Viral marketing's benefits, technology and radio, more

How can a viral marketing campaign build your client's brand effectively?

How can a viral marketing campaign build your client's brand effectively?

Within the past five years, savvy marketers have come to realize that the Internet can be used as a quick and powerful tool to generate brand awareness - and it's merely a mouse-click away, says JS2 Communications' Rebecca Hutchinson.

"Generating such a campaign may sound intimidating, but don't let technology and a hefty price tag get in the way of using this innovative means of brand awareness," she adds. "A viral marketing campaign can be easy to produce and cost-effective, as long as there is strong creative at its [core]."

Videos with an amateur look have enjoyed broad success in cyber-space due to creative and entertaining content. Once produced, marketers can post the viral video on popular networking sites such as MySpace and YouTube that act as hubs of "what's hot" on the Web and can traffic millions of visitors.

Access to high-speed Internet and a reliable server are also vital, notes Hutchinson, because cyber surfers prefer to get content quickly and with little hassle. By month's end, a creative viral campaign may have been accessed by millions of visitors - which can definitely put a client on the map.

Media relations

What are some successful techniques for pitching local TV?

"Planning and persistence pays off when pitching local TV," says Jeffrey Davis of Sawmill Marketing Public Relations.

Start by building a solid media list, he advises. Assignment editors move on frequently, so confirm the best contact at each station and double-check e-mail addresses.

"Be sure you have a strong visual and that you can convey the essence of your story in a matter of seconds," Davis adds. "If it takes 15 seconds or more to explain, then maybe it's not a TV story or your pitch needs to be refined."

Finally, he says, be persistent. If you sent an e-mail or fax, you're not done. Consider a station drop-off. Make sure it's on their planning calendar. E-mail with a new detail on event day and call to see if they have what they need. "It's not over until the camera person walks in the door," Davis states.

Radio

Are new forms of technology, like iPods, integrated car stereos, and Internet radio impacting radio listenership?

Yes, but not in a negative way, says Martha Sharon of News Generation. "As long as radio stations continue to keep up with the changes in technology, they continue to endear themselves to listeners of all ages," she notes.

The latest Arbitron figures show that radio remains one of the most popular and pervasive forms of media in the US, reaching more than 94% of those "over the age of 12" each week. This listenership has stayed relatively steady for the past three years, reports Sharon, despite a rise in listener options such as satellite radio, webcasting, and podcasting.

Radio also remains a popular media choice among consumers, she explains, because they can tune in anywhere, and radio stations around the country have been right on top of the innovations necessary to provide tune-in availability.

A recent Arbitron survey shows that during the week, most radio listeners tune in at home before 7am and after 7pm. Between 8am and 6pm, 66% to 75% listen to the radio in places outside the home, like the office, thanks to stations making streaming audio available, or, at the gym, thanks to the iPod.

In fact, according to a recent News Generation survey of 50 stations around the US, 92% of the stations polled are webcasting and podcasting, keeping those listeners tuned in throughout the day.

Send your questions to toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Irene Chang if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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