How do Facebook videos work?

Scrolling through your Facebook timeline, you may notice the majority of your feed is video content. You’ll laugh at a funny video of a cat, then cry to an inspirational video of a blind marathon runner. A few more scrolls and you see a commercial from that clothing brand you were checking out on Instagram (maybe you should buy that shirt..). Where did all of this video content come from? Why is it more popular than photos or status updates? Whether you’re running a business, work as a marketer, or just curious about social media, it’s important to know WHY video is taking over Facebook. So let’s figure it out. How exactly do Facebook videos work?

Why does Facebook love video?

Regardless of whether the video teaches you how to cook 20-minute Chinese food or how someone taught an otter to use an inhaler, videos make us feel emotions and fast. They make us click, share, and comment which is exactly why Facebook loves them. Facebook favors engagement so any post that triggers reactions skyrockets to the tops of our timelines. Hello, viral videos!

This platform also loves video because it performs better (here are three reasons why). If you’re not convinced, just check out the statistics below.

  • Video gets 135% more reach than photos. (Source)
  • 85% of Facebook video is watched with the sound off. (Source) Tip: Include subtitles in your videos!
  • People only watch about 1/3 of a video on average. (Source)
  • The average time watched was about 10 seconds, that’s less than 4% of the average video! (Source) Tip: Start with short videos!
  • 47% of Facebook pages don’t upload videos. (Source) Tip: Start producing video and you’ll be ahead of the competition! 

How videos go viral

Since we love video, Facebook has changed its algorithm (the behind-the-scenes rules that decide what does and doesn’t show on your timeline) to favor it too. This ranking system wants to bring people “closer together,” as Facebook puts it. Watch THIS video to understand what they mean. The videos that go viral are the ones attracting the most engagements and keep viewers hooked.

The most important video factor to this algorithm: percent completion. Facebook identifies a video that’s at least half consumed as “compelling” and therefore prioritizes it. If a video doesn’t keep eyeballs glued to the screen, it’ll lose to the algorithm and fall off timelines. You don’t just need views, you need people to keep viewing. A “view” to Facebook only requires three seconds of play time!

In addition to crafting compelling content, you should upload your videos directly to Facebook. Why? Native Facebook video performs better than the same video on any other platform. In fact, they attract 186% more engagements (bye, Youtube!).

Video terms to know

Facebook is nice enough to provide you with an arsenal of data. From the “Page Insights,” you can truly learn what is working and what’s not. You might notice some new terminology if you’re new to video marketing. Here are some basic terms to know:

Unique Viewers is the number of individual people who watched the video. It doesn’t count repeat views! This is important to know how many potential prospects viewed your content versus who is viewing it multiple times. 

Average Engagement Rate is simple enough. This metric shows how much engagement your videos are generating per impression. If your videos aren’t generating engagement, they’re losing any organic reach potential. Like NewsWhip said, “Sharing activity leads to more views, essentially acting as a broadcasting mechanism for native videos.” Promote videos that attract clicks and comments or say goodbye and try a new video idea.

Average Completion Rate is the most important video metric because it’s what Facebook’s algorithm focuses on most. The average completion rate shows the portion of video that’s watched in an average session. It’s great because you can see exactly when people are dropping off and how much of your content is getting consumed. For example if you know people stop watching around 12 seconds in, try inserting an attention grabber there in your next video!

You have all the potential in the world to succeed in Facebook video marketing. All you need to focus on is authentic content that drives real engagement. Wear your heart on your sleeve, be vulnerable or honest or funny, and create emotions! Bring people closer together and you’ll be bringing in new business.

How does video length affect views?

Video lengths are all over the place. Some are long enough to require popcorn while others are only seconds, so which is best for your business? There are many factors that play into the retention and success of a video, but its length is a big part of it. So fix up a snack and let’s get into it!

What’s the average video length?

With billions of internet videos that range from Vines (six seconds) to full-length motion pictures, let’s focus on video that you might likely create. We’ll break it down by platform. First up, Facebook. “The average length of a [Facebook] video… was 3 minutes and 48 seconds,” according to Business2Community. How successful are these videos? In recent studies, posting videos to Facebook is more effective than Youtube, resulting in 62% more reach than a YouTube video on average per post. Sounds good, right? Wrong, because “the average time watched was only 10 seconds or only 4% of the full video length.”

