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Weekly B2B News Round-Up for June 23, 2014

27 June 2014 by

Here are the top 10 business-to-business PR and marketing articles from this week. Hope you enjoy!

The State of Marketing and PR in 2014: Myth Versus Reality
Ad Age
Vocus worked with Virginia-based Market Connections, Inc., an independent research firm, to understand how social and digital media are changing marketing and PR. We discovered that some commonly held beliefs about content marketing and SEO adoption are more myth than reality. That being said, the results showed us that progressive strides are being made in the two industries.

The Dying Art Of Leaving A Voicemail
Business Insider
The New York Times took a look at the state of the voicemail in this story by Teddy Wayne. To that all-important demographic known as “the millennial”, the voicemail is antiquated at best and quickly approaching obsolescence. Texting is on the rise, according to a Pew report, with teens sending and receiving a median of 60 messages per day in 2011, up from 50 per day in 2009. And a text can effectively serve the same purpose as a voicemail — it’s a communiqué for the recipient to catch at his or her convenience.

Here’s one way to fix boring meetings
Washington Post
Stand-up desks are all the rage in many workplaces. Maybe the next trend should be stand-up meetings. A new study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis found that when people stand during meetings, they appeared more excited by their work, acted less territorial about their ideas, and interacted better as a team. [Check out how a few team members at Arketi have set up standing work stations!]

Stand-up desks at Arketi

Jim Densmore, Amy Leefe and Sami Jajeh show us their setup of stand-up desks.

 

10 reasons people don’t care about your content
Ragan.com
Most brands are full of content creators. Content creation was made easier thanks to the computers in our pockets connected to incredible networks such as Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. This means people want to start a blog or a Facebook page—they’ve seen the power of these channels and they want to “spread the word.”

Edelman Study Finds Consumers Want Entertainment “Selfie-Style”—Immediate, Engaging and Socially Driven Content Are Fundamental to Today’s Experience
Daily Dog
Edelman recently released the results from its eighth annual study on how and why people consume and share entertainment. The study’s findings for the U.S., UK and China highlight consumers’ expectations for unprecedented control over their entertainment experience. “This year, we found that consumers want their entertainment ‘selfie-style’—content centered on them, immediately gratifying, engaging and shareable across their social networks,” said Gail Becker, president of strategic partnerships and global integrations at Edelman, in a news release. “Brands that can successfully deliver or enhance compelling entertainment to consumers stand to gain through positive word-of-mouth and association.”

From Mad Men to Math Men
Marketing Insights
Modern day marketing demands right-brain thinking with a left-brain approach
Suits, scotch and cigarettes come to mind when many people think about professionals in the marketing industry. While the 1960s’ depiction of the advertising industry shown in the AMC TV show Mad Men has garnered widespread critical acclaim, when compared to today’s actual marketing landscape, the show no longer represents reality. The role of marketing has truly changed. The creativity and storytelling that is often associated with advertising and marketing are no longer the only skills needed to succeed in the industry—and there’s enough data to prove it. Today’s marketer has many more channels to choose from, access to unprecedented amounts of data, and ultimately, more responsibility across the entire organization.

5 simple tips for visual branding on social media
The Next Web
Over the past few years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have introduced a series of design changes that have increased the ability to personalize the look of of account pages. To help your brand from getting lost in the clutter, it’s important to stand out visually as images, colors and context are some of the first elements your audience will notice. Here are five things you should keep in mind.

Verizon Reminds Parents That Girls Aren’t Just Pretty but ‘Pretty Brilliant’
Ad Week
It’s 2014. We’re in a post-feminist society, right? Ha ha. Nope. That’s why campaigns like “Inspire Her Mind,” from Verizon, in partnership with Makers, are so important.
The initial spot, which had me tearing up more than the supposed cry-fest The Fault in Our Stars, features a young girl in various situations and the subtle cues that push her away from pursuits believed to be for boys. The campaign was born out of research that shows there’s a significant drop-off in women interested in these fields between childhood and adulthood.

