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Marketing Q&A with Jennifer Rodrigues
A: The major difference between writing for brochures and marketing materials and writing for the web is this: people read brochures/marketing materials from start to finish (linear) and people read websites out of order (nonlinear). They might read the second page before the home page and then only read paragraphs 3 to 5. So obviously, it's important that your writing reflects the style of reading that you can expect for each piece.
Writing for marketing materials can be longer and more drawn out. You can write about a particular topic for a paragraph, or four. But when writing for the web, you have to write each paragraph or section as a cohesive whole, meaning that each section has to be complete by itself. Also, when writing for the web, avoid using long paragraphs; instead, use lots of short sentences/paragraphs and bulleted lists. This makes it less daunting for readers and encourages them to actually take the time to read your website.
Other web writing tips:
Q: I've been doing my PR campaign for a few months now and I'm not sure how to evaluate whether it's working or not. What's the best way to find out?
A: Before you can properly evaluate your campaign, you need have developed measurable objectives. These should have been developed before even undertaking your program so that you can make sure that each pitch/activity is on-target each step of the way.
Next, you need to decide on how you want to evaluate your campaign. Again, this should have been done at the beginning of the campaign so you know what you're working towards. Some common ways to evaluate the campaign include:
The most common way of evaluating a PR campaign is measuring the campaign's exposure by compiling press clippings and broadcast mentions - 70% of PR practitioners use media analysis/press clippings as their major tool to evaluate their campaigns' success.
This is something that can be done yourself or can be outsourced to a news clipping service, like Cision. If you do it yourself, keep in mind that although it will save you money, it will take a lot of time to monitor the thousands of newspapers, broadcast stations, radio stations and online news channels every day. But it's possible to do, using ongoing Google searches and a handy tool called Google Alerts.
Another advantage of using a company like Cision to monitor your media placements is that they will calculate the impressions, or how many people each message touched. For example, if a story appears in a publication with a circulation of 100,000, the clip will have 100,000 impressions. This is a useful number because it will show you how far your message reached but it won't tell you the actual number of people who read the article.
Advertising equivalency is another method that can be used to calculate the value of a PR placement by determining how much the placement would cost if it were an advertisement in that same publication.
There are also companies and programs that will calculate your media placements by various factors including (but not limited to):
No matter what method you choose, it is very important to continuously evaluate your campaign so you can decide what to continue, what to stop and whether your messaging is on target. Compare your results with your original objectives to see if you are meeting your goals. If not, change up your campaign accordingly. If you are meeting your goals, then congratulation, you're a PR expert already!
Did this information help you? If you have other questions, I'd love to hear from you - please don't be shy! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And don't forget to check back twice a month for more PR and Marketing Q&As.
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