Let’s change gears and take a look at Youtube. The ten most popular Youtube videos averaged a length of 4 minutes and 20 seconds. That’s in line with the average length of Facebook videos. Assumably, the retention rates are similar as the longer the Youtube video, the more people dropped off viewing it. 

Just because people are uploading lengthy videos, doesn’t mean that people are watching them. In fact, 5% of viewers will stop watching videos after one minute and we lose 60% after two minutes. Creating videos is a lot of work so if you’re going to implement video into your marketing strategy, how do you get people to really watch them?

Length of video ads

Average video content is longer in length, 3-4 minutes, but unfortunately it’s still struggling to hold viewers until the end. Organic content only travels so far without engagement and quality views, so many resort to video advertising to push their content into the world. With a small budget every month, you can ensure your video reaches more eyeballs. But when you begin boosting posts or paying for video ads, it’s important that viewers watch it until the end! How can you ensure that people keep watching? Simply shorten the video.

The average video ad length for advertisers is 11-20 seconds long. Why? Because there’s a better retention rate for shorter videos. The average attention span these days is eight seconds. In 2017, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, said that compared to 15-30 second ads, 6-second ads displayed higher brand metrics across the board.

Better performance for videos 1/3 of the length? It’s a win-win. They’re simpler to produce, easier to edit, and quicker to get out to the public!

Keep it short

There is a lot of evidence supporting both longer and shorter length videos. We suggest focusing on shorter length videos because of how easily they can translate into video ads. If you can captivate your audience in less than 10 seconds, you’re on to something great. Quickly capture your audience, convey your message, represent your brand and voila! Your videos don’t need to be so long they require popcorn. Keep them short and your videos will not only rack up views but people will watch it all the way through, just as you intended!

Yala is adding video ads to its platform soon! Our custom, branded video ads are less than 10 seconds and made for social media. ✨ Sign up for Yala today to become an early adopter and be one of the first to try them out!

What are video ads?

You see countless video ads every day. Have you ever thought about what you’re watching and more importantly: why? Let’s take a step back and start with the basics. Here’s an introduction to video ads and what you need to know, now for your business.

What are video ads?

The internet sure loves its vague definitions, but here’s the best description we can give you. Video ads are simply online advertisements (paid placement) that include video within them. The most common video ads are 15-30 seconds in length. They can be embedded on websites, pop-up when you click on something, play before a Youtube video, live in a banner ad, and more. More recently, video ads are taking over social media platforms. You’ll often see video ads while scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. ​​​​So why are video ads everywhere? Video content simply performs better than other methods. You can deliver a message more effectively via video. How much more effective? One minute of video is equivalent to 1.8 million written words of text in conveying a message. It’s clear why everyone is getting on board the video train.

3 types of video ads

It’s clear what makes a video ad, so let’s talk about the different types. First up is the “native video ad.” A native ad is any paid content that feels natural to a website and doesn’t come off as blatantly advertising. As Instapage describes it, “Native video mimics the other content on the platform and doesn’t interrupt or negatively interfere with user experience. Therefore, it’s more difficult for most web users to identify a native video ad versus an organic video post.” An example of native video ads are those on Facebook or Instagram that look like normal content, however, you may (or may not!) notice “Sponsored” in the corner marking it as an ad. They’re sneaky! Native ads typically attract more views and a higher retention rate.

Next up are in-stream video ads. These are the ads that play before, during or after another video online (aka those annoying commercials you can’t skip on Youtube). These ads are embedded into already existing video content. In-stream video ads are similar to our next type: In-read video ads. These are the pop-up video ads that sometimes autoplay as you scroll through a website (like those ads that scare you when you’re reading the NYT). Unlike in-stream ads, in-read ads don’t need video content to piggyback off and can be placed anywhere. They’re beneficial to websites that have a lot of other content but not a lot of videos.

Both in-stream and in-read video ads are seen as disruptive to the viewer but they are still plaguing the internet. Native video ads are gaining popularity and it’s easy to tell why.

Are they right for your business?

Depending on your marketing plans and abilities, video advertising can be a difficult choice but it’s often the right one. Some industries are investing more into video marketing than others (here are the top eight), but small businesses are quickly following the trend. The world is gravitating toward video advertising so it’s smart to implement it into your marketing strategy.