Top Tips to Boost Your Mobile Marketing Campaign in 2014 Revealed In New AWeber/60 Second Marketer Study: Report Also Includes Action Plan to Maximize Campaigns
Daily Dog
Global email marketing software company AWeber teamed up with the 60 Second Marketer to survey nearly 200 businesses from around the globe to learn about their mobile marketing habits, objectives, obstacles and plans for the future. The research identified trends and norms in mobile marketing among small, mid-size and large companies.

5 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Over-Stressed
The Edge
One of the things that drew me to work in PR most was the diversity; the diversity of clients, the range of topics you “become an expert” on, the fluidity in your schedule and how no two days are alike. It’s liberating… but it’s also very consuming. Your brain is always running and playing connect-the-dots between your clients and the seemingly unrelated beats desirable journalists want to cover. And although I argue that those right for the field should thrive in this state, sometimes it can be a bit much. [Insert disquieting yearly statistic where PR is ranked as one of the most stressful jobs in the nation.]

Is Your CEO “Totally Committed” to Your Marketing Team?

23 June 2014 by

The annual Ifbyphone State of Marketing Measurement Survey found that CEOs have become increasingly committed to their marketing teams. The 2014 survey measured how often CEOs look for marketing reports, the variety of channels being measured and how marketers are planning to use technology to measure their efforts in the future.

According to the survey, the amount of CEO support of marketing teams is up 8% since 2013 with the majority of respondents stating their CEO is “totally committed” or “significantly committed” to the marketing process.

With increased attention being placed on the marketing team, it’s no surprise that an increase in measurement metrics is being demanded by CEOs. But, what are kind of metrics are CEOs requesting? The ones focused on return on investment and conversions, of course.

While marketing teams may place a priority on brand awareness and reputation, CEOs are after the real meat of marketing goals: the growth of sales revenue, the generation of new customers and the amount of new leads. If marketing professionals want the continued support of their CEOs, they need to produce the information CEOs desire most.

As CEOs realize how huge a role accurate marketing data plays in the growth of their company, they are turning toward advanced marketing automation technology. What does this mean for marketing teams? An increase in marketing tools that allow for easier and faster ways to report marketing information. Hooray!

According to the survey, the most popular results measured using marketing automation technology are:

  • Increase in sales/revenue: 69%
  • Number of new customers: 63%
  • Number of new leads: 58%
  • Increase in website traffic: 53%
  • Conversion rate: 46%
  • Marketing ROI: 45%

As you can see, the metrics attributed to sales growth are being measured the most.

The survey also highlighted the channels marketing teams are taking advantage of to generate high-value leads. The not so shocking finding was that marketers are increasingly turning to mobile platforms to source high-quality sales leads But, less than half of the respondents reported to be using mobile web measurement tools to assess the channels accessed by mobile devices.

So, what could be holding back marketing teams from using advanced tools, like mobile web measurement? Money. According to the survey, marketing teams believe an increased budget would allow them to better measure marketing ROI in the future. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it might be able to buy you the ability to deliver on the measurement your CEO is likely to be demanding.

What about you, do you think your CEO is “totally committed” to your marketing team?  What marketing measurement information does your CEO desire?

Are your CFO and CMO Parallel or Perpendicular?

18 June 2014 by

As the business environment continues to grow at a fast pace, it is critical for the C-suite to be aligned when it comes to making business decisions. According to a recent survey by Active International, businesses whose C-suites work closely together achieve greater business success than those who do not.

According to the survey, 77 percent of CMOs and 76 percent of CFOs believe alignment is important, but only 45 percent of CFOs and CMOs believe misalignment has a negative effect on financial success. With CFOs focusing on the shareholder and CMOs focusing on the customer, it only makes sense that these departments work together to achieve the goals of their company.

Misalignment can have a negative long-term impact on business. Negative attitudes as a result of cross-departmental disagreement can lead to a decrease in employee performance, minimized sales and poor business development. If your C-suite does not collaborate well, it may become difficult to recruit talented people and potential partners to join your business. Conversations about collaboration can be difficult to have because of unfamiliar language. Sometimes employees are asked to work in areas of inexperience, so priorities can be difficult to determine. But, these conversations should not be avoided because the long-term effects of collaboration can lead to a better, more efficient business. CFOs CMOs aligned on business goals

The survey found that the CFO and CMO are most aligned when it comes to their organization’s overall business goals, but are less aligned with the details such as marketing objectives, priorities and the budget. Both CFOs and CMOs agree they are misaligned when it comes to marketing priorities. Only 12 percent of CFOs say their CMO is good at connecting their initiatives to the ROI. This is largely in part due to the fact that marketing goals and successes are difficult to quantify and measure. For instance, it is hard to measure perceived brand value and therefore hard to prove that marketing initiatives have led to an increase or decrease in the ROI. CFOs need to understand that it takes longer to show marketing’s affect on reaching business goals, and an emphasis on brand sentiment is just as important as showing ROI.

