In the Loop

Not being in the know can be extremely frustrating regardless of who you are in a particular situation – a business professional, a traveler or a customer. On a recent United Airlines flight on my way back to Los Angeles, we were held on the runway for nearly an hour after landing because they didn’t have a gate assigned for our plane. Prior to landing, the flight attendants announced that at least 20 people had a really tight connecting flight so we should let them off first or they would be stranded in the airport overnight.

The passengers grew restless and those with connecting flights became increasingly angry at the prospect of sleeping in the airport. For 50 minutes we sat on the plane, and were given one update, about five minutes in. The duration of the time on the runway, we were clueless as to what was happening.

It reminded me about the importance of keeping clients updated, even if there is no real update to give. In my situation, I would have been much more forgiving had they come on the PA system and said a few more words. It’s a way of showing clients that things are still moving and that you are on top of it. It’s that little bit of reassurance that someone is looking out for you and you don’t need to worry.

While you may be juggling several things behind the scenes to keep things moving, your client won’t know it unless you tell them. It’s that extra attention to detail that goes a long way in building your relationships with customers.

Success Tips for the Savvy PR News Professional

Many public relations professionals want to get their work published, but not all of them know how to do it successfully. There’s a lot that goes into getting your piece published than writing it and pressing send. Below is some savvy, surefire advice on how to get what you want out of your PR career.

The Perfect Pitch
When writing your pitch, remember the three R’s of pitching: relevance, research, and rhetoric.
•Make sure that your story is relevant to the general public, not just a specialized niche.
•Research the editors you want to send your pitch to and always send it to ones who are in charge of selecting pieces on the topic you wrote on.
•Use rhetoric that is to the point and catches an editor’s attention. Words, such as biggest, first, fastest and only, pop out on the page, because it gives the impression that you have something unique to offer.
•Write in layman’s terms and avoid using jargon. It will not only confuse editors, but readers as well.
•Remember, you want to make your piece relevant to the general public, so you can get a high level of readership.
•Last, but definitely not least, always check for grammar and spelling errors!

Build Professional Relationships
Putting work into cultivating lasting professional relationships is equally important as the work you put into crafting your pitch. The more trust and camaraderie you build with an editor, the more work you are likely to get from them in the future.
•Reach out to the editor you want to pitch to via email or phone call, and make sure you have something to offer them, like what types of experts you can put them in touch with.
•Social media is also a fantastic way to connect with and keep in touch with editors and other writers.
•Follow the media you like on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and connect with them on LinkedIn. This establishes a professional relationship outside of the pitch, and makes your name/company familiar when you do pitch a topic.

Get a Good Group of Experts
Get a good group of experts on your side to lend your topic credibility. In your selection, make it more about the person, and less about the type of expert. You want someone who is not only knowledgeable, but personable as well. People who can condense complex topics and ideas into concise, not overly verbose statements, are the ones you want. University professors are perfect examples, and consultants and authors are good too. They are usually genuinely interested in their topics, are well versed in them, and will give honest answers. Make sure to not only state their level of experience and background in your pitch, but a short paragraph on where they stand on the topic as well.


As marketing and public relations professionals, sometimes our brain gets stuck working on a project. Whether it’s drafting website copy or designing an advertisement, it is our job to get creative and think outside the box to capture the audience’s attention. If you find your creativity at a standstill, follow the below steps to keep your creative momentum flowing.

  • Write about everything and anything. Keeping a journal of your thoughts and ideas will exercise and expand your mind. Incorporate words you’ve never used before to express yourself. Going through this process can improve your creativity.
  • Find your passion.Although marketing and public relations is my passion, participating in a sport or art activity will contribute to your life experience and will positively affect your thought process. These activities may give you ideas on marketing material, media topics, or even new ways to develop business.
  • Explore outside of your comfort zone. Residing in your comfort zone does not stimulate creativity. Challenging yourself contributes to personal development, and as we branch out into new territory, we get the creative “juices” going.

In the words of the late Leo Burnett, legendary American advertising executive, “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.”

Top 5 Marketing Apps for Legal Professionals

Everyone is on their mobile devices these days. So we’ve prepared a list of downloadable apps, or applications that real estate, financial and legal professionals might want to explore — not only to make your life a little easier (i.e. multitasking, managing time efficiently and staying organized), but also to keep you on the forefront of the best apps available for professionals.

