Tag Archive for PR & Marketing

How to create a newsletter that is a good read

Whether it targets customers, colleagues or other interested parties: an e-mail newsletter can be an extremely effective communication tool – provided that it is opened and read.

However, for a newsletter to be opened and read, or even – in the best case – to be looked forward to instead of just flooding the inbox, there are two important basic rules:

1) You shall not bore!

2) You shall not spam!

If put into practice, this means that a newsletter is not a waste product of old, existing texts; there needs to be an editorial staff in charge! Its contents need to be tailored to its reader’s interests and the topics covered should be both, informative and entertaining for the recipient.

Effective Newsletter

To ensure that the newsletter is a success, the first step is a precise definition of the target group.

Who do I want to reach, who should be receiving information?

Who should know what about the organization, the company?

In the second step, there are two questions to be answered – which, admittedly, is not always easy:

What are the target group’s interests?

Which content will provide additional benefit to the readers?

What will entertain or amuse the target group, which contents should be included in the editorial plan?

Lastly, use a proper style of writing and an appealing and reader friendly layout (a no-go is bright font on dark background, for example), and there is your newsletter that is a good read.

P.S: Integrated links provide additional benefits. Also, readers like to be entertained – however, please do not (!) desperately try to be funny.

Dr. Annegret Haffa

Dr. Annegret Haffa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text by Dr. Annegret Haffa. @drhaffa
http://www.haffapartner.de
Click here to access the Agency Blog

Localizing instead of Translating: How to make international press releases work

Multinational companies often face the challenge to distribute news from the headquarter based in foreign countries e.g. in the USA in other markets “with other languages as well. However, running the English piece through google translater and brush up the language a little bit, won’t do the trick. For making an adaption work properly, it needs to be way more than just a simple translation. Obviously the language is very important, but also some other aspects have to be kept in mind:

1. Topic: Before adapting the press release one question needs to be answered: Is this news really relevant for my market? Spreading news from the US headquarter does not always make sense, because not all topics are also relevant in markets like Germany, and sometimes a solution is just not available outside the US .

2. Structure: US press releases often start off very “softly” before getting to the point. These introductions “platitudes, trend-analyses or the like“ in the first paragraph(s) can be quite deterring for the German media. German journalists spend very little time on deciding whether a news piece is interesting to them or not. A press release which does not get to the point quickly won’t catch the attention of a German journalist and falls through the cracks. Therefore, in German press releases don’t waste any time and space: What’s most important, comes first!

International News

International News

3. Marketing-Talk: In a professional environment, Germans in general present theirselves more reserved than for examples US-Americans. The praising of products and services with superlatives is a taboo to German media. Every provider or manufacturer claims that his innovations are “unique” and that its success will be unprecedented. The challenge lies in stressing the actual benefits, without turning the German message into sweet talk oder adulation.

4. Quotations: US press releases often contain a lot of quotations that basically all say the same. For a successful localization, it is more useful to offer not more than one or two quotations (which cover all important messages) coming from a regional (!) speaker.

5. Customer References: The best testimonial of a satisfied customer is worthless, if the corresponding company is completely unknown in the target country. Therefore it makes sense to make use of less, but local references “ in Germany from the DACH-region or at least from internationally well-known companies.

In Germany, claiming to be “the leading provider” of anything should be proved. Because this is a rather difficult undertaking (e.g. because of lacking evidence and information) it is more secure to position oneself of being “one of the leading providers. On another note: There is no need for (registered) trademark references and legal disclaimers in Germany.

If you want to know why uniform communication does not work have a look at my colleague’s blog post covering examples of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The rules for the “DACH” region or for the US also apply to other countries. Despite the geographical proximity, press releases from France, Italy or Spain cannot simply be translated into German “at least, if you want to get positive attention from a maximum of journalists”.

Markets can be compared just as little as you can compare apples to oranges. This is why PR professionals should not try to capture the attention of the local press with news that were obviously written for another target market. Hence, for adequate localization not only perfect foreign language competence is absolutely crucial, but also detailed knowledge of the local markets and industries.

Annegret

Dr.Annegret Haffa

 

Text by Dr. Annegret Haffa. @drhaffa
http://www.haffapartner.de
Click here to access the Agency Blog

Customer Reference Programs: Making satisfied customers talk

What do you offer your leads after a trade fair? Ideally, he is presented with a reference example that leads to instant conviction.

Using satisfied customers as references for PR & Marketing

When it comes to convincing new customers, references still form the crucial basis. This is something every marketer and every sales person is aware of. Especially after trade fairs best practices and case studies are vital instruments in turning new contacts into new customers.

Satisfied customer! Yes!

If companies are yet reluctant to integrate satisfied customers in their Sales and Marketing Communication, this often has one reason: fear of the customer. Because the customer might be currently unhappy. Because he could be bothered by the request for support. Because he might not agree with the text of a reference brochure. Because the customer’s communications department will not release information anyway. Because there is no one who could write a substantial text, not to mention interviewing the customer at eye-level. Or because….Well, of course: these are all serious obstacles blocking the way to a reference flyer, a success story press release or a best practice video.

But here comes the good news: These obstacles can be overcome by experience and planning. A professional reference program presents the right solution. Integrated in the sales process, it brings order, transparency and commitment into communication. If someone is well informed, then nothing goes wrong. – At least, this is what I have experienced: After successfully closing reference projects, our customers are always happy – as are their customers, too.

Annegret

 

 

 

 

 

 

Text by Dr. Annegret Haffa. @drhaffa
http://www.haffapartner.de
Click here to access the Agency Blog