So what’s the takeaway?

  • Regular exchange of information between marketing and financial departments is needed to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to the details of business initiatives.
  • Instead of shying away from collaboration, marketing and finance should actively look for opportunities to work together in ways that benefit both parties.
  • CFOs and CMOs should commit to the big picture. CMOs should find ways to show short-term successes that point to the long-term affects marketing has on ROI.
  • Marketing and finance departments should integrate their languages and get rid of the complicated jargon. When both parties understand each other, a better forum for discussion and collaboration is created.

Weekly B2B News Round-Up for June 9, 2014

13 June 2014 by

Here are the top 10 business-to-business PR and marketing articles from this week. Hope you enjoy!

Videos may make up 84 percent of internet traffic by 2018: Cisco
Reuters
Video consumption of the World Cup alone will generate nearly as much Internet traffic as occurred in all of Australia in 2013, according to a new Cisco Systems Inc report that shows growth in Internet traffic is fueled by video. The report, which says video is expected to grow to 84 percent of Internet traffic in the United States by 2018 from 78 percent currently, raises questions about whether Internet service providers should prioritize traffic, which has become a controversial issue.

Two Misleading Words Triggered GM’s Catastrophic Communication Breakdown
Forbes
I resisted the temptation to write about GM’s internal report on the Cobalt ignition switch crisis until I had the time to review the entire 315-pages. The details of the report by Anton Valukas, partner at the law firm Jenner & Block, reveal a catastrophic breakdown in communication. Today’s column isn’t just for those readers who want to know more about theGeneral Motors failure to recall thousands of cars with safety problems. It offers valuable lessons for any leader who wants to improve the communication of critical information.

Pressure Prevents Marketers From Scoring Their Goals [Infographic]
DMNews
Can today’s players get their heads in the marketing game? The World Cup is a time for the masters of football to come together, compete, and represent their countries. But these soccer stars aren’t the only ones feeling the pressure to perform. Pursway’s Spring 2014 Survey Report suggests that marketers are feeling it, too. According to the report, 77% of marketers say they’re under pressure to make better use of existing marketing and CRM data.

 

36 redundant phrases to eliminate from your writing
Ragan.com
As writers, editors, and PR professionals, we are keenly aware of having to fight for readers’ attention. My daily sanity check is to ask, “Is someone actually going to read this?” One way I’ve found to help readers is to use concise language and eliminate redundancies. As Strunk and White advise, “Make every word tell.”

Why am I seeing this ad on Facebook? The social network explains
PR Week
Facebook gives users more control over ads, and an explanation. Say you’re an average 20-something Facebook user, scanning your timeline for tips on where to eat this weekend. So why are you inundated with ads for retirement communities? Facebook began explaining why early Thursday, as well as giving users more control over the ads they’re served. The social network will soon allow users to see the collection of data it has stored about them, as well as to change or delete some of that information in an effort to receive more relevant advertisements.

7 Types of Story Ideas Journalists Want From PR Pros
PR News
One of the biggest mistakes made in any conversation is focusing solely on what your needs and concerns are instead of listening to the other person to find out what his or her needs are. You can translate this dynamic to the symbiotic relationship between a PR practitioner and a journalist. A classic mistake made by PR pros in this relationship is focusing on the needs of the brand or client and not paying attention to the specifics needs of individual journalists.

Weathering the Storm
Marketing Insights
What you need to know about cross-channel attribution in the digital age—and how it can help you refine your company’s media strategy. Understanding the consumer’s multiple paths to purchase– both online and offline–has never been more complex. In today’s digital age, many consumers are starting the buying process in one channel and completing it in another. Was it the YouTube video that ultimately converted the consumer to make a purchase? Or perhaps it was a friend’s pictures posted on Facebook that pushed the consumer to buy. Maybe it was a Google search performed on a smartphone, or a colorful display ad seen on a work computer. In this multi-layered buying approach, marketers are left to determine which channel truly prompted the purchase.