An article from Search Engine land revealed, “While only seven percent of small local businesses with annual marketing budgets of less than $10,000 used video last year, 12 percent use it this year, an increase of 71 percent.” This is expected to keep rising and companies are planning to continually allocate marketing funds toward video content.

It’s easier than you think to get your video strategy off the ground. With some simple planning and a little dedication, you can craft a successful video strategy for your small business!

Soon enough, Yala will be releasing its video ad maker (Shhh! We haven’t told many people). If you want to become an early adopter, message us and you can be one of the first people to try it!

3 Reasons Why Video Content Performs Best

We’ve noticed the internet blowing up with articles about video. There are infinite reasons why you should implement video into your marketing strategy, but why is video better? It’s a bold statement, but we believe video is the best type of marketing content. Here are three reasons why video performs best and should be your main marketing focus this year.

It Rises To The Top

When we say it rises to the top, we mean it. Social media algorithms and search engines are all starting to prioritize video. Why? Because video content inspires real engagement from audiences. In fact, viewers are 10x more likely to comment, share or interact with a video post. Facebook and Instagram’s new algorithms focus on content that promotes “meaningful conversations.” If you’re not attracting real engagement (likes, comments and share), your content will struggle to stay on people’s feeds and will be pushed off quickly.

In addition, video content improves the marketing outreach you’re already publishing. An email subject line containing the word “video” is 19% more likely to be opened. A website with a video can increase conversion rates by over 80%. We repeat: Video content wins.

Video Improves Your SEO

In addition to boosting your other marketing initiatives, video content improves your SEO. In fact, you’re 50 times more likely to be on the front page of Google if you have a video on your homepage! Crazy, right? Well it’s no surprise when over 90% of consumers admit videos help them make purchasing decisions. Why does Google like video content? Well, in 2018 over 64% of all internet traffic was video based and it’s expected to rise to 80% by next year. When the world wants video, search engines deliver.

Reactions Get Emotional

People are soaking up video content because it’s more powerful and genuine than simple text. Think about it. When’s the last time a short article or blog made you cry or laugh versus a short video on your Facebook timeline? Videos spark emotional reactions. When you can create feelings with your marketing, you’re creating an emotionally invested audience. An emotionally charged follower will promote your brand, refer your company, and ensure repeat business. Video is effective and it’s no surprise why. One minute of video is equivalent to 1.8 million written words of text in conveying a message. Yikes!

It’s harder for small businesses to get started with video but they’re slowly adopting it. An article from Search Engine land revealed, “While only seven percent of small local businesses with annual marketing budgets of less than $10,000 used video last year, 12 percent use it this year, an increase of 71 percent.” Now that we’ve cleared up why video content performs best, it’s time to get started! It’s easier than you think to get your video marketing strategy off the ground. You can do it! 

How To Get Your Video Strategy Off The Ground

Video marketing is getting more popular every day. When you scroll through any social media app, video ads are becoming the norm. You know you need to implement video into your marketing strategy, but how? Cameras are expensive and video editing software is foreign to you. So how can you make high-quality videos without the million-subscriber budget? Let’s discuss some easy ways to get your video strategy off the ground once and for all! 

Plan Out Your Video Strategy

Before you start filming anything, you need to take a step back. Dedicate an hour or two to really think about your video strategy as a whole. That way, every video you create has a purpose and works toward a common goal. Each video may very well have different intentions, but you want to remember why you’re doing this in the first place. To get started, answer these six questions:

  1. WHY are you making videos?
  2. WHO do you hope will watch your videos?
  3. HOW should viewers feel when they watch your videos?
  4. WHAT types of videos are appropriate for your business? 
  5. WHEN are you going to post videos?
  6. WHERE do you want to share videos?

These six answers will help form your video strategy. Believe it or not by answering these questions, you’ve determined your goal, audience, intent, content, timing and distribution. Easy right?

Dedicate Time For Video

This is the biggest downfall we see with business owners and video marketing. It’s exciting at first but eventually fewer videos are shared and Youtube Channels go silent. That is why we recommend making a video schedule that can hold you accountable. Revert to question number four above. What types of videos are you planning on sharing? Can some of these videos become a series or weekly occurrence? If one video leads to another, you’re more inclined to film a sequel! At the end of a video, try sharing a teaser of the video you’re posting next week. That way, you’ll build anticipation from your viewers and accountability for yourself.

