How to Leverage Automation for Better Coworking PR

It’s Fred at Prezly, back again for one last post about using PR to promote your coworking space. From creating press releases to sending pitch emails to managing relationships with local influencers, we’ve covered a lot of ground on how to bootstrap your way to PR success.

If this sounds like a lot of work, you’ll be relieved to learn that today’s blog post is all about automation.

Eight reasons to love PR automation

PR is ultimately a human-powered industry. Robots and computers can’t forge relationships, build trust, or tell great stories about how coworking has transformed the world of work. That said, there are plenty of repetitive PR tasks that we’re more than happy to automate.

Here are five really important but boring PR tasks that are better left to robots, and the tools you’ll need to automate them:

 

  • Track email responses with Yesware. If you send a lot of pitch emails, use Yesware to keep track of responses. Yesware is a Gmail and Outlook add-on that lets you monitor opens, clicks, and responses for every email you send to influencers. You can even automate your outreach with editable templates that pre-load in your inbox, so you don’t have to cut-and-paste every pitch.
  • Customize an email response with Rapportive. Rapportive is a simple Gmail add-on that shows you important social media data from every person who emails you. You can then tailor your reply based on the sender’s location, their recent tweets, and other online activity.
  • Enrich your influencer list with social data from FullContact. If you have a list of email addresses but no social profiles, use FullContact to quickly, easily, and automatically enrich your data. Just enter an email address or Twitter handle, and FullContact’s API gives you a list of associated social profiles. You can also sync contacts from all your address books, fix duplicates, and correct formatting errors in your database.
  • Nurture influencers with the help of Contactually. Contactually sends you automatic reminders to contact influencers whom you haven’t reached out to in awhile. Use it to periodically nurture your influencer list with useful links and articles, even when you don’t have big news to share. You’ll build credibility, show them you care, and increase your chances of getting coverage when you need it.
  • Publish and pitch social media press releases with Prezly. Prezly is the glue that will hold all your other PR efforts together. Prezly gives you everything you need to create and distribute beautiful, mobile-friendly social media press releases, send pitch emails with media previews, manage your contact database, and track email response rates.

Embrace automation, and it will set you free

When it comes to repetitive PR tasks, automation = liberation. Anything that lets you spend more time getting creative and less time in Excel hell is a beautiful thing. Jokes aside, automating the boring stuff means you’re free to focus on telling great stories, strategizing campaigns, and building strong influencer relationships. That’s the best stuff, by far.

If you liked this short PR crash course, I hope you’ll give Prezly a try. As I’ve mentioned before, coworking space owners and managers can use our software free for 3 months. Just sign up for the free trial on our website, then email us with the name of your coworking space.

If you have any remaining questions, please feel free to find me on LinkedIn. I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

How a Good CRM Can Help You Improve Your Coworking Media Relationships

PR is about building strong relationships. You need a good Customer Relationship Management system to help you manage communications and keep track of important information about your contacts.

Hi everyone, it’s Fred at Prezly with a few more PR tips to help you promote your coworking space. So far, we’ve covered social media press releases, creating great visual content, and sending effective pitch emails. These are basic building blocks for any PR campaign, and they’re really important.

But ultimately, PR isn’t about creating press releases or sending emails. It’s about building strong relationships. Luckily, you don’t need to be a master networker to do this well. You do, however, need a good CRM, or Customer Relationship Management system, to help you manage communications of your coworking space and keep track of important information about your contacts. I know that Ramon, the author of the coworking handbook, just spent a long time choosing a CRM. He might chip in in the comments with recommendations for a CRM.

Knowledge is power (and power is a good CRM)

When it comes to forging great media relationships, knowledge is power. The more data you can gather and store about your media contacts, the more power you have to understand what they care about, remember past conversations, and recall important details. All of these data points will help you build trust and create stronger relationships.

Of course, lots of data can quickly become difficult to manage, especially if you use Excel to keep track of your contacts. There’s no shame in relying on a spreadsheet for this purpose. Most PR people do. Keep in mind, though, that Excel is designed to make calculations and graphs, not help you manage a database. That’s where a CRM comes in. A CRM is much more than a glorified Excel spreadsheet. Among its many advantages, a CRM can help you:

  • Document emails, phone calls, and even social media conversations with every influencer. Many CRMs will even let you send pitch emails directly from the platform.
  • Search for contacts by name, communication history, beat, PR campaign, or any number of tags that are important to your business.
  • Measure the impact of your efforts with thorough reporting on response rates and new PR opportunities generated.
  • Share knowledge across your company by keeping it in a universally accessible platform, rather than a spreadsheet saved to your hard drive.