Being seen and heard at work
Washington Post
Nick Morgan is a communication coach and the author, most recently, of “Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact.” Morgan spoke about how federal leaders can improve their communication skills with Tom Fox, a guest writer for On Leadership and vice president for leadership and innovation at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. Fox also heads up their Center for Government Leadership.

Web Video Trends: 81% of Online Businesses in the U.S. Are Now Producing Explainer Videos for Their Websites—Yum Yum Videos Analyzes New Video Trends Report
Daily Dog
Yum Yum Videos, an explainer video production company, recently announced that the Web Video Marketing Council has released its first survey and industry trends report on the topic of online video production for 2014. The report was based on 318 video production professionals across the United States, and the resulting numbers of this in-depth market research revealed that video is becoming an undeniable “ever increasing part of the online marketing, sales and communications mix for most organizations,” as 81% of the market acknowledged that they have already turned their marketing strategies toward online video production, with animated marketing videos leading the charge. Additionally, 68% of them expected their company’s online video budgets to increase during the current year.

1 in 4 CIOs Rate Relationship With Marketing as “Not Strong”
Marketing Charts
Some 24% of technology leaders surveyed from around the world this year rate their relationship with the marketing team as “not strong,” with the survey results indicating that the IT department’s relationship with marketing is worse than it is with sales, finance and operations. While 30% of respondents deem their relationship with marketing to be “very good,” that’s only marginally up from 27% last year. Separately, 4 in 10 CIOs report that it’s the marketing function that owns digital strategy, up from 33% indicating that to be the case last year. Another 4 in 10 say that marketing and IT share ownership of the digital strategy, though that’s down slightly from 44% the prior year.

Calling All Marketers: Stop Selling and Start Listening

4 June 2014 by

Today, it’s no secret that we’re living in a buyer’s market. Therefore, its officially time to redirect as we stop simply selling, but instead listen to what the buyer wants.

In our latest video, Arketi principal Mike Neumeier shares more about why understanding what makes your buyers tick is essential.

Video Transcript: 

Marketing and sales, no matter how good, cannot make a buyer buy. In today’s information-rich environment, buyers are in control of the sales process – so understanding what makes them tick is essential.

However, as B2B marketers, it seems we’ve lost sight of this critical point. And it’s understandable.

In recent years, we’ve been bombarded with the mandate to drive ever more leads through email marketing, overwhelmed by the social media du jour, and enthralled by the promise of marketing automation.

Simply put, we took our eyes off the ball. We know effective marketing starts and ends with the buyer. We’ve always known this – we just forgot it temporarily.

It’s time to reorient ourselves, and our organizations. It’s time to stop selling and start listening to the buyer. It’s time to embrace buyer-driven marketing.

This is a way of thinking that places buyers and their needs at the center of all marketing priorities. Understanding what buyers care about, how they make their decisions, and how they want to receive information, makes marketing about them, not about us.

This isn’t about doing more – or even about doing less. It’s about doing what matters.

We have to ask ourselves, “Will the buyer care?” And the way we’ll know the answer is not by emailing more, tweeting more, or lead-nurturing more. It’s by asking questions, observing behavior, measuring results – and listening to what buyers are telling us.

How Effective is Your Content Marketing Strategy? Do You Really Know?

27 May 2014 by

Content marketing is continuing to be a major focus for both B2B and B2C marketers. The majority of the articles I see lately seem to all focus on tips for creating content that gets attention or how to take a single piece of content and slice it and dice it 10 ways to get more mileage out of it. Thanks to the growing focus on SEO and more knowledgeable customers that seek out information on their own, content may very well live up to the title of king.

While this may be true, marketers haven’t cracked the code on how to measure its true business impact just yet. According to a recent survey from Contently, more than 90 percent of marketers are not confident that their key content metrics are measuring business results. Here’s the link to read their report and they even offer an eBook at the end. MORE CONTENT! YAY!

