Wednesday, 18 November 2015

B2B Pros: Six must-dos to strengthen your brand

Thanks to the internet, many sales practices that worked ten years ago, really don’t work as well today. A combination of some traditional styled effort mixed with social media marketing is really the best way to build credibility and your bottom line. Here is a list of a few essential practices to help consultants and other B2B professionals strengthen their brand.
1. Get comfortable with social media: This is extremely important and if you are a consultant who is not maximizing social media, then I suspect that you have noticed a sharp decline in your business over last few years. Did you know that search rankings for your website depend on your website being verified through Google and on you having a presence on Google+? So, which social media sites are the most influential? The important thing is to make sure you have a web presence in the places where your customers and prospects spend time. Learn which audiences social media sites deliver to, and publish there frequently.
2. Publish educational content: I always tell people how important this is. The only way to have an impact with your content marketing is to make sure it is valuable. The more helpful you are in your posts, the more people will believe in your ability to help them. I published a little e-booklet called 20 Content Marketing Tips That Will Supercharge Your Sales. You can download it for free from my website to learn more about how to make your content marketing more effective.
3. Write articles for trade journals: Editors are always looking for free content that hasn't been previously published. Connect with some editors and offer your services. If you are not a good writer, then get someone like me to write an article for you and publish it under your name. PR professionals have connections and usually talent in that regard, so if you are not up to the task, there are other convenient options.
4. Be a guest speaker: Which organizations have potential buyers among their members? Come up with an interesting, educational and relevant subject and ask if you can be a guest speaker at one of their meetings. Otherwise, submit proposals to speak at conferences. These are huge credibility boosters. Make sure you create an opportunity to collect business cards by offering a copy of your free book, or some other form of a prize. Do the traditional sales thing and follow up afterward to start a dialogue.
5. Hold events: In addition to being a guest speaker, consider holding your own marketing events. Don’t make it a heavy sales pitch. It will turn people off.Webinars are less costly than conference room rentals and no one can tell how many people are in attendance, so you can master the art of perception much more effectively. You can also record them, post them on your site and make them shareable through social media. The broader your reach, the better.
6. Be consistent with the look of your web and print marketing material:A big part of branding is being consistent with the look and feel of everything you show to people, whether it is a business card, brochure, website or blog post. Your brand needs to become recognizable visually. My friend, Val Sanna from Ignition Design does excellent work.
Tell me what you think of this branding check list. I limited it to just six, but I know there are many more things B2B professionals can do to boost their brand. I'd love to hear your ideas!
Renée Cormier is a Public Relations and Communications Professional in Burlington, Ontario. Need help with your marketing communications or public relations efforts? Visit

Seven Ways to Turn Your Dry Case Study into a Compelling Read

Case studies can be tedious to write and even more tedious to read. Even the term “Case Study” is off putting. It sounds like exam prep. These days, few people want to spend a long time reading intricate details about a business case. People want quick tips that are easy to read. So how can you make your case study more readable and compelling? Read on and I will tell you!
1. Divide and conquer: If you look at all the information in your case study, you will realize that you can probably divide the information into smaller components with separate key messages. You can create more interesting subject matter simply by avoiding information overload.
2. Create a How-to:  Within your case study there are probably several elements that can be repurposed into a How- to article. Your blog post can be turned into something like: “Five Ways to …” or “Three Things to Watch Out for When…” Yes, for some reason people like reading numbered lists, so seize the opportunity to create a blog post around one.
3. Describe a process: If one of the purposes of your case study is to let people know the full extent of the services you provide your customers, then take the opportunity to describe a process you use. This can be another form of a How-to, or it can simply be positioned as a form of advice such as, “What Every Business Owner Needs to Know...”
4. Pay attention to your format: You will notice a lot of my blog postings look very similar. I like to build a tip sheet with bold points for easy reading. I want people to learn as much as possible without necessarily having to read every minute detail of my post. That is because I know that most people will only skim an article. The format I like to use is very “skim friendly”.
5. Keep it short: Bearing in mind that most people won’t take the time to read anything long and wordy, keep your postings short and pointed.
6. Educate your reader: Content marketing is all about educating people. Avoid talking about yourself and try engaging people’s minds. Teaching people useful things gives you the opportunity to get people thinking about what you’ve said and the value you provide. Don’t be like the guy at a party who talks incessantly about himself. People will not respect your work.
7. Include a blurb about yourself: Naturally, content marketing needs to be in part about driving business toward you, so make sure there is a small spot at the end that tells people who you are, what you do and where to find you. Notice my blurb below.
Here's one final piece of advice. If what you are writing feels painful to you, it is probably going to be even more painful to your reader. If you can't figure out how to make it feel light, then get a pro to help you, or scrap the idea entirely. 
Renée Cormier is a Public Relations & Communications professional located in Burlington, Ontario. She is passionate about business and the power of content marketing. Her other specialties include strategic planning, branding & positioning, reputation management, media relations, social media, presentations & speeches, copy writing, and media training. Need help with your PR or Marketing? Visit or .