  • Pipedrive — Legal professionals, as well as those in the real estate and financial sectors, are able to keep track of prospective clients, other contacts and outreach all in one place. Currently, Pipedrive has more than 3,500 users around the world.
  • Prezly — Media coverage helps position you as an expert in your field and aids branding and name recognition efforts. Prezly is an app that makes pitching, publishing and disseminating your press releases easy. You can create press rooms, share information via social media, increase search engine optimization rankings and send large files with the click of a button. Through their unique analytics, you’re also able to track your press releases, not to mention schedule when releases are to publish.
  • Mural.ly — Need some creative inspiration? Mural.ly helps you organize your thoughts visually. Through a pin board interface, you are able to use sticky notes, images, links and videos to express your thoughts and ideas. Also, you’re able to collaborate with co-workers and track their suggestions.
  • SlideRocket — This presentation app incorporates an innovative approach to business communications. Through SlideRocket, you’re able to import PowerPoint presentations and include web resources from YouTube and Flickr. You also can use plug-in functionalities from Twitter and Yahoo! This way, your data remains fresh and current. Co-workers are able to collaborate on the presentation and track their changes. With SlideRocket, you’re able to present via your mobile devices seamlessly.
  • Hootsuite — Social media has become one of the key marketing vehicles for legal professionals and others. Hootsuite allows you to manage all social profiles in one place. You can schedule posts ahead of time and receive detailed analytic reports regarding the effectiveness of your posts and campaigns.

These are only a few of the apps out there that can help keep you organized. Many are free to use. These marketing tools can have a positive impact on your business.

Crafting an Attention-Getting Subject Line

Email is a very low cost way to reach and follow up with a large number of potential clients. Done right, it can be one of the most powerful and profitable marketing channels.

One of the biggest challenges with email marketing is that your email competes with massive amounts of other email vying to be noticed in the recipient’s inbox.

If your emails go unnoticed, how can you reinvigorate your approach to ensure the recipient opens them? The subject line is the most important part of an email and leaves an impression on your receiver.

Here are 12 strategies to get your email noticed with just the subject line:

  1. Write the subject line first: Many people don’t think too much about the subject line and end up forgetting to write it after they’ve finished their email. An email with no subject line is more likely to get lost in the clutter.
  2. Keep your subject line brief: The more words in the subject line, the lower the open rate. Keep it simple. One to two words maximizes your chance of getting your email opened.
  3. Make sure it’s mobile device compatible: More than 50 percent of emails are now read on a mobile device. The first four words of your subject line are the most important since that’s all mobile readers will see. Thus, it is crucial to place the most important words at the beginning.
  4. When in doubt, use “Re”: The only way to stay in touch is to create a reply trail. If a response is needed, put it in the subject line, remember to make it clear, and use as few words as possible. If necessary, include a deadline in the subject line, such as “Please respond by Monday.”
  5. Be direct: Keep a single person in mind when you compose an email. As a sender, strive to create familiarity, even though you may not personally know the individuals on the receiving end. This gives receivers the impression that they know the sender.
  6. Be personable: Put yourself in the receiver’s shoes and ask yourself if you would open your emails. Personal messages have the highest open rates.
  7. Be specific: Streamline the subject line with your audience in mind. If the audience knows what they are going to receive, they are more likely to open the email.
  8. Avoid certain words: There are certain words, such as “free”, that will automatically send your email to the spam folder, never to be seen. Other words like, “help”, “percent off” and “reminder” are less likely to end up in the spam folder, but will still garner significantly fewer open rates. Filler words like, “hello”, “nice to meet you” and “thanks” are best left in the body of the email.
  9. Tell them what you have to offer: Make sure to write a subject line that lets the reader know what you’re providing. People are more likely to open an email if they feel they will receive some benefit from it.

10.  Be sure to note a referral: If you have been referred by a mutual acquaintance, be sure to put it in the subject, and you’ll        automatically have the reader’s attention. Putting your referral’s full name at the beginning increases the chance that your        email will be seen.

11.  DO NOT WRITE IN ALL CAPS: ALL CAPS TYPICALLY REPRESENT SOMEONE WHO IS YELLING! YOU WANT TO MAKE        READING YOUR EMAIL AS EFFORTLESS AS POSSIBLE!! ALSO, AVOID EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!! Use dashes or colons to        separate thoughts. Which was easier to read: the beginning or the end of this paragraph?

12.  Reread the subject line when you are finished: When sending the same email to multiple recipients, reread the subject         line to ensure you’ve tailored it accordingly. Skipping this step can be a major turnoff if you’ve written the wrong name or         information.

The subject line is often the determining factor in whether or not an email gets opened. The most common mistake email writers make is including a bad subject line or none at all. Whether you’re applying for a job, passing along information to a co-worker, reaching out to a potential client or catching up with a friend, these 12 steps can help ensure that your email is read.