Another way to dedicate more time to video is to match certain videos with days of the week. Hashtags are a great source for creative themes to help keep your video strategy on track. We love #SmallBusinessSaturday, #FounderFriday, #MotivationMonday or #WednesdayWisdom. Get creative and don’t be afraid to even start your own hashtag like #SushiSunday or #MamaMondays. We’ve found this is a great exercise to keep beginner video makers on schedule. Once your videos pick up traction, viewers will look forward to videos every week!

Make Social Media Your Best Friend

Lights, camera, action! Now is the big part – actually filming your videos. Hopefully you have some great ideas in your pipeline, but how in the world do you get started? Well, make social media your best friend. You can have a successful video strategy without ever needing a Youtube channel or fancy camera. Video marketing can be accomplished with just your smart phone and social media apps. 

Once you’ve broken the ice, you can try Instagram Live. Viewers tuning into live video aren’t expecting fancy, perfectly scripted videos. They want to see authentic reactions and people being real! There is less pressure for live videos and they’re easy to make on the fly. Instagram Live is awesome for interviews, Q&A’s, sharing behind-the-scenes footage, and events. 

If you’re completely new to video, try out Instagram and Facebook Stories first. You don’t need to film and publish automatically. You can upload short clips from your phone giving you the flexibility of filming multiple takes. Then, mix these short video clips with photos too! Add some GIFS to your photos for extra movement and excitement. 

Moving Forward

Many people are camera shy so video marketing is a scary channel to get started with. We have the impression that video marketing requires high budgets and expensive equipment, but really all it needs is passionate people and some time. Ease into video until you’re comfortable behind the camera, then you can elevate your strategy from there! 

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about video advertising and how to make video ads on a budget! ✨

Who Uses Video Marketing?

…and does your business really need it?

Video marketing is all the rage now. Facebook is pushing and prioritizing video content, YouTube is growing faster than ever, and the internet is on fire with influencers becoming famous from it. You can’t escape video. People are publishing videos every day, but who is really using it as part of their marketing strategy? And more importantly, does your business really need it?

You have a million other marketing duties to worry about. There are social media and email, SEO and blogging. Do you really need to add video marketing, yet another medium, into the mix? Considering 81% of companies report they use video, we’ve got good and bad news. Bad news – yes, you should begin incorporating video marketing into your strategy. Good news – it’s not nearly as hard as you think. By the end of this blog, you’ll know:

  • The top 8 industries using video marketing
  • Why your business should implement video
  • How to position your videos to beat your competition

What Industries Use Video?

You’re bombarded with video ads and content daily, but who is behind these ads? Here are the top eight industries investing in video marketing this year. Even though some of these industries seem giant, there’s a good chance your business falls into one of these categories. You may not be a leading finance firm, but you do own an accounting business. You’re not Nordstrom, but you just opened a retail store. Even though big enterprise companies may not be your direct competitors, your customers are used to seeing video marketing from these industries.

8 industries video marketing

Video Marketing for Your Business

The facts are stacked against you and in favor of video marketing. Let’s change that attitude and rather than dreading the thought of cameras and video software; let’s think of it as an AWESOME opportunity. Video marketing doesn’t mean you have to create a Youtube channel and attract millions of views. It doesn’t mean fancy lighting, professional script writing, and good hair days. Your videos can compete with big box stores, even without their massive advertising budgets. Simple video marketing can be done successfully with just a smartphone and some intelligent planning.

We’ve seen tons of small businesses leverage video marketing in clever ways. How? Their strategies and messaging are localized, personalized, and address their specific audience. Don’t create videos for the world. Create videos for YOUR customers. In fact, try making videos for your already existing customers first. Not only will this re-engage them and remind them of your brand, but it will eventually attract like-minded prospects and drum up new business.

A great first video is explaining the “why” behind your business. Next, film videos that are educational or show your product(s) used in strange ways. Share some behind the scenes clips or interview your employees or customers (or you!). Here are 10 more creative video ideas you can try. If you’re a little camera shy, get started sharing shorter video clips via Instagram or Facebook Stories. Before you know it, you’ll look forward to filming fun videos on the job and your audience will grow more attached to your brand.

Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about how to get your video marketing strategy off the ground and on a budget! ✨

Finding Your “Why”

Vital Reasons to Have a Business Story

Behind every business is a story. Maybe it began with an unfulfilled need, a passion that grew into an occupation, or simply a better product. Perhaps it all started between two best friends, inside someone’s basement, or in a college dorm room. A business story might begin spontaneously with some scratches on a napkin late night at a bar or written on an iPhone notepad while traveling in a foreign county. In contrast, a business could be the result of an MBA thesis paper meticulously analyzed and perfected. Regardless if it was a monumental event that inspired you or a simple “why not” thought that sparked some curiosity, it all boils down to one thing: You started your business for a reason.

So, why does this business story matter? It’s important because people love a business with a story. The more a business can convey a sense of mission or purpose, the more people are drawn to it. If they can relate to your business story or simply admire your dream, onlookers become supportive. Why? Because with a genuine business story, customers suddenly become emotionally invested. It makes sense, right? Companies like TOMS created a global brand by pushing a philanthropic message. Facebook’s backstory was so interesting they made it into a movie. Meanwhile, Nike began at the University of Oregon and made its first sneakers with a waffle iron (seriously). Similarly, your business can do just that. You can capitalize on this concept of “why.”

How to Find Your “Why”

In order to leverage your mission to help promote your business, you need to find your why. If you’re not clear about what this is, let’s take a step back. Get out a pad of paper and let’s brainstorm for a minute. First, ask yourself these questions:

  • When did you start your business?
  • Did you have a job before? Did you quit it to start your own thing?
  • Who helped you get it off the ground?
  • How did you get involved in the industry?
  • How did you learn about the product(s)/service you offer?

Now that you have a better sense of what drove you to your business, let’s think about how the world is different because of its existence. Second, think about these questions:

  • Who was your first customer?
  • What was their problem? or Why did they need/want you?
  • How did you solve their problem/need/desire?
  • What emotions do customers feel after doing business with you?
  • How do you want them to feel?

Ok, now we’re getting somewhere. Freeing yourself to think about these concepts will help encourage the reasoning behind your business. If you’re still searching for some epiphany to help write your inspiring backstory, that’s fine! Maybe you just love what you do or what you offer. That’s good enough! Passion is an amazing (and admirable) reason to have a business.

If things still aren’t adding up, focus your messaging on your customer instead. Think about how you make them feel. Create content on the benefits they experience and the solution (or joy!) your business provides. That’s your “why.”

Emotional Marketing

You don’t need to want to change, or in some cases take over (*cough* Facebook *cough*), the world. The most noteworthy point of this exercise is to invoke emotion with your marketing. You run a better chance of leaving a lasting impression if you can make an emotional connection with customers.

Here at Yala, we have an emotional marketing tool coming soon! We will deliver video ads based on emotion. These short, clever clips convey an immediate sense of happiness, frustration, freedom, surprise, relief and more. The reason we offer video ads is because they have an emotional delivery. Yala is going to help small businesses share emotional marketing due to the emotions we create via video. As a result, business benefits and stories can be amplified and understood easily.

Coming full circle, your business has a story and more importantly – a reason “why” it exists. Promote this voice, share your mission, and don’t hesitate to use emotion when you can. Find your “why” and use these reasons to connect with customers. As a result, you’ll strengthen your brand and increase loyalty. You can do it!

How small businesses and busy marketers use Yala to publish branded content on social media.

This article will cover how we, as a small business, used images to get greater visual impact along with an Instagram regimen even without the pretty photographs.

First let me tell you, I’m pretty resistant to properly managing my social media. Not only because I’m a compulsive procrastinator, but because I’m a perfectionist and when I can’t think of anything to say, I’m not the kind of person that’ll just publish anything. I’m more discerning than that. The downside is I don’t post nearly enough.

How social media should look.

When brands — like yours — express themselves on social media, it needs to look good. There’s no denying that social media has become more visual, which brand advertising has mostly been responsible for. The fact now is that for brands, plain text posts don’t perform as well. This trend is likely to continue to and make way for 360 video and virtual reality!

