing I wish a happy and safe Memorial Day to all my entrepreneurial buddies and readers. Drive carefully!

 

Marketing strategy helps organizations to focus their attention to complete resource utilization to increase sales and win over their competitors. Every company applies some kind of marketing strategies to maintain existing customers, attract potential customers and also to maintain and enhance their reputation in the market.

When designing a marketing plan, first a marketing strategy is taken into consideration. The marketing plan consists of steps to be taken so as to attain success in the implementation of the marketing strategy chosen. Big projects involve selection of different strategies at different levels. Usually a strategy consists of well-sketched tactics. They are meant to meet the needs and finally reach marketing objectives. Each of the strategies has pre-calculated results because when a particular strategy is chosen at a particular level, its outcome becomes the goal of that particular level. If there is an absence of a well thought strategy in a marketing plan means it is supposedly lacking a good foundation. A reasonable marketing strategy should not only facilitate marketing goals, but also the action sequence of a campaign.

At regular time intervals the firm should analyze the marketing decision. This is done with the help of strategic models and the 3C’s model is considered for this purpose. To calculate the company’s strategic position, Ansoff matrix is used. The 3C’s model determines the factors, which leads to the success of a marketing campaign. There are three key parties involved in this model the corporation, the customer and the competitors. The involvement of all the three key parties leads to positive results and this involvement is known as the 3C’s or strategic triangle.

The role of the corporation is to increase the strength of the company in the success critical areas, when compared to that of the competitor. The customer and his interest form the basis of any strategy. The competitor also plays a vital part. The competitor-based strategies are based on the functioning of business competitors like design and engineering, sales and servicing, and purchasing.

When making a marketing plan depending on some particular strategies known as mix strategies are used. 4P’s model is used to calculate whether the plan is sticking to the strategies or not. The four Ps stand for product, price, place and promotion. Products are goods produced by the company on a huge scale for the purpose of selling them and earning profit. Price is the money paid for a product by the customer. The price is based on many factors like competition, market share, customer perception and product identity. Place where the product is sold can be either physical store or store on the Internet. It is also known as distribution channel. To make the customer knowledgeable about a product, the marketer does promotion. It involves advertising, public relation and point of sale.

There are different types of marketing strategies based on some criteria.  Challenger, Leader and Follower are types of market dominance strategies. Market dominance strategies are used to dominate the market. Cost leadership, Market segmentation and Product differentiation are types of porter generic strategies. Porter generic strategies are built on strategic strength or competing abilities and strategic scope or market penetration. Close followers, late follower and Pioneers are types of innovation strategies. Innovation strategies are meant to trigger the rate of product development and model innovation. It helps the firm to incorporate latest technologies. Intensification, Diversification, Vertical integration and Horizontal integration are types of growth strategies. Growth strategies facilitate the growth of the organization. Marketing warfare strategies are conjunction of marketing strategies and military strategies.

A marketing strategy or a mix of them is chosen only after thorough market research. A marketer should always be ready to face any kind of situations like if the strategy is changed in the middle, he should be able to perform another market research so as to choose the proper strategy, within a short period of time. This can be done easily if you have experience.

News releases are not the best way to get major media coverage, but they can be used to increase the frequency with which your company name appears in the press.

Press releases will get you coverage in set features like business notes, and new personnel columns. They also provide a good way to let allies, employees and customers know what you are doing. For these purposes, post releases on the company website, send out by e-mail, or distribute by one of the services like PR Newswire or PR Web.

Here is a quick list of 33 possible reasons for you to write and distribute a news release.

