Rock Solid Media List To-Do’s

Content is only good if there are people to enjoy it, and share it. Before you write a pitch and begin outreach, you must be certain to have a rock-solid media list.

If you have access to databases like Cision or Meltwater things will be a little easier to organize, but that will only get you half of the way there. If you don’t have access to a database, that’s ok, too, because the majority of the following six steps will still apply.

How to Create a Rock-Solid Media List:

Step 1:  What Are You Pitching?
Review what you want to say then whittle it down 10-20 seconds.

Whether it’s an interview with an executive, a new product announcement, or a piece of killer content, you need to have a very clear and simple understanding of what you’re offering. You can’t build a targeted outreach list without knowing what your outreach will look like.
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Its Really Just Sales, Isn’t It?

Back in the day, my first job out of college was selling the lowest line of Xerox copy machines in California. I had to carry this Xerox machine to each appointment; business and consumer, and ‘selling-I-did.’

How did I sell back then? I created relationships with my prospects and gave them something to remember; in my case, my name was unique and I also donned big yellow rain boots because I couldn’t afford new shoes weekly from walking in the mud in a ranch-centric territory.

Jump forward two decades and not much has changed. I still believe that to foster strong relationships with media and analysts, we must first get to know them. I thought I might outline the steps of selling…well…anything; from copiers to networking and security PR pitches.

Get in the right mindset.
The first key to sell anything is about you and your mindset. If you are not fully confident (and calm), you won’t be able to convince anyone to listen to what you are offering. You must be ready to face a lot of NO’s, and know that, eventually, you will get to a YES.
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Why Relevant Content is Key

Creating new content is a healthy and necessary practice of business in any industry.

Many companies choose not to allocate the time and resources towards content creation, and, as a result, they often fall short of marketing goals.

For companies that do partake in creating exciting content, the benefits are great. Internally and external, fresh content can provide a wealth of value for your business.  Here are a few reasons why content creation should be a part of every company’s communications plan.

1.  Customers will trust you
When you create content on a topic, you are projecting yourself as an expert in the field. Customers will feel inclined to trust you, based on all the wisdom you have shared.

2.  You look like an expert
If you want your customers to brand you as an expert in your field, you need to earn it. Create content that reflects your area of work will help define you as an expert in that field.

3.  SEO
Content creation is a key element of SEO and using content with the right keywords in the right places is a good way to promote web optimization for your landing page.

4.  Establishes your brand
To elevate your brand, content postings can help get your name out there and get your company recognized in the industry.Continue Reading..


Top 7 Tips for an Engaging PPT

Recently, I have come up with pros and cons for PPT.  Albeit, we have all heard about ‘Death by PowerPoint,’ but it has become apparent that we can’t ignore PPT altogether. So, after lengthy review, I thought I’d share my Top 7 Tips for making your presentation look relevant, even if you aren’t a designer.

First, always consider your audience, the impression you want to make, and the top message points you want them to remember and act upon (as we now know that our brains work best in groups of three). So, here are seven tips as the evolution of PPT has evolved:

  1. Use a thin font
    Thin fonts with increased leading are popular. You may have seen the change on websites and on your phone. With the increased use of mobile devices, which have small screens, all aspects of design need to take up as little space as possible.
  1. Flat design with simple colors
    Remember when reflections, shadows, highlights were the rage? Flat design means ‘no fancy 3D look.’ Shadows are still used quite a bit, but they aren’t part of flat design. We also know that faded colors/pastels are less likely to look modern. They look great in some cases, but you’ll see more of the richer, saturated, complex colors, plus increased usage of grays and taupe’s.

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How to Align AR & PR Activities

Industry analysts offer the media a rich resource for research, knowledge and expertise and play a fundamental role in assessing the landscape and providing independent commentary when needed. Building relationships with key analysts has enormous potential and can strengthen media coverage for technology vendors as the more informed an analyst is about a company’s product or service.

Analysts spend significant time developing relationships with the media, often building a brand over years. These relationships cannot be underestimated and offer inordinate value to both the business and the analyst community.
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Effective Newsletters in 5 Steps

How do we keep the bond with our customers and ensure we remain connected to our readers? Once you get past knowing that you have three basic hurdles to get over before your reader identifies with the content, you’re good:

  1. Many email wind up in SPAM
  2. Your subject line matters
  3. The attention span is >3 seconds to convince the reader you have something of value to them (remember, VALUE TO THEM, NOT YOU).

Once you meet the above requirements, keep in mind the below:

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Smart Agents Enabling Mobile Interaction

Albeit, I’m behind in my reading, I did finally finish Gartner’s Top Strategic Predictions for 2016 and Beyond: The Future Is a Digital Thing published in October, 2015 that dove into the evolving relationship between man and machine. What did I learn? Predictive technologies aren’t disappearing anytime soon. Gartner states:

  • By 2018, 20% of all business content will be authored by machines. 
  • By 2020, smart agents will facilitate 40% of mobile interactions, and the post-app era will begin to dominate.
  • By 2018, 6 billion connected things will be requesting support.

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New Web Site: Think and Deliver

Today, Courtly & Company launched its new web site.

A radically different approach to public relations should equate a radically different style for a web site, yes?  We thought so.

Our new web site, with its sleek lines, provides a direct, streamlined, and easy-to-navigate approach to help you locate what you might be looking for.  As we continue to expand our Resources section in the weeks to come, you will soon be able to embrace visual interaction for needed advice, services and even purchases: video blogs, video tutorials, video demos, and even a video marketplace.

Courtly & Company’s approach to communications is unique. With our new web site, we will continue to deliver what we have been doing all along; a keenly smart approach to PR, and results (or, as we like to say, “Think & Deliver.”).


7 Top Infographic Mistakes

Infographics are a great method to create user engagement, and ultimately, lead generation.  We can easily get caught up in the excitement of a new project, but don’t overlook the very basics of ‘WHAT NOT TO DO’ to ensure the infographics’ best ROI success.


Don’t create an infographic that is based off of short-term trends. Try to produce an infographics that is thought-leading, forward projecting, or that has the potential of continuously being referenced over time. Ask yourself if the infographic can be referenced for the next 12 months, or the next 12 days.


Don’t do the same thing you’ve always done; don’t share your infographic on the same-as-usual and expected social media channels only, thus limiting your infographic’s potential reach. Find the audience whose interests fall within the theme of your infographic, and share it directly (email, direct message, etc.).



Live Streaming Options for PR

When live-streaming first entered our Internet, it was a tool for individuals’ personal use. Today, live-streaming is a very different tool. Think about introducing a new product via live-streaming to an audience that can even ask questions, versus pictures and text. There are a few well-known live-streaming tools that marketers can use, and choosing the right one for your needs will require that you understand the details of each option.

How Live-Streaming Fits into a Marketing Strategy

Q & A’s
If you use a tool with a built-in conversation feature, your audience can ask questions about your company, your brand, products and such. If you have other experts to bring in, they can also answer questions.Continue Reading..