Having more recently founded a startup that didn’t quite make it, I coincidentally struggled with social media and branding. Not only did writer’s block afflict me but I also didn’t have the design resources to meet my own high standards of what I felt was good visual content. I asked designer, Rogie King, for a little advice. His social media presence has always been great.

To cut a long story short, we decided to cofound a tool to help us be more creative with our social media, together. The good news is… it’s for you too.

Here is the problem we set out to solve:

Brand advertising for a small business is a challenge when you don’t have a designer on hand.

As a brand, even with all the world’s stock footage we were still having a hard time getting the color right. The images we were using had no connection to our colors and good stock images cost money. We also needed easily adding text and our brand’s logo to the image. Here’s the great brand advertising of Shorty Awards.





From Shorty Awards

Notice how all these images have a professional, color-consistent and branded feel. Each image feels like it belongs to a thought-out social media brand, which typically can cost $100–$200 of work from a graphic designer.

Here are a few more posts from the Short Awards on Instagram.



But let’s start up Yala — which is free for time being — and start off creating a new post.

First, I’ll add the Shorty Awards logo. This is just an example of course. You’d be wanting to use your own logo. Yala will automatically pick up important colors from your logo.


The next step is to pick a theme. I’ll choose Facet. It’s not exactly the same as the Shorty Awards image above, but I like this one more.


Once I have my theme, I add my simple message…


And here’s exactly how it’ll look on Instagram.


Notice how I now have a message that stands out along with my brand logo. But that’s not all. I can switch up the theme, and it’ll keep my brand colors and logo in tact.



I think I like this hand-written style a little more than the bold faceted style.

With the push of a button, I can now publish my branded social media message to all my accounts. The entire process took me less than 10 minutes.

We love designers too, but social media needs to happen even when you can’t afford one. Yala!

Work can be art, if we care.

Updating the way we think about work.

Work by Taylor Lahey

We sometimes think that if circumstances were different, we’d have more potential.

We sometimes think that our potential is capped because of our boss, or because of the stuff around us that we just can’t change.

We sometimes feel like our work environment is permeated by commercial concerns, making it hard to think freely and be creative.

If you believe that your environment is immutable and that there’s nothing you can do other than escape, there’s only one option…

Make your work art.

When you make your work art, what happens around you matters less — or not at all. Your environment can’t just change. But you can change, if you care.

When you make your work art, you perfect yourself. Every detail, every minute, every thing you do. So make your work art, and and see the magical effect of how everything around you… changes.

The practical guide to doing your own PR.

Don by The Fox And King

I’ll explain PR with a parable: when two people are introduced, they’ll most often kick off with a casual conversation: Where are you from? What do you like to do? Where did you go to college? Who do you know here?

What they’re really doing, is probing to find a shared interest or a common ground. And, if they’re successful, a little click happens.

That little click is precisely what PR can facilitate by identifying what people already want and then connecting it to what you want them to want. And don’t underestimate that connection. It’s strong. It’s an authentic level of relationship between you and your customer that no other medium can achieve at scale. A paid advertisement can support click moments, but not induce them very easily. It is at this intersection — where common ground is identified and a click happens — that you can actually work to change what someone wants. And here’s how to do it.

Then vs. Now.

The Cloud by The Fox And King

Ten years ago PR was reliant on the all-powerful press release. Social media wasn’t dominant back then. Things are a little different nowadays, but the essence of PR hasn’t changed. We now have an opportunity to engage and relate directly with customers through social media. Remember: social media itself is neutral. It’s just an interface through which relationships are facilitated. And that’s nothing to be afraid of!

Fact: ten years ago, there were 150,000 journalists in the United States. Today there are less than 50,000, even though there are more than 5 times the number of media publications than there were a decade ago. These days, reporters don’t have time for the volume of incoming requests from those seeking attention from the media. It’s only a select few of the most energetic PR dynamos who have backstage access to the top reporters, and this is a full time occupation. For the rest of us, backstage access is closed. But shhh. There’s another way to get backstage, and identifying it is our work in this article.

Why are press releases significant?

Contrary to popular notion, the intent of PR is not is not necessarily publication in the WSJ or NYT, especially when you’re interested in reaching a lot of people… but it’s the rotation that’s triggered by the press release. Even PR repositories like Yahoo will likely be socialized and that puts things into rotation on social media. It’s all about the rotation.