Getting started with CRM

CRM systems range from simple and relatively cheap to sophisticated and very expensive. Whatever CRM you use, don’t sweat your choice too much. The important thing is getting a system in place to help you manage your data. This allows you to focus on the human side of PR: creating and cultivating great media relationships.

How to Send Pitch Emails that Get Results

It’s not enough to create a press release; you have to pitch it effectively, too. With that in mind, let’s talk about the pitch email, one of the most powerful tools in your proverbial PR toolbox.

It’s Fred with Prezly, back again with some fresh PR tips to help you promote your coworking space. Hopefully after my first two posts, you’re feeling pretty well-equipped to start creating social media press releases  and visual content.

But it’s not enough to create a press release; you have to pitch it effectively, too. With that in mind, let’s talk about the pitch email, one of the most powerful tools in your proverbial PR toolbox.

Right Email + Right Audience

There are two parts to a successful pitch email – your target audience, and the email itself. While it might be tempting to email your entire database, your childhood friends, and maybe a distant cousin or two every time you have something new to say about your coworking space, don’t do it.

In the PR industry, we call that S.O.S. (sending out stuff), and it’s never a good idea. Instead, send a highly targeted email to specific influencers for whom your press release is relevant. For coworking spaces, this might include influential members of the local tech and freelance community. You’ll get better response rates, and your contacts will thank you for not spamming them with irrelevant emails.

The Anatomy of a Great Pitch Email

A well-crafted pitch email can quickly and effectively open new doors, strengthen media relationships, and increase your exposure. A bad pitch email, on the other hand, can alienate influencers and permanently damage your credibility.

So what distinguishes a great pitch email from one that fails to get results? Luckily, it’s fairly straightforward. Let’s walk through the anatomy of a great pitch email, piece by piece:

  • A Specific From Line: Your From line is probably the first thing your reader sees. It should clearly and concisely communicate who you are as the sender. I typically use the From line “Frederik from Prezly”, which tells you who the email is coming from, as well as which company I work for… all before you even open my email.
  • An Irresistible Subject Line: Your subject line should be relevant, timely, and evoke just a little bit of mystery. Include a tidbit about your story that relates to your influencer’s interests and inspires enough curiosity to make them want more. Example: “New study: Everything we thought we knew about the freelance economy is wrong.”  Here’s a great list of best practices for subject lines, drawn from MailChimp’s analysis of over 200 million emails.
  • A Brief, Relevant Introduction: Start your email with a 2-3 sentence introduction that states who you are and why you’re reaching out. Tie your message to something personal that you know about them, which shows that you’ve done your research and understand what they care about. Example: “I saw your tweet about freelancers and thought you might like to learn the surprising results of a new study.”
  • A Compelling Value Proposition: Once you’ve made your introduction, get to your point quickly. Remember that in order to get a response, you need to demonstrate value for your contacts. Ask yourself, how will a journalist benefit by covering your story? Always keep your pitch about them and how they stand to gain, not about you. Example: “Your latest article about the freelance economy got a lot of buzz. Sharing the results of this study would be a great follow-up for your readers.”
  • Supporting Multimedia Previews: Don’t just tell influencers and journalists about your story. Your pitch email should also include previews of all the multimedia assets in your social media press release. Don’t send attachments or links. They’ll take forever to download and lack the visual impact of an embedded preview. Instead, use a tool that automatically generates media previews in your pitch emails.
  • A Clear Next Step: Make it as easy as possible for your contact to follow up with you. Include all of your contact information (phone number, email, Twitter, Skype, etc.), and suggest a clear next step. Example: “I’d love to answer any questions you have about the study I sent you last week. Can we talk for 15 minutes tomorrow or Friday?”

Don’t Forget About Tracking

It’s tempting to send pitch emails from Gmail or Outlook, but what you gain in speed, you lose in trackability. Use a tool that allows you to track opens, clicks, and responses to your pitch emails. You can also A/B test subject lines and messages to see what works best.

Prezly can help you with all of the above and more. If you own or manage a coworking space, your first 3 months of Prezly are free – no strings attached! Just sign up for the free trial on our website, then email us with the name of your coworking space.

Till next time.

Complete Guide to Creating Visual Content for Coworking Spaces

Let’s take a deep dive into the visual side of things with a detailed list of best practices and tools to help you create killer visuals on a shoestring.