Three Secrets of a Successful Email Marketer

Email marketing is an ever-evolving tool to reach your target audience. Constant Contact presented the webinar “Three Secrets of a Successful Marketer” to remind us of the basics in obtaining outstanding results from email marketing campaigns.

Secret # 3

Use brand recognition to increase your open rate. Remember strong brand recognition and consistency is key to increasing engagement.

Statistics show:

• 64% of recipients won’t open emails when they don’t recognize the sender
• 61% of recipients won’t open emails because the subject was not interesting or relevant

Effective emails are branded with a logo, slogan, contact information, similar appearance as previous emails (if applicable), call-to-action, and social media buttons.

Secret #2

Hone in on your target audience by taking into account demographics, such as product/service offered, location, age/gender and subject matter.

Statistics show a 39% increase in opens when the campaign is targeted.

Secret #1

Always optimize your reports by looking at opens, click and forwards rates, and send future e-mails based on past results. Track engaged contacts to build loyalty and increase opens create new lists based off this information.

The last and most important tip is to reward openers by providing exclusives such as discounts, special resources or downloadable white papers. Great email marketers anticipate both positive and negative results, keeping in mind that the target audience determines the success of emails.

Give Me Five

It’s safe to say most professionals believe that email is taking over their life, and it’s not uncommon to spend the better part of an hour crafting the best, most streamlined message possible. We’re all big fans of keeping emails short and sweet, yet productive, so imagine my delight when I came across a simple rule that can solve this problem: Commit to making every email five sentences or fewer.

There’s something about having a true limit to ensure you really stick to your goal. As five.sentenc.es explains, “Treat all email responses like SMS text messages, using a set number of letters per response. Since it’s too hard to count letters, we count sentences instead.”

Focus on keeping replies brief, but polite.

The Future of Employment in Los Angeles

In the words of 29-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “To all of my friends who have younger siblings in high school or college, my number one piece of advice is: Learn how to program.” These words of wisdom coincide with the panel discussion at the “2014 Economic Forecast & Trends Breakfast Briefing” hosted by the Los Angeles Business Journal and the San Fernando Business Journal.

Business and real estate professionals on the panel discussed the bright future of employment in Los Angeles with a focus on the current rise in younger generation CEOs.

Job creation has increased tremendously in technology fields with new start-ups populating both the Silicon Valley and the Silicon Beach area of Los Angeles. This trend follows the success of brilliant young internet entrepreneurs like Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel of Snapchat.

Panelist Jim Kruse, Senior Managing Director at Investor Services of CBRE, explained that it’s the reluctance of entrenched company leaders to hire inexperienced college graduates that has spurred talented, tech-savvy newcomers to launch their own start-ups.  Seasoned CEOs may fail to realize that college graduates who possess cutting-edge IT skills are at an advantage in the all-important technology realm regardless of industry experience, bringing greater potential to connect with a current and future customer base. While applying technology tools is second nature to those who grew up with the World Wide Web, veteran CEOs may not be as knowledgeable about the latest mobile apps, social media trends or current online marketing strategies. Thus, they may be unable to use these tools to their advantage.

If current CEOs are willing to give inexperienced yet technologically adept job seekers a break – and mentor them – this will increase overall productivity. And if young CEOs continue to innovate and create start-ups, they will be contributing to the health of the economy and will improve the job market.


PR Pitching 101

If you are a public relations professional, then you already know the most important aspect of the job is the ability to pitch and place a story. Many public relations professionals will tell you the key to pitching is relationship-building or storytelling i.e., the way you wordsmith the pitch to create interest.

Public Relations Society of America – Los Angeles hosted its monthly “At Breakfast With…” event with a panel of journalists from high-profile Los Angeles news outlets to discuss what they are really looking for in a pitch. Below are some highlights from the panel:

  • Get to know the journalist – Take them out for coffee, get to know what beats they cover and, of course, read their articles. Journalists are more inclined to publish your release if they can put a face to an email address.
  • Email is the best way to reach a journalist – Always send a release or pitch via email, with a follow-up call after.
    • Keep press releases short – One to two paragraphs.
    • Never include in your pitch that another news outlet is running the same story.
  • Exclusivity is key – When able to, tailor your pitch to only one news outlet to make them feel special. Journalists will be more inclined to publish when it’s personalized, rather than part of a mass email.

For more marketing and public relations tips, follow us on Twitter at @BerbayCorp, or follow our weekly blog posts.

Berbay Marketing & PR