What do reporters want to write about?

Identifying and then delivering the story a reporter needs, well that backstage pass is nearly ours. And what a reporter needs is a relevant, credible story. A story that’s relates to trend or an industry they’re focused on. A reporter doesn’t want fluff or waffle — obviously. They also don’t want jargon nor superlative — “awesome this, and fantastic that.” Stay credible, relevant and current. Let’s look at exactly what this means.

To come up with a story, look at what influencers are talking about in your industry. Here’s where your story begins. Next up is taking

The characters in your story are a) current trends and b) an industry-changing aspect of your product or creation. Your story will need to stitch together a) and b) in a believable and matter-of-fact way and voila, relevance is born. You now have a story. After all, the reporters who you want to get your story will be looking out for these important factors: a current event or a breaking trend — and a good story to hang the event or trend on to. You want the effect on the reporter to be, “This is going to be someone that I’m going to want to write about.”

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t always need to give reporters stories about you or your product. If you have your ear to the ground, you can also just give a reporter a news tip. It’s a kindness, and helping journalists with scoops creates a strong bond with the reporter. Now you’re someone the media wants to come back to, and now you have your backstage pass.

What if I’m a startup without a brand or credibility.

As a startup with no brand or market credibility, you have the opportunity to get coverage through contributed articles. All major publications are desperate for these because journalists and reporters don’t have the mental resources these days to write about, let alone learn about, all the new movements being hatched and all the new stuff being made. When you contribute an article, it has the same weight as earned media because it has the blessing of the publication itself. And the best part? You don’t need a reporter, you can do it yourself.

Making PR click.

Illustration by The Fox And King

To make connection points that click, do the following:

  1. Ask yourself what’s a major issue or trend in your industry that you’re trying to change or fix? Not technical or specific or too granular but rather think big: industry, world, life, business, health.
  2. Find a trend that you can jump onto that’s just breaking in among social media influencers within your industry. Social media influencers are usually the highly opinionated bloggers with lots of followers.
  3. Connect what they’re trending or talking about right now to what your product can do, and make it into a pitch that’s simple and articulate — and free of superlative.

The effect is not only good fodder, but this also facilitates the need of a reporters whose ability to be first-to-tell is key to their own credibility. It also gives you one opportunity after another to keep coming out with new stories by simply taking a trend, and connecting it with how your product is innovating or making change in its industry. Click.

Where to be seen?

Are you conscious of what is your audience is reading? Are they looking at Forbs? Techcrunch? Or Medium and Twitter? Are they only reading industry publications and local news?

Well, if it’s all of the above, your tactic should be the famed 🔥firestorm🔥 technique: you identify your target, and you surround them with media from multiple sources. Social media, big publications, local ones, industry journals etc. all as part of your strategy. This multi-pronged approach forms the impression that “you’re everywhere” which is very good for credibility.

How the blogger sphere works.

Churn by The Fox And King

This sphere can be divided into two:

1. Blogs that we’re all familiar with, like Mashable, Techcrunch etc. but they really function like journalists. They tell us what’s hot.

2. There are hundreds of organic blogs… they are called “influencers”. They tell us their opinions.

These little industry influencers are what many reporters rely on in order to validate their stories. Consider them third-party validators. Why? Because they’re they’re authentic, honest and opinionated and well, 3rd party.

Research firms like Forrester are called analysts (as opposed to influencers) and are another source of 3rd party validation. Both influencers as well as analysts function as early warning signals of upcoming trends that will likely precede those of which TechCrunch and Mashable will be looking for.

Getting in early is key to identifying the right influencers can be a firehose of ideas for your press releases that click.

The three types of media.

Back To The Future by The Fox And King

Earned Media — the media you get placed through personal effort.

This includes social media shares, reposts, reviews, mentions.

Paid Media — the media you get placed through your hard earned cash.

This includes paying for clicks, display ads, retargeting and even paying influencers influencers. Paid content promotion and social ads are part of this too.

Owned media — making a destination of your web and social media properties.

This includes your website, your social media properties and your blog.

What kind of content should we put out?