Hi everyone, it’s Fred with Prezly again with some more PR tips to help you promote your coworking space. Last week, we went over the basics of social media press releases and why visual content is so important (reminder: press releases with visuals can get nearly 10 times more views than text releases).

Today, we’re taking a deeper dive into the visual side of things with a detailed list of best practices and tools to help you create killer visuals on a shoestring. This post is a little long, but bear with me – it will be worth your time.

Let’s start with a quick overview of the three main types of visual content you can use in your social media press releases, along with a few best practices to help you get the most out of each content type.

Images

Images are easy to use, cheap to obtain, and proven to increase views. As an added bonus, images are extra powerful when you share your press release on social media – they’ll automatically generate an image preview, which increases your odds of engagement. Facebook posts with images get 53% more likes and 104% more comments than the average post, and tweets with pictures are nearly twice as likely to be retweeted.

Best Practices for Images

  • Choose images that are eye-catching, high quality, and relevant. Avoid generic stock photos in favor of images that relate to your coworking space.
  • For press releases, use high quality, high-resolution photos. They’ll make your press release look more professional online, and they look great in print, too.
  • For pitch emails, include an image preview that downloads quickly. Use a preview of the actual image, not a link.

Videos

Eliciting powerful emotions and memorable narratives in just seconds, video is an incredibly effective way to tell the story of your coworking space. Best of all, you don’t need a professional film crew to make a great video. A short Instagram or Vine filmed with your smartphone can be just as effective.

Best Practices for Video

  • Keep videos short and simple, a few minutes long at most.
  • Tell a clear story that’s easy to follow.
  • Upload large video files to YouTube or Vimeo rather than host them on your server. This helps your press releases load faster, automatically generates previews when sharing on social media, works across all devices, and makes your content searchable, giving you an SEO boost.

Infographics

If you have some interesting data to share, consider telling your story with an infographic. Good infographics are visually appealing and simple for readers to follow. Great infographics literally paint a picture with numbers and statistics, telling a clear and engaging story as they go. They have a lot of viral potential, too.

Best Practices for Infographics

  • Aim for three things: simplicity, clarity, and good data. Ask yourself what you want the reader to take away from your infographic, and design around the answer.
  • Choose only the data that’s absolutely necessary to tell your story.
  • Get more traction by sharing your infographics on Pinterest, the ultimate visual social media platform.

Creating visual content

How to Create More Visual Content

If, by now, you’re wondering where you’ll find the time and the budget to create all this content, don’t despair. It’s important to invest in high-quality visuals, but you don’t have to break the bank or lose hours of sleep to create the content you need. Here are a few options – most are affordable, and some are even free.

Do It Yourself

Creating your own visual content isn’t as hard as it sounds, and it’s usually cheaper than paying someone else to create it for you. If you carry a smartphone, you already have everything you need to create gorgeous photos and videos.

Helpful tools to create your own visual content:

  • PowerPoint templates. PowerPoint may not be sexy, but it’s easy to use and surprisingly powerful tool for visual design. HubSpot offers a great set of free downloadable templates for infographics.
  • Canva. Canva is a simple online tool helps you design images, edit photos, and create beautiful visual content at little to no cost Canva includes hundreds of elements and fonts for free, or you can access their premium digital library for a very small fee.
  • Adobe Voice. Adobe Voice is a free iPad app that lets you easily create your own animated videos. All you have to do is talk. Choose from over 25,000 images to create your custom backdrop, and Voice automatically adds music and cinematic motion.
  • Wistia. Wistia is an excellent resource for all things video-related. For practical guidance concepting, producing, and marketing videos, be sure to check out their free Learning Center.

Outsource It

When you’re pressed for time or have limited resources for content creation, it often makes sense to let someone else do the heavy lifting. Outsourcing content creation doesn’t have to be expensive, though it certainly can be. Here are a few options to satisfy all budgets and timeframes.

  • Visual.ly. A flexible, affordable option, you can work with Visual.ly to create infographics, videos, custom web experiences, presentations, and micro content. They’ll work with you from start to finish, and fixed prices mean you always know what you’re getting.
  • 99 Designs. If you’re on a tight budget, crowdsourcing an image through 99Designs is a cost-effective way to go. Create a project brief, pick a payment option, and let designers come to you.
  • Freelancers. When you need professional-quality work on a project basis, contracting with a freelancer is the way to go. oDesk and Freelancer.com are two reputable places to find candidates.
  • Free stock images. If you need stock images free, and you need them now, check out Google for finding free online images. Pay close attention to the citation guidelines – you don’t want to end up in legal trouble!