But in all seriousness, if content is to stay in its throne, we have to be able to prove it deserves to be there. Here are some key findings from Contently’s report:

  • 90% of marketers expressed uncertainty that their key content metrics are effective in measuring business results.
  • 73% of marketers identified Brand Awareness as a goal of their content.
  • 69% of marketers said that they were using page views/unique visitors to measure the success of their content, while less than half are examining time on site. Yet, 50% of respondents expressed a desire to be able to measure how much real attention people are paying to their content.
  • 7% of respondents are not measuring the success of their content in any way.

Are you surprised by the report’s findings? How do you measure your content’s success? Is it of real value to you?

Your New Secret Weapon in SEO… Is PR

19 May 2014 by

Google is understandably secretive about the algorithm it uses to decide how to rank web pages in its search results. But a recent patent filing may offer some clues – and some encouraging news for PR professionals.

In US Patent application 8,682,892, Google seems to indicate that the mere mention of a brand name or keyword may count towards a site’s ranking in the search engine.

It is well known that Google considers a large number of factors – more than 200 – to determine how “authoritative” a site is. It then uses this information to determine how it will rank the site on its search engine results pages (SERPs). Though unconfirmed by the search giant, it is widely accepted the most important factor in this algorithm is incoming links.

In one section of the recently filed patent, Google shares how it identifies high-quality, independent links to a website, and this is where PR and SEO practitioners alike must take note. The patent makes a distinction between “express links” – the anchor text links with which we’re all familiar – and a new concept of “implied links,” which are merely references to a brand, product or service – without an actual link.

Here’s what the patent says:

“The system determines a count of independent links for the group (step 302). A link for a group of resources is an incoming link to a resource in the group, i.e., a link having a resource in the group as its target. Links for the group can include express links, implied links, or both. An express link, e.g., a hyperlink, is a link that is included in a source resource that a user can follow to navigate to a target resource. An implied link is a reference to a target resource, e.g., a citation to the target resource, which is included in a source resource but is not an express link to the target resource. Thus, a resource in the group can be the target of an implied link without a user being able to navigate to the resource by following the implied link.

What this says is that Google looks at mentions of a brand or related terms to determine a site’s ranking potential. The implications are enormous. If what Google describes in this patent holds true in its algorithm, then PR activity and media placements – even if they don’t lead to an “express link” – have SEO benefit.

So, what should you do with this new found information? Our advice is to continue find ways to generate buzz and grow brand mentions. As ever, this will continue to help with brand awareness – but for now, we believe, it will also help your search engine rankings.

All Things Social: Features & Tips

12 May 2014 by

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Business Wire luncheon during which media guru Serena Ehrlich discussed the ever-changing world of social media. From current trends to press releases, she covered it all, offering quick and easy tips along the way. Below are a just a few of those very tips to help you stay on top of all things social.

Facebook

Social networks are increasingly centered around news sharing, and Facebook is certainly no exception. In fact, Facebook now has an algorithm to display news more heavily within feeds. That being said, the more you link to news articles and other reputable content, the more visible your posts will become.

Twitter

To be successful on Twitter, you must include a picture. Tweets with photos and videos receive three to four times the amount of engagement as those without. So, if you’re linking to a piece of content that doesn’t have a picture, screenshot the most interesting sentence in the piece of content you’re sharing and include that in your tweet.

Wordle

 

 

LinkedIn

In addition to status updates, LinkedIn users can now add blog posts to the site, increasing overall page traffic. What’s even more exciting is that this new feature is entirely free. If you have not already received an email to opt in, simply contact a LinkedIn representative and ask to be part of the program.

Press Releases

When it comes to publishing press releases, one of the newest trends is utilizing clicktotweet.com. This free site allows you to pre-draft tweets, including social-sharing headlines, hashtags and links. Unlike the regular Twitter share button that tweets only the press release headline, clicktotweet.com enable users to draft a variety of social-specific headlines and scatter them throughout the release. This is particularly good for statistics, which travel faster on Twitter than any other type of content.

7 Web Design Trends in 2014 That Will Stick Around

5 May 2014 by

The web is constantly evolving.  What kind of impact a site has, or should have can make all the difference to a discerning consumer.  Websites are one of the largest marketplaces to share your brand story to an audience, so while 2014 has already begun, let’s take a look at some of the web design trends in 2014 that have emerged and will continue to grow throughout the year.