Social content, ad content, PR content, industry and product announcements, promotions more. Content can also be thought leadership driven — sharing insights and expert ideas. How do you choose what content you’re going to use your valuable time creating? Well, the answer is the content you’re most equipped to put create. You don’t have to do it all. You just need to focus on one thing that’s within your scope and just do it. If you spread yourself too thin, you’ll end up neglecting doing any of it.

Have you ever considered doing a Twitter Round Table?

Ahhh HAH! by The Fox And King

A Twitter Round Table is an organized a discussion within a particular industry on a topic where you present ideas and get a couple influencers to participate. Conjuring up and hosting an online event like this requires nothing but simply doing it. Identifying and then inviting influential Tweeters is appealing and amusing for any industry audience and sets your social brand to “neutral.” Your audience finds this neutrality valuable because it’s safe and nurtures conversation. In other words, your social media presence isn’t all about prodding and promoting, which is very one dimensional.

The value of the CEO to the press.

Fired Up by The Fox And King

The CEO has to have the time and willingness to parley on any topic or any story that the reporter is writing about. It doesn’t really matter if you’re the world expert in a given topic, as long as you can speak with confidence and strong opinion.

As a CEO, when a reporter is covering a given topic even if it’s at best remotely related to your story, your job is to support their story through your lense. What you’re doing is using hijacking in a sense, the trending news topic as the common ground in order to facilitate the story needed to make a click. You’re also helping a reporter out.

With the CEO’s presence, credibility is more easily and quickly acquired. My advice to all CEOs is to go out and be a thought leader by connecting current trends to how your ideas are changing things within your particular industry.

Channel and venue overload.

Cloudy by The Fox And King

Given the sheer volume of channels, it’s overwhelming to keep up with. When I see CEOs spending all day on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram etc., I ask myself how they’re effectively running their company. And the truth is they’re probably not. One way to navigate this is to share the burden in your entire organization and get them to post. You can use a tool like Yala to manage that collaboration on Slack. Of course, if you’re going to have the whole company posting, you first need a policy about style, voice, subjects etc.

Twitter: hot or not?

As far as earned media, Twitter is by far the most pervasive and it’s going anywhere in the immediate future. Granted, Twitter’s viability is in question but who cares… let the academics banter it out. If you’re engaging influencers, media, Twitter is the place to do it. Twitter is huge. Customers use the phone, they use email. Businesses, thought leaders, the media and influencers all use Twitter right now.

Get an influencer without spending much.

If you’re bootstrapping, regarding paid media, brand-ambassadors are perhaps the most bang for your buck. Bloggers who are hungry for money and have a big following are often eager to be an ambassador for your brand. For $500 or so, you can get ambassadorship at events and tradeshows, via social media. It can be tricky to track the value here so proceed with caution, but a good ambassador can drive lots of love.

Three kinds of social media.

Using the news

Look at the current news, steal a topic that’s envogue, connect it to your story in a way that’s amusing or informative.

Using competitors

Look at competitive landscape, and see what your competitors are blabbing about. You can also harness negative sentiments to address them to your advantage.

Using the public

Look at what articles or industry stuff you’re reading. Let ideas from trending articles inform your social media. Don’t pressure yourself in trying to come up with posts from scratch. Create debates and dialogue on this material.

Never a monologue

Just do not talk to yourself on Twitter. You need to identify where your audience is receptive and attentive and share their space.

The Tools people use.

Set Phasers to Stun by The Fox And King

Here are some tools the pros use:

PR dashboard

Meltwater, SeeDepth, Trendkite

Media and Influencer management

Sprinklr, Vision, Augure

Social media management and monitoring

Sprout Social, Simply Measured, Oktopost

Light Management

Buffer, Hootsuite, Yala (yep, that’s us).

Content Publishing

Curata, Kapost, Hootsuite, Buffer, Yala.

One final comment about social media: content is still the most important asset.

When you’re doing social, see to it that the information you put out is valuable, sincere, honest. Things like debates and round tables are superb additions to your strategy.

Lessons for us.

Just Keep Swimming by The Fox And King

PR and social media are often misunderstood by small businesses but because there’s no cheaper way of getting publicity off the ground. That, and the fact that nothing has the value and the impact of PR so if you’re a small business or someone just starting out… just start somewhere — anywhere, and just keep swimming!