Phew, you made it to the end! I know I gave you a lot of information to process, but if you utilize the tips and tools in this post, you can dramatically improve the quality of your visual content.

Friendly reminder: If you have a coworking space, you can use my software Prezly free for 3 months to create social media press releases. Just sign up for the free trial on our website, then send us a quick email to let us know that you’re running a coworking space.

See you next week with some tips to help you send pitch emails that get results.

How To Promote Your Coworking Space with Social Media Press Releases

Here’s hard-earned advice to help you spread the word for your coworking space, using the same techniques that many modern and expensive PR agencies use.

art-social-media-press-release

Ramon, author of The Coworking Handbook, has kindly invited me to guest post here with some tips to help coworking space owners and managers get more local publicity. His coworking space in Brussels was my company Prezly’s home for years. We built the first versions of our PR software there and watched our company grow from a tiny startup into a successful business. We recently moved to our own office, but I look back on our time at Betacowork with many great memories.

This is my opportunity to give back. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share hard-earned advice to help you spread the word for your coworking space, using the same techniques that many modern and expensive PR agencies use. This week, I’ll introduce you to social media press releases, why they matter, and how to create them – it’s easier than you think.

Social Media Press Releases 101

Let’s start with the basics. What is a press release, anyway? At its simplest level, a press release is a story that you tell about your brand, such as the launch of your new coworking space or the results of a survey you’ve conducted about the ways people work in your city.

A social media press release goes one step farther. In addition to text, social media press releases contain video, images, and anything else that will help journalists discover, share, and write about your story. Here’s an example.

Why You Need Social Media Press Releases

Quite simply, social media press releases outperform plain text releases. By a lot. Because they’re hosted online rather than inside a pitch email, journalists and consumers can find your press releases via search, link to them, and share them on social media. The resulting bump in views is far from trivial. In fact, two-thirds of traffic to press releases comes from social and search.

Adding multimedia, such as a photo of your coworking space and video interviews with people who work there, can boost your traffic even more. A study from PR Newswire found that press releases containing multimedia assets get up to 9.7 times as many views as text alone.

Content editors and journalists know this. They’re already under pressure to include more visuals in their articles, so give them what they want. You’ll increase your odds of getting coverage, you’ll gain trust with your influencers, and your story will be more engaging to readers.

Eight Tips for Press Releases that Rock

At this point, you may be thinking that social media press releases sound great, but how much work does it really take to create them? Luckily, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Here are a few tips to help you make them awesome.

  1. Write a great headline. The headline is the first thing a journalist sees. Make it good, or they may not read any further. You should also make sure it’s tweetable, so keep it to 140 characters or less. For more great advice, check out this short guide to writing catchy headlines.
  2. Get straight to the point. Address your most important point in the first paragraph of your press release. Keep the rest of the release to two pages or less. One page is better.
  3. Back up your story with hard numbers. Facts and statistics will make your story stronger. Use them. But first, double-check your sources to make sure they’re credible.
  4. Include quotes. A good quote will make your story more interesting and human. Quotes can come from people inside or outside your company (or both), as long as they’re relevant.
  5. Add share buttons. Make it easy for readers and journalists to share your press release by calling out share buttons, retweetable phrases, and anything else you want them to share.
  6. Make it mobile-friendly. Many journalists read pitches on the go, so make sure your press release looks as good on a mobile screen as it does on a monitor. We’ve made it easy for you with this downloadable mobile template that makes your press release look great on smartphones, tablets, and desktop monitors.
  7. Provide contact information. This one sounds obvious, but it’s also easy to overlook. Include a name, email address, and phone number on every press release so journalists can easily contact you for more details.
  8. Use high resolution images. High resolutions images will make your press releases look beautiful and professional. They look great in print, too, which makes life a lot easier for journalists who no longer need to ask you for printer-friendly images.

Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to telling a great story about your coworking space, one that journalists and influencers will actually want to read and share.

Congrats! You’ve reached the end of the first article. Hopefully this means you’re really interested, in which case I’ve got good news for you.. At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that I make software for PR professionals. It’s called Prezly, and it lets you create and publish social media press releases. If you have a coworking space, I’d like to help you out. You can use my software for 3 months at no charge. Just sign up for the free trial on our website, then send us a quick email to let us know that you’re running a coworking space.

Next week, I’ll share a complete guide to adding visual content to your news releases, including a list of simple and inexpensive tools you can use to source and even create your own images, infographics, and videos. 

Till then.