FLAT UI
After the release of iOS7, the flat design has started to appear across the web. Companies are continuing to strip their graphics or over zealous design elements that are not 100% purposeful in a site’s functionality. As flat UI continues to grow, look for its presence to only get stronger.

RESPONSIVE DESIGN & MOBILE OPTIMIZATION
The exponential growth of both smart phone and tablet usage in recent years has mobile on track to overtake desktop platforms for web consumption in the coming years. Responsive design and mobile optimization have become the norm across the majority of the web. There is still room for growth within responsive design; soon enough look for this trend to become the standard. Check out the XINNIX website design below that embodies long scroll responsive and a hybrid of flat/minimal design (which we will discuss shortly).

XINNIX website model for long scroll

MINIMALISM
Simple web design has been emerging, and one of the main reasons is the huge emphasis that is being put on content. More designs with only one or two colors are emerging, navigation is becoming more succinct and images are replacing blocks of text. Minimalist design is stripped down to prevent unnecessary. Content is king, and designers are finding every way possible to highlight a company’s story.

TYPOGRAPHY
Web fonts have opened an entire world of creativity in web typography. Now typefaces and sizes can be mixed and matched and even magnified more than ever. The only danger to artistic fonts is the tendency to go overboard. A fancy font may not be very readable, which is a no-go for websites with lots of text. In this case, reserve the pretty fonts for headers or other small highlights. Expect to see many more websites going the way of the less boring font throughout 2014.

SCROLLING
Parallax scrolling, horizontal scrolling, column-based scrolling and infinite scrolling are all things that we’ll probably see more of in 2014 and beyond. In addition to being very easy for designers to execute, scrolling is a must on mobile and tablet devices so designers have strived to make swiping simple. Scrolling through a website is now faster and easier than having to click through links to access various information, and new techniques allow the content to be impeccably organized and formatted in a way that’s super easy to read and digest. Don’t expect this one to fade fast.

SHINY NEW BACKGROUNDS
More brands are using dynamic backgrounds to engage customers. Look for larger pictures and videos – as opposed to patterns or textures – as the practice becomes increasingly popular throughout the year. More companies are employing the technique, which adds visual interest and intrigue.

FIXED NAVIGATION
In the world of Web design, fixed position navigation is the high-tech term for navigation that remains on the page as users scroll down. This trend is currently common on newer websites and should spread to others in the coming year. Not all sites need a fixed position menu, however, as infinite scrolling and a need for good user experience grows, fixed navigation is a functional trend some may argue is a must.

To speak with one of our design experts or to learn more about our website development capabilities, check out our website offering at: http://arketi.com/work/digital-marketing/website-development.html.

Three Media Relations Habits to Stop Today

21 April 2014 by

When it comes to media relations, do you feel like you’re doing all the right things but yet no one is biting? Chances are you can improve you strategy by breaking three simple media relations bad habits.

Bad habit #1: email blasts.

For more, watch the video below as Arketi’s Joy Reddy fills you in on the habits you need to stop today!

For more, check out Best Practices in BtoB PR from Arketi Insights.

 

Video Transcript:

Media relations is often a key tactic to the overall success of your company’s PR and marketing strategy, but if you’re like most companies, you’d like to land more ink.

First, you have to understand that the way journalists work has changed. The landscape has shifted because of new tools, outlets, writers and producers.

Here’s my suggestion: Stop pitching and start listening. If you want to see more media relations success, stop these three habits today.

First, stop blasting. An email blast is potentially the worst way to get a reaction. Instead, know what your key targets have been writing and adjust the angle to speak to their audience.

Second, stop pestering. Learn how to be persistent but not intrusive. Follow up sparingly, politely, and take no for an answer. Remember, journalists today are being asked to do more with less. Be mindful of their workload.

Finally, stop pigeon-holing. There is a wide variety of outlets, angles and mediums. Keep an ongoing conversation alive with your top 10 targets, but consider widening your scope far beyond traditional media to other market influencers.

By trying to put an end to these bad media relations habits, you’re likely to see more success with your outreach and land more ink!