* New Products

* Business Start-Up

* Partnership

* Strategic Alliances

* New Or Innovative Business Strategy

* Restructuring The Company

* Going Public/Going Private

* Company Comeback From Adversity

* New Employees

* Important Executive Retiring/Resigning

* Executives Comment On Business/Economic Trends

* Employee Promotions

* New Branch Offices

* New Divisions Established

* Headquarters Relocating

* Research Results Announcement

* Major Anniversary

* Major New Client Acquisition

* Company Revenue, Sales or Profit Growth

* Company Name Change

* Winning Major Awards Or Receiving National Recognition

* Company Presenting An Award

* Receiving Important Accreditation or Certification

* Holding Free Seminar or Workshop

* Employee Appointed To Civic/Government/Professional Board

* Availability Of Guest Articles Or White Papers

* Issuing A Position Statement On Topical Subject

* Free Consumer Information Available

* Company Speakers Bureau

* Company Philanthropic Support

* Major Company Milestone

* New Board of Directors

* New Website

Some recent surveys of journalists and reporters indicate that most prefer to use online media rooms/press kits as opposed to the old-fashioned hard copy press kits. Why? The Internet is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A busy reporter on deadline can log on and cruise from one online press kit to the next without having to wait for an overnight package or fax.

Many businesses and publicists are embracing this new technology in media relations and are in a mad dash to develop online press kits of their own or for their clients. Like a Web site, an online press kit should contain certain elements, should make some features more prominent than others, and be simple to navigate. Here are some “do’s and don’ts” to consider before you dive in and begin creating an online press kit.

Online press kits Should:

Be easy to locate if linked to a main Web site. For instance, if ABC Bottled Water has a public or consumer Web site already established, a separate media room can be linked to the Web site’s home page. This link must appear prominently – either in the site’s menu or on the home page. Reporters don’t have time to search for it. Also, if the media room is linked to a “main” site, the media room should share the main site’s “look and feel,” so that reporters don’t feel link they’ve been forwarded to some unrelated site.

Provide materials commonly used by the media. A general press kit usually contains a backgrounder, FAQ, and profiles of key individuals/spokespeople. This is what a reporter will want to see when he or she visits your online media room. The purpose of providing these common documents is to minimize any extra work a reporter will need to do to get what he/she needs. Other important items to include are high-resolution, digital photos, high-resolution digital logo graphics, and of course, press releases. A good online media room will come equipped with a media library where all types of files can be uploaded, stored, and distributed, including general press kit materials.

Include the media coverage already received. When a company, organization, or individual has been covered by the media (preferably favorably), it helps to “legitimize” them. Be careful about copyright issues when reposting articles, though. If you or your organization has appeared in the media, use anything from audio clips, video clips, and links to media outlets’ Web sites in your online media room’s “In the News” page. Check with the media venue for reprint permission.

Include media contact information prominently. If the person handling media relations is not an employee of the company/organization, be sure that the contact info in the online media room directs reporters to the person who is. If a reporter reaches out and his/her request is lost in cyberspace, chances are, they won’t come back.

Online Press Kits Should Not:

Combine info for both the public AND the media. Ideally, the information provided for the media should be separate from content intended for the public or consumers. One reason is that it makes it more difficult for the media to find what it wants, and another is because it reduces your control over the info provided to the media. Messaging is very important, and while it can sometimes vary for the public, it should always be consistent for the media – after all, your messaging is what they’re using to cover you with.

Require a reporter to make numerous requests for additional info. There are always going to be some things that you do not want to provide online on a constant basis. This could include certain photos or ebooks. Keeps these instances to a minimum! In cases like these, it is fine to say “please contact us for photos of this event,” or “please contact us for a sample ebook.” Some media rooms have very limited file space, which may require you to upload low-resolution photos to save space. Asking reporters to contact you for high-resolution photos is all right, too. The point of an online media room is to provide the media with most of what it needs.

Be out of date. Update press kit materials as needed, and try to keep a current press release available – even if it wasn’t distributed on the wire or to reporters directly. By keeping a timely supply of “news,” in your media room, it will be obvious to the media that it receives your attention.

Other Helpful Tips:

Use links – not e-mail attachments! Media rooms with media libraries should allow you to upload your documents and create a URL to their location online, which you can provide to the media instead of an e-mail attachment. When was the last time you opened an e-mail from a stranger that had an attachment?

Have a blog? Link it to your online media room. Blogs are a great way to discuss your company, cause, or industry and are often used by members of the media when researching someone/something for a story. If you have one, add the link to your media room. If you don’t have one, consider getting one.

By following these tips and by putting yourself in the shoes of a journalist, you will be able to develop an online presence that is both informative and convenient. Do this and you’ll meet the demands of the media and increase the likelihood of gaining editorial exposure.