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Nine amazing ways to recover from a bum news release

By: Veronica Magee & Renée Cormier
It happens all the time; and these days, more than ever. You send out a news release and it falls flat. You go through your PR checklist: the content was newsworthy, grammatically flawless, written in CP style and distributed to all the right media. With no ROI to show for your efforts, you’re feeling deflated and slightly worried about what your boss or client might say. They are paying for results and expect you to deliver.
You’ve just been presented with a challenge, but more importantly, an opportunity is at hand. Turn it around and look at the problem/challenge another way. Did you realize that you can re-purpose that content in different ways? Creatively re-purposing your news release will allow you to drive your messages/stories to your target audience without the use of traditional media. Effectively, you can be your own media!
Today’s reality is that social media and internet search are the primary ways people get their news. Therefore, traditional media is no longer the only way (or the best way) to reach your audience. In fact, it’s often a lot more efficient to use social media and your own website to propel news about your company. Just make sure your company has a social media presence in the places your customers would normally go and really make a strong effort to engage and develop your followers. Also, make sure your content links back to your website, so people can find you.
Here are some interesting ways to refashion your news releases:
  • Pod-casting: According to an Edison Research survey, there are almost as many people regularly listening to podcasts as there are people listening to AM/ FM radio, and the number has been steadily rising. If you consider all the mediums available for accessing the internet, you will see that pod-casting is a pretty cool way to send out a message. In fact, you can even buy automobiles with internet connectivity capability, so you can now listen to podcasts while you drive.
  • Convert your story to a PowerPoint: PowerPoint presentations present two opportunities to share content about your company’s newest developments. PowerPoint presentations can be posted on Slideshare and accessed through your different social media channels. You can also save a PowerPoint as an MPEG4 Video that can be posted on YouTube. YouTube gives you further editing options so you can add royalty free music, if you don’t have any of your own.
  • Info-graphics: Info-graphics allow you to provide quick snippets of information about your product or services. Go to to get free templates for social media distribution. Also, consider adding an info-graphic to your next brochure or sales sheet.
  • PDF e-booklets or white papers: These are another way to get information out to the public. Free downloads that are shareable are best. Make the first one accessible without an email address and then offer another within the written content that requires an email to download. This way, people will happily share your content and you will be able to collect the email addresses of people who are super interested in what you have to offer!
  • Blog post or a series of posts around the topic: Blogs are a great way to demonstrate your expertise. A Google+ blog (Blogger) that is linked to your website will drive lots of traffic. Check out the Blogger Feed at for an example of this!
  • Visually communicate the message/story on Pinterest or Instagram: A picture paints a thousand words. Turn your news into a meme, because if there is a way to tell your news with a picture, Instagram and Pinterest are great communication tools. Both of these websites are gaining popularity at warp speed, so take advantage of this opportunity. Instagram is limited to cell phone apps, so it may not be as convenient as Pinterest.
  • Excerpts: You can always include snippets of your release in posts on your organization’s Facebook page. People like a quick read these days, so a couple of lines may be all you need.
  • Google+: This medium provides a lot of opportunity to businesses. Post your news to relevant groups, follow people to get followed back, and start a group to capture your private audience. As with all other types of social media, do communicate with your followers by liking and sharing their content and be sure to respond to comments people make on your postings.
  • Host a webinar: Webinars are a great teaching tool. Capitalize on the opportunity to give your customers the power to make informed choices. Record your webinar and post it on your site to extend your reach even further.
Whatever you do to develop your content, don’t just copy and paste the same info from your news release into the new medium. Creativity is important. If you are having trouble creating great content, Renée and Veronica can develop excellent content and even help extend your reach through social media content distribution.
Renée Cormier is a Public Relations & Communications professional, published author, sales and marketing strategist, and a constant creator of quality content. When you need help with your marketing communications or public relations campaigns contact Renée Cormier through her website:
Veronica Magee is a Marketing Communications and Public Relations professional with expertise in the healthcare field. She occasionally partners on projects at Connect with Veronica on Linkedin!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Nine ways to wonderful: How to create an engaging newsletter

Company newsletters are often a missed opportunity to build employee engagement. A boring, ugly, tedious read will never positively impact your culture. Here are a few tips to help make your company newsletter more interesting!
  1. Be inclusive. Dedicate a page from each department, including HR and ask for submissions from employees at all levels; not just people who are in sales or management positions. The content doesn't always need to be company stats. You can include helpful tips, interesting articles from subject matter experts (most will give permission to reprint a blog posting), fund raising initiatives, lunch & learn events, etc.
  2. Don’t write in too much detail! Keep articles between 75-125 words max.
  3. Don’t post poor quality photos. Photographs should be from a minimum 10 megapixel camera.
  4. Use the newsletter to create cohesion in your company by picking a charity to raise money for. Ask for volunteers and post updates.
  5. Show your employees you are interested in their development. Include news about upcoming training programs the company may sponsor.
  6. Keep the tone of your articles up beat. Used properly, the newsletter can be a bit of a positive propaganda tool. Use it to influence the energy in your company, rather than letting the energy at your company influence the newsletter. Your messaging can have an amazing impact on people's perception of the company and their team mates. What messages do your employees need to hear?
  7. Use the newsletter to reinforce company values. Most companies really fall down on this. The newsletter is a perfect opportunity to remind everyone of the values that are supposed to guide their decisions at work.
  8. Create a theme for each newsletter and have each submission reflect the theme. For example, if the theme for April is "Spring into Action", then focus on new initiatives. You can also pick a company value and use it as a theme. This requires a little bit of planning, but if you scribble a theme out for each month in advance, then you will have an idea of how to direct submissions. Of course, you want employees to participate (see Tip # 1).
  9. Make your newsletter accessible to everyone. There are many ways to do this. You can email it, post it on the intranet, print up copies for the lunchroom and shop floor. You can even build your own app for your newsletter! Make sure the font is large enough for everyone to read. If you have office locations where the dominant language is not English, then translate it!
Renée Cormier is a Public Relations & Communications professional, published author, employee engagement specialist, sales & marketing sage and constant producer of quality content. Need help with your communications? Visit

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Eight things people say that make them seem stupid

I’m going to put my English teacher’s hat on, again today. I like helping people create the best impression, so I often feel compelled to show others how to be better speakers and writers. Today’s post is all about those words we hear people say that are either mispronounced, misused or not real words at all.
Snuck: English speaking North Americans use this term all the time as the past tense of sneak, but it is not a real word. It is considered a non-standard form because the past tense of "sneak" is actually "sneaked". Consider: “He sneaked into his sister’s room and stole her iPod.”
Doggy dog: This phrase is a misuse of the phrase, “dog-eat-dog” which refers to highly competitive behaviour (notice the Canadian/ British spelling of behaviour). Unless you are referring to a rap singer, please use the correct, three word form. Consider the common statement: “It is a dog-eat-dog world out there.”
All Timers/ Old Timers: I really hate when I hear this. Alzheimer’s Disease is a disease which causes premature dementia. It was named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer; the German doctor who discovered it. Never get caught sounding uneducated.
Expresso: This word will come with some debate. The original word for the well-known brewed Italian coffee is “espresso”. The letter “x” appeared in the media as a misspelling and stuck, so now it can be interpreted as being an alternate form. Know- it-all types like me, however, will always mentally cringe and correct. You will never go wrong saying it with the “s”, but the “x” may cause someone to question your intelligence.
For all intensive purposes: This is an especially irritating thing I hear people say. The phrase is supposed to be, “for all intents and purposes”. It means exactly what it says. If you use the word, “intensive”, the phrase loses its meaning. What is an intensive purpose supposed to be?
Prostrate vs. Prostate: There is a time to bend over and a time to have your prostate checked. The body part is the prostate and is susceptible to cancer. If you are told to prostrate, then you should at least be bent forward at the waist.  In order to have your prostate checked, you will need to prostrate. Get it?
Cowobberate: If you say it quickly and keep talking, maybe nobody will notice you mispronounced the word, “corroborate” which is a term we use when we want to verify information. The police often look for witnesses to corroborate statements made during an investigation. Unless you are Elmer Fudd, there is no excuse for mispronouncing this word.
Gorilla Marketing: This one really makes be laugh. You have to listen carefully to hear it, but when it is written, it is very clearly incorrect.  I see it written this way once in a while (once on a marketing site), and it is always wrong. The correct term is “Guerilla Marketing”. It is called “Guerilla Marketing” because it refers to a marketing tactic. Gorillas are animals and unless you are marketing in a gorilla costume, you need to use the word, “guerilla”.
Have you been making any of these mistakes? Time to start practicing correct speech. Being able to speak eloquently and deliver a succinct message will always give people a favourable impression of you and your business.
Renée Cormier is a Public Relations and Communications Professional, published author, and sales and marketing strategist. Need help with your marketing communications or public reputation